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Trophy Stillwaters of the Eastern Sierra with Ernie Gulley


One of the most popular fly fishing destinations for southern Californians is the eastern Sierra, just up Highway 395. In addition to streams, rivers and creeks, this area has some of the finest stillwater fishing water found anywhere in the country. This month, our good friend Ernie Gulley will be guiding us on a mouth-watering trip to show us where to and how to catch the fish of a lifetime. He will be giving us details about primarily three different stillwaters, with each one of them having a unique history and story that helps us appreciate them even more than we do for the fish they contain.  These are: Kirman Lake, which is the best trophy brook trout fishery in California and the west; Heenan Lake, which is the Lahontan Cutthroat brood stock lake for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Crowley Lake, considered by most to be the best stillwater in the golden state.


Now the stillwaters covered in Ernie’s presentation are no strangers to many SoCal fly fishers, as clubs often schedule outings to these destinations. All of them present the opportunity to land fish up to, and even well into, the 30-inch range.


Ernie will be breaking down the individual stillwaters by showing where they are, how to get there, when to go, what to bring, how to rig, what flies to use and how to fish them. And the waters he will focus on all present a chance for anyone to experience the fish of a lifetime, both in beauty and in size. He will use maps, explain when are the best times to go, how to prepare and what to do when you arrive. Ernie will show us his favorite fly patterns, leader set-ups and specific, secret and deadly techniques. Learning the best times of the year to plan fishing trips to these places can help give anyone the confidence he or she needs to enjoy a fly fishing experience even more.


Ernie was actually born in southern California, and started fishing with his Dad as soon as he could walk. However, at age seven, Ernie and his family moved to New Orleans where he learned how to fish Lake Pontchartrain for speckled trout. Later he moved back to SoCal and began fishing Crowley, Bridgeport Reservoir and many lakes in Utah, Idaho and Nevada. Ernie currently resides in Riverside with his wife Shannon and two children, Logan age 12 and Aidan age eight.


In 1998 curiosity about those long rods with thicker lines won out and he tried fly fishing. Well, a love affair was born and he has never looked back. In 2006 Ernie joined Deep Creek Fly Fishers, where he became a principal instructor for fly tying and classes on stillwater tactics. In 2007 he won the “Double Haul in the Fall” tournament at Crowley, both individual and team division titles and in 2008 and 2009, Ernie placed second in the “Stillwater Classic” team trophy. In 2008 Ernie joined the High Desert Fly Fishers where he has served as Vice-President and President.


Ernie is currently a professional guide in southern California and the eastern Sierra, known as one of the Sierra’s premier stillwater guides and often called a fly fishing “guru.” You can learn more about Ernie and his guiding by going to: