A Fish Report for 5/29/16

Guided fly fishing trips for Crowley Lake, Grant & Silver Lakes, the San Joaquin, Upper and Middle Owens Rivers, 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 5/29/16

The cutthroat run on the Upper Owens is pretty much over, a few scattered pods remain above HC. Section downstream from Benton Crossing Bridge is now open. CDFW will plant triploid rainbows here this summer. McGee Creek LCT run has also peaked; but has been excellent this month. Extreme pressure over the holiday weekend. Crowley Lake has slowed down. The continuing series of mid-day T-storms shutting down the bite. Middle Owens flows holding at 250cfs. Caddis activity strengthening. Drifting has been fair using streamers. Hot Creek running the highest in several years, bite is slow. East Walker releases have dropped to 170cfs. Good grade here; but numbers are low. West Walker blown out. Alpine Lakes dealing with T-storm weather recently, some have been planted with chunky Oregon stockers. Pleasant Valley Reservoir level is high, intermittent power generation in the river/inlet area shuts down wading.

I have some great news for those of you who have always wanted to fish with us at Eagle Lake; or those that have been wanting to return. The lake received a good shot of water from this winters storms. Doug Rodricks and I are planning a trip this June. Cost will be $525.00 per day for 1-2 ppl, add $100 for a third rod. We will supply all your fishing gear, you need licenses, & to arrange your lodging and meals. We have detailed info we can pass on if you decide to fish with us here regarding where to stay, etc. From local reports, & what I know of Eagle after a decade of guiding here; Eagle should be epic due to a lack of pressure the last couple seasons. June is a great month to fish here before the heat of summer sets in and drives the fish deep. We will be guiding you in our sister 24 foot Ranger bay boats. We can accommodate a group of three per boat. One day currently open for a single boat (6/14/16). If you have never caught a “native” Eagle Lake strain of rainbow trout, you’ve missed perhaps the hardest pulling still water fish in the state. The beauty of Eagle in itself is stunning, & I hope you can make it up this June.

*Tom Loe is permitted by the Lassen National Forest to guide Eagle Lake.

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 5/29/16

Shotgun start to the season for sure. The quality of fish has been very good. Bite has slowed recently due to weather. The forecast calls for the barometer to rise next week which will get the chironomids popping & the trout on the prowl. We look for concentrations of fish in transitional areas of the lake during periods like this. Trout will migrate where deep water butts up against submerged points; or drop-offs. Hilton Bay, Alligator Pt., Sandy Pt., & Six Bays have the dynamics that will gravitate trout to these areas. Aquatic weeds are now present in 12 feet in some areas, & this trend will continue as the days lengthen. Locating mud & clay bottom is key to consistent fishing. 14-20 feet will be the norm until the lake begins turning over & the fish move towards the inlets and channel up. Rig up using gillies, broken back gillies, or crystal midge pupa patterns for your upper flies on a tandem rig. Midge larva patterns such as crystal tiger and zebra midges fished less than a foot off the mud will get your “Under-Cator” to plunge. Take advantage of the chop caused by wind, & tie on an articulated pattern like a broken back tiger/zebra midge. The up and down motion of your indicator animates the flies below, and makes them look more realistic. Grabs can be more aggressive using flies that wiggle. The lake continues to drop slowly; but remains at a good level for this time of year.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on crowley lake near mammoth for trophy trout on large custom charter boats.

Elias Buzzell took advantage of a break in the storms to fish with Jerry Gilpin. He did well for his first time on Crowley getting into beauties like this rainbow.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on crowley lake near mammoth for trophy trout on large custom charter boats.

Check out the girth of this rainbow Jared McCormick nailed with Doug Dolan. Good fish Jared!

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on crowley lake near mammoth for trophy trout on large custom charter boats.

Hilton Bay has been hot for big rainbows recently. Kevin Jones and the “trout whisperer” Jay Poore did well with Two Bug Doug.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on crowley lake near mammoth for trophy trout on large custom charter boats.

The fish can’t get any wetter! Kevin Jones got this nice brownie in a torrential down pour with Doug Dolan.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on crowley lake near mammoth for trophy trout on large custom charter boats.

Mark Willardson put up his shields and toughed it out to get some nice fish with Jerry Gilpin.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on crowley lake near mammoth for trophy trout on large custom charter boats.

Nick and Will Naworski slammed the fish in Hilton using twin Gillies in 14 feet. They saw steady action all day until the wind picked up. Nice shooting guys!

McGee Creek 5/29/16

We have enjoyed an epic spring here for sure. The LCT run has peaked; however good numbers of fish (and fisherman) are still around. The longer days have got the snow melt swelling McGee & Convict Creeks, which in turn is bringing up cutthroat and smaller rainbows in good numbers all the way to the gauging station by Hwy. 395. Dead drift attractor patterns like crystal eggs, crystal leeches, SJ worms, Assassins, & Agent Orange along the cut banks; or in the larger riffles where you see the spawning fish staging up. 

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on McGee Creek near Mammoth for trophy cutthroat trout.

Fish of a lifetime for Eric Dootson. This gorgeous rooster is a real trophy for this area. Congrats Eric, Doug Dolan put him on it.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on McGee Creek near Mammoth for trophy cutthroat trout.

Mike Arsenau got to dance with a bunch of nice LCT’s. Doug Dolan guiding.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on McGee Creek near Mammoth for trophy cutthroat trout.

Jim Arsenau hit some nice cutt’s on his trip to lower McGee with Doug Rodricks.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on McGee Creek near Mammoth for trophy cutthroat trout.

Long time friend and client Jim Thornton hit the cutthroat jackpot on a recent trip. Jim nailed a bunch of quality fish nymphing the deep cuts and pools.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on McGee Creek near Mammoth for trophy cutthroat trout.

Veteran Drifter Connor Thornton ripped some great fish on his trip to McGee. This rooster took a crystal egg pattern.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on McGee Creek near Mammoth for trophy cutthroat trout.

Veteran Drifter Ken Harada banged the cutthroat on his last outing with guide Doug Dolan.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on McGee Creek near Mammoth for trophy cutthroat trout.

Trout enemy #1 Todd Yamada got into a bunch of cutty’s on his trip with Doug Dolan.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on McGee Creek near Mammoth for trophy cutthroat trout.

Bako brothers Skip and Jon Barnes with friend Jeff Andrew had an amazing day hooking forty colorful cutthroat whole using attractor patterns tied by Doug Dolan.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on McGee Creek near Mammoth for trophy cutthroat trout.

Nice one JB! Jon Barnes crushed the bigs on his trip to McGee with Doug Dolan.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on McGee Creek near Mammoth for trophy cutthroat trout.

Bako Boy Jeff Andrew had an epic day with Two Bug Doug getting into many beautiful males like this bad boy.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on McGee Creek near Mammoth for trophy cutthroat trout.

When Bako boy Nick Naworski and I met for his guide trip at the McGee staging area, he told me he needed a cutthroat over 22 inches to complete his collection of custom fish molds. He was not denied! Fun day buddy, congrats.

Upper Owens River 5/29/16

It was good while it lasted! The spring run of cutthroat is pretty much over, and most of the fish are on the way back to the lake; or are spawned out. There remain a few scattered pods of staging fish; but they are smaller, & beat up for the most part. Some good sized rainbows are also around in the deeper pools looking to snack on dislodged cutthroat eggs. The section downstream from the Benton Bridge all the way to Crowley Lake is now open. Special regs remain in place above the bridge. As summer rolls on look for the smaller resident fish, and those that will get planted to provide action along the UO. Small dark spring caddis, & micro midges are triggering feeding activity from the resident trout on the warmer days. Attractor patterns will get you looks from what is left of the bigs. SJ worms, crystal Vanderleeches, crystal soft eggs, Assassins, and Agent Orange patterns have got us into them while nymphing below an Under-cator. Size 16/18 adult Blue Winged Olive patterns, & small parachute midges will replicate the hatches. Flashback pheasant tails, & Assassins are spot on replicas for the nymph stage of this cold water mayfly. Use #18-22 gillies, crystal chironomid pupa, broken back midges, crystal tiger, & zebra midges for nymphs that imitate midge larva or emergers. Caddis larva are present on the stream bed pumice rocks now. Olive crystal caddis imitations can be a good call for the resident fish grubbing the bottom during warmer periods. Parachute adult midges will get you looks when the fish are feeding on the “clusters” late afternoons. I have seen a good number of trout fry along the banks, and in the slack water. Small Punk Perch, & crystal leeches fished below an Under-Cator can get some nice bows to hit these “strymph” patterns as they hunt for the tiny meals. 

The section upstream from the Benton Bridge is open year around, down from the bridge is now closed to ALL angling. Special regs are in place here year around.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on the Upper Owens near Mammoth for trophy cutthroat trout.

Great friend, and long time Drifter Mark Vidovich got into some nice cutty’s on his trip to the UO.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on the Upper Owens near Mammoth for trophy cutthroat trout.

Kevin Trussell got a “glory hole” and nailed a handful of beautiful cutty’s on crystal egg patterns, & leeches in one spot. Nice work man!

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on the Upper Owens near Mammoth for trophy cutthroat trout.

This beautiful rainbow David Rolfe is holding was fooled by a crystal leech. The bows are looking for dislodged cutthroat eggs, & small trout fry that have hatched recently.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on the Upper Owens near Mammoth for trophy cutthroat trout.

Hot stick Larry Souza showing off one of his saaaweet female cutthroat. Doug Dolan was his guide.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on the Upper Owens near Mammoth for trophy cutthroat trout.

Rob Souza had to battle some wind on his trip with Doug Dolan; but got into some aggressive cutty’s.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on the Upper Owens near Mammoth for trophy cutthroat trout.

Mark Phillips had a great day on his trip to the UO. Doug Dolan put him on some gorgeous fish.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on the Upper Owens near Mammoth for trophy cutthroat trout.

You have done well grasshopper, time for you to leave the temple! Skip Barnes got this one solo.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on the Upper Owens near Mammoth for trophy cutthroat trout.

Bob Miyamoto nailed this trophy on a “Drifters Crawler”. Guide Doug Rodricks took a nice shot of a great fish.

Middle Owens River (Bishop area) 5/29/16

The “catching” has been fair as the flows have stabilized at (255cfs). As the snow melts at a more rapid rate in the southern Sierra, the LADWP finds it necessary to reduce flows in the upper sections until run-off in the lower creeks subsides. The stable conditions have got a few bigs to come out and play. We have been having good success using streamers with sinking tip lines, & the “dip & strip” method. Ephemerella, commonly called Pale morning/evening duns the new mayfly kid on the block. You may also see some super sized mayflies called brown drakes. The nymphs are huge, & large Assassins, or FP PT’s will suffice for their profiles. The spring caddis are now emerging during warmer cycles. The early caddis adults are larger than the summer profiles. Have some #14/16 high-vis, or natural elk caddis imitations handy when it gets warm. The wild trout really focus on this cycle, and fly fishers who consistently get into double digit numbers in the wild trout section have BWO/PMD adult profiles in the #16/18 range, with nymphs like Assassins, flashback pheasant tails, & birds nest patterns for the periods before, & after the hatch. Small crystal olive caddis larva patterns, #20/22 gillies or crystal midge pupa/emerger imitations, & #18 broken back tiger or zebra midges are good calls for bottom bouncing. Have some parachute midge adult profiles if the fish get uppity, the fish will look for midge clusters if the caddis or May’s don’t come off.   Streamer fishing is a good call for higher water levels found in the spring. Predatory fish take advantage of small baitfish that get washed into the stronger currents as they seek refuge in slower pools. Streamers are also a higher visibility pattern, & stand out amongst the debris that is associated with rising water levels. Drift boat trips have been fair/good with numbers of  planted rainbows, and a few wild browns in the counts. Guided drift boat trips are a great way to get into secluded sections of the river, & fish the higher water levels. We fish streamers, casting sinking tip lines with a unique, user friendly method called the “dip & strip”. I strongly suggest this program for novices, and those wishing to learn how to fish streamers. Hot flies this week are smaller Punk Perch & Loebergs.

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

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on Owens River with drift boats

Stewart Epstein had a good drift with veteran guide Phil Therrien. The “dip & strip” method of fishing streamers is the best technique during higher flow periods. 

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on Owens River with drift boats

Dave Ingram did well for his first drift trip down the MO. Dave used a Spruce-A-Bu streamer most of the day to get some nice rainbows like this.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on Owens River with drift b

Russel Woodruff got into some chunky rainbows on his drift with Doug Rodricks.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on Owens River with drift boats

Blake Hedding is credited with big fish honors this year on his drift trip with Two Bug Doug Dolan. Blake nailed many more fish for his first time with a fly rod. Blake used a Punk Perch to fool this trophy.

Hot Creek 5/29/16

Fishing has been slower with the increased flows.  Water levels are running the highest in a few years thanks to the snow melting into Mammoth Creek. The pesky aquatic weeds are still an issue; but not as bad was last fall for sure. Some trout are moving into the larger riffles thanks to additional water on the warmer days. Think about swinging some Punk Perch, or Loeberg streamers when the water levels are high after run-off; or rain. Midges, scuds, & attractor patterns are best during cooler periods; although you will see solid blue winged olive hatches throughout April on the warmer days. #20/22 midges, #20 pheasant tails, #18 Assassins, & bird’s nest patterns are best for nymphs. Small parachute midge; or mayfly adult patterns used with a 10 foot leader are best for surface presentations when the fish are on the adult BWO’s, midges/or clusters. 

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.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers seeking trout on this blue ribbon spring creek near Mammoth

Conditions have improved on the “crick” thanks to recent rains and snow melt.

Pleasant Valley Reservoir 5/29/16

The river section will get washed out during power generation; but it makes the inlet section a good area to target from a tube. The lake level fluctuates frequently & is currently high at 4387′. Check out the dam section, it has been more consistent here from a tube, or the west shoreline. Tubing is the best way to get into some hold over Oregon rainbows, and CDFW brood fish that have run the gauntlet. Fish the transition into the lake; or small river section below the powerhouse using dry/dropper rigs. If the power plant is not operating, the short river section has been best for numbers of smaller planted rainbows, with some wild browns. At current levels, the lake goes right up to the tress, making access difficult. 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. Streamers like Loebergs, Agent Orange, Crystal leeches, & Spruce-A-Bu’s will get you into some decent browns, & fat holdover bows. Use a full sinking, or heavy sink tip line to get down 10-15 feet quickly. You can also fish “Crowley midge style” using an Under-cator strike detector in the rez proper 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. The hydroelectric plant can operate at anytime. This can raise water levels quickly, & shut off a bite in the river section.

This fishery is open year around.

The Gorge 5/29/16

This fishery is not prone to water increases during the spring, and can be a good call when flows are trending upwards in other areas. Flows are around 50cfs. You will see solid mayfly and caddis hatches on the warmer days here. Fishing can be quite good if you do some hiking and get away from the sections that get pounded. 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. 

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. 

Bridgeport Reservoir 5/29/16

Here is the opportunity of a lifetime! Contact Jeffery Wenger at the marina if you are interested in buying potentially one of the best recreational facilities in the Eastern Sierra. 760-932-7001.

East Walker River 5/29/16

Flows down to 170cfs.  Some quality fish around; but numbers are still down. I have it from reliable source that the EW may receive brown trout plantings this year if the water conditions remain good.

West Walker River 5/29/16Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers for trout on the West Walker

Blown out.  We will see some high water levels here through June. Several larger freestone creeks will become high, & off color as the snow begins to melt at elevation.

Jurassic Pond 5/29/16

Beautiful Jurassic Pond is a private trophy trout fishery that is exclusively guided by Sierra Drifters pros. It is situated near McGee Creek, and overlooks Crowley Lake. We fish with streamers, nymphs, & dry flies during warmer periods. You will not find larger trout anywhere in the Eastern Sierra. If you want a dance with a twenty pound rainbow, or double digit brown-this is the best private fishery in the region. Contact us for availability please.

Monster trout caught on Jurassic Pond near mammoth for fly fishers being guided by sierra drifters

Larry Souza crushed the bigs on his return trip to Jurassic Pond. He had epic fishing using carpenter ant pattern, and fishing it on the surface. 

Monster trout caught on Jurassic Pond near mammoth for fly fishers being guided by sierra drifters

Rob Souza had an epic day on the pond using a variety of methods to fool huge trout like this.

Monster trout caught on Jurassic Pond near mammoth for fly fishers being guided by sierra drifters

Larry Souza hit this monster on a dry!

Alpine Lakes 5/29/16

Weather has been an issue. Holiday plantings and warmer weather on the way will improve the catching in most areas. Tubers trolling streamers with full sinking lines can get into some fish with persistence. Agent Orange, Crystal Leeches, Loebergs, Spruce-A-Bu’s, and Punk Perch patterns are good calls to use along drop-offs, structures like submerged stumps, and near inlets.

You can pick up my 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.

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

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