Convict Lake gives up biggest Opening Day trout under top-notch conditions

THIS 8.75-POUND Convict Lake rainbow was the biggest reported trout of Opening Day in the Eastern Sierra.

Find full coverage of the Eastern Sierra Trout Opener including stories on Bishop, Crowley Lake, Bridgeport and the June Lake Loop in the current issue of WON. 


CONVICT LAKE— In stark contrast to the 2023 Eastern Sierra Trout Opener, Convict Lake anglers were greeted by ice-free waters and comfortable conditions that would last throughout the weekend. In an obvious return to form, the Convict Lake faithful were lined up down the road well before the crack of dawn, and after powering through an early-morning chill, conditions were beyond pleasant from then on out.

Anglers were already calling it a day by 9 a.m., and that included a trio from Apple Valley who weighed in rainbow trout of 6.75, 5 and 4 pounds at the Convict Lake Store. They told Western Outdoor News they were throwing Thomas Bouyants and Jake’s Spin-a-Lures along the North Shore which was a dependable area in general that day. WON also spoke to a Mammoth Lakes local who closed up shop at around 10 a.m. after catching (and releasing) 10 rainbows including a pair of 6 pounders. Bait dunkers working the same shoreline – most of whom were between the Marina and Hangman Tree – at least had a few DFW rainbows on the stringer, with one little girl explaining how she and her dad “fish for big ones and let the little ones go!”

EARLY BITERS— This trio of Apple Valley anglers stuck three good rainbows to 6.75 pounds while throwing Thomas Bouyants and Jake’s Spin-a-Lures from the Convict Lake’s North Shore. WON PHOTO BY MIKE STEVENS

The biggest fish of the day at Convict and quite possibly the entire Eastern Sierra on Opening Day was an 8.75-pound rainbow caught early by an angler named “Zack” who was as tight-lipped about the additional details as he was his last name. Between WON’s “boots on the ground” covering the area and staffers covering the Opener remotely, no bigger trout were reported between Bishop and Bridgeport on Opening Day.

As far as bait dunkers working the shore, some had a tougher go at it than others, and it seemed to be based on location with some empty stringers showing up between nearby anglers with a few trout each. Those that stuck with it were rewarded, and between the solid fishing and comfy conditions, everyone seemed to be happy on Day 1 of the season at Convict.

Gilbert Hernandez of Rockit Fishing and Berkley Fishing hit Convict that afternoon with other members of the Berkley team who were in town (from all over the country) talking to anglers and hooking them up with Berkley products, and they ran into “easy limits” out there.

Everything from PowerBait to Trout Worms in orange to Berkley Atomic Tubes in white with red tail was working for stockers,” said Hernandez. “The shore game is better at Convict, but we took a boat out Sunday for a handful of fish with a few bigger ones. That Berkley Finisher is great on the boat! The pink or purple 2-inch, 1/3-ounce is the name of the game.”

BOATERS, TUBERS AND SHORE POUNDERS all enjoyed primo Opening Day conditions at Convict Lake. WON PHOTO BY MIKE STEVENS

Like most Sierra anglers, Convict Lake treated this particular Opener as a special one after several years of something throwing a damper on the event, the most recent one being the frozen Opener of a year ago. Along with new menu items at Aspen Grill near the Convict Lake Store, staffers had goodie bags for opening day anglers to help sweeten the deal.

“This is our first real Opener in years, so we went all out!” said Convict Lake Resort Marketing Coordinator, Lisa Cornwell.