A Fish Report for 7/27/15

Fly fishing trips on the waters of Crowley Lake, Silver Lake, the Upper and Middle Owens Rivers, Pleasant Valley Reservoir, Hot Creek, & the San Joaquin River 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, and fly fishing tackle to guide you on these blue ribbon trout waters.


Quick look fish report 7/27/15

Fires on the west side may drift some smoke into the region the next few days. Forecast calling for very warm temps with T-storms developing on Thursday. Upper Owens improving, some larger fish moving up from Crowley. Conditions good above the Benton Bridge. Crowley on & off the last few days. Hiltons, McGee, & the north end still the best spots. East Walker flows have dropped to 33 cfs. Trout fishing remains slow here. San Joaquin conditions good for surface action. Caddis and mayflies best. Hot Creek fair/good in select spots. Caddis, micro mayflies, & para midge adult patterns. Lengthen your leaders here 12/18 inches-6X. Middle Owens around Bishop suffering from warm/low water. Wild trout section best in the mornings and late afternoons. Caddis, damsels, small mayfly patterns fished as nymphs, and adults. Not enough water to drift currently, as much of the water is being diverted through the irrigation canals. Flows steady at 90cfs. Alpine lakes have mixed reports- reliant upon plantings. Fish have moved deeper during mid-morning through sunset. Streamers fished with a full sinking line best, dry dropper rigs using callibaetis and midge nymphs can fool the wild brookies and browns during the hatches. bridge. McGee Creek inlet to Crowley has a few trophy rainbows sipping callibaetis adults late morning. Small resident browns holding in the deeper pools. Most freestone creeks are dropping in flows. This trend will continue as we dry out the next week. Road into Rock Creek Lake getting a face lift, expect some minor traffic delays.

If we have previously posted your pictures on this page, you can always find them by going to the photo gallery and search for your name. 

Crowley Lake 7/27/15

Banana, or bonanza is the story on Crowley the last few days. The bite has been inconsistent with the fish feeding on daphnia at times. The hot bite in McGee has slowed down the last few days; but I suspect it will come back soon. The cutthroat & browns have moved in to gobble the perch fry, & damsel nymphs in McGee, Sandy Pt., and Hilton. Sacramento perch fry are now present along the shorelines and weed beds. The predatory fish really target these larger sources of protein from this point forward in the season.  If you don’t get bit in Hilton, pull the picks and head to Sandy Pt. or the north end. Some big rainbows have moved into short water near the inlet at McGee to feed on the callibaetis mayfly hatch. Opportunities to fish adults during calm periods.   The lake level continues to come up slowly, & the heavy aquatic weed lines are growing out to 16 feet all over the lake. Water clarity has worsened; however the algae is not coating the flies at this point . You will see the damsel nymphs getting pulverized on the surface as a predatory trout aggressively slams the surface. Still water nymphing using crystal emergers and pupa patterns #18, gillies #18 & 20, crystal tiger midges both dark, and copper #14 through 18 along with their articulated brethren the “broken back midges” #16 and 18.  Try the BB dark zebra, or the long shank crystal zebra midge as your lower fly in deeper water. Articulated patterns like broken backs work well when you have “texture” from the wind on the surface. Try hanging an assassin, or punk perch #14/16 as your upper fly along a weed line. The Under-cator strike detector “slides” if you wish to make it easier for you to fish deeper water.  If you prefer tugging streamers from a tube -use a light sinking tip and have some damsel nymphs, crystal leeches #12, or #16 & 14 punk perch streamer patterns. Look for those aggressive boils around the weed lines in 16 feet. These are the predatory trout feeding on the damsel nymphs & small perch fry.

*We are now observing some trout spitting blood from their gills after being netted. This is caused by mineral deposits that attach to the gill filaments,  caused by high alkalinity levels in the water. This mineral coating impedes the oxygen exchange process. It’s like when you run very hard, and kinda taste blood after you stop. It is critical after fighting a fish & net it; that you leave the head completely submerged for a few minutes before removing them from the water to take a hook out; or a quick picture. Net the fish; then let it resuscitate for a while before lifting it out of the water. We are also seeing some fish that have a skin disease called “strawberry”. This is also caused by high alkalinity. Strawberry looks like small red ulcers on the sides, and fins. Please practice good catch & release to insure the health of Crowley’s trout. It is going to be a long, hot summer with very little fresh water circulating into the lake. PH levels will only climb, as oxygen levels fall.

david silber 7-25-15 - 1

Crowley icon David Silber always gets bigs when he fishes with Doug Rodricks. The rainbows are as chunky as they get on Crowley this summer.

crampe murphy 7-23-15 - 2

Luca Crampe and his grandpa Bob Murphy spanked the bigs in McGee using Gillies and zebra midges in 18 feet.

crampe murphy 7-23-15 - 1

Leo & Fred Crampe hit some great cutthroats in McGee with Doug Rodricks helping them out.

darren thornberry 7-23-15 - 10

Bako Boy-Darren Thornberry rocked the fish in McGee Bay. He got the Crowley trout slam, and numerous cutthroats like this one using a gillie and dark zebra midge combo.

barbara newsome 7-21-15 - 1

Hilton Bay kicked out some nice fish for Barbara Newsome. Doug Rodricks spotted up off Pelican Pt. to find this broom tail.

randy marsha newsome 7-21-15 - 8

We have been treated to some beautiful back grounds on Crowley recently. Randy Newsome tight to a nice bow in short water near the McGee inlet.

randy marsha newsome 7-21-15 - 6

Marsha Newsome fooled this chunky brown on an Assassin in McGee Bay.

crowley 7-17-15 - 3

Ken Reed showing off a twenty incher caught on a copper tiger midge in Hilton. Ken had a great morning with Doug Rodricks.

crowley 7-17-15 - 4

Dave Bradshaw had a great day with Doug Rodricks in Hilton. Nice one Dave!

emily shuford 7-18-15 - 1

This trophy rainbow fell to a broken back copper tiger midge in Hilton Bay. Emily Shuford was guided by Doug Rodricks.


The “Hiltons” have been very consistent during Crowley’s low water period. Alan TaDano was guided by Doug Dolan to fool this pretty brownie while fishing midges.


This obese rainbow has not missed many midge hatches by the looks of its girth!  Ed Shotsuma rode with Doug Dolan and had steady action in Hilton.

anthony jim 7-17-15 - 6

Jim Halverson got this sweet brown on an Assassin in very short water during the callibaetis hatch near the McGee inlet.

anthony jim 7-17-15 - 2

Anthony Stanley hit some nice browns in less then 3 feet of water near the inlet to McGee using Assassins.

patrcik russel 7-18-15 - 1

Tiger midges have been performing very well this year. Patrick Russel got into some big rainbows in the north end on Jerry Gilpins fish magnet.

crowley 7-17-15 - 2

The browns have moved in along the deep weed lines hunting for damsel nymphs, & tiny perch fry. Roy Kozaki got this beautiful specimen with Jerry Gilpin.

crowley 7-17-15 - 1

Lauren Tanaka doing curls with this chunky bow she caught with Jerry Gilpin in the north end.

michael schmitt 7-14-15 - 1

That grin tells it all. Michael Schmitt hit some nice fish off Sandy Pt. with Doug Rodricks. The browns and cutty’s are really moving in along the weeds to hunt for small perch fry currently.

craig husband 7-14-15 - 1

The cutthroat have really moved into the flats, & along the weed lines in McGee and Hilton Bays. Craig Husband fished with Jerry Gilpin and did very well using copper tiger and zebra midges in 18 feet.

San Joaquin River 7/27/15

Might be some heavy smoke around at times from a fire on the west side.  Water conditions are very good. Campground sections have some small planted fish. The wild trout here are eager to hit most surface imitations in the #14-18 range.  I like hi-vis para mayflies, Stimulators, and  hi-vis caddis patterns as a point fly.  Tie a two foot dropper off the hook bend and add a blue winged olive or natural caddis adult.  Dry/dry tandems are effective and can really help you see you imitations in riffle water, or shadows.

*Tom Loe is under permit from the Inyo National Forest Service to guide the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River.

tyler janice suzuki 6-24-15 - 5

Flows are near perfect on the San Joaquin. This is currently the best dry fly fishery we have in the Sierra.

Middle Owens River (Bishop area) 7/27/15 

Conditions are poor in the drift boat sections below the Five Bridges Crossing. Very warm air temps, & warm water. Caddis & small mayflies are present below the dap at PVR. Have some #18/20 light bodied adults, light assassins #18, and FB pheasant tails for nymphs, #18 & 20. Early mornings, and calm late afternoons are best for dry fly fishing. Caddis emerge when the barometer goes up. Use hi-vis caddis #16 & 18. Nymphing with crystal olive caddis larva, assassins, and broken back midges are also good when the hatch is off. Flows are very low (90cfs) so dry/dropper bead head rigs can be effective in the deeper riffles. Drift boat trips have been temporarily suspended due to low/warm water. The bass have moved up from the lower sections of the river, and migrated through the canals from Buckley Pond into the Owens. Even the wild trout section has numerous bass now. Prolonged periods of low flows have elevated water temps, & lowered oxygen levels this summer. Not good news for the trout here, and we hope the flows come up soon. 

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

Upper Owens/ McGee Creek 7/27/15

Conditions have improved here with some larger fish moving up from Crowley. A few nice cutty’s in the deeper holes. The sections up from Benton Crossing are much better. You can get into a few decent browns on caddis, and last generation BWO adults at times. Stimulators, hi-vis caddis, & natural caddis are good calls for dry flies.  Flows are low here (40cfs) with aquatic weeds an issue in the lower sections below the Benton Crossing Bridge.

If you walk all the way to the lakes inlet, there are some large rainbows working the callibaetis hatch during the calm periods. Not significant numbers; but an adult mayfly pattern could be cast to a rising trophy right now. McGee Creek proper has some small browns and a few decent rainbows. Dry dropper rigs, & nymphing with FB PT’s, Assassins, & olive crystal caddis below an Under-cator, or hi-vis caddis or hi-vis para BWO will work.

holibers 7-26-15 - 1

Check out this beautiful cutthroat trout Noah Holiber fooled while nymphing. Doug Rodricks says the conditions are good on the UO, with more catchable sized fish moving into the deeper pools and slots recently.

holibers 7-26-15 - 2

Adam Holiber did well nymphing the deeper pools with attractor patterns. Some nicer sized rainbows are moving up from the lake.

Hot Creek 7/27/15

Flows are very low currently. Find the slots in the weeds. Short, accurate dead drifts will get you looks. Some good caddis & micro mayfly activity currently. Dark bodied, or natural colors for the caddis bodies are the hatch. Light olive to gray for the Mays. Keep them well dressed to ride high in the foam. Pheasant tails, & bird’s nest patterns are best for nymphs. Small parachute midge; or mayfly patterns used with a 10 foot leader are best for surface presentations when the fish are on the midges/or clusters. There are a few sections that can be fished with a dry dropper nymph rig. The hoppers are now present. A stimulator is a good profile for them. Use these in the wind, as the terrestrials get blown off the banks, & the trout hunt for them along the shoreline. Try my hi-vis caddis pattern, it works well here. Dead drifted broken back zebras, small gillies, scuds, flashback PT’s, or assassin birds nest bead heads in #18 are good calls for the dropper. Size 18 or smaller crystal olive caddis larva or zebra midges are good calls as droppers.

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

*Tom Loe is under permit from the Inyo National Forest Service to guide Hot Creek.

Bridgeport Reservoir 7/27/15

There is a small boat launch/courtesy dock near the dam that will get you on the water. Tubers should focus on the drop-offs near the dam with Loebergs, crystal leeches, and punk perch patterns. 

THE BRIDGEPORT FISH ENHANCEMENT FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES SECOND STOCKING OF TAGGED TROPHY TROUT! Any Questions Contact BFEF: BFEF President- Ray Robles 760-616- 4214 Mailing address: BFEF PO Box 23 Bridgeport, Ca. 93517


Alpine Lakes 7/27/15

You could have some heavy smoke around at times this week. T-storms forecast to arrive on Thursday through Sunday.  The drive too lakes have been fair. Fish the low light periods with a dry dropper rig if you see fish rising.  Road to Rock Creek Lake has major construction, expect some delays. Streamers are always a good choice for these waters, and full sinking lines will get you down faster, & more effectively.  The hike to lakes have had very heavy pressure recently, with the trailhead parking areas full at times. Kirman and Parker have been slow. Loebergs, Agent Orange, Crystal Vanderleeches, Spruce-A-Bu’s, & Punk Perch in the #6-12 range are good for early alpine trout. Use my Killa-baetis, assassin, or crystal tiger midge as a trailer fly two feet behind the streamer. We will be guiding Silver and Grant Lake this season from a  drift boat, or tube depending on what techniques are working best. 

*Tom Loe is under permit from the Inyo National Forest Service to guide Silver and Grant Lake.

East Walker River 7/27/15

Flows  down to 33 cfs. Trout fishing is slow.

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

Pleasant Valley Reservoir 7/27/15

The lake level remains low at (4377′), this will eventually kill off the aquatic weeds in the transition area making for better conditions after it fills again. The small river section has been best for numbers of smaller rainbows, & browns-use dry/dropper bead head nymph combos here. Forget fishing the river, or inlet if the hydro station is ramped up due to hydro power generation which can happen at anytime.  Heavy weeds are now present in the transition section near the inlet, and along the lakes shoreline. Stimulators, hi-vis para BWO’s, or hi-vis caddis may be used as the upper fly-use crystal olive caddis larva, flashback PT’s, Assassins, broken back or crystal tiger & zebra midges as your dropper bead head nymph. Tubing  has really picked up from the launch ramp, up to the inlet section.  Streamers like Loebergs, Agent Orange, Crystal leeches, & Spruce-A-Bu’s will get you into some nice browns, & larger bows in the rez proper. Use a full sinking, or heavy sink tip line to get down 10-15 feet quickly. You can also fish “Crowley midge style” in the rez near the drop-offs. Fish chironomid patterns below an Under-cator. Gillies, broken back midges, crystal emergers & pupa patterns. Tiger & zebra midges are always a solid choice for your larva pattern.

This fishery is open year around.

The Gorge 7/27/15

Definite alternative if it gets nasty in the high country. The Gorge could be classified as the true “tailwater” from Crowley Lake. The fish here are all wild browns with a large one going 16 inches. Moderate/difficult hiking is required to access the more secluded sections. Watch out for rattlers. Rock hopping and bush whacking can be expected. Dry/dropper bead head nymph combos work well in the deeper pools. Use PT’s, Assassin birds nest, broken back midges, tiger midges, & crystal olive larva patterns as the nymphs. Hi-vis para BWO’s, Stimulators, parachute midge adults, & elk caddis, & hi-vis caddis are good choices for your dry fly. Pack in water, have cleated wading boots and a stout staff. 2-4wt. rods are perfect for this water. Snakes may be out early!

A compromise/ final settlement has been reached between the LADWP & CDFW for the re-watering and enhancement of the middle & lower sections of the Gorge. The Upper section will now be managed as a Tui-Chub” sanctuary for perpetuity- with no additional water, or trout enhancement allowed. The Middle & lower sections will begin to see immediate improvements in flows, fish access ladders, and management as a wild trout fishery. Final Draft of Owens Gorge Stipulation11 20 14[1]  Special thanks to Crowley local James Parker for keeping us informed on this complicated situation.

Season open year around

The GorgeLooking down into Middle Gorge from the “rim”. Lots of riffles and pocket water opportunities. 

 Jurassic Pond 7/24/15

Davis pond 7-26-15 - 1

Pretty Dee Ann Davis showing off a 15 lb. monster rainbow. The bigs will take streamers, & nymphs on this one of a kind fishery.

Davis pond 7-26-15 - 2

Vic Davis crushed the fish on his outing to Jurassic Pond. Check out the girth on this beauty!

They are always on the bite here! You can book session on this amazing fishery with one of our top guides. These trout are by far and away the largest fish you will find in the Sierra, with many fish in the twenty pound class. This is a totally private fishery situated in a beautiful setting on McGee Creek. We use streamers, and still water tactics to dance with these beasts.

You can pick up my flies & Under-cators at Reagan’s Sports in Bishop, the Crowley General Store (not at the lake), Rick’s Sport Center in Mammoth Lakes, Bridgeport Reservoir RV Park, 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.

Thanks for reading my report.  be the fly….Tom Loe, Sierra Drifters Guide Service