It's That Time of Year When Things Start Changing

Caught this fish yesterday at the reservoir on a black woolly bugger and intermediate sink line. I put it unharmed back in the reservoir for the next guy.
Photo Credit: Steve Hamilton

by Doug Busey

Hello fellow anglers, It's that time of year again when things start changing.  The time of year we all love or hate. On November 6th daylight savings time ends, so we get to change our clocks back an hour. Which in my book, limits the amount of evening fishing time. But then again, it gets colder and produces ice on the higher lakes to fish on.  Now a week or so later, the California fishing season changes on November 16th. Most rivers will change to catch and release with artificial lures or flies with barbless hooks.  Check your regulations, because there are some rivers and streams that close for the season until The last Saturday in April. With this change brings the closures of the lakes in Inyo County. These lakes are in the Bridgeport and June Lake loop area.  But on a brighter side. Assembly bill AB817 passed and was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 7th. AB817 will give all anglers the privilege of a 365 fishing license from the date of purchase. Starting on January 1st 2023, AB817 will allow you to download your license and track your validations, and report cards on any mobile device and display them upon request to any CDFW officer. It has been a long road to success, but is now official.

SILVER LAKE:  The colder weather has shied away many anglers. The boat launch is open but I would use caution maneuvering to the lake. This time of year is great for the big mackinaws and browns. I prefer a black and silver Rapala right off the bottom on the east side of the lake.

CAPLES LAKE: The fishing has picked up and anglers have been producing some nice rainbows and browns. Inflated nightcrawlers have been productive. This time of year casting closer to shore is your best bet. Many of the bigger fish are feeding close to shore. The resort has closed the cabin rentals and will be closing the store and boat rentals soon. The EID boat ramp was open last weekend, but will close vey soon as the weather changes.

RED LAKE:  Fishing has picked up a little from shore. A couple anglers last week caught a few rainbows with salmon eggs. I will be waiting for the ice to cover the lake and we can all go ice fishing.

BLUE LAKES:  As of this week, the road was still open. But with weather changes, the road may close at any time. The lake level is low and the fishing was fair for small rainbows.

HIGHLAND LAKES, WOODS LAKE, BURNSIDE LAKE,SUNSET LAKE, TAMARACK LAKE, WOLF CREEK: All roads are open at this date, but are subject to closure at any time with changing weather.

INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR:  The lake is low and the fishing has been fair to good. A group of angler fished the lake this week with good success. I would recommend cleaning your fish at home or your campsite. Then rinse the fillets before freezing.  The campground is closed on until further notice

CARSON RIVER EAST FORK ALPINE COUNTY: Connie from the Carson River Resort reported a few nice cutthroat trout this week and a few small rainbows. The water level is low, but there are some nice holes for those who walk a little. The resort is open all year for cabin rentals and campers. For more info, stop by the Carson River Resort.

HEENAN LAKE: Fishing has been good for fly anglers using a copper jon right off the walk down area. The lake is open to catch and release artificial lures or fly with barbless hooks until the end of October.

TOPAZ LAKE:  The NDOW has planted the lake with over 4000 triploid strains of rainbow trout. Fishing has been very good for trollers with flashers followed by a crawler or a #1 needle fish. Shore anglers have been using green or yellow powerbait. The county park is open for camping and boat launching.  Fishing season is open all year now on Topaz. I have not heard from the lodge if they will bring back the fishing derby in 2023. But I do hope to see all out there on January 1st for the new year.


The fishing at Gull, June, and Silver Lake has been some of the best I can remember since early September with some days bringing in 30 to 40 Rainbows. Grant Lake was a bit off all Summer due to low water but has improved somewhat lately as the water temp has dropped.

Gull lake: The marina’s last day open was the 9th. The Forestry boat launch ramp there is still open for private boaters and you can access the lake with float tubes, kayaks, etc. Best three baits for the past two months have been Garlic and Salmon Peach Powerbait and nightcrawlers with a bobber. Throw the bobber near the weed lines along the reeds which keeps your nightcrawler above the weeds down under and the floating baits out farther where there are less weeds. Fly fishing topwater in the mornings and evenings is also a good approach.

June lake: June Lake Marina’s last day of operation is the 23rd and Big Rock Resort and Marina hope to stay open through the 31st weather permitting. The Forestry ramp there is useless due to the lake level and the private ramp at June Lake Marina may or may not remain open after they close so best to check ahead. We’ve been doing the best with those same three baits working the south end from the marina around to the big rocks across the lake from the marina. That’s a good area to shore fish as well as along the highway side of the lake.Trolling lures with lead core or downriggers is likely to yield larger Rainbows and Cutthroats in the 20’ to 30’ depth.

Silver lake; The marina at Silver Lake Resort and the Forestry ramp is closed due to construction so there is no trailered boat access therefore it’s either shore fishing near the Resort or along the campground and tubes, kayaks, etc. putting in near the marina or day use area south of there. Try those same baits as Gull and June or go for a big Brown with mainly Rapalas near the Rush Creek inlet end of the lake or the outlet at the North end. Be aware that the creek closed to fishing October 1st so don’t venture down below the lake.

Grant Lake: Grant Lake Marina is closed. Boats can be launched off the beach near the highway down near the North end but four wheel drive may be needed. Most of the shoreline is accessible either from the highway, dirt roads along the backside, or on foot to the Rush Creek inlet area. Also be aware here not to fish into the creek as it is closed. What I would do at Grant is fish lures or night crawlers on a bobber from shore in that inlet end or the same with a float tube hitting the submerged creek channel and near it.

Rush creek: Creek is closed to fishing!

Upper Owens: After a very slow Summer’s fishing the Owens has shown it may be perking up for larger Browns and Rainbows this past week. Just now starting to land some 18” and up of both so with cautious optimism let’s hope this trend continues. As these bigger fish migrate up from Lake Crowley I pretty much mothball the dry flies and stick with nymphs in the deeper bends and wooly buggers in the straight runs between the bends. My favorite nymph is a bead head Flashback Pheasant Tail on a jig hook or try Midges, Hare’s Ears, or Prince Nymphs. Chuck Olive or Black Buggers downstream a good ways, so the fish can’t see ya. Jerk it slightly during the subsurface swing then strip up a bit and move a few steps down with every recast.

BRIDGEPORT RESERVOIR: The lake level is low and the fishing has picked up for shore and boaters. Steve Hamilton from Gardnerville NV caught and released a nice rainbow on a black woolly bugger with an intermediate sinking line. The Bridgeport Marina will be open with boat rentals until November 15th. For more information stop by or call the Bridgeport Marina.

NDOW FISHING STOCKING REPORT:  Topaz lake, Wall Canyon Reservoir, West Walker River, Carson River-Douglas County, Liberty Pond, Mitch Pond, Baily Pond, Squaw Creek Reservoir.

Good luck on your next fishing adventure. If you get a picture of your catch send it to [email protected].  I hope to see you on the waters soon. Good fishin" and tight lines.

Good luck on your next fishing adventure. If you have a question. a report in our local fishing area or have a photo of your catch, send it to [email protected]. Hope to see you on the waters. Good fishin' and tight lines.

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More Reports

Carson Now Reports
for Friday, October 14th, 2022
: Fall is The Perfect Time of Year to Fish
Silver Lake: The fishing has been fair for shore anglers
Caples Lake: The water level is down, but they have slowed the outflow
Red Lake: Red Lake Report
Blue Lake Lower: Fishing has been on and off
West Carson River (CA): The river is very low
East Carson River (CA): East Carson River Report
Indian Creek Reservoir: Indian Creek Reservoir Report
Heenan Lake : The lake is open to fishing until the last day in October
Topaz Lake: Topaz Lake Fishing Report