A Fish Report for 10/22/16

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 10/22/16

Big rainbows consistently showing at Crowley. One of the best fall seasons I have seen in recent years. Hilton, Sandy, Alligator, & Six Bays are hot spots. 10/31/16 is the last day you may access the marina. The lake closes on 11/15/16. Middle Owens flows have dumped to 80cfs. & the catching has been very good for wading the wild trout section, & guided drift boat trips. Upper Owens River is still running at high levels as the LADWP pulls water from Grant Lake. The bigs are not yet here in numbers; but are staging near the inlet into Crowley Lake. Hot Creek flows are up some due to recent snowfall. Go easy on those recently planted fish if you choose to angle here. East Walker River conditions have improved a little, flows yo-yoing between 25-100 cfs. Pleasant Valley Reservoir fishing pretty good. Levels are currently on the high side making shore access difficult in the transition area near the inlet. River section best right now with dry/dropper rigs. Tubers can do well with streamers if the weather turns nasty at elevation. Alpine Lakes also kicking out some good numbers, with a few nice browns being fooled. The weather is a major factor this time of year as early winter storms can shut down upper elevation fisheries. A major change in air temps and weather patterns is forecast for the end of this month. More seasonal conditions are looming.

We want to thank all of our clients for supporting us. It has been another record summer for us, & we truly appreciate your business, & friendships. It is not always possible to post all of our client pictures on this fish report page. I do my best to put them in our gallery. If we have previously posted your pictures on this page; or you have had a recent guide trip with us, you can always find them by going to the photo gallery and search for your name. 


This is how you cover all the angles on Crowley! These Crowley addicts know that October is prime time for numbers of trophy trout on the fly.

 Crowley Lake 10/22/16

The bite continues to be excellent during warmer/calmer weather periods. This has been one of the best Octobers I can remember. Access to the marina will terminate on 10/31/16, & shore/tube fishing will be open until 11/15/16. The fish have moved around the drop-offs around Hilton Bay, Alligator Pt., Layton Springs, Six Bays, & Sandy Pt. The bite has been excellent along the submerged weeds in the north end also. 10-13 feet is the depth. Fall is the time for tubers to be looking to troll some larger streamers, & perch fry along what remains of the aquatic weed lines, & drop offs. The larger browns, and cutthroats are on the prowl for larger sources of protein to prepare for the lean winter months. Still water nymphing remains the most consistent way to get into big numbers, and quality fish. Hang your flies above a clean mud bottom in close proximity to a hard weed line for consistent action. The fish are primarily hunting the larva close to the bottom. Broken back midges, crystal zebra, or tiger midges (big ones), & leeches  are all good calls while fishing below an “sliding” Under-cator. If you see those midges popping, get out those gillies, broken back gillies, & crystal emergers. These imitate chironomid pupa, the stage prior to becoming a winged adult. My go to rig has been an Assassin; or Drifters Punk Perch #14/16 as the upper, with a dark crystal tiger midge (#14), or broken back copper tiger (#16) as the larva pattern. I had some experienced clients score FIFTY fish in a half day using twin light assassins recently. Keep the tigers 6-12 inches off the deck. I have also been using twin Assassins; or a Punk Perch/Crystal Vandeleech with an Assassin dropper along the weeds. Keep them a foot or more above the bottom. The rookies have been planted in numbers, so treat them with care. You may get into lots of sub-catchable rainbows & browns in some areas like Hilton Bay, or Crooked Creek. ***Special angling regulations begin on 8/1/16 and will continue throughout the remainder of the season on Crowley. The entry gate to the marina opens at 7am instead of 6am now.

This fishery opens last Saturday in April & closes November 15th.


Pretty Kimberly Cappa crushed the bigs on her recent outing with Doug Rodricks. She had numerous large rainbows coming to net while fishing near Layton Springs with Doug Rodricks. Kimberly was using twin Assassins in 12 feet.


Long time friend and Drifter Lonnie Argabright had three days of fantastic fishing on his fall adventure to Crowley. Lonnie had sore arms after numerous battles with jumbo rainbows like this one that took a dark Assassin in 11 feet in Hilton Bay at Crowley.


Pro photographer Mike “Macman” McIntire switched positions to show off this trophy rainbow he got using twin Assassins in the north end.


John Davis used twin Assassins to get into many large rainbows like this around Layton Springs while still water nymphing with Doug Rodricks.


Stephen and David Roesler with a quality double they nailed in Hilton Bay with Jerry Gilpin.


Chris Claussen holding one of many chunky rainbows he got while fishing with Doug Rodricks.


This trophy bow is indicative of how good it has been on Crowley this fall. Gary Tawa had an amazing day while being guided by Dave Carranza.


David Arita had an epic day in Layton Springs while fishing with guide Dave Carranza. This hog was one of many!


Check out this gorgeous rainbow that Amanda Ostasz got while still water nymphing with Jerry Gilpin.


Walt Ostasz hit this thick rainbow in Hilton Bay on Jerry Gilpins guide boat.


Long time Drifter & friend, Mark Poore showing off a rotund brownie he got in Hilton Bay with Doug Dolan.


There is a great fisherman and veteran Drifter behind that sun gaiter! Jay Poore did well as usual with Doug Dolan.


Roger Watts first time fly fishing was memorable. Roger got into a number of trophy trout like this large cutty off Sandy Pt. Assassin/ copper tiger, & zebra midge tandem was the hot rig in twelve feet.

Middle Owens River (Bishop area) 10/22/16

Flows have dumped to 80cfs. This is very low for late October. The bigs are on the prowl thanks to some brood fish being planted. Drift boat trips are consistently landing some trophy rainbows using the “dip & strip” method of streamer fishing.  Good conditions for drifting; however we can only ride two anglers at this release. Wading & crossing are not difficult at rates below 150cfs. Caddis activity will remain solid through late October, with Trico mayflies showing when it begins to cool down in the Owens Valley. It is prime time to book a drift trip as the “catching” is very good currently. Chub & sucker fry will be the primary target for the bigs, so have a selection of streamers like Loebergs, Spruce-A-Bu’s, and Punk Perch with a moderate sinking tip line. Good nymphs to have are Assassins, flash back pheasant tails, Drifters Crawlers, olive crystal caddis, olive dubbed caddis, and broken back tiger/zebra midges.

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


This stunning male rainbow got bested by Paul Fisher while being guided by Phil Therrien. Congrats Paul, beautiful fish!


Gabe Fisher hit some nice rainbows on his drift with Phil Therrien using streamers.


The only thing better than the fishing, was the conversation with my great friend Joe Baffoni, who had a good day using Loebergs on his drift trip with Michael Pouliot.


Scott Beyer escaped the wind in the upper elevations, and had a fantastic drift trip while being guided by Doug Dolan recently.


Check out the girth on this big rainbow Jonathan Jaffery got on his drift with Doug Dolan. Jonathan got into several more bigs using streamers. Congrats buddy.


Don Caswell spanked the bigs on his float down the Owens with Doug Dolan. Great day Don, congrats.


Bako Boy Darren Thornberry did well on his drift with Doug Rodricks. Nice fish DT!


Otto Frenzel is all smiles after he battled this beautiful rainbow to the net on Doug Dolans drift boat.

sean blackshear-10-13-16-2

Sean Blackshear rocked the bigs on his first float down the MO. Doug Dolan guided him.

eric blackshear-10-13-16-1

Eric Blackshears first trout on the fly was this trophy hen caught with Doug Dolan.


Mary Tealdi killed it on her drift trip with Doug Dolan. The bigs have really been on the bite recently.


Lynn Rizer showing off just one of several big rainbows he caught & released while tossing Punk Perch, & Loeberg streamers on his first ever drift trip down the Owens. Pretty fish “tiny Lynn” (inside joke)

Upper Owens River 10/22/16

Fish are staging in the north end of Crowley near the inlet, & expectations are high that the fall migration of browns and rainbows will begin as soon as the weather could down. Flows remain at near 100cfs. Much higher than last year at this time, & more than twice what has been moving for most of this year. The migratory bigs historically show in late October. Conditions are fair downstream from the Benton Bridge due to heavy aquatic weed growth. Upstream from the bridge special regulations apply, & the conditions are better above the confluence of Hot Creek inlets. Fishing has been slow, with mostly smaller planted fish in the calmer pools. Use attractor patterns like crystal eggs, & Drifters Crawlers with plenty of weight. Nymphing below an Under-Cator with Assassins, FB PT’s, & olive crystal caddis will also get you grabs in the pools. The large wildfire that consumed thousands of acres near Big Springs, and the Glass Mountains is now out. Some historic structures at the old Alpers Ranch were destroyed.

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.

Hot Creek 10/22/16

Click on this link to read what the CDFW is now documenting as to how Hot Creek will be managed. In short, HC will be receiving some small sub-catchable sized rainbows and browns on 10/6/16. More fish are slated for next spring. This is a significant change in how HC is being managed since the new laws have been implemented several years ago. Hopefully we will get a solid winter to provide much needed flows.

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.

Hot Creek planting 10/6/16 Hot Creek planting 10/6/16 Hot Creek planting 10/6/16 Hot Creek planting 10/6/16

Thanks to the CDFW, and passionate volunteers for their efforts to get fish planted in Hot Creek. Many 8-10 inch rainbows, & thousands of 4 inch browns have just been put into HC. If we can just get some help from mother nature on the water part…HC will comeback strong next summer. These are very small fish, and will have a long winter to face. Please take it easy on them if you choose to fish HC at all. Several public sections were planted. The Hot Creek Ranch granted access so that we could put fish in upstream from the property line. They were not planted on the ranch proper. Note the deer in the river drinking on lower picture. Drifters guide Doug Rodricks toting buckets back to the mother ship. CDFW biologist Jim Erdman showing the new arrivals their new home.  

Pleasant Valley Reservoir 10/22/16

The reservoir level is high making access difficult in the transition area near the inlet. Brood stock rainbows have been planted recently here.  The small river section can kick out some good numbers of hold over trout, as well as the big boys using dry/dropper rigs, & streamers. Flows have dropped, & this fertile little river can be really fun if you work the harder to reach brush areas accessible when the powerhouse is not generating. I like dry/dropper combos like Stimulators, hi-vis mayfly, or caddis as the upper. Use smaller Assassins, FB PT’s, or crystal tiger midges as the nymphs. Tubers can have a blast here as well, & it is a great place to fish as a back up spot for Crowley if the weather becomes nasty up the hill. Use full sinking; or heavy sink tips to get down ten feet quickly. Loebergs, Crystal Leeches, Agent Orange, Spruce-A-Bu’s, & Punk Perch will get you grabs.

This fishery is open year around.

The Gorge 10/22/16

Prime time now hat it is cooling down some in the Owens Valley.Flows are great at 52cfs. Use caddis adults, Hi-vis caddis, or para hi-vis mayflies as your upper fly. Good dropper nymphs  are # 18 Assassin nymphs, or FB PT’s. Cooler temps improving conditions. Good call during weekends, or holidays.

Season open year around

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

Bridgeport Reservoir 10/22/16

No reports. The lake is very green from fall turnover. The Bridgeport Marina & RV Park are now closed until next season.

This fishery opens last Saturday in April & closes November 15th.

East Walker River 10/22/16

Flows vacillating between 25-100cfs. Water is off color; but not bad. Fishing has been fair-slow.

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

West Walker River 10/22/16

No reports. Water conditions are good, & clarity has improved recently.


This fishery opens last Saturday in April & closes November 15th in some sections, open year around along HWY 395. Check regulations for specific info. 

San Joaquin River 10/22/16

No reports. 

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

This fishery opens last Saturday in April & closes November 15th. Access is prone to weather/road closures, & may not allow entry during open periods of the season.

Jurassic Pond 10/22/16

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. We will stop guiding here in late October unless the weather remains exceptionally warm.

This is private water, and access is by permission from Tom Loe of Sierra Drifters Guide Service.


Sharon Souza got this 32 inch, twenty pound troutzilla after a twenty minute battle that took her into backing several times. The fly fish’n Souza family of Larry & Rob did net, & hold duty for her. Congrats Shar!


Robbie Souza has caught some unreal fish on Jurassic Pond in 2016. Check out this exceptional rooster that taped at 29 inches.

Tim Campbell with Tom Loe 10/16/16

Tim Campbell wanted to get a double digit rainbow for his trout bucket list. This twenty nine incher took a punk perch pattern. Bravo Tim!

Aaron Campbell 10/16/16

Aaron Campbell came from Ohio to see what lurks in Jurassic. Here is just one of the beasts he caught.

Scott Campbell 10/16/16

Scott Campbell came back to “arm” dance with the monsters at Jurassic. He had a blast!


Tommy Knoth made his second annual trip to Jurassic Pond for his fix on giants. He was not denied! Tom slammed many bigs, including this measured thirty two incher!


Fall is monster brown time at Jurassic Pond. Mark Pierce got this 27 inch male on an Assassin pattern.

Alpine Lakes 10/22/16

Fresh snow on the ground in many locations. The trees are glowing, & the scenery is amazing! Fall is prime time to get that huge brown in the upper elevation alpine fisheries.  I hear that a nineteen lb. brown was C & R at Grant by a fly fisher!  Tubers trolling streamers with full sinking lines can get into some larger fish while targeting drop-offs, inlets, & structure. 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. Try dry dropper rigs using hi-vis mayfly patterns as your indicator/dry fly while suspending a small midge, Killa-baetis or Assassin nymph below it 2-3 feet during low light periods. The wild brookies and browns can be fooled using this technique during the warmer summer months.

These fisheries open the last Saturday in April & close November 15th. Weather related closures may prohibit access during otherwise open periods of the trout season.

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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