The Trout Also Rises

"A blog upon my estutcheon" A weblog about fishing, hunting, hiking, cycling, books, beer, and other random musings. Any humor contained in this site is entirely unintentional and has not been tested on animals. e mail aaaaargh at msndotcom

Location: California

A hunter and fisherman, fascinated with books and history.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Trouthunting from Convict Creek to Rockhouse Basin

What a weekend! The lovely Troutwife and I headed up to Convict Lake in California's Eastern Sierra on Friday, eagerly anticipating a weekend of wide-open fishing. It was very windy Friday afternoon, so when we did not catch much in Convict Creek, we had the weather as an excuse.

Saturday was no better, though, even though it was a quiet day, wind-wise. A quick trip to Rock Creek near Tom's Place brought no results, and it was the same story on the Owens River near Benton Crossing, and a big ditto at Hot Creek. We finished the day at Convict Creek, and finally got two hard-won fish back near our rented cabin. I was in a fever of frustration by Saturday afternoon. Had I been thinking more clearly, I would have rigged up our rods with heavy sinking line, heavy tippets and big flies, and taken a short hike to the inlet of Convict Lake. The stream is running into the lake in full spate now, and would have carried those flies deep to the presumably more cooperative trout in the lake. Next year.

The resort itself was OK, if a bit overpriced for what you get. The restaurant, which bills itself as the finest in the Eastern Sierra, really needs a staff tuneup. We arrived before our reservation time and were breathlessly told by the hostess that the power had gone out thirty minutes before. Since all the lights were on, we thought nothing of this, and went to wait in the bar. In the twenty minutes we sat there, the cocktail waitress must have entered and left the room fifteen times without glancing at us. When I finally approached the hostess again about our table, she said they were no longer serving dinner. Oh, and you did not think you should tell us? "But I told you the power was out..."

In two weeks, I'll be taking a short pack trip to Rockhouse Basin in the Domeland Wilderness, to try the fishing there. A gentleman sent me an e-mail about the fishing here:

"...I had lots of 50-60 fish days in here, with usually at least a half dozen in the 14-15 inch range, mainly browns but rainbow/golden hybrids as well. Hoppers, PTs, caddis, cricket patterns (deadly when the cicadas are out)--in other words, these are wild, unsophisticated fish that will take any good fly if the drift is good and you don't spook them. There are big fish in the river...I have seen fish that would push 20" and did catch one (measured) 19" brown during the runoff a few years ago on a nightcrawler. Anyway, the fish are in there, if you go be sure to hit any water that looks fishy because it is...especially the slow deep water in the beaver dammed sections and the overhanging grass clumps, those little deep spots hold a fish apiece and sometimes more. Watch out for the shallow sections on the outside of bends--I kicked a big rainbow out of the weeds one day, almost stepped on him in about 4 inches of water."

"...yes it's good fishing, but you have to work for it and the snake thing is not a bullshit tale to keep people out. If you like untamed country and wild fish you'll enjoy it tremendously. "

Ah, the snakes. "...I fished this water (Rockhouse Basin) 4-5 times a year from about '85-'95 and lost count of all the rattlers I encountered. Of course, there are some spots that are snakier than others, so if you see one be on the lookout for more."

Update: The South Fork looks to be blown out at least until the end of June, so the Rockhouse trip is on hold for now. Where is the poor fisherman to go when the rivers are all in spate?