Camping and Fishing in Bishop and the Eastern Sierras

by Leila on September 7, 2011

The first day summer began my cousin sent me a text asking what the kids and I were doing. Her and her boyfriend were camping in Bishop and had space on their site… they invited the kids and I up. At that point I had never taken my kids on any big fishing trips other than local lakes. I have very vague memories of Bishop from my childhood… and packing up to camp for a few days and leaving the next day was kind of insane.

But… I like that kind of insanity. So, we packed up and were off the next day.

I’m familiar with the five hour drive to Bishop since it’s my halfway stop to Lake Tahoe where we visit almost ever summer. It was still a new exciting adventure for us and we took in the amazing scenery on the way up. Lakes, creeks and snow topped mountains surrounded us. We were in love.

Our first day of fishing was at Intake 2 and we fished off the Dam. “That’s a bad word Mommy” my son said and I had to explain the difference between Dam and Damn. Ugh. Language correction is a big part of our lives.

The only fishing equipment we had were two bullet reel toylike fishing poles the kids got for christmas. I was really nervous about letting my four year old son use a fishing pole with a hook in it!

I had these horrible images of him hooking my ear and ripping it off… or snagging an innocent bystander. I also couldn’t stop laughing when he kept calling them “hookies” or “hookers”.

He stuck with the hookless practice anchor on his bullet reel and he was casting out like a champ. This was great practice for him! He spent a whole day casting it out, reeling in, recasting and I was impressed with how quickly he got it. My nine year old daughter was a pro… she was even taking care of her own bait and showed a huge amount of patience and enthusiasm.

The second day we went to Sabrina Lake and it was gorgeous! The water level was low but there was still a lot of trout out there. The water is so clear we could see them swimming around and chasing jigs! We were surrounded by the most amazing scenery. The fish were biting all day and my son reeled in the biggest two fish of the day on his spiderman fishing pole… CARP! My son’s job was to rip apart the earthworms for my squeamish cousin. He loved that job.

I was truly amazed with the patience my kids displayed. Two days of fishing, we didn’t bring games, books or toys (WHOOPS) and it was their first time out. There wasn’t a single complaint from either of them. They learned the rules of fishing and enjoyed it. We loved it so much we took a second trip a couple months later back to Bishop with cousins and a bigger group as our final Summer camping trip.

We camped at Four Jefferey both times which is a decent campground with no showers and a creek running through it. All the campsites along the creek are the ideal spots since they are the only ones with shade from trees. The creek is stocked so we were able to pull fish out of the water just feet from our tent! That was priceless.

We also checked out other areas both trips to see all of what the Eastern Sierras had to offer. I love that there are so many spots! We pulled off the side of the road and tried our luck in creeks and detoured at different lakes. There is the pretty North Lake which is up a mountain but if you freak out on steep, narrow and fall-off-the-side-of-a-freaking-mountain-roads then don’t go up there. Yes, it is beautiful and there were patches of snow on the ground in June but the drive made it not worth it to me…

Hey, everyone has something that drives them batty. For me it’s roads like that, gross feet and alligators. If I was surrounded by nasty barefoot people, traveling up that road while being chased by alligators I would pretty much die right there…


We spent the better part of the day fishing on my cousin’s boat on South Lake on our second trip. Again it is beautiful… like all the lakes there. You can go to just about any lake in the Eastern Sierras and be in love with the scenery. Fishing on the boat was a lot of fun but when the waters got choppy later in the day I started to feel like I was going to puke on everyone! Next time I will plan for that.

Convict Lake was pretty amazing and well worth the forty five minute drive from our campground. We had lunch there, fished and the kids played with this rad Calico Critter Caravan Family Camper that we got from Imagine Toys for a review.

On the way back we explored Rock Creek, more accurately… we got lost looking for the lake and we found a bunch of campsites on the way. This is probably my favorite area in the Eastern Sierras. The campgrounds are gorgeous and all nestled in Juniper, Pines and Aspen trees. Most are not by reservations but with thirteen campgrounds and over three hundred campsites you are almost guaranteed to find something here. There is also a very active facebook page for Rock Creek Campground information and a very supportive community active on there. The Social Media Geek in me is really impressed with that.

In my opinion I enjoy creek fishing a lot more than lake fishing. I like being able to really see the fish, watch them chase a jig and then pull them out of the water. Waiting to see my pole bend isn’t as exciting because of the wait but you still get the same rush when you get a hit. The kids enjoy the creeks for many reasons. My daughter is content to read a book next to the running water and my son liked attempting to walk in the icy cold water. I’m big on disconnecting when we are camping and dvd players and video games are usually prohibited but they played two apps (Chuck and Friends, Andrew Answers) from Ruckus Media that were a huge hit. These are educational apps (so that makes it awesome in my book) and keeping two kids content with good distractions, in the heat and testing their patience has its place. Also, this picture is “Aww” worthy.

The weather is really unpredictable at that high altitude. When we went in June it was warm during the day and we covered up since it’s easy to get sun burned but the temperatures drop significantly at night. Layers are very important! When we went back in August it was gross hot so having ample shade was imperative. When the sun sets it brings a welcomed chill that you are looking forward to all day. I’d plan to stay in Rock Creek during the hotter times because there was a significant temperature different there compared to our Campground in Four Jeffery.

If you have concerns about high altitude and health do your research before visiting and talk to your doctor or pediatrician. My kids have asthma, my daughter has arthritis and I get really bad migraines. That is a lot to factor in! I had to prepare for both of these and bring everything needed for worst case scenarios.

If you happen to forget something or want a meal you don’t have to clean up after it is an easy drive down the mountains and into town. They have major stores like Walmart and Smart and Final. There is a great little bakery and small mom and pop shops. There is a variety of resturaunts and fast food places as well. When we drove back to our campground from visiting Convict Lake and Rock Creek I had to stop and get me some starbucks and enjoy the wifi. I’m a nerd like that. The lodges and hotels in town, from what I hear, are really nice and reasonable so if you don’t want to camp but want to fish that is a great option. There is also a movie theater that was playing Smurfs when we drove past it. It was also playing another movie which ended up resulting in the most hilarious picture taken that trip.

If you camp or fish in California then this is a must go to location. I’m hoping we can make one more fall trip there when the leaves start to turn colors… and we can make the most out of our campfire and hot chocolate.



About Leila DontSpeakWhinese

Leila, aka The Ninja, is the advocate for all things not whining. Parenting is fun when everyone stops b*tching! She is the Mom of a big blended family of five awesome kids. They ninja kick through life together. Oh and she is a total jackass.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous September 8, 2011 at 6:32 am

I still love that smurfs are friends with benefits!  The pictures are absolutely gorgeous!


Anonymous September 9, 2011 at 7:10 am

If I need a good laugh.. I pull up that Smurfs picture. When we passed it I freaked out and needed to make sure I got a picture of it on the way out!!

I’m bummed that I didn’t have as many pictures from the second trip. 🙁 The kids were playing with my point and shoot when we were packing up and they must have left it at the campsite. I did have some pics from my good camera and iPhone…. and playsport… okay I have too many thingies to take pics with!


Anonymous September 8, 2011 at 11:30 am

This sounds like SO much fun! I love that you’re intentional with disconnecting from gaming stuff while you’re out in nature but, still flexible enough to allow some edu-games in there. 😉

Also, Calico Critters… love ’em. They’re so darn cute!


Anonymous September 9, 2011 at 7:09 am

The kids have totally caught on to the fact that if they can convince me that something is “enriching” or “educational” then I am more inclined to agree. My son for example “Mommy.. can I have cookies? Like… 6 or 7 of them. Becaauuse they are nutri-ten-ally and I can count them and learn.. and say the colors.. and.. they are dairy free too!”

Calico critters are just about the cutest damn toys ever.


Brooke Clay September 8, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I died laughing about the “hookies” and “hookers!” When my sister was little she once pointed out the “testicles” on the Octopus at the Aquarium. 


Anonymous September 9, 2011 at 7:07 am

When I first read this I thought… hmm… I didn’t realize that Octopi had that noticeable of testi… OOOOOOOOOOOO!!! hahahaha!!! That is so something my son would say. Except he calls them “test-pickles”


meleahrebeccah September 8, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Your children are so adorable. I love reading about your family adventures.

“hookies” and “hookers!” = CLASSIC!! HA!


Anonymous September 9, 2011 at 7:06 am

Thanks hon! I can’t explain how stoked I am to hear anyone say they love reading about our adventures. Totally makes my day 🙂


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