Ken photo Oct. 19

Pictured is local angler Joe Covello sitting in float tube with a trout caught at Lower Twin Lake in the eastern Sierras.

Most readers know that I have never claimed to be a fisherman. Most of my recreational time growing up went to waterfowl in the fall and winter, and skeet shooting during the spring and summer.

I did manage some good video occasionally with Steve Merlo and Leroy "the pie man" Fontana, though.

I used to go boating with Leroy up at Lake Isabella when he would troll for trout up to five pounds. And I would spend time with Steve at the small lake at Buena Vista where he would troll for striped bass. Caught quite a few in the five-to-10 pound range, and one of my shooting friends, Lori Desatoff, landed a 25-pounder that I was able to capture on video. But, I just never took the time to learn how to fish.

You may recall a column I did a few weeks back about my son Mark, and my friend Dr. Steve Newbrough, fishing for trout out of a small stream near Porterville.

Mark had decided he wanted to get more into the fishing world, so he and a friend headed for the Mammoth Lakes area this summer to check it out. From what I read, there is some of the best trout fishing in the world throughout the area.

The DFG stocks many of the lakes and streams with good supplies of Rainbows, Browns, and Cut Throat. And, you cannot beat the scenic wonders of the Eastern Sierras.

My old friend and hunting partner, Joe Covello, has been fly fishing this area for a long time. I told him I needed some comments about his experience there, so he volunteered the following:

"I have been fly fishing with a float tube for about 70 years. In the old days, it was with an inner tube, but today you can rent or buy great equipment from most fishing shops across the country. They are very safe because they are aired by compartments inside, so if there is a leak in one, the others will keep you afloat. You get into the tube and enter the water backwards because you are wearing swim fins.

At waist deep you are ready to move in any direction. Ninety percent of the trout are caught below the surface of the water, so I usually work my way along shore near the weed beds where the fish are looking for food.

In shallow water, I prefer to use a five weight, sinking tip line with a wet fly. Trout usually feed only on tiny flies called midges during the early morning hours, and by late morning begin to look for other food sources. Be sure and wear sun screen, a hat, and polarized sun glasses that help to see your line.

It's not a good idea to use a float tube in a river with a fast current. If your waders filled with water you would lose control of your movements. If fishing alone on a remote lake, you might consider wearing a life jacket, also.

The best part of the Eastern Sierra lakes is that they can almost all be reached by vehicles, and they are heavily stocked by the DFG with trout weighing up to eight pounds. A long handled fishing net is a great help, too.

Catch and release is usually not an option, because most of the fish swallow the fly being used. I have had the most success using an 8-and-1/2 foot rod, with a five weight line. I prefer a 10-foot leader, also. You can go to the internet and learn how to tie flies. All in all, it's a really great experience."

Some of you may think that the number '70' Joe mentions might be a misprint. I can assure you it's not. I am not going to tell his age, but Joe and I first started sharing blind time on a duck pond more than 40 years ago, and I thought he was old then. The guy is eternal. And, if you looked up the word "gentleman" in the dictionary, you might see his picture. Thanks pal, for the story. Greatly appreciated.


SEASONS: Ducks and geese: Oct. 20, 2018 through Jan. 27, 2019.... Scaup: Nov. 3, 2018 through Jan. 27, 2019....Special Youth Hunt Days: Feb. 2 and 3, 2019

LIMITS: Ducks: Daily Bag Limit: seven. Which may contain seven mallards, of which only two can be female; two pintail; two canvasback; three scaup....Geese: Daily bag limit: 30. Which may include up to 20 white geese and up to 10 dark geese.... Possession limit ducks and geese: Triple the daily bag limit.

Ken Barnes is a record setting shooter and longtime outdoorsman from Kern County. Email him at with comments or column ideas.

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