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The Outdoorsman: Intake II, South Lake by float tube are the hot spots

June 19, 2014

Chris Moore in his float tube has Intake II to himself. The waters close to the dam have been the most fruitful this past week. Photo by Allen Higginbotham

Summer is official on June 21, but if you asked the high country lakes it got here a week or two ago. Over the past week I have been hiking high passes and Piute and Bishop pass lakes are all ice-free, at last. The fish in these high country lakes are hungry and offering up some real consistent fishing.
Fishing on the East Walker has been slow this last week with what seems to be a drop in the Caddis fly hatching. Flow levels on the Walker have been around 60 cubic feet per second. These low flows have been keeping away the crowds and for good reason, but if you are traveling up towards Bridgeport or Reno it’s worth a stop. Just stretching your legs along the Miracle Mile is always worth it and I would not be surprised if you hooked up for a little afternoon action.
While the Bridgeport Reservoir has a very low water level, fishing there has seemed to pick up especially in the afternoons.
Saddlebag Lake is now clear of ice and the fish are hungry. Do not worry about getting there at the break of dawn; I had the most success between 9 and 10 a.m. Fishing Saddlebag Lake till noon is a great idea because it allows you to swing past Tioga Pass Resort for a cheeseburger and piece of their famous homemade pie.
I spent an afternoon in the June Lake area this past week fishing Rush Creek and saw a lot of action. Between Silver Lake and Grant Lake, Rush Creek is running at over 100 cfs and the fishing has been pretty good. Rush Creek is running pretty low below Grant Lake and is barely worth the effort. I started out on Rush Creek hoping to see some action in deep pools nymphing with my newly purchased “Trout Fishing in America shorty” but ended up changing it out and seeing much better results using a dry Caddis fly.
Rock Creek is running at around 60 cfs over the past week and fishing has not been that good. Rock Creek Lake and the higher lakes are all thawed out and ice-free now. I got a report that fish are taking bait at inlets and outlets, especially around dusk. I’ve also heard that rainbow trout in the upper lakes are currently spawning so be respectful and let them do their thing.
With the low winter precip, South Lake boat ramps are inaccessible so I’m going to call this the summer of the float tube. OK, so I am a little old school: I did not own a float tube till about a week ago. I bought my first float tube and I have really loved it. I chose an Orvis pontoon-style float and it has been very fun and I have caught more than a few fish out of it. As you might know, there is a round and pontoon style float. While both are good to get you out on the water, the pontoon style seems to be superior due to the fact that they are easier to paddle around. With the lack of boats out at South Lake it’s a great opportunity to get out there and cruise around and access areas out of reach from the shore.
If you are looking for a quick and easy fishing spot out of Bishop, try Intake II, up West Line Street just past the South Lake turnoff and before you get to Lake Sabrina. The fishing is good (stocked) and the access is real easy. You can park right by the reservoir and be fishing in two minutes. Try fishing by the dam for some guaranteed success.

(Allen Higginbotham graduated from Florida State University and promptly moved to Yosemite Valley when he was 23. He later migrated from Yosemite Valley to the Eastern Sierra and has been living here for the past five years. He spends all his free time exploring the beautiful Owens Valley and Eastern Sierra Nevada perfecting his skills as a naturalist, mountaineer and conservationist. Keep an eye out for him next time you are hiking a high pass or fishing a remote alpine lake.)

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