SIERRA CUTTS AT CROWLEY Another thing you can bet on is that the logbook will be dominated by cutthroat trout. Crowley has an incredible population of cutts that have access to solid spawning habitat, including McGee Creek, the Owens River and some other smaller tributaries. The funny thing is, most of the shore anglers just think they are catching exceptionally awesome-looking rainbows. Rather, the fish are very much cutthroat, and this time of year at Crowley, most trout in the 5-pound class that arenâ€™t browns are cutts. Rainbows that end up on stringers are typically in the 1- to 3-pound range.
ITâ€™S A TROLLING THING Trolling is a year-round go-to tactic at Crowley Lake, with opening day being no different. Throughout the summer there is a lot of leadcore
lure dragging going on to get deeper, but that is not the case early in the season. Almost every boater I ask â€“ and itâ€™s usually also marked in the log â€“ is â€œtop lineâ€? (or flat-line) trolling using monofilament line with regular gear. The only difference might be kicking line weights up a notch â€“ maybe to 6-pound test â€“ to handle more of an impact than if you were casting. Top trolling lures are always the same (I donâ€™t even have to look at my notes): minnow-imitating baits like Rapalas, Owner Cultiva and Berkley Flicker Shad, and metal stuff like NeedleďŹ sh, Thomas Buoyants and Kastmasters. I donâ€™t know what category Tasmanian Devils ďŹ t into, but they are absolute killers on the troll at Crowley. Use a size or two bigger â€“ on each of those â€“ than you would reach for if you were casting, and experiment with trolling speeds
and how far behind the boat the lures are positioned. Anywhere on the lake can produce, so plan on covering some ground to ďŹ nd biters. Still, popular areas to troll off of include Chalk Cliffs, Alligator Point, Leighton Springs and Green Banks. You can ďŹ nd a map on crowleylakeďŹ shcamp .com, and there are free printouts of it in the store at the lake.
ROOM TO FISH Despite the unmatched angler trafďŹ c Crowley gets on this most popular day of days, the shoreline features miles of access, and you actually can escape the crowds if youâ€™re willing to hoof it from areas bumper to bumper with RVs. I will say this, though: sleep in. Cars will be lined up at the gate well before dawn, but every year without fail shore anglers give me the same story: â€œWe got here ďŹ rst thing in the morning and we didnâ€™t get
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