A Fish Report for 5/25/15

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 5/25/15

Warming trend on the way with a drier pattern for the next week. The much needed rain we have had from previous storms last week has brought some of the freestone creeks up in flows. Crowley has been good for still water nymphers fishing midges in 18-24 feet of water. Upper Owens has spawning cutthroat, & a few browns munching on roe. Run has peaked with fish returning to the lake. Middle Owens around Bishop very good for wading in the section below the dam at Pleasant Valley. Flows remain stable at 125cfs. Drift boat trips on the slow side for numbers- a few trophy rainbows being hooked on streamers. Hot Creek has more water currently. Caddis and mayfly hatches triggering good surface bite. Road into San Joaquin now open. Use surface attractor patterns, or dry/dropper bead head nymph rigs. Gorge fishing very well for small wild browns on caddis or mayfly adults. Bridgeport Reservoir has good numbers of planted fish. Tubers trolling streamers can do well near the drop-offs around the dam. Warmer, more stable weather will improve conditions on the alpine lakes this week. Many were well planted for the holiday weekend.

Upper Owens River 5/25/15

The section from the Bridge DOWN STREAM to the lake is now open. We are seeing decent numbers of cutthroats actively on the redds, but the spawn is winding down and some of the fish are spawned out, or pretty beat up. The white fuzzy markings on the fish are a fungus that is caused from removal of the protective slime that coats the skin. It may, or may not be lethal. You may also get into a nice brown that has moved up from the lake to feed on roe, or small rainbow fry. Water clarity can be poor when the irrigation canals are being utilized to flood irrigate the pastures. This inputs a fair amount of muddy, weedy water below the confluences of these feeder canals which loop back into the river proper. Access has improved; however I would not take a passenger car in after a significant T-storm. Flows have dropped back down to winter release rates (43cfs.above Hot Creek.) I do not expect the LADWP to increase flows again this summer as they have used their water allotment for 2015 from Grant Lake already. This has made conditions ideal for the spring run of cutthroat & cuttbows up from Crowley. Dead drifting a variety of patterns through the shallow gravel beds, deep slots, & pools with or without an Under-cator can produce grabs. Crystal leeches, Agent orange,  assassins, flashback pheasant tails, crystal eggs, SJ worms, & broken back midges will all work depending on the water you are angling. It is crucial to keep your flies near the bottom, and your fly line and Under-cator OFF the fish so you do not shadow them. Drag those hooks sets downstream so you pull into the fishes mouth and achieve “angle” when you come tight. Some midge and mayfly activity; but the staged up fish don’t really care as they are not feeding.

*Special angling regs in effect year around above the Benton Bridge. NO BAIT, NO BARBS!!! Open year around above the Bridge. 


What an awesome specimen! Mike Bunce with a truly great fish. Another one bites the dust with a crystal Vanderleech


Clouds, and a light rain gave us ideal conditions to hunt down some big cutthroat. Eric Smith showing one of his jumbo hens he got on a crystal leech.

Pro hockey player Matt Konan took some time off the ice to slap shot some big cutthroat. Score!

Pro hockey player Matt Konan took some time off the ice to slap shot some big cutthroat. Score!


Kurt Peterson got into some incredible roosters. Hot nymph rig was a crystal Vanderleech and egg combo.


Fun times with friends & family. Kurt Peterson, dad Jeff, & Matt Konan all got some beautiful cutty’s on their trip.

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This beautiful fish, and well composed picture taken by Doug Rodricks of his client Keith Oberon. The color on the cutthroat males is just sick!

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Keith had an epic day. Great paint job on that one buddy.

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Rodney Swan did great on his trip with Doug Rodricks. Crystal leeches & SJ worms were the hot ticket.

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Tom Bonetto got into some great cutty’s solo. You learned well Grasshopper!


Bill Regensburger had sore arms after his day on the water with Two Bug Doug Dolan. He went well into double digits on fish like this. Book a trip with us and we shall show you how to properly dead, & swing drifting attractor patterns like our crystal eggs, SJ worms, & crystal leeches.


Andy Harris is all smiles. This long and lean hen, or female cutthroat latched onto one of Doug Dolans custom SJ worms. 


John Parson with a stunning male cutthroat. Two Bug did the netting.

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The color of these spawning cutthroat trout is awesome! George Boston showing off a nice male Doug Rodricks put him on.


Ben Kaufmann doing the hold for his dad Jim. That is an awesome fish guys! It ate a Drifters SJ worm along a deeper slot. The colors on these fish are mind boggling.


This is a shot of some cutthroat actively engaged in their spawning dance.  Note the hen rolling to gouge out her redd. Please be careful when wading across the gravel sections to avoid the small depressions you will observe.

Crowley Lake 5/25/15


Weather forecast to become warmer over the next week with no rain predicted. Very good bite during the calmer periods “IF” you are willing to suspend those chironomid imitations down 18-24 feet. Sandy Pt., Big Hilton, Six Bays, & Sometimes Bay all have fish in deeper water.  The big brown bite has been great. All three species of trout, & an occasional Sacramento Perch can be netted on Crowley right now. You will also see some significant aquatic weeds beginning to grow at the 13 foot depth. Lake level is holding steady, and this is the condition that promotes weed growth out to 18 feet. The steady chironomid hatches have triggered some consistent bites during the good weather/high barometer periods.  I suggest you have 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. Articulated patterns like broken backs work well when you have “texture” like some wind on the surface. My Under-cator strike detector “slides” if you wish to make it easier for you to fish deeper water. Lake is not dropping currently, and boat launching is fine. 

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Right on Jared Staub. That is an awesome rainbow buddy! Nice shot by guide Doug Rodricks.

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Young gun Ryan Staub nailed this beautiful brownie with guidance from Doug Rodricks.


I would have to say the overall size of the fish in Crowley are larger for the early part of the season. Twenty inchers like this one Greg Semos landed will be in the 23 inch range, and a pound heavier by the fall.


Big Hilton has been kicking out some beautiful browns like this one Eric Cady got with Two Bug.


The rain did not deter Shai Gordon from getting into some trophy rainbows on Doug Dolans fish magnet.

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How would you like to be a perch, or small trout swimming near this creature? Nick Naworski punished the big browns. Gillies and broken back tiger midges did the trick. This rascal will most likely become a mold next to a big rainbow he got on the Upper Owens this winter.  Great fish Nick, congrats.

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Double chocolate brownies for Nick and William. Broken back copper tiger midge was on fire for them. Use the articulated patterns when there is texture on the surface.


The Poore bros, Jay & Mark- CRUSHED the bigs at Hilton with two Bug Doug Dolan. They had several doubles like this one.

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Steve & John Koudelka did great on Doug R’s fish magnet in Hilton Bay.


Bako Boy, Darren Thornberry showing off one of many chunky rainbows he got with Doug Dolan.

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Renowned Bridgeport trolling guide Ken Hoffman spent sometime at Crowley hanging a crystal zebra midge, and gillie combo to fool this twenty incher off Sandy Pt.


McGee Creek 5/25/15

The flows have picked up with recent rains/snowmelt, this has triggered some cutthroat to move up from Crowley. Not a bunch of fish, but quality. It is a long hike down to the lower section of McGee where there is more water. Attractor patterns and full trout Ninja to get on them.

Middle Owens River (Bishop area) 5/25/15 

Temps in the Owens Valley will be near 90 by the end of the week. Flows currently 126cfs. below the dam at Pleasant Valley Reservoir.  Numbers have not been great recently for drift boat trips however; we are still getting some good sized bows and good numbers of smaller browns while pulling streamers with sinking tip lines.  Very good conditions for wading the WT section. At low flows dry\dropper rigs can be very effective in some runs, or riffles. I have been told that a significant flow increase is not in the short term water management plans this year due to the extreme drought. The bite slowing down as the sun gets higher, & air temps climb. You will see some large spring caddis, and last generation smaller BWO’s #18-20. High-vis & natural caddis adults, parachute hi-vis mayfly, or blue dun adults are correct profiles for surface presentations. Assassin birds nest, flashback pheasant tails, broken back midges, crystal olive caddis, & olive zebra larva patterns good calls for nymphing with an Under-cator. Have some Loebergs, Punk Perch, & crystal Vanderleeches if you choose to toss streamers.

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

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Rob Lismar hit this colorful rainbow on a Spruce-A-Bu streamer first thing in the morning. Chris Hall got a twin in the same spot!

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Pretty Deeann Davis and her hubby Victor showing off a nice rainbow Deeann got at the buzzer. She used the “dip & strip” method of streamer fishing and a light punk perch pattern.

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Vic Davis tight to a flipping rainbow. Light punk perch streamers got us into some fish.

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That cloud cover brings the bigs out to play. Great to see rain in the Owens Valley too! Doug Rodricks doing the hold for Keith Roberts who used a Spruce-A-Bu streamer to get this big-un and many more.

Hot Creek 5/25/15

The bite has been pretty good on the nicer days. Flows are up a little with the string of rainy days. Heavy aquatic weeds are making drifts tougher in the limited open water.  Some good caddis/mayfly activity currently. High winged dark olive, or dun colored bodies #16/18 are good profiles for the BWO’s. Keep them well dressed to ride high in the foam. PT’s & 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. Try my hi-vis caddis pattern, it works well here. Small dead drifted Punk Perch, broken back zebras, small gillies, egg patterns, SJ worms, 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 5/25/15

Good weather forecast for this week.  The Bridge will fish well in the early part of this season. It received a good jag of TROPHY RAINBOWS, & catchable sized browns, rainbows, and cutthroat recently. Conditions are excellent despite low water. There is a small boat launch/courtesy dock near the dam that will get you on the water. Tubers should do great this spring working the drop-offs with Loebergs, crystal leeches, and punk perch patterns. On the warmer days still water nymphing with Assassins, callibaetis nymphs, broken back midges, gillies, and flashback PT’s will get you pull downs with your Under-cator. 10-13 feet should get you into them. See Jeffery at the marina for flies, and fishing info.

Alpine Lakes 5/25/15

Could be a good call this week as the funky weather over the holiday weekend kept large crowds off the drive too lakes. They have been planted with mixed sized rainbows. Grant has been kicking out good numbers of medium browns for tubers near the inlet. Silver has been off and on; but has good water levels. Both locations have boat rentals. They are very reliant on plantings from the CDFW. You will get fish if you are close behind the truck! It may be slower this year due to decreased stocking, and smaller fish. Streamers are always a good choice for these waters, and full sinking lines will get you down faster, & more effectively.  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.

San Joaquin River 5/25/15

Conditions are very good for May, and the SJ should fish well for the first part of summer. 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.

Dry fly fishing for wild trout on the San Joaquin has been great, nymphing the Upper Owens, drift boating the Lower Owens and tubing Crowley Lake also very productive for fly fishers here in the Sierra. This is a wild rainbow from the SJ.  A prettier trout can’t be found!

East Walker River 5/25/15

Twenty cfs. is a trickle. They have been holding at this release here for a while. 

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

Pleasant Valley Reservoir 5/25/15

Fishing has been so-so here. The levels are really fluctuating as the LADWP uses PVR as a “buffer” to accommodate the water used for power generation. It has dropped as low as 4376′, & up to 4388′  Watch the mud along the banks near the inlet on the low side. Access around the inlet sucks after levels get up above 4385′. 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. Power generation can occur anytime during the spring. 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 5/25/15

This fishery is not effected by flow increases on the Middle Owens, and with the recent increased water it is receiving is really fishing well & worth the hike if you enjoy small wild browns. Have those mayfly nymphs, PMD adults, & caddis adults handy. The spring caddis are coming off steady. This maybe the best dry fly fishery we have during the spring months. 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. 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. 

You can pick up my flies & Under-cators at Reagan’s Sports in Bishop, the Crowley General Store (not at the lake), 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