Trout season ahead

fishermen_at_convict.jpg(Press Release from CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife) The general trout opener in many counties throughout California will commence on April 26, one hour before sunrise.

Because of the popularity of this annual event with the angling public, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is making every effort to stock trout in all accessible waters approved for planting prior to the season opener. Lingering winter conditions and this year’s unprecedented drought could play a major role in how many rivers, creeks, lakes and reservoirs can be stocked before April 26.

Most lakes, rivers and streams have a limit of five trout per day and 10 in possession. However, regulations differ on season opening and closing dates, bag limits, minimum and maximum size limits and gear restrictions.

Anglers are advised to check specific area regulations and opening dates in the 2014/15 California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulation booklet, found online at, for regulations specific to each body of water.

fishermanintube.jpgIn 2012, CDFW regional staff created the Eastern Sierra Back Country Fishing Guide to provide anglers with a quick, informative and accurate account of the distribution of fisheries in back country high elevation lakes. This guide does not address front country waters, defined as lakes and streams that are accessible by vehicle. Most of the lakes lie within U.S. Forest Service lands managed as Wilderness and usually require back country permits for overnight use. Most back country fisheries are based on self-sustaining populations of trout and do not need regular trout stocking to maintain fish populations. The guide can be found at

Crowley Lake in the Eastern Sierra is expected to be one of the most popular opening day destinations for anglers from around the state. In past years, an estimated 10,000 anglers have turned out for the opener, and approximately 50,000 trout are caught during the first week of the season. Typically Crowley is planted with hundreds of thousands of small and medium sized trout, and because of excellent food sources in the 5,280-acre reservoir, these trout grow to catchable sizes and weigh at least three-quarters of a pound by the opener. About 10 percent of the trout caught at Crowley during opening weekend weigh over a pound and a half. These fish are from stocks planted in previous years or are wild fish produced in Crowley’s tributary waters.

Anglers are asked to be particularly vigilant when cleaning fish and fishing gear at Crowley Lake and in the upper and lower Owens River Drainage. The New Zealand Mudsnail was discovered several years ago in the Owens River Drainage, and CDFW would like to prevent the snail from spreading into other waters. To avoid spreading New Zealand Mudsnails and other aquatic invasive species to other waters, anglers are advised dispose of their fish guts in bear-proof trash cans, rather than throw them back into the water. Wading gear should be properly cleaned before using in new waters.

All persons age 16 and older must possess a valid California fishing license to fish within state lines. Freshwater fishing licenses can be purchased online at or at regional CDFW offices or other license agents. Anglers no longer have to display their license visibly above the waist but they must have it in their possession while fishing.

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6 Responses to Trout season ahead

  1. MajorTom April 27, 2014 at 9:19 am #

    S. aide’s perceptions will come true if these areas are made Critical Habitat by US fish and wildlife. Then management of these areas will go from enhancing the fish stock (or being neutral), to slowly eliminating fish and fishing in those waters.

  2. BobK April 26, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

    And I only use flies.

    • Wayne Deja April 26, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

      I’ve caught some browns on Convict Creek on the backside going into Convict Lake…..too small to keep,but they seem to be there.

  3. BobK April 26, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

    S. aide: You have no idea what you are talking about. Our back country from Big Pine north are full of Rainbows, Brookies and some, but not many, very large Brown trout, all above 9500 ft. Give me a dollar for every fish that I catch and release on a one day hike out of any of the Bishop Cr. trailheads, and you might need to work some overtime. If you are indeed a scientific aide, it must be in a laboratory.

  4. scientificaide April 26, 2014 at 7:15 am #

    For the most part, it’s a waste of time to pack in a fly rod to backcountry lakes and streams, the trout population is not “self sustaining,” to the point of there being trout available for backpackers to catch. There’s a few skinny stunted trout available, but thr food just isn’t there for them to repopulate and grow. Then, there’s the Yellow Legged Frog issue, which is one of the reasons why CDFW does not put hatchery trout into backcountry waters.

    • RAM April 26, 2014 at 12:27 pm #

      Do I smell a DFW check point in the near future?


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