Annual “Fishmas” season returns to Bishop and surrounding areas on April 28.
BISHOP — Freshwater anglers who stocked up on fishing gear at the Fred Hall Shows in Long Beach and Del Mar won’t have to wait long to use their new toys, as the Eastern Sierras’ annual trout season is set to open on April 28.
The Eastern Sierra trout opener – also known as “Fishmas” – is the unofficial start of spring for freshwater fishing destinations at Bishop, Bridgeport, Independence, June Lake, Lone Pine and the rest of Inyo and Mono counties.
This year’s season will run through Nov. 15. Anglers are generally allowed to catch-and-keep up to five trout per day (in-season) and 10-trout possession.
Fishmas is one of the most anticipated moments of the year for Inyo and Mono counties.
Popular destinations for the trout season opener include Topaz Lake, West Walker River, Little Walker River, Bridgeport Reservoir, East Walker River, Twin Lakes, Virginia Lakes, June Lake Loop lakes, Mammoth Lakes Basin, San Joaquin River, Convict Lake, Upper Owens River, Crowley Lake and Pleasant Valley Reservoir.
Those who wish to fish in Mono County must abide by a few strict rules. Fishing, for example, begins one hour before sunrise and ends one hour after sunset. Mono County prohibits night fishing in all waters except Topaz Lake. Anglers fishing at Topaz Lake can start fishing one hour before sunrise until two hours after sunset.
Rock Creek Lake in Inyo County allows fishing 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
Certain lakes in Mono County are off-limits to fishing, regardless of season. Those lakes are: Crooked Creek (below LADWP Gauging Station); Rock Creek Diversion Channel; Mill Creek and tributaries; Silver Creek and tributaries; Wolf Creek and Wolf Creek Lake; Kirman Lake tributaries; Junction Lake and tributaries; By-Day Creek; Convict Creek (UC study area); Crooked Creek below L.A. gauging station to Crowley Lake; Rock Creek Diversion Channel; and, Fish Slough (portions lie within the Owens Valley Native Fish Sanctuary and BLM Springs).
Road conditions in Inyo and Mono counties are available online. Please visit monolaketoda.org/today/roads for up-to-date information.
Also visit inyocounty.us and the sierraweb.com for road condition information in Inyo County.
Fishing licenses are required for anglers aged 16 and older. Annual, one-day or two-day fishing licenses are available for purchase at most regional tackle shops or by calling the Department of Fish and Wildlife 800-565-1458. Several locations in the Mammoth Lakes area, for example, are also expected to have fishing licenses available for purchase.
An annual resident sport fishing license is $48.34, while one-day licenses (for residents or non-residents) is $15.69.
A two-day license (valid only on consecutive days) for residents and non-residents is $24.33; non-resident 10-day permits are available for $48.34.
Non-resident annual licenses are $130.42.
Anglers with either a California or Nevada fishing license can fish at Topaz Lake.
Mono County photo