Sierra Drifters Fish Report for 11/30/16

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.


Your Easten Sierra Fishing Report 11/30/16

The Upper Owens still has a few areas with some snow, & ice on the access roads. 4 X 4 vehicles are fine, and 2 wheel drive vehicles can now get in with caution. Morning temps have been in the low teens to single digits this week. An approaching cold front may bring some light snowfall to the area this week, with mild temps and plenty of sunshine through the weekend. The weather pattern will return to cold temperatures and the possibility of more snow at least for the start of next week. There are some great migratory fish holding in select pools; but overall it is slow, with a significant decline in numbers this week.  Middle Owens bite has been fair/slow; still producing some quality rainbows on drift trips. Flows are low, 75cfs. in the wild trout section. East Walker flows are still holding at winter releases at 28cfs. The catching has been slow. Pleasant Valley Reservoir fair/poor. Inlet, and river section spotty. Tubing best around launch ramp towards inlet. Hot Creek has been planted with small rainbows, & browns. Water conditions fair, bite can be good for smalls, and some larger fish are now showing up in the mix. The Gorge is open year around, and is fishing fair/good during warmer periods. Work being done in Lower Gorge. Dry/dropper rigs work well here. 

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 searching for your name. 

upper owens 11/27/16

Shot taken on 11/27/16. by far the most beautiful time of year to fish the UO.


Middle Owens River (Bishop area) 11/30/16

The “catching” has been on the slow side in most sections. The name of the game currently is covering water to find these fish. There are some nice sized fish holding in some of the deeper pools currently. Cooler weather to settle in this week. Small mayflies, midges, & the last generation of caddis are still emerging daily, and it can be a blast with a 3-weight rod when you locate a pod of surface feeders. Hi-vis para mayflies, & caddis adults used as your upper fly; with dropper bead head nymphs like Assassins, flashback PT’s, olive dubbed crystal caddis, & tiger midges can be effective in the deeper tailouts, and brush lined slots. The bulk of the fish are holding in the deeper pits during the cooler periods of the day, so add some weight, & attach an Under-Cator to your nymph rigs to get down to the trout lying in these holes. At times you will find fish holding in some of the shallow gravel areas along the banks. We have had a consistent run of large rainbows this fall using streamer patterns like Spruce-A-Bu’s, Loebergs, & Seal Buggers, and Punk Perch. Light sinking tip lines are adequate to get your imitations down to these rascals that are staging up in the tailouts of the larger pools. Numbers have been down on recent drift boat trips due to a lack of fish stocking. Flows have dropped to 75cfs. forcing the trout to migrate into the deeper pools.


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


Tough day of looking for them for the trio of Jeff Hammond, Ben Hammond, and Jeff Harlan, but they found them!


Jeff Harlan and Ben Hammond show off their quality double on their drift trip! Way to get ’em boys!


Russ hit this rainbow early in his day. What a great start!


Then he struck again to fool this pig into biting. High fives for both of them Russ!


Kim Gerads first fish on the fly is a trophy! High fives Kim! Doug Dolan was her guide.


Brendon Cheng took big fish honors on his annual float trip with his gal Rebecca Craig. This buck took a Spruce-A-Bu streamer. Nice job on a slow day buddy.


Quality, not quantity for Dennis O’Hearn on his drift with Doug Dolan. Nice rainbow Dennis!


This beautiful rainbow took a Loeberg cast by Brad Young of the four fish-ca-teers.


Big fish honors went to Steve Brockmeyer for the first annual four “fish-ca-teems” drift boat classic. Congrats buddy, thanks again.


Yves Sallaberry came from France to to drift the Owens, and got into some quality rainbows using Spruce-A-Bu streamers.

Upper Owens River 11/30/16

Access is ok with all wheel drive vehicles; but there are some ruts that might get a low ground clearance car stuck. There are some big Crowley Steelhead, but most of the browns are headed back to the lake. It is very similar to steelhead fishing currently. You must cover some ground to find the fish here. The big rainbows are relocating almost daily in some areas of the river, but once you find them they are willing to bite a proper presentation. Long casts are required at times to avoid spooking them, especially in the clear water areas above the confluence of Hot Creek. The numbers of migratory rainbows have thinned out, but we should begin to see a new push of fish once Crowley Lake begins its freeze. Single digit air temps will keep ice in the rod guides until 10/11am for an extended period. You can fish year around above the Benton Bridge with special angling restrictions. The sections below Hot Creeks inlets have some aquatic weed that makes nymphing difficult. The fish are spread out, & spooky. Make your stream side approaches quietly, & on their tails. Keeping a low profile is necessary to avoid spooking them.  Flows have dropped considerably; with current levels being 50cfs. Attractor patterns, & streamers are good calls for migratory trout. Drifters Crawlers, crystal eggs, San Juan Worms, crystal leeches, & Assassins are my go to nymphs below an Under-Cator. 


Veteran client Kevin Oberon displaying some typical “Crowley Steel” on his recent trip.


Single digit morning temps are not an understatement kids. Here’s Brian Cofield displaying some sheet ice from the river.

scott weller 11/27/16

The first snow of the year fell on the UO; but it was not enough to keep Scott Weller from getting a beautiful Crowley Steelhead. This fish took a dark Assassin/crystal leech combo.

Jeremy Indes 11/25/16

Jeremy Indes started his day out with back to back bigs in one hole. Good job in the frigid weather buddy.

Jeremy Indes 11/25/16

This big hen took a Drifters Crawler for Jeremy.

brian luna 11/22/16

Brian Luna had a great first day nymphing with our special techniques. Quality browns like this one are now holding in the deeper slots, & pools. Nice job buddy!

brian luna 11/22/16

Brian got into a few super Crowley Steelhead also. We started the day at 7 degrees!

Rob Case 11/18/16

Rob Case showing off a true Crowley Steelhead. This rooster took a Drifters Crawler fished while nymphing below an Under-Cator. Nice specimen ya got there Rob!

Brad Young 11/18/16

The ice was still in the guides, & on the “guide” when Brad Young hit this rotund hen on a crystal egg pattern.

Jeff Hudson 11/10/16

Jeff Hudson made the news on the Upper Owens. The migration happens seemingly overnight. This big rooster took a crystal egg cluster fished with a Drifters Crawler as the attractor. Bravo Hud, way to stick them!

Randy Mikuriya with Jeff Hudson 11/10/16

Randy & Jeff took turns banging a number of bigs out of a deeper hole, with this Crowley Steelhead being the queen of the pool.

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 11/30/16

Some snow, & ice in the canyon. Very cold air temps predicted for this week. Fishing is pretty good for smaller rainbows, and dinky browns that have been recently planted. A few larger browns have shown up for the spawn recently with a good number of mediums sized ones. Please exercise good judgement if you choose to fish for them as these fish have really undergone stressful conditions over these past drought years. Remember, they are the future of this great fishery.  The smaller fish have acclimated, & are eager to hit most nymphs and dries.  Click on this link to read what the CDFW is now documenting as to how Hot Creek will be managed. HC has been recently planted with thousands of sub-catchable rainbows and browns. 

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.

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.  Here I am taking a moment to watch these young fish adapt to their new home.

Pleasant Valley Reservoir 11/30/16

Fishing has been slow due to lack of stocking. The reservoir level is up close to the tree line, making access difficult in the transition section. The small river section can kick out fair numbers of hold over trout 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. If you fish the mid-day/afternoon hatches, you can cut the dropper off and go straight to a dry fly when the fish are surface feeding. Tubers can get into some fish around the boat launch ramp towards the inlet. 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.

Jeff Hudson 11/15/16

Jeff Hudson used a para hi-vis BWO with an Assassin dropper to get into some nice browns in the river section that leads into PVR. This “two pronged” technique is deadly for shallow riffle water, and fishing pockets behind large mid-stream boulders.

This fishery is open year around.

The Gorge 11/30/16

Work being done in the lower section near the powerhouse. Flows are low. Use Mayfly adults, Hi-vis caddis, or para hi-vis mayflies as your upper fly. Go to dropper nymphs  are # 18 Assassin nymphs, or FB PT’s. It can be a hike to get down there, but there are many wild fish that will gladly rise to the occasion.

Season open year around

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

East Walker River 11/30/16

  Fishing has been fair-slow. Flows are down and now at 28cfs. You will have to target the deepest pools in the river to get into the quality size fish here.

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

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. Doug Rodricks, Sierra Drifters Guide Service.



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