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Messages - wshawkins

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Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: Golden's from Rockcreek area
« on: July 05, 2012, 07:35:05 AM »
Really nice fish!

Eastern Sierra Forum / Re: horrible news for June Lke community
« on: July 03, 2012, 05:33:36 PM »
It’s too bad that June Lake is being dragged down the gutter because of Mammoth Lakes/Mountain problems.  It’s also probably good that June Lake didn’t go for the big “Rodeo Grounds” development.  There would be hundreds of condo’s and homes sitting vacant now with no local ski resort, a modern Bodie.

Strictly Media / Re: Eastern Sierra Photos
« on: June 30, 2012, 07:29:32 AM »
Very low Saddlebag Lake in June 2012

Eastern Sierra Trip Reports / Re: Tioga & Rockcreek
« on: June 27, 2012, 01:17:58 PM »
That’s one of my favorite places to fish in the Eastern Sierra Sierraslam!  Had a friend come back from the Tioga Pass area recently and said the mosquito’s are just terrible, until the wind picks up.  They were especially bad at Saddlebag Lake, just swarming.  He also mentioned that the lake levels are down this year too.

Looks like you timed the golden trout lake just right!  Thanks for the report.

Eastern Sierra Trip Reports / Re: RCL 6/13 - 6/20
« on: June 26, 2012, 06:17:56 PM »
Nice trip Report!  I used to catch stunted browns in that lake, the head was half the size of the fish!  Was my go to lake when I was going for a Sierra Grand Slam!  Another lake lost for fishing.      :mad:

Eastern Sierra History / Re: Historic Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery
« on: June 26, 2012, 08:41:30 AM »
Historic Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery was restored completely by volunteers and donations.  Obvious the whole community of Independence must have got behind this effort to clean-up and restore the hatchery grounds and buildings, as they look better than ever!

Any purchase from their small store (books, fish food, and art) goes back into the operation and upkeep to preserve these facilities.  Of course, any donations are gladly accepted, so future generations can visit and appreciate this grand institution.  Stop by if you get the chance.

Strictly Media / Re: Eastern Sierra Photos
« on: June 26, 2012, 07:42:29 AM »
On a windy day at Upper Gaylor Lake - Yosemite

Eastern Sierra Trip Reports / Re: 6-22-12 thru 6-24-12
« on: June 25, 2012, 03:56:18 PM »
Really a nice thing you and your husband did for the boys!  I work with my nieces and nephews every year on how to fish on our annually family fishing trip to the Eastern Sierra.  I have a large family so I get a new crop of beginners every year, and what a great satisfaction it is to see them catch their first fish!  And how they get better at fishing year to year and the smile on their faces, just priceless!  Way to go Troutmom.

Eastern Sierra History / Re: Historic Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery
« on: June 25, 2012, 12:39:16 PM »
More pictures and little more recent history of the fast-moving Inyo Complex Wildland Fire that almost burned down the town of Independence, the historic Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery and that nearly killed nine firefighters.  The Fire was started by lightning strikes on July 6th, 2007.

The fire also burned down the Ashworth Ranch and almost got the Bright Ranch, both located up Oak Creek just north from the hatchery. Nine firemen took shelter from the inferno in a pond at the Ashworth Ranch, desperately covering themselves with emergency fire blankets as the fire roars all around them.

At the height of their despair, knowing they were about to lose the hatchery and fearful for their own lives, the remaining fire fighters readied to save themselves in the pond.  Suddenly an old Lockheed P2V Neptune, the largest of the twin-engine "Borate Bombers", skirted a fire tornado to the south of Oak Creek and dropped 2700 gallons of ammonium fire suppressant along the back of the hatchery, saving it and quelling the flames around the trapped crews and the Hatchery.

Fire from 395

Water from the Hatchery Pond

From the Hatchery

Fire Tornado

The Lockheed P2V Neptune that saved Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery and the firefighters trapped at the Ashworth Ranch

Eastern Sierra Forum / Re: horrible news for June Lke community
« on: June 25, 2012, 07:17:57 AM »
There's a meeting July 10th, 7:00 p.m. at the June Lake Community Center to discuss this. Rusty will be speaking. Citizens will have a chance to speak also.

(Rusty Gregory is the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area Chairman and CEO)

Strictly Media / Re: Eastern Sierra Photos
« on: June 25, 2012, 07:12:44 AM »
Lone Pine Creek

Eastern Sierra History / Re: Historic Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery
« on: June 23, 2012, 11:11:37 AM »
I spotted a couple of brooders in the pond that had to be in the 4-5 lb range at minimum!

Eastern Sierra History / Re: Historic Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery
« on: June 23, 2012, 11:09:37 AM »
Yes, Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery was shut down in the mid 1980’s because of whirling disease in the its water supply from the north fork of Oak Creek that flows down the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada into the Owens Valley.

Whirling disease, which is harmless to humans, causes degeneration of cartilage and brain tissue in fish, prompting some to swim, or whirl in circles.  If you fish a lot you should see this at some lakes today.

Its shutdown was a major crisis at that time.  2 million fingerlings and 350,000 catchable-size fish were destroyed that year alone.

Then, over the next four years, the creek was fish-killed with the chemical formula rotenone three times, and the facilities at Mt. Whitney and the Black Rock rearing ponds eight miles away, where Mt. Whitney's eggs are sent to hatch, were treated thoroughly with chlorine.

There has been no sign of whirling disease in the hatchery since far as I know.

Eastern Sierra History / Historic Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery
« on: June 23, 2012, 08:39:15 AM »
I stopped by for a visit and took a tour to the Historic Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery.  The Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery is a beautiful place to visit and has probably the best picnic spot in the Eastern Sierra.  Defiantly worth a visit if you're in the area.

History of Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery

When the proposal to construct a new fish hatchery was first discussed in the early 1900s, it created tremendous competition between several locations.  Among sites that were to be considered were Tuttle Creek west of Lone Pine, Bishop Creek west of Bishop, Oak Creek west of Independence, and even a possible site in San Bernardino County.  Oak Creek was chosen the best location because of the clarity of the water and cold temperature was better suited for fish production.

Building the Hatchery 1916

Building the Hatchery 1916

Construction was started in late March of 1916 with the goal of completing the project in time to receive eggs in the spring of 1917.  The building was designed by a team of six men led by Charles Dean of the State Department of Engineering.  Fish and Game Commissioner M. J. Connell instructed the team, "To design a building that would match the mountains, would last forever, and would be a showplace for all time." This created a one-of-a-kind showplace.

Hatchery almost completed 1917

The hatchery building was constructed of native granite collected within a quarter of a mile of the site. The walls are two to three feet thick.  None of the stones used in construction were cut, but were "sorted to fit."  The roof is red Spanish tile made in Lincoln, California from red clay found at that location.  The interior is finished with Oregon ash.  A gardener brought in from Golden Gate Park in San Francisco landscaped the grounds of the hatchery.  Approximately 3,500 tons of boulders used in the walls were guaranteed not to "crumble until the mountains shall fall."

The thick walls of the building

The Mt Whitney Fish Hatchery was the largest and best equipped fish hatchery in California at that time. It had a yearly capacity of 2,000,000 fry." The first trout hatched in 1917 were eggs collected at Rae Lakes.  The eggs were transported from the collecting station at Rae Lakes via Baxter Pass by mule train to the hatchery.  The spawning season of 1918 saw the first collection of golden trout eggs from the Cottonwood Lakes.

Hatchery Fish Truck 1918

Mt Whitney Hatchery 1926

Mt Whitney Hatchery 2012

Fire then Flooding

After surviving the 55,000 acre wild fire that stopped just yards away from the Hatchery in July 2007, July 2008 brought a heavy thunderstorm on the burned areas bringing a wall of mud and ash down the Sierra into Oak Creek.  The mud flow went through the hatchery site.  A four foot layer of mud and debris was left throughout the grounds of the hatchery.  Add in budget cuts, the Hatchery looked like it would be another footnote in the history books.

The fire from July 2007

Fighting the fire near the Hatchery July 2007

The hatchery was once renowned for the perfect waters for fish husbandry, cold and clear from the Sierra Nevada rushing down Oak Creek.  The fire and flood may have destroyed that perfect water system. The trees that shadowed and cooled the creek water were lost in the fire. 

Flood and Mudslide July 2008

Flood and Mudslide July 2008

Flood and Mudslide July 2008

Today and the Future

Within a year with the help of The Friends of the Hatchery, donations of cash and equipment from the public, with many volunteers and thousands of hours of labor, the new hatchery is up and running and hatching the first production of young trout.  The restoration efforts at the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery have allowed the Interpretive Center and Display Pond to reopen. The goal today of Mt Whitney Fish Hatchery is to continue as a working hatchery and preserve the historical significance of the hatchery facility and its place in history. 

Interpretive Center

Mt Whitney Hatchery 2012

DFG is again experimenting with raising small fry, literally testing the waters to see if they are still optimal for raising trout. The first batch of trout to come out of the hatchery post-fire was planted in Diaz Lake for the 2010 Early Southern Inyo Opener. 

Fish Raceways from Tour

Fish Pond

Will jump for food

However, the future of full-scale hatchery production still remains uncertain.  The Friends of Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery would like a private hatchery operator to take over fish production here.  A significant investment would have to be made in water supply and of course some hurdles within the DFG.

Mt Whitney Hatchery in Winter

Mt Whitney Hatchery

The hatchery is run by volunteers now.  Over 40 volunteers who donate their time and effort to keep this hatchery open to the public.  There are no paid employees.

Mt Whitney Hatchery

When I mentioned to them I would like to do a small story on the hatchery, they eagerly provided most of the pictures for this post.  Only pictures I took were on the tour of the facilities.  So a big thanks to the Friends of Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery and Bruce Ivey, Director of the facility for the nice pictures and a great tour of their facilities! 

Beautiful Historic Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery

If you're in the area, be sure to stop on by.  Real interesting tour and also very kid friendly.

Here is the link to their site for more information and more pictures.

Eastern Sierra Forum / Re: horrible news for June Lke community
« on: June 22, 2012, 08:57:03 AM »
I imagine most ski resorts lost money this past winter due to the poor snow conditions but why would they already commit to closing down for next winter?  Makes no sense if they have a good winter!  This will really hurt the locals there too. 

Eastern Sierra Trip Reports / Re: DESOLATION WILDERNESS
« on: June 21, 2012, 06:56:10 PM »
Great report and nice fish Chris W.  Desolation Basin has taken a big hit with the Frog problem, just glad Gilmore Lake still has fish!  Mackinaw trout is a beauty!  I remember somebody catching a big Mack of 32" long in 2000.  Still 20" is still a prize.  Thanks for sharing.

Eastern Sierra History / Re: Cerro Gordo Silver Mine
« on: June 14, 2012, 07:33:29 PM »
Always wanted to see it.  I heard that people are still living up there but it’s private, you need an invite to be able to enter.  Wonder how it compares in silver to the Comstock Lode out of Virginia City? 

Eastern Sierra History / Re: New book about Inyo National Forest
« on: June 13, 2012, 08:23:25 AM »
Thanks Sierra Bright Dot, if I hint around the house enough maybe I can get it for Fathers Day too!

Anybody seen the where it says "Most Online Ever: 697 (May 27, 2012, 08:19:50 AM) ".  Did I miss a party?

Flow is 45 CFS.  This is a permanent flow required to be maintained by LADWP.  But it can get hot there, I usually fish the morning only here because of the heat.


Lots of Brown Trout opportunities in the Bishop area.

The Owens River Gorge offers both controlled flows and hungry brown trout. You won't likely catch anything over 14 inches, but you'll have lots of action on both dries and nymphs.  I catch 3 browns for every 4 fish on average.  The fish are eager to take most anything. Just keep it 16 and smaller.

Browns as well as some rainbows can be found along nearly the entire length of Bishop Creek, along with the occasional brookie.  Also some good action on wild fish.  Brown 3/1 on average and higher.  Lots of browns in Bishop Creek.

North & South Lakes is a great Brown fishing Lakes.  I do best at South Lake inlet as the browns love the fly’s.  Also you can take a hike up to Long Lake out of South Lake Trailhead.  I average 1-2 browns each trip and it comes with a great view.  Maybe you can catch the big boy Gary C. saw cruising! :lol:

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: Let's talk attractants
« on: June 11, 2012, 06:18:46 PM »
There is a lot of controversy over “Fish Attractants”.  If it does attract fish, is it ethical, should it be banned?  Some of my fishing buddies use it and swear by it.  They pour it on their bait, dump lures in it and even splash some on their fly’s. 

Most of the baits they sell now have fish scents already put into them.  The attractants cost the angler anywhere from $1.99 up to $10.00, and when an angler "Douses the Bait" several times, he or she is ready for another bottle, and that can get expensive after a while.

A fish attractant works in one fashion, it removes the human scent from your hands.  So the most effective way to use it is rubbing the formula onto your hands so that anything you touch while fishing would rub off on the bait as to eliminate human scent.  Or you could just wash your hands!

Did my fishing buddies catch more fish than me?  Nope.  Nothing beats just plain old fishing skills, nothing. 

Eastern Sierra Trip Reports / Re: East Fork May 31-June 7
« on: June 11, 2012, 05:22:46 PM »
Never gets old looking at pictures of Little Lake Valley.  Thanks Claremont Dude!

Eastern Sierra History / Re: Rattlesnake Dick's Lost Gold
« on: June 11, 2012, 05:17:04 PM »
Justice was swift in the old west.   

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: Fishing Tips for Bridgeport Area
« on: June 11, 2012, 09:54:44 AM »
Kirman has both brookies and cutthroat, and has special regulations (Artificial flies or lures only, barbless hooks, 2 fish limit, 16 inch minimum).  It's not uncommon to catch brookies in the 2 to 4 pound range and cutts in the 20 to 24 inch range in this incredible trophy trout lake.

Because this is a trophy trout lake and would like to keep it as such, no fishing secrets given over this open forum.  Sorry.

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