Sierra area fishing report: Season winding down as daylight narrows, colder weather arrives

Photo Credit: Mono County Tourism - California's Eastern Sierra

by Doug Busey

Hello fellow anglers. Here we are back at the time of year when we set our clocks back. Which means an hour less of evening fishing time, and much colder temps. Before we get to your fishing report. I have had many anglers ask me about the Lampe Park Kids Fishing derby for next year.

Due to the pandemic, the derby was put on hold for a couple years. This year, the committee came together and had to put back in place the people and the sponsors to make this great event happen. But unfortunately, some road blocks came into play this year. I have been writing this report for 31 years, and have been a part of this event for almost all of those years. I have netted fish, cleaned fish, rigged up poles. Whatever was needed from me I was there. Now anyone who has attended the last decade and more may have noticed a loud voice on the microphone saying those famous words. "let's go fishing". That my fellow anglers, was, and still will be me. Because, come June 1st and 2nd, you will hear those words again. The 2024 Lampe Park Kids Fishing Derby is officially on. But we need your help! There is a lot of work that is put into the derby. Volunteers are needed to make this happen. The only qualification is,  to donate your time for 1 or 2 days to put a smile on a kid's face, which will last a lifetime. No need to have fishing knowledge, but it does help.  Most of all, next to volunteers, is our community coming together and becoming a sponsor. This can be done monetarily or with a raffle prize. Raffle prizes can range from a physical donation to a gift certificate. Reminder to all, this is a non profit organization and can be used for a tax donation. For more information on being a sponsor, call Tom Zogorski at 775-781-4754. To get information on the Lampe Park Kid Derby, or to volunteer, you can email them at [email protected] or check them out on facebook at DouglasCountyNVFishingDerby. I look forward to seeing you all there next year.

SILVER LAKE HIGHWAY 88: The water level is still up and the trolling has been good for very early morning risers. Rapalas in black/silver or rainbow patterns have been most productive. Fish the north side of the island and the slot  from the falls to the marina. The boat ramp is still usable and is advised to use at your own risk.

CAPLES LAKE: The EID day use and boat ramp has closed for the season. I have not heard back from the resort as to when or if they will close this year. The resort has new local owners, and they are settling into the resort. The winter shore fishing is a good time for browns along the dam and the west shore using nightcrawlers or tossing Thomas Buoyants.

WOODS LAKE: As of this week, the road was open, but the campground is closed for the season.

RED LAKE:  The water level is still high on the dam. Very few anglers this time of year. Like myself, most are waiting to see if we can do some ice fishing this year. Last year not many anglers wanted to shovel through 5 to 10 feet of snow to get to the ice. We willse what mother nature brings us.

BLUE LAKE: As of this week the road was still open, but may close at any time due to weather. Fishing was slow with a few anglers getting a couple fish with powerbait down from the campground area....

SUNSET LAKES/TAMARACK LAKE: The road is open as of this week, but I would advise to not venture in this time of year due to changing weather and road conditions.
BURNSIDE LAKE: The road was still open as of this week. I also advise not venturing in this time of year due to weather and road conditions. This is not a place to be stranded in.

HEENAN LAKE: Sep. 1 through Nov. 30. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. Fishing hours are from sunrise to sunset. Night fishing is prohibited.

INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR: The lake level is still up and there have been a few anglers fishing there. They have just upgraded the  blue green algae to undetectable. I would still advise to keep pets on a leash and re-rinse your fish at home in clean water. I did see one of my fellow anglers Richard Darancette post that he had caught 14 nice fish from shore. Mostly rainbows with a few cutthroats. Powerbait has been most productive, but I still like to throw a Thomas Buoyant or a wooly bugger in the shallows myself.

WOLF CREEK: The road is closed until next year.

HIGHLAND LAKES: Closed until next year

WEST CARSON RIVER ALPINE COUNTY: The water levels are very low. Not many anglers up that way. But if you hike into the holding areas on the south end of Hope Valley. There are still some fish in there. Fishing regulations change on November 15th.

EAST FORK CARSON RIVER ALPINE COUNTY: The river has come down a little with our colder temperature. The fishing has been good for those that can take the low 20 degree morning temps. The Alpine County Fish and Game planted last week with 2- to 4 lb rainbow trout. The fishing regulations change as of November 15th to catch and release with artificial lures or flies with barbless hooks. This year the late fall fishing will be fantastic. I spoke with Connie from the Carson River Resort this week. She told me a couple anglers caught their limits but only kept four fish averaging 2 to 3 lbs. The resort is open all year for all season fishing.

TOPAZ LAKE:  The lake level has dropped a few feet. The Douglas County camp/day use and boat ramp is open all year. The fishing has been good for catchable rainbows as well as a few in the 2-3 lb class. The NDOW has planted the lake again with over 5000 rainbow trout. Trollers have been using small flashers and a crawler or rapalas. I have not heard back from the Topaz Lodge Staff in regards to bringing the derby back.

BRIDGEPORT RESERVOIR-UPPER AND LOWER TWIN LAKES: Fishing has been very good for trollers using pinched nightcrawlers or Rapalas. Note, both lakes close to fishing on November 15th

NDOW FISH STOCKING: Baily Pond, Mitch Pond, Mtn View Pond, Desert Creek, Carson River Carson City.


Upper Owens River Above Lake Crowley: Summer was not the best it could be but consistent especially considering there was essentially no hopper season. Most days saw us getting 8 to 12 Rainbows and/or Browns including one or two in the 18” to 22” range. Let’s use the last two trips there as a clue to the days ahead. Last Tuesday only a few fish caught including one 20” Brown but did see several big Browns while nymphing upstream. Yesterday, again only a few caught including one 22” Rainbow and saw about 10 big, mostly Rainbows. We’ll see if more big Browns show up and those Rainbows bode well for the anticipated yearly November migration up from Crowley. Typically, we start out in the morning chucking nymphs mostly in the deeper bends and working upstream. About noon we’ll either switch to Caddis flies or Wooly Buggers to fish back downstream especially if those Rainbows start moving into the straight, shallower runs or stick with the nymphing depending on what we saw while moving up. Nymph wise, our rigs are a single nymph under an indicator 6’ to 7’. Favorites are beaded Pheasant Tail patterns on a jig hook size 12 or 14. Zebra Midges, Tricos, and Hare’s Ears work well also.

Lower Owens Wild Trout Section: Here, we’ll fly and lure fish getting mostly Browns up to 14”. With the flies it’s pretty much the same approach as Upper. When fishing lures we’re moving mostly upstream casting Panther Martins, Thomas Bouyants, and Rapalas. When using the Rapalas we remove the belly hooks for less harm to the fish.

Good luck on your next fishing adventure. I hope to see you on the waters soon. If you have  a picture of your catch. Send it to [email protected]. Good fishin' and tight lines.

Good luck on your next fishing adventure. If you have a question. a report in our local fishing area or have a photo of your catch, send it to [email protected]. Hope to see you on the waters. Good fishin' and tight lines.