Family fishing memories last a lifetime
Hello, fellow anglers. We are only days away from Memorial Day weekend, which means anglers will be everywhere enjoying the beautiful Sierra.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Nevada Department of Wildlife will be planting our surrounding lakes, ponds and rivers with trout.
There will also be many outdoor enthusiasts just out to enjoy some camping and family together time. Family time is important. I started fishing with my father when I was 3 years old. We would get up at 2 a.m. sometimes to start our day’s adventure — some as far away as San Luis Reservoir to the delta for some striper or cat fishing. Many trips were just local to the Carson or the Walker rivers.
Sometimes my mom and dad would drop my friend and I off far upstream of the West Carson River at 6 a.m. and then pick us up at the Hope Valley Bridge at 3 in the afternoon. They would always bring the camera and a couple sandwiches and boast about all the fish we had caught, or the stories of the big one that got away.
Any time they would go to town for groceries or just to shop, they would drop us off at Sawmill Pond in South Lake Tahoe. Back then we fished for catfish at the pond, there wasn’t any trout in there like today. My favorite place to fish was in the Tahoe Keys area. Back then there were only a couple houses on the keys and we caught big browns and, believe it or not, some big channel catfish.
It wasn’t always just my dad and I, either. Many times he would pack up the whole family, which included my sister, Barb, and my mom, and we would head off for an overnight camping fishing adventure. Mom was the best camp host, while we tried to provide dinner. Sometimes we could not provide the fish for dinner, but mom always packed a backup plan. Burgers and beans over a Coleman stove under a starry night telling stories and sleeping on the ground with frogs and plenty of bugs around … a little boy couldn’t get any closer to heaven.
When I grew up, I continued to fish as much as I could with my dad. Mom wasn’t into fishing as much and my sister had moved away. We have had so many adventures together. In 1992, I joined the High Mountain Anglers Fishing Club in South Lake Tahoe and each year the club collaborated with the Optimist Club to hold an annual Sawmill Pond kids fishing derby. I was hooked on the idea.
That same year I met Steve Yingling, sports editor for the Tahoe Daily Tribune, and started writing the local fishing column for the newspaper. I started the “Just Say Naw” fundraiser to help stock the pond for the kids and each year, I was honored to wear the Woodsy Owl costume for the kids during the Sawmill Pond event. One year I had my picture taken with my mom and dad in the costume. That day was a fond memory to me. I had taken what they had given me and given it back to other kids and their families.
This is why the first week in June is so important to me. On June 2-3 will be the 29th annual Kids’ Fishing Derby at Lampe Park. I have been honored to be their master of ceremonies on the Sunday event. June 2 is the Sawmill Pond Kids Fishing Derby. When you hear the word “kids derby,” remember, these are also family events. One way to help our young people get hooked on fishing and bring families together.
I will always remember the first fish I caught, and all of those weekend family camping trips. I lost my mom many years ago. That was a very hard loss for us and a few weeks ago my father joined my mother. I was truly blessed to have such a loving family and memories I will share for many years to come. I owe that to the love of family, friends and fishing. I hope to see you with your kids at this year’s events.
Now, for our local report:
CAPLES LAKE: The lake has thawed and the resort is getting ready to open. Some anglers have been fishing the shores of the lake with good to fair activity. Night crawlers or kastmasters have been most productive for browns and rainbows. The El Dorado Irrigation District boat ramp was not open as of last week and is scheduled to open soon. The campground is scheduled to open June 29.
WOODS LAKE: The road is still closed.
SILVER LAKE: The lake is open and thawed, but use the boat ramp at your own risk with caution. Silver Lake campground is scheduled to open June 14.
BURNSIDE LAKE: Not open as of writing this.
HIGHLAND LAKES: Ebbetts Pass is open, although the road to the lake is not scheduled to open until the end of June.
BLUE LAKES: The road is open 7 miles in to the fourth gate.
RED LAKE: The lake is thawed and fishing has been fair for shore anglers using salmon eggs.
WEST FORK CARSON RIVER CALIFORNIA SIDE: The river is running high in the canyon. Hope Valley area has become cloudy and fast with our recent weather. CDFG is scheduled to plant this next week. Alpine County is scheduled to plant the river with 2 to 7 pound rainbow trout for Memorial Day weekend. There is a handicap fishing access area located in Hope Valley on Highway 88 near Pickett’s Junction. Stop by the Creekside Lodge for more information.
EAST FORK CARSON RIVER: The river has come up and the clarity has gone down. This is due to the excessive rain we have received recently. As the rain lets up, the river should come down and clear a little. CDFG is scheduled to plant the river this week with catchable rainbows. Alpine County is due to plant the river with 2 to 7 pound rainbows for Memorial Day weekend. Anglers have been catching good-size trout in the head of the slower pools on the bottom with salmon eggs. Stop by Carson River Resort for more information.
MARKLEEVILLE CREEK: Fishing has been good for rainbow trout. The CDFG is due to plant his week with catchable rainbows. Alpine County is scheduled to plant 2-7 pound rainbow trout for Memorial Day weekend.
UPPER TRUCKEE RIVER, TAYLOR CREEK, TROUT CREEK: Located on the south end of Lake Tahoe, these areas will remain closed until July 1.
INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR: The campground and boat ramp are open. The water level is up and the lake is fairly clear of weeds. Anglers have been catching rainbows and a few cutthroat trout with green or salmon peach Powerbait. CDG is scheduled to plant catchable rainbow trout this week. They offer tent and dry RV camping. Restrooms and shower are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
CAMPFIRE PERMITS: Available at the Alpine County visitors center or any U.S. Forest service office. If you are in a an undesignated camp area, you are required to have one to use a gas stove as well as a campfire.
JUNE LAKE AREA: Gull Lake: William at the marina says things are picking up with the changing weather and increased stocking. A group of three guys hauled in 6-pound, 7-ounce, 5-0 and 3-5 rainbows throwing Thomas Buoyants and Power Bait.
Silver Lake: Silver had been kicking out a lot of 2- to 5-pound rainbows along with an occasional brown or cutthroat using the methods previously mentioned. I suggest you stop at the Resort Store and check their Fish Book to get the latest info.
Rush Creek: The creek is running pretty full now (which I like) and is mostly accessible. Waders may be in order until the spring runoff subsides. Actually, I wear waders here all the time just to get full access. Most of the fish being caught here now are the stockers or Oregon Rainbows that have migrated down from Silver Lake.
Grant Lake: Shaun at the marina reports that a 9-4 brown was caught from shore near the Narrows chucking a Rapala. Lake level is down a bit which means almost the entire shoreline is easily reached. Trolling is best for some nice browns while shore fishermen usually get mostly rainbows and that occasional monster brown.
June Lake: Yesterday, Mike at Big Rock Resort informed me fishing has been good and should improve. Most of his customers are doing best on the troll and have a better shot at hooking up with a cutthroat. They do a good job of making quick adjustments to their pontoon boat seating to allow for wheelchair access. Stop in or call the guys at Ernie’s Tackle shop at 760-648-7756 for more information in the June Lake Loop area.
Good luck on your next fishing adventure. If you get a photo of your catch, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and if you have a question or a report in our local fishing area, call the Naw line at 267-9722. Good fishin’ and tight lines.