BY MIKE STEVENS
- Secure lodging early
That sounds like a generic recommendation, but it will be especially as important this year. Skiing season is going to run at least through July this year, so anglers will be competing with skiers and snowboarders for hotel rooms and condos. While the play-in-the-snow types don’t typically tent or RV camp, it’s safe to assume that campgrounds will be slower to open this year due to all the snow, so there are will be way fewer sites to go around.
- Fish as if it’s at least a month earlier than it is
The unprecedented runoff that’s expected to blast off the peaks into the lakes and streams are going to keep the water cold in both much later into the season this year. So, for example, June might feel more like fishing early May, and trout fishing might actually be good in August!
- Be realistic about your hit list
It’s not just campgrounds that won’t be available until much later than usual. Access to popular fishing areas will be delayed as well, so if you normally go up in June, you may want to push it back a month or longer to make sure you can even fish your favorite waters. Expect access to the following to open up at least a month later than usual (but definitely keep tabs on it, as you never know): Tioga Pass, the Mammoth Lakes Basin, the Red’s Meadow area, Virginia Lakes (at least with open water) and just about every backcountry lake.
- Take advantage of the wackiness of it all
Many anglers avoid August in the Eastern Sierra due to slower fishing due to warmer water temps and low flows in creeks, but that won’t be the case in 2023. August should be like a typical June up there, so this would be a great time to head up later than usual. If September is summer-like (it is more often than not), the weeks between kids going back to school and October could essentially act as a bonus summer month only with way lighter crowds. Speaking of October, it’s going to be outstanding on Crowley Lake or wherever you like to target brown trout.
- Take it all in
Nothing is going to be normal about the 2023 general fishing season in the Eastern Sierra, so be sure and look around, breathe deep, soak it up and store it in your memory bank because the opposite of this year will show its ugly head before there’s a repeat of this one.
Oh, and don’t start a damn forest fire.