Sunrise light on a grove of tufa towers emerging from the water of Mono Lake with soft green and dusty-red wild grasses in the foreground, Canada geese in the shallow water with reflections of the rocky towers, and desert hills in the distance.

Spring Update: Roads and businesses open; birds & flowers

Today the Mono Cone and Monitor Pass both opened! Osprey are seen daily in Lee Vining and the very first flowers are blooming along the Lee Vining Creek Trail!

A snowstorm every few days has kept the air cool and the ground wet, and typically brings strong winds along with it. The weather is finally expected to warm up early next week with highs in the 70s!

Fishing season opens Saturday April 25th, and we are getting lots of calls and emails about conditions. The following update was presented by Marty Strelneck at yesterday’s Lee Vining Chamber of Commerce meeting:

  • It’s all water below the 8,000 foot level (no ice)
  • Grant Lake is extremely low – not stocked last fall. Launching is available off shore at Grant Lake Marina. Launch Ramp is high and dry. Rental boats are available. Tackle shop is closed, but status could change.
  • June, Gull and Silver Lake in full operation. Stocked with heavyweight rainbows up to the 8lb. mark last fall after close of season.
  • Lundy Lake road open. The lake is low – launch ramp is high and dry. Resort is closed but will open for Memorial Day weekend.
  • Virginia Lakes road is open to Big Virginia. Resort opens Memorial Day. Lakes are frozen. Ice fishing could be dangerous depending on weather. Early in the am might be ok but by late morning could be dangerous.
  • Tioga pass road should be open up to Tioga Lake. The lakes are frozen up there – but ice fishing should be done with caution. Saddlebag Lake Road is closed.
  • There will be two free fishing days this summer where no license is required: July 4th and Labor Day.
  • Conway Fish Ranch will be open to tour hatchery.
  • Bridgeport: 4 feet of water in the Marina – a small boat would do ok, not a big one. The County ramp has 50 feet of soft mud – not usable.
  • Crowley is ok for fishing. Quagga mussel inspections will be required.

Caltrans plows have reached the Tioga Pass Resort. Tioga Road is expected to be open from the east as far as Tioga Lake by next weekend. Monitor Pass (Hwy 89) opened today. Tioga Pass, Sonora Pass, and Ebbetts Pass remain closed. The Bodie Road (Hwy 270) is officially closed but State Park Rangers tell us it is okay to drive to the park–just drive carefully and watch for hazards and Caltrans equipment working on the road.

Plateau gooseberry is beginning to bloom on the Lee Vining Creek Trail. Almost every year this is the first bush to bloom its yellow flowers. It should be followed soon by Desert Peach, which is leafing out now.

Birds are back! Yellow-headed blackbirds, Kingfishers, Swallows, Osprey, Gulls, Loons, and more! Deer are migrating across the highway–please drive carefully.

The snow isn’t melting yet–but with warm weather it will start melting early next week. Bears are active–store your food properly.