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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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3 days ago

Heading into the weekend dreaming of backcountry lakes... which is your favorite?
#DreamNowVisitLater #KeepBishopSafe
Thank you Instagram user @kimonlhi for this spectacular shot!!
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Heading into the weekend dreaming of backcountry lakes... which is your favorite? 
#DreamNowVisitLater #KeepBishopSafe
Thank you Instagram user @kimonlhi for this spectacular shot!!

Comment on Facebook Heading into the ...

Would have guessed Split Mtn, but have only flown over these mountains twice.

Too many to choose, the higher and more remote the better

Saddle Bag Lake. ❤️

Blue lake! The best, at least I know of~!!!

I need a good-looking tour guide(male) to show me around on my next visit. 😉🐈😷

So beautiful. I miss being up there.

Mt. Aggasisz? I probably butchered that spelling.

Blue Lake

Blue lake❣

Sabrina

Dorothy Lake

Horton Lake

Dorothy and Mildred

Beautiful

Beautiful

Upper Lamarck

Beautiful

That’s beautiful.

Nice 👍

Ruwau Lake, Tyee Lakes, upper Lamark lake, Blue lake, & Little Lakes Valley.

Terra Rankin

Lake.

Any part of Bishop is fine, I JUST WANT TO BE THERE TO ENJOY THIS BEAUTIFUL PLACE! 😀❤️😄💙

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4 days ago

Our friends at Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association welcome everyone to stop by for in-person visitor service plus a great selection of area maps, books and more. They do a great job of helping our guests recreate responsibly!Thanks ESIA for providing helpful information and advice to visitors on responsible recreation in our region! ... See MoreSee Less

Our friends at Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association welcome everyone to stop by for in-person visitor service plus a great selection of area maps, books and more.  They do a great job of helping our guests recreate responsibly!

5 days ago

Community: a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals (Oxford Dictionary)
We are grateful to our COMMUNITY locally and afar, for loving and supporting BISHOP and Inyo County. ❤️

Here is a little glimpse of how our community has pulled together over the past few months:
www.bishopvisitor.com/eastern-sierra-covid-stories/
... See MoreSee Less

Community: a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals (Oxford Dictionary)
We are grateful to our COMMUNITY locally and afar, for loving and supporting BISHOP and Inyo County.  ❤️

Here is a little glimpse of how our community has pulled together over the past few months:
https://www.bishopvisitor.com/eastern-sierra-covid-stories/

Comment on Facebook Community: a feeling...

The community stories are wonderful

The big deal when I was growing up was going to the Tri-County Fair rodeo, taking in a movie, and having dinner...all over Labor Day. Then there were the trips from Mammoth to Bishop to go to the grocery store, topped off by a stop at Schatz for sandwiches and to buy bread. What a wonderful place!!!

Used to watch movies at this theater back in the early 70's. Great memories wonderful town. I visit just about every year and enjoy the old school vibe. My parents started AYSO soccer in Bishop. I used to bicycle down the street as a kid, drop a fishing line and pull out lots of trout.

No Bishop does not need a Walmart mart or another supposed better grocery store. We do not have the people to work them. Plus we have new buildings that weren't supposed to be built and a whole mess of empty buildings. We want to keep it a small town feel.

I was sorry to hear that the JC Penny store closed there. I used to work there when I lived in Cali. I had the most wonderful coworkers and the best boss ever!!! Bishop will live on in my heart forever.

Remember Jill Kenmont👍👍

Great little town Bishop is, leave it alone. My mom graduated from Bishop High school, we went to Bishop many years for Christmas with my Grandparents

I was born in Bishop and moved out around 1990. I've moved all over California since then, and no matter where I moved to I always wanted to go back. Some day... Maybe when my kids are all grown and out of the house I'll take my wife and dogs and move back...

Great town. can't wait to come visit when things calm down. Missed Mule days and our family reunion at the lodge but we will be back

Looking forward to visiting as soon and we can! We love Bishop!

Love Bishop! Just passed thru Monday on the way back from Yosemite!

Bishop is in one of the most beautiful settings on Earth. The eastern Sierra and the Owens Valley will persevere.

I love that Bishop is a smaller town. It part id it s charm for visitors. Needed some items last trip , found them in town and what friendly people !! And you should fit your town , not always for the town to fit you.

3 yrs ago we just started driving , landed in Bishop, stayed several days, just loved that trip, no fish but who cares .... 😍🎣🚗💨💨

best town in California

We believe in Bishop. Stay well. <3

Between 1934 and 1939, I spent some Saturday afternoons watching movies at the theatre in Bishop - think the Hollands owned it then - one of the Holland boys was in my elementary school grade. Best wishes to all.

Bishop is fine the way it is.

Please don't change! I love you the way you are!!

We would like to keep it that way, but there are a lot of people coming into the area now who are leaving their trash on the ground & putting graffiti on any available surface. Do that S... at home, not in our town.

You have no idea how badly I need to visit You Bishop.

Saw it has been 100 degrees up there.

Play my brother Danny scene Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at that theater years and years ago

Lived here in the early 80’s

Soon as possible.

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6 days ago

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Comment on Facebook 1451682461820094_2725270674461260

Love Bishop been there a couple times I can’t wait till I go back to visit 😊👍

love bishop

Was there many times.

Live there and love it

Love Bishop!

Love Bishop.

wish I still lived there

I’m a Hoosier that loves to visit Bishop!

Love Bishop too!

Gateway to heaven or as close as you can get

Been in bishop twice. ❤️ both times

It's beautiful, clean, but, to darn hot 😎😎😎😎

Love Bishop. Born and raise there

My home town

Does anyone know if they are having the car show in October this year?

we just move out here and we need a store to buy home stuff like target or even walmart 😤😫

Be there on 22sd for a week of camping and fishing creekside RV park

Is the KMart there out of business?

Make this a sticker for purchase.

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1 week ago

Bishop’s beauty continues to amaze us. 😍

#keepbishopsafe!! Thank you!!

Photo by Sean B Plunkett
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Bishop’s beauty continues to amaze us. 😍

#keepbishopsafe!! Thank you!!

Photo by Sean B Plunkett

Comment on Facebook Bishop’s beauty ...

So beautiful. Love Bishop and miss it so much.

Gorgeous photo! Stay safe my friends! We hope to see you in 2021!

So beautiful, love your site 🙂🙂❤❤

So beautiful. A field of Lupins.

Beautiful only 108 degrees

So Gorgeous! 😍

Beautiful!

Gorgeous!

Beautiful

Beautiful

Absolutely beautiful

Love the flowers...but need to get rid tourists...we have followed all the rules..NO TRAVELING..NOT YET...but are counties get more C-19..please leave and take your 🗑 with you

Awesome!!! Sean plunkett

Very beautiful picture

Pretty Hot right now but Beautiful ❣️

Beautiful

Beautiful

Beautiful.

What plant is this?

Andrew Peterson

Eileen Stephens

So beautiful

Beautiful picture

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