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SKY'S THE LIMIT ON TROUT : WEATHER PERFECT FOR OPENING DAY.

Byline: Brett Pauly Daily News Staff Writer

It was T-shirts, sunburns and limits of fish for many Saturday during the Eastern Sierra trout season opener - a stark contrast to the frigid, dangerously windy conditions of last year's first day of angling here.

Mammoth Lakes Aiport reported a high temperature of 68 degrees, no clouds and light winds. Department of Fish and Game biologists stationed at Crowley Lake, the granddaddy of opening-day venues, estimated that anglers averaged close to four fish caught on the day, the most since the 4.5 average approximated for the 1992 opener. The legal catch limit is five.

``It's one of the better years. We're very satisfied with the results,'' said Bob McKee of Santa Clarita, who limited out with his father-in-law, Jim Reed of Newhall, by 11:45 a.m. after motoring their boat into Crowley at 5:30 a.m.

``The weather is good. The food is good. The fishing is good. The gas is too expensive,'' said McKee, who was enjoying his ninth consecutive opener. ``Last year was such a drag; this is terrific.''

High winds and icy waters plagued last year's opener. An 11-year-old angler was rescued from among 4-foot swells in partially frozen June Lake, and 62-mph gusts at Convict Lake kept boaters at bay until late afternoon.

Even a slight breeze would have been well appreciated by anglers on glassy Convict.

``We need a little wind. Without a ripple the fish can see you, they can see the line,'' said dock manager Dennis Cammack. ``But not enough is better than too much.

``At least you can go out, get a tan, drink beer, relax and do what you're supposed to.''

The scales at Convict Lake Resort were swinging in the morning before the bite shut down midday.

Paul Moncourtois of Moorpark landed a 6.68-pound rainbow on a Thomas Buoyant lure. Carl Moorhouse of Long Beach, partaking in his 50th opener, used orange Power Bait in the lake's outlet to haul in rainbows of 2.46, 3.6 and 4.96 pounds in the first hour after fishing began at 5:03 a.m.

Meanwhile, at other major lakes, a 7.5-pound German brown trout caught out of Lower Twin Lake near Bridgeport and released and a like-sized rainbow out of Bridgeport Reservoir appeared to be the day's grand prizes. The anglers were not identified.

Steve Cote of Tahoma, Calif., landed a 7.3-pound cutthroat trout at June Lake using a Super Duper lure. A 6-pound, 5-ounce rainbow gulped down the Sierra Gold bait that dangled from the line of Dave Cella of Riverside. A 5.12-pound Alpers rainbow snagged by Chris VanDorn of Whittier was top dog at Crowley.

Fish were hitting trolled lures on the surface and bait off the bottom at Crowley, while rainbows - and a fair number of browns - took to deeply trolled lures. The wind picked up in the afternoon at both lakes but was of no real consequence.

``It was a perfect day for fishing,'' said Gary Maedo of June Lake, who opted to toss his green Power Bait into Crowley and was rewarded with a stunning 3-pound rainbow. ``I like Crowley better. They get bigger fish.''

Hundreds of trout-crazed anglers descended on Crowley when the pre-dawn flare signaled the season's start. The DFG counted by airplane more than 500 boats on the lake by 9 a.m.

The department estimates that some 80 percent of opening-day anglers are from the Southland.

The sun proved to be the day's real champion.

``I think the weather had the operative hand in making this work,'' said DFG associate fishery biologist Curtis Milliron.

Apart from a handful of hooks lodged in fingers, Sheriff's Departments of Inyo and Mono counties reported no boating accidents or injuries. The DFG issued few citations; traditionally the department has recorded a 96 percent compliance rate on opening day.

CAPTION(S):

2 Photos

PHOTO (1--color) Below the mountains of Eastern Sierra,shoreline anglers and float-tube fishermen work Convict Lake.

(2) Boats leave the marina and shoreline anglers reel in fish at sunrise as trout season opener gets off to an early start on Crowley Lake.

John McCoy / Daily News
COPYRIGHT 1996 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 28, 1996
Words:696
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