The whirring of reels and shouts of “Fish on!” interrupted the calm spring morning in Hope Valley Saturday. Anglers, many from out of the area, tempted the river’s trout during opening day on the West Carson.
“This is our first time down here,” said Rick Wilson, a resident who brought his kids and their friends with him for the fishing trip. “It’s beautiful.”
Though many streams in the Tahoe area are open year-round for fishing, more than 100 anglers made the pilgrimage to the West Carson Saturday. And the fish showed up, too.
“Every opening day is pretty solid, but this year is really good,” said Ryan Burges, who came from Davis with his friend Tyler Belcher.
About 9:30 a.m., Burges was already slinging a stringer of 14-inch to 20-inch rainbow trout into a cooler filled with ice. Both he and Belcher had caught their limit of five for the day.
“It’s been getting a little crowded the last couple years,” Burges said. “But we go down stream a little and it’s excellent.”
Both the East Fork and the West Fork of the Carson River were stocked with trout earlier this month, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s fish planting schedule. The Nevada Department of Wildlife stocked the East Fork in April.
Between 5,000 and 8,000 anglers were expected to cast their lines in the Eastern Sierra during opening day, said Andrew Hughan, a spokesman for CDFW. And the conditions are ripe for fishermen, according to a press release from the department.
“Warm weather has been melting snow and ice on lakes that often are still frozen late into spring, giving anglers more access to lakes, streams and waterways,” the release stated.
The conditions brought out quite a few people, but not as many in some parts of the Eastern Sierra, said Victor Babbitt, owner of Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters.
“We had a fair amount of people go out,” he said. “My guides that guided that day did very well.”
Often this time of year, heavy snowmelt will have river flows too high to fish, but this year’s less-than-average snowfall has rivers at very fishable flows, Babbitt said.
“Rivers aren’t completely blown out,” Babbitt said. “We’re feeling like it’s the middle of June, but it’s not even May.”
Fly fishermen were doing well with stoneflies and glo-bugs, Babbitt said. Down on the West Carson, Powerbait and spin rods dominated the shores. But, no matter the bait, some people just couldn’t catch anything.
“We haven’t caught anything yet,” said Rick Paris, who came from Sacramento for opening day. “It’s just really disappointing compared to other years.”
Tahoe Daily Tribune reporter and future Lake Tahoe Action editor Adam Jensen contributed to this story.