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 8/26/16
Middle Owens getting juicy with much improved conditions! Flows have plummeted to 250cfs and trending down. Caddis activity will be great during mornings and late afternoons. Still on the high side for wading & crossing in the wild trout section. As air temps cool, the bite will heat up. Time to book those drift boat trips, September will be good. Crowley Lake kicking out bigs daily. McGee & North Arm most consistent. Algae is present in both areas depending on wind direction. Upper Owens fishing best in the Long Years section above the Benton Bridge. Nymphing the deeper holes with attractor patterns will get you into a few planted rainbows that have moved up from the campground area. Hot Creek flows are lowering, weeds becoming a major issue. Dry fly fishing best with caddis & hoppers. San Joaquin water getting skinny as well. Focus on the deepest pools and runs using attractor dries; or terrestrials. East Walker flows down to 75cfs. Water is off color with free floating weed. Cooler morning temps in all alpine regions now in the forecast. Hatchery trucks seeding the Alpine Lakes, and drive to freestone creeks for the holiday weekend. Water conditions are pretty good in most of the popular areas. With cooler air temps on the horizon, look at Pleasant Valley Reservoir, & the Gorge for early fall destinations. Dry & cooler forecast for the Sierra through the Labor Day weekend.
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Crowley Lake 8/26/16
The lake is experiencing early fall turnover with a significant algae bloom now occurring. It can be tough to keep those flies clean at times depending on wind direction for any given section of the lake. The North Arm near Green Banks, & McGee Bay by the inlet have been the most consistent. With the lake level dropping steadily to early season levels, we are seeing a solid midge hatch during the high pressure periods as the sub-surface mud line becomes fertile once again. The larger fish continue to hunt the perch fry and last of the damsel nymphs; but with the increased midge activity, one can fish chironomid patterns with consistent results again. The overall fishing is pretty good this August. We are having some slow periods largely due to south/east winds, & a stubborn algae bloom that is hanging around this summer. The submerged aquatic weeds are now protruding making the deeper weed lines easy to identify. I have witnessed some double digit browns chasing the small stocked rainbows in McGee recently. Tubers should be looking to troll some larger streamers, & perch fry/damsel nymphs along the weed lines. Chironomid hatches are picking up the last week as water levels continue to fall. 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), and damsel nymphs 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. My go to rig near the weeds 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. Keep the tigers 6-12 inches off the deck. I have also been using twin Assassins; or a Punk Perch with an Assassin dropper along the weeds. Keep them a foot or more above the bottom. The rookies are being 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.
Years of experience, & a great bite collided for Scott Linkletter. He had an epic day in the north end using a punk perch, & assassin rig fished along the weeds in the north end. Four casts produced four twenty plus inchers at one point on his trip.
Mr. Linkcredible had an epic day in the north end.
Best selling author (Angels Gate, & Reaper Six) Andy Rafkin took some time off making the movies from his books to fish Crowley. He got this sweet brown on a twin Assassin rig in the north arm.
Perry “PCP” Obray made his first venture to Crowley a great one. This big rainbow smashed an assassin/crystal zebra midge tandem along the weeds in McGee Bay.
We had to cover the whole lake to find some biters; but persistence paid off for Ron Obray as he hit a handful of nice cutty’s in as many casts!
The hot rig for long time Drifter Scott Harrington was a punk perch & assassin combo. The big bows are on the prowl!
Alex Corsaro set on this huge rainbow for his first fish of the day on his annual trip to Crowley. The fish took an Assassin along the weeds in McGee Bay.
Big rainbows are showing daily in the north end. Bob Demers had a great day with Two Bug Doug Dolan.
Michael Tucker got some nice fish with Doug Dolan’s guidance. Early fall is a good time to get into nice cutthroat like this one.
Veteran Crowley fly fisher Ian Campbell got this big cutty while being guided by Phil Therrien in McGee Bay.
Tim Hobin with a rotund brown he got off North Landing with Jerry Gilpin.
Young gun Nathan Hill did fantastic on his first trip to Crowley. This slammer took an duel Assassin rig fished tight to the weeds in the north end. Fun day with this fly fish’N youngster.
Seasoned Drifters veteran Todd Yamada hit this stunning rainbow that ripped off a bunch of backing on a punk perch/assassin rig fished along the weeds in the north end.
Carl Nosek & Gayle Soskolne smashed the bigs in the north end with guide Jerry Gilpin. Great brown Carl.
This beautiful bow was caught and released by Art Baker in the north end while being guided by Doug Dolan. Nice fish Art!
Upper Owens River 8/26/16
Not much change here, except the mornings are cooling off. Conditions are poor 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. Grasshopper activity slowing down. Use a stimulator with a bead head nymph like an Assassin, FB PT, olive crystal caddis; or olive zebra midge as a dropper. You will also see a decent caddis hatch, although I have not seen a great surface charge in a few trips here. Hi-vis caddis adult patterns used with a dropper can also get grabs. The water levels are very low above HC, & the irrigation canal inlets. You will find most of the planted rainbows, and wild browns in the deepest pools and pockets. There are a few nicer rainbows hanging around that are best fooled by attractor patterns like the “Drifters Crawler” and crystal eggs. A strange thing this season are the migration of Sacramento Perch moving up the river. You may get into quite a few of them in the deeper pools.
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.
Ian Campbell got this one on a well executed drift off the “far side” with some nice mends. These planted rainbows make up most of the catchable trout population this time of year on the Upper Owens. Those that “run the bait gauntlet” below the Benton Bridge will move upstream and begin to get some nice color.
Ian Campbell did well in the deeper pools using “ham and eggs” fished below an Under-Cator.
Middle Owens River (Bishop area) 8/26/16
Much improved conditions here as the flows have come down to 250cfs. If this trend continues the “catching” will be very good after Labor Day in the wild trout section, & for drift boat trips. You can bank on low flows by October with excellent conditions. I would not hesitate to book a drift trip this fall as I believe the “catching” will be very good early on. At release rates above 250cfs. this river is tough to wade, & cross. You will see caddis, damsel, & PMD hatches through the fall here. 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.
Hot Creek 8/26/16
Fishing has been fair/slow this summer. The slower fishing can be directly attributed to the lack of planting from the HC hatchery. This is the primary reason HC is not kicking out the numbers it once did. HC is now being managed as a wild trout fishery only, and new practices are not allocating the planting of additional trout here. You may still get into some decent fish in the deeper weed free sections using scuds, Assassins, and smaller olive crystal caddis, or dubbed olive caddis larva patterns while nymphing the deeper pockets that are weed free. Caddis adults and hoppers are best for surface action.
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.
This is the “Interpretive” site and the confluence of Mammoth Creek into HC located just below the hatchery. The flows emanating from the several ground water springs that feed HC proper are at the lowest levels in decades. This section only a couple years ago had well over a hundred trout visible on this bend. I did not see a single fish here on this visit.
Pleasant Valley Reservoir 8/26/16
If the power house stops generating for an extended period this can be a good option. As temps cool look for the small river section to kick out some good numbers of hold over trout. 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.
This fishery is open year around.
The Gorge 8/26/16
Best time to fish this area is mid-September, through May. Flows are great at 52cfs. ; but it is very warm here by late morning.
Season open year around
Bridgeport Reservoir 8/26/16
Water is on the green side from algae. Fly fishers are reporting slow fishing. Trollers fishing the deeper section near the dam are getting into some planted rainbows.
This fishery opens last Saturday in April & closes November 15th.
East Walker River 8/26/16
Water is a off color with some free floating weed. The cooler mornings have improved overall conditions making the fish more active. Some bigs are becoming easier to reach as the flows have lowered. The flows are now trending downward, & below 100cfs. There remain issues with aquatic weeds in the slower sections. Focus on the deeper pockets & pools. The slower runs are choked with weed. Heavily weighted nymph rigs fished in the faster riffle water downstream will get you a shot at a larger browns. Attractor patterns like Drifters Crawlers, & SJ worms can get the bigs to move. Strong caddis, midge, mayfly, & damsel fly hatches are going off. Try larger Assassins, FB PT’s. and damsel nymphs. Hi-vis caddis, and hoppers are targets for surface feeders. Lob some Loebergs, Punk Perch, or damsel nymph streamers for a shot at bad LeRoy brown during low light periods.
This fishery is open year around below the Bridgeport Reservoir dam to Nevada State line. Open year a in Nevada also.
Check this trophy brownie out that Matt Figel bested while being guided by Two Bug Doug Dolan. Great fish guys, congrats.
Our great friend and long time Drifter Ronnie Guidone nailed this big rainbow on a “wicked worm” tied by Doug Dolan.
West Walker River 8/26/16
Water clarity/flows are good now. Fish the rifles, & pocket water near Pikel Meadows, or Chris Flats sections. A deadly rig for this area is a dry/dropper using Stimulators, or hi-vis caddis and mayfly imitations as the upper fly. Tie on bead head tiger midges, Assassins, or FB PT’s as your nymph about 2-4 feet below the dry.
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 8/26/16
Fishing remains pretty good here; but water levels are getting skinny as we move into late summer. I like to fish hi-vis mayfly; or caddis patterns with a bead head dropper nymph like an Assassin, FB PT, or tiger midge. The riffles are best fished with high riding dries like stimulators, parachute ant patterns, foam beetles, & attractor adults. I suggest you have a stout wading staff even though the flows are down.
The run-off is over and conditions are great on the San Joaquin.
*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 8/26/16
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. Summer session are booking fast. Contact us for availability please.
This is private water, and access is by permission from Tom Loe of Sierra Drifters Guide Service.
Congrats to Rob Souza for taming this beast. This beast catapulted out of the water a few times, and ripped line into backing. We measured this giant at thirty two inches on the button. Esteemed weight of twenty two pounds. Rob crushed the fish on JP. High fives buddy.
Priscilla Pulido got into some great fish with this 29 incher being her best of the day. Way to cast those pearls kiddo!
This one taped at thirty inches for Robbie. Stunning color!
Icing on the cake for Rob & Priscilla.
All bow to the king! Vic Davis got bad Leroy Brown while nymphing the inlet to Jurassic Pond. You won’t find browns like this anywhere else. Sorry Deeann, he got you this time!
Alpine Lakes 8/26/16
These lakes are highly dependent on planted trout, & the bite will be related to how many fish are stocked during your visit. Check CDFW/resort planting schedules to get the latest updates. Labor Day should see a good jag of fresh rainbows put in for many popular lakes. Tubers trolling streamers with full sinking lines can get into some 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.
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Thanks for reading my report. be the fly….Tom Loe, Sierra Drifters Guide Service
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