Small Stream of the Sierras

Despite all the different amazing waters I’ve fished in my life, one of my favorite stretches of earth is between Bishop and Bridgeport here in California. This area holds a special place in my heart, as it’s where I learned to fish on family vacations growing up. Back then it was all powerbait and panther martins, but as I traded in my spinning gear for a for rod, my love for this area only grew.

Brown trout

Stimulator eating brown. Can’t beat those red spots!

My friends chose to take me up the Sierras for my bachelor party, and it couldn’t have been a better choice of venue. The heavy rains this past winter made the rivers flow as they should, and the woods rebounded with abundant greens and life. A bit unconventional compared to the standard bachelor party, but we had aa absolute blast. There was still strippin going on, but only on a fly line, with a trout on the other end. There was a mix of angling abilities from guys I’ve fished with for years to one of my friends who has never caught a fish. Our goal for the trip was to make sure everyone caught some fish and had a good time.

Brook trout

A beautiful brook trout that was more than happy to eat my dry. fly

There’s a variety of waters to choose from when fishing the Eastern Sierras, from trophy trout rivers to back country lakes holding native golden trout. We choose to hit up the smaller streams and creeks as they have abundant wild trout stocks and they offer a truly amazing experience. These are best fished with lighter tackle, 2-4 weights with 6-7x tippet. These small, wild fish will fight you to the end and can easy put a nice bend in a light rod.

Casting in a small river

Putting a bend in a 2-weight fiberglass rod I built. Redington Zero is the perfect reel for small water fishing.

These streams are great for any level of angler, as there’s technical sections that require precise casting into a small window between brush to open pools filled with trout, and all of them in amazing beautiful surrounds. The adage of “Trout live in beautiful places” definitely rings true. Another advantage of these streams is that the trout reset quickly and gives beginning anglers lots of chances at catching fish. 20 to 50 fish days are not uncommon, if you are on top of your game.

Nate holding a brown trout

Nate with a nice brown trout.

To get the party started we headed over to Convict Creek. This stream flows out of Convict lake, which is a deep clear lake named after a couple of convicts who escaped and called the lake home, until getting caught. It runs through the middle of a campground, and that area can see tons of pressure. Walk a quarter of a mile downstream of the camp ground and there’s plenty of fish willing to eat a dry. My future brother in law got his first trout on a fly rod, with a San Juan worm under a dry fly. I think the fish was just as surprised as he was!

Robert holding a brown trout

Robert with his first trout, a nice little wild brown.
Robert continued to pick up a couple more fish and began to look like a seasoned fly angler. Moving upstream the casting became more technical and my buddy Chris was able to overcome his fear of losing flies in the trees, and make a great cast and was rewarded with a nice little “Fish Stick”. The sunrays added to the mystic of the fish and we dubbed it a gift from the fishing gods.

Chris holding his catch

Chris with his reward. A gift from the fishing gods.

The next day we hit up Rush creek, as it never disappoints. Rush can produce some massive fish during the spawn, but we only got into some smaller ones, but none the less attractive. This is a great stream for beginners, as two of my friends, one who has never caught a fish before and one who fishes once every couple of years, both got into a few fish.

Brad fly fishing

Brad hooked up on his first fish EVER!

Robert also got into the smallest fish I’ve ever seen some one catch. Mind you, this was a legal catch on barbless hooks. We were all pretty stoked he didn’t send it flying into the bushes on the hook set. He definitely took home prize for smallest fish.

Robert holding a very small fish

Robert with his prize winning smallest fish. You’ll notice even the cats on his shirt are impressed.

Some people departed that day, as deadlines at work were calling their names. The remaining guys hit the river and enjoyed the beauty

that the Eastern Sierras offers.

Rainbow trout catch

Jalen with the biggest fish of the trip, a nice rainbow on the West Walker River.


Fishing is good, catching fish is better but spending time with quality mates in the wilderness with a common hobby that brings us together is amazing. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from a great book and film, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, “Happiness [is] only real when shared”. Sharing some of my favorite bits of the world with people I find close to my heart is the real catch and couldn’t have asked for a better trip. There’s no place like the Eastern Sierras, and if you have a chance, make sure you visit and bring your flyrod with you!

Mountain Whitefish catch

Catching native fish is ALWAYS a blast. This Mountain Whitefish sure put up a great fight on a 3-weight