I just got back from my traditional summer foray into the mountains of California, though the venue this time was up in the Tahoe area, instead of my usual haunts down by Mammoth Lakes. This was kind of an exploratory trip, as I hadn't fished up there much before, and there were as many misses as hits. Still, it was great to get away from the world for a week and breathe some mountain air.
I've always had good luck in this type of stillwater; had these lakes been near Mammoth they would have been stuffed with hordes of brookies eager to eat a dry fly.
Unfortunately, in this area someone long ago stocked the waters with bullhead. You can walk up the edge of the lake in areas and see a hundred tiny catfish swimming around. There are still trout, but I think the fishery depends heavily on stocking, especially in the lakes. I saw a few rises, but didn't spot or raise any trout in the five lakes I tried to fish.
Nonetheless, the tiny streams connecting the lakes do hold fish in the bigger pools.
I had much better success fishing moving water. Once I got it dialed it was pretty easy, fun fishing for wild rainbows to 10" or so.
I spent some time targeting bigger fish in the Truckee and Little Truckee rivers, but mostly missed out. I landed one at 16" or so, and missed a few more strikes. But mostly I learned that these highly pressured fish are seriously snotty.
One highlight of the trip was fishing this lake.
Right in the marina area was a school of big bass chasing bluegill around in one to three feet of water. I had a blast sight casting to them, despite being routinely ignored, and hooks pulling a few seconds after being set. Still, persistence pays off and I eventually got a clean hookset on this guy (small red/white clouser).
He taped to 21" or ~5.5lbs depending on which chart you use. Easily my PB. Landed on 5x tippet.
Anyways, a fun trip. Sunset at my lodging.
Until next time...