A Sierra Drifters Fish Report for 3/19/17

Guided fly fishing trips for Crowley Lake, Grant & Silver Lakes, the San Joaquin, Upper and Middle Owens Rivers, East Walker River, McGee Creek, Pleasant Valley Reservoir, Hot Creek, & the Gorge located near Mammoth and Bishop Ca. will give you opportunities to catch trophy rainbows and browns while being guided by expert fly fishing pros. Sierra Drifters guides utilize top of the line center console bay boats, drift boats, float tubes, and high quality fly fishing tackle to guide you on these blue ribbon trout waters.

Quick Look Fish Report 3/19/17

Nice warm days with high pressure have been the norm here for the past week. Morning temperatures are still dropping down to below freezing on the Upper Owens River which is keeping the remaining snow around longer. Other areas are seeing the snow melt down to ground exposure very quickly. Nice grade of snow-bows are still in the river. They are now feeding on a more natural diet for this time of year. Still have a dates available for our March trips on the river. A new series of winter storms are forecasted for the coming week. Some will be warmer storms dropping only high elevation snow, while others will bring some amount of snow to the 5000′ mark. Still not safe to drive into the Upper Owens using the access roads as some pretty good snowdrifts and holes are present. East Walker raging at a 942 cfs. Completely unfishable at this flow and dangerous. Please take great care around this river and the Middle Owens as they are running very high and will continue to for some time. The LADWP has posted warning signs in the PVR area urging recreationalists to exercise extreme caution at these high release rates. Hot Creek up slightly with the run-off and Middle Owens now at 704 cfs. With just under 6 weeks to ago before opening day, Crowley remains covered in a thick layer of ice. We can expect high water here this year and Crowley and Bridgeport Reservoir will most likely be the best place for fishing in May and June. 

Shot of Crowley Lake taken recently from high up near McGee Mountain!


 Upper Owens River 3/19/17


Our Sierra Drifters winter fleet of snowmachines ready for battle! Pictured is myself with “Two Bug” Doug Dolan, with Tom Loe behind the lens.


One of two “Heavy Duty” tow trucks that are stuck deep into the access road to the river. They were on a rescue mission to get a vehicle out and got stuck themselves.

The river is now slightly up at 77 cfs. The water has taken on a tanin look to it below the upper Hot Creek confluence. Above the confluence, there is still a slight stain as most of the snow along the river banks has melted and seeps into the river. Most of the big fish have been keyed in on their natural diet now as quite a few have spawned on the gravel and are heavily feeding and making their way back to the lake.


You can identify these redds by an approximate 3X3′ or larger depression about 3-5″ in depth along the shallow water gravel areas. They will be lighter in color and you may see a fish or two spook when approached. Crossing or passing downstream of these redds will limit the amount of silt and gravel kicked up and collected over the eggs. Patterns that have been working are PT’s #16-18, Assassins (dark and light) #16-18, Midges #16-18, Crystal Leeches, SJ worms, and Crystal Eggs (Tan, White, Peach). There are dry fly opportunities in the afternoons when the BWO’s come off. Stay on the tails of the fish and cast 10′ above them to avoid putting them down. 

Steve Lankenau displays a pretty female who fell victim to his drifted Crystal Egg!

Lauren Foes, one of a handful of female anglers that enjoys winter fishing on the Upper O. Awesome bow Lauren!

Rob Souza with one of his jumping rainbows!

Rob Souza with one of his sweet rainbows taken alongside his family.

Here’s Rob with yet another beauty of a fish!

Rob’s brother-in-law Dave Foes with a nice brownie!

Jeff Hudson tight to a stellar rainbow in one of the big fish holding zones!

Birthday boy got his wish!  Randy Mikurmiya is back on the scene and got his licks in on the snow-bows. Jeff Hudson likes this big rooster that took an Assassin.

 Jeff Hudson displaying one of his many fine hens from the day!

Alex Dreese had a great couple of days on the river! 

Bill Regesburger knows the drill this time of year. Nice colors Bill!

Wes Hildyard with a heavy hen!

Brad Smith scored on his guide day with this magnificent specimen!

Brad’s cousin Richard Cassidy scored this nice one too!

The lovely Lisa Henrich joined her husband Chris for some real nice ones. Great job Lisa!

Her husband Chris is all smiles! He loves it out here!

82 year old Dick Baron can fish with the best of them. Nice redband on that one Dick!

Brad Jenkins with quite the pig here!

His buddy Mike Amatisto displays one of similar quality!

The section upstream from the Benton Bridge is open year around with special regulations. Seasonal closures, and angling restrictions apply downstream from the bridge, check regulations before fishing in this section.

Middle Owens River/PVR/Wild Trout section (Bishop Area) 3/19/17


River is now running at 704 cfs. This is a flow rate that I have never had the opportunity to witness until now. At this flow, the banks are completely flooded and it is dangerous to get close to the water. It is unfishable at this level. LADWP has warned against getting too close to the water at these releases.



 This fishery remains open year around. Special regs from the footbridge at Pleasant Valley campground to the fishing monument 4.7 miles downstream.

Hot Creek 3/17/17

Flows at 19 cfs with Mammoth Creek adding some run-off to the equation. Fishing the afternoon hatches can be productive with nymphs working in the morning and evenings. Light weighted nymph rigs fished in the open slots will get you into fish. Walk in access is still the only way as the roads are not plowed to the creek in both the Interpretive Site and canyon area.

This is a year around fishery with special regs in place.

*Tom Loe, Doug Rodricks, and Doug Dolan are under permit from the Inyo National Forest Service to guide Hot Creek.

The Gorge 3/19/17

Flows also extremely high here. My suggestion is to stay away as one slip and fall into the water can be deadly.

Season open year around

 East Walker River 3/19/17

Water is raging at an unprecedented 948 cfs. Go somewhere else to fish and use caution if visiting the river.

This fishery is open year around below the Bridgeport Reservoir dam to Nevada State line. Open year around in Nevada also.

***New for 2017! I have limited quantities of some new patterns that will guarantee advantage in your quest for trophy trout. Balanced patterns are the new rage for nymphing, & streamer fishing. We have been guide testing these patterns for several years, & I can honestly say they are the most significant improvement in fly design in over a decade. They are truly superior to conventional fly designs. The flies ride “parallel”; or “level” to the bottom giving them a far more realistic profile. The jig style hook becomes more effective as it seldom gets snagged on the bottom, & sets efficiently in the fishes mouth. These flies are intended to fish as your bottom fly in a multi fly; or tandem rig. They are deadly fished solo as a streamer. Add these patterns to your quiver for all fisheries that you still water nymph; or cast streamers. Some sizes are not available due to back orders on jig hooks, & are only available online at this time. I will add more sizes on some patterns as we get shipments in. Click on “fly sales” on the nav bar above, hit “menu” first from a mobile device to access the nav bar.

You can pick up our flies & Under-cators at Reagan’s Sports in Bishop, the Crowley General Store (not at the lake), Ricks Sport Center in Mammoth (limited selection), Bridgeport Reservoir RV Park (currently closed for winter), Stroud’s Tackle in San Diego, & Malibu Fish’n Tackle in Thousand Oaks.

I have added a picture gallery to the website . Click on the “gallery” button and do a search for your name, or scroll through the pages. You can double click on the picture to enlarge it once it is located.

Thank you for visiting our website and checking out our report. Be the Fly…. Doug Rodricks, Sierra Drifters Guide Service.



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