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How could I resist? Scrolling down the list of workshops, clinics and seminars for the Southwest Council of International Fly Fishers annual Fly Fishing Faire last October, the name of one clinic stopped me in my tracks. A whole day of fly fishing for women, by women, with women and  in Bishop! Like a dream come true for this rusty fly fishing gal.

The Faire

Of course, that was only one of many, many offerings the weekend of October 16 – 18th, 2016. Casting tune-ups, fly tying workshops, movies, demonstrations, vendors, on-the-water clinics of every imaginable fly fishing option; the list was exhausting! One hundred and eighteen choices over three days, and that’s just the ones that required sign ups. Exhilarating too –  where better to teach people about the highly addictive and healthy sport of fly fishing than the eastern Sierra? Almost everyone can fish – and those who can’t or won’t are still going to find something to love about heading outdoors to be near water. The positive mental effects of fishing have been scrutinized by scientists and a quick search will turn up all kinds of reasons to learn to fish, for example this article in the Huffington Post.

image ofcasting for recovery booth

But, I digress. You have to attend to really appreciate all there is for a wide audience. Back to Whip it, Strip it, Fly it, Tie it. Taught by two experienced fly fishers, Beryl Rea of Bishop, and Teresa Adams of Bakersfield, the day started out on the grass at Millpond Park, and ended on the banks of the lower Owens River. We are fortunate to have a plethora of fishing guides and shops in the eastern Sierra – this region attracts trout enthusiasts. Check here for our list of local guides and sporting good stores.  Beryl Rea has been fishing the waters of the High Sierra since she was old enough to toddle along Mammoth Creek with her grandfather who taught her how to cast, read the waters, and tie simple flies.  Since then, Beryl has fished all over the world from Canada to South America to the renowned trout fisheries of Kashmir, India.  She currently guides anglers to trout on the Lower Owens River and other area spring creeks, rivers, and lakes. You can find her contact information at The Trout Scout. Gary Gunsolley  can be contacted via www.bishopflyfishing.com and longtime local guide Fred Rowe can be found via Sierra Bright Dot Guide Service at (760) 873-3948.

photo of casting practice on grass

The Morning

Beryl and Teresa kept our smallish (8 women) group busy from the moment we arrived; going over rods, reels and equipment as they taught us the nuts and bolts of the basic fly fishing and roll casts. They made it fun with pool noodles and yarn “flies” (again, you have to have been there), and kept us hydrated with icy cold water from their coolers. They worked well as a team, and kept moving from woman to woman through the group to offer tips, tricks, and personalized help.

Teresa Adams picked up her first fly rod in 1989 when looking for something to do with growing boys.  She has attended guide school and teaches through Women in the Outdoors and Casting for Recovery and the local college as well as Trout in The Classroom for kids. Her joy is to share the sport with other women and kids, and she came all the way from Bakersfield to share her knowledge with us in the eastern Sierra.

photo of casting practice on the water at Millpond

The morning flew by as it often does when in a beautiful location completely absorbed by an activity. This is one of the real joys of fishing – like rock climbing, like biking, like riding a horse; it is a great way to disconnect from our noisy, demanding world. It’s hard to look down at a phone when you have a fly rod in your hand. Instead, you feel the sun on your shoulders, the breeze (hopefully) at your back, and the great outdoors all around. I found myself mesmerized by my yarn fly flicking back and forth as I tried to place it just so. I could hear the laughter and conversation of the others and could not think of any other place I’d rather be right then.

photo of the lower Owens River

The Afternoon

Before we could tire of casting practice, Beryl and Teresa had us loaded into cars and heading for the Owens River. Other people have written extensively about the lower Owens and I leave it to them to describe it for you. Here, Sierra Drifters paints a picture;

Trout thrive in most of the 40 river miles leading into Tinemaha Reservoir near Big Pine from its source at Pleasant Valley Dam.  The heavily brushed lined banks provide habitat and cover for many species of animals and birds as well as rainbow and brown trout.  The Cal DFG plants rainbows of various sizes year around in this section and bait fishing/barbed hooks with varied catch limits depending on time of year are allowed.  The Lower Owens snakes its path along the floor of the Owens Valley and becomes larger with every creek, spring, and well that flows into it on its journey to Southern California.

And Fish Taco Chronicles wrote a great blog post a few years ago about the fishery, which is excerpted here:

The majority of the Lower Owens River is subject to general trout season regulations, namely 5 fish per day, no special regs with regard to bait, lures etc…just the usual trout rules. However! It is important note that there is a Wild Trout section of river which allows for the use of artificial lures with single barbless hooks only and zero take…catch & release of all fish is mandatory. This section of river begins below Pleasant Valley Dam (PVR) and continues downstream to Five Bridges Road. If you read the regs, below PVR Campground is where the year round special regs exist. Between the dam and the lower end of the campground there are very seasonal and somewhat confusing regs. I would recommend paying close attention to all posted signs and if there is any doubt – error on the side of caution.

You can find much more by doing a simple search online or by stopping in at the Bishop Visitors Center on Main Street – we love talking about local fisheries!

Beryl gathered us on one of the bridges across the river to give us the big picture of this section and an outline of our afternoon. Then we grabbed our lunches and took a break to get to know one another – all different but united in our desire to learn (or relearn) to fish. Beryl never slowed down… and I can’t remember if she stopped to eat. She did reappear at the table with a container of river water, gravel and rocks, and proceeded to fascinate 8 women with insects. Mayflies, caddis, and the invasive New Zealand mudsnails had us head to head over the table. The trick to fly fishing is to try and match the fish food of the day with the right insect at the right time of its lifecycle and to fish that fly as if it were the insect. And that is part of the reason fly fishing is somewhat about catching and a whole lot about fishing.

photo of women peering over a container of river bottom

The Fishing

photo of women fly fishing in river

With “whip it, strip it, and tie it” out of the way, it was time to fly it. We all climbed into our waders and boots and slipped into the delicious cool river. Immediately I became aware of the sound of the water, the birds chirping in the willows, and just how good the sun felt on my back. I couldn’t dwell on this for long, because Beryl and Teresa were back at it, filling us full of their seemingly endless store of knowledge about fishing.

We fished the rest of the afternoon. One of us caught a fish – very exciting. The rest of us learned a lot about fishing. And casting. And tying. And patience. And how to slow down this crazy life, take some time to stand in a beautiful river, and enjoy the moment.

photo of afternoon clouds over Bishop

The good news is we can still fish, and whip and strip through the waters of the Owens River year-round. And we can call on our local experts, whenever you get the itch. And we certainly hope the Fly Fishing Faire will be back one day to Bishop – until then, you can find more information on the Southwest Council of Fly Fishers International here and follow our Bishop events page for updates as well as many other great events happening this fall.

Tight Lines.

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2 weeks ago

We are buried in smoke again today, so we thought it would be fun to share a little about how the names of some of the towns in the Eastern Sierra came about. Thank you, California High Sierra for the article!
californiahighsierra.com/trips/california-high-sierra-towns-the-origin-of-their-names/
Photo by Amy Leist
... See MoreSee Less

We are buried in smoke again today, so we thought it would be fun to share a little about how the names of some of the towns in the Eastern Sierra came about. Thank you, California High Sierra for the article!
https://californiahighsierra.com/trips/california-high-sierra-towns-the-origin-of-their-names/
Photo by Amy Leist

Comment on Facebook

Wow... been a good long while since I’ve been to Bishop. Their high school team was in our league (I went to Tehachapi High) and we traveled there for some football games — something like a 5-6 hour drive each way if I recall correctly. A tough team to beat also. I’m betting it hasn’t changed all that much over all these years (circa late ‘60s).

I'm so sorry the smoke is bad there still. I missed my annual visit this year. It's on my to do list for next year.

We can see it over the Spring Mountains to the West/NW here in Las Vegas. Fortunately, not much of it made it into the LV valley.

Would LOVE to move there if my hubby can find a job nearby!

We left this morning. Not only is it very smokey the smell of smoke is incredible. I don't smoke and I was ready to light up.

Nice photo. That's the real West.

Miss Bishop, Lone Pine, Big Pine, Tinnamaha campground!!!!

No, that is where the theater and Joseph’s used to be. Joseph’s has been gone for some time now. Penny’s is now Dollar General. Unfortunately a lot of vacant stores. Hi Kent!❤️

Hello and good morning. I am planning to drive up to Bishop from Southern California. The main purpose is to see fall colors. May I know if the fall colors are still at peak this coming next two weeks or is it past peak? Thank you for your advice/suggestions.

We were just there.😔

We have to leave too, I almost threw up it was so bad, got to Lee Vining and blue fresh air..take care of yourselves

so sorry for the smoke crazy time for all this year.

I spent a week here and didn't get to see the beauty through the smoke 😏

When was this picture taken, Sunday at 6 am ? never seen it this quiet.

Awesome pic! I wish a Main Street business had a rooftop deck so you can eat with that exact same view!

No smoke in the photo. ??

Is this an old photo? Joseph’s market was the only market back when we lived in Bishop in 1969.

It’s still Smokey? Where is the smoke coming from ?

Beautiful town

I always love to go threw Bishop.

Went thru Bishop yesterday, it was terribly Smokey 😪💚

I wish it was still small !

Does bishop still have a jack in the box

My favorite place ❤️

Isnt that the Old JC Penney store?

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2 weeks ago

Wonder if this little sheep was as grateful as we were for a view of the mountains this morning??!! Happy Friday! From Bishop, with love ❤️
#keepbishopsafe #mttom
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Wonder if this little sheep was as grateful as we were for a view of the mountains this morning??!! Happy Friday! From Bishop, with love ❤️
#keepbishopsafe #mttom

Comment on Facebook

Wonderful vacation destination

And a free thinker! This is Good!

🙏praying that it stays like this 💖

I miss Bishop so much and living there too 😢😉❤️

This is one of my favorite places to take pictures when I lived in Bishop. There’s many more.

Sigh. Bishop. Love it.

See you next week little sheep

We loved our visit to Bishop

Miss bishop fun times there

Nice!!!

Oh how I love that view

It was beautiful

Love Bishop

👍

Need snow on them things!

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2 weeks ago

In case you are wondering what roads and campgrounds are open, here is the latest, as of yesterday, October 14th:
www.sierrawave.net/state-of-inyo-roads-and-campgrounds-whats-open-closed-oct-14
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In case you are wondering what roads and campgrounds are open, here is the latest, as of yesterday, October 14th:
https://www.sierrawave.net/state-of-inyo-roads-and-campgrounds-whats-open-closed-oct-14

Comment on Facebook

I've been on that same road every year at this time...

It sure was smoky today.

Still hazy there.😥

I love the West.

Beautiful picture thanks for sharing 🙂🙂❤❤

We always used to stay at Brown’s Millpond Campground just north of Bishop. Very nice private campground with a stream running through it. So many wonderful memories from Mule Days!

Up her for 4 day little smoke but really nice trees turning colors

It's the hunting and fishing Road 🏞️🎣🏕️🌌🤠🥰

Love Bishop and the surrounding mountains !!!

Hwy 168 going to Lake Sabrina, North and South lakes?

With I was there.

maybe next weekend any hotel suggestions?

Johanna Atwell

GOD HOW I WISH I WAS ON THAT ROAD... CAREFREE HIWAY...

Lots of nice smoke.....

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2 weeks ago

The Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance is hosting a virtual 5K walk and fun run this year!!! Going on NOW!! You can do it from WHEREVER you are!!!Hello Friends!☺️
💥 ESCA 20th Annual 5K Walk & Fun Run! 💥October 11-17th! Virtual Edition!
Please LIKE and SHARE this flyer with your friends and family!
Thank you for your continued support! ☺️
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The Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance is hosting a virtual 5K walk and fun run this year!!! Going on NOW!! You can do it from WHEREVER you are!!!

2 weeks ago

Dog days of summer or fall??!!
Last weekend we had warm temps and blue skies again. Fingers crossed we get some more blue skies this weekend!

Photo by Amanda Zhang
#NorthLake #fallcolors #keepbishopsafe
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Dog days of summer or fall??!! 
Last weekend we had warm temps and blue skies again. Fingers crossed we get some more blue skies this weekend!

Photo by Amanda Zhang
#NorthLake #fallcolors #keepbishopsafe

Comment on Facebook

I heard the colors have peaked in this area. Is it still worth visiting or are there other good spots to hit up?

Beautiful picture.

Wonderful vacation destination

Beautiful

Beautiful picture! Cute dog!

North Lake?

Looking good

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