June Lake Opening Day of Fishing
Opening Day Fishing!
"It's a Tradition"
Opening day for the general trout season is one of the most anticipated dates on the calendar for the Eastern Sierra. A date with a rich history and long traditions for many. The last Saturday in April sees June Lake lodging and campsites fill up early each year. Our little sleepy Village suddenly wakes up! You never know what the weather might be, but “marginal” weather is what creates the best memories for traditionalists!
I “discovered” Silver Lake on Opener way back in 1971. I was driving around exploring that year when all of the sudden somebody from my neighborhood back home walked across the street in front of me. I’ve been coming back every year since. A group of friends and I, many from the old neighborhood and High School days have been coming up for opener for some 45 years now, every year. The group has grown to include second and now third generation kids, spouses and just new friends. We can have 40-45 at Silver Lake for the weekend of Opening Day.
Lynn and I moved to June Lake in 1999. Even so, we still rent a cabin at Silver Lake for Opener. Our little vacation, two miles down the road from where we live in June Lake. I might be partial, a little, but Silver Lake is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
As I said, you never know how the weather might turn out for Opening Day. One year you cast out onto the ice, then slowly drag the fly to the edge of the ice and let it fall down off the edge, through the water column. I had the best day ever catching (and releasing) German browns right and left when Silver Lake was 85%+ ice covered. A day of only browns! Another year I was in shorts and a t-shirt and actually jumped into the water, much to the surprise of the group of friends I was with. As you might guess, yes the water was cold! Just a couple of the type and range of memories I’ve created over the years. Not to mention quality time spent with family and friends, catching fish.
Fishing is usually very good on Opening weekend. Lakes in the Loop are generally ice free and sometimes, have been so for weeks. The trout are somewhat lethargic and inactive during the winter months. When the water begins warming up, it stimulates the insects to start their life cycles. The warming waters speeds up a trout’s metabolism and they are HUNGRY! Most baits and lures work well. Depending on weather, road and ice conditions, several local agencies contribute to and or purchase fish to place into local bodies of water. The Department of Fish and Wildlife begins their stocking programs prior to Opening Day, in some years, stocking thousands of pounds. Mono County commits a portion of their budget to stocking programs for the benefit of our guests and tourists. The Mono County Fisheries Commission contributes a significant portion of their annual budget to enhancing the fish available in each body of water.
You also have the hold over trout from the previous year’s stocking programs. Generally speaking, substantial stocking of local waters occurs every fall. Many “Trophy” trout are stocked late in each year as hatcheries prepare for winter. DF&W also stocks sub catchable sized trout in fall to allow fish to grow in local waters.
In summary, Opening Day is a great time to start, or continue, a traditional time spent with family, old friends and fishing buddies. Oh, it’s also a great time to start or continue your trout catching tradition! Suggestion: Don’t kill fish you are not planning on eating soon. Trout don’t have the reputation of freezing well. Practice sound catch and release techniques. Tackle shops and Marinas all have pamphlets to explain correct Catch & Release methods. Remember, a dead fish cannot reproduce and will never be caught again. Don Morton and Lynn Morton are the owners and operators of June Lake Accommodations. Lynn is the Broker/Owner of Sierra Crest Real Estate. In his spare time, Don also is a Commissioner for the Mono County Fisheries Commission.