Guided fly fishing trips for the 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 drift boats, snow mobiles, and fly fishing tackle to guide you on these blue ribbon trout waters.
This could be you! Gino Valpredo tight to an “Upper Owens snow bow” with a spectacular back drop. The winter run of trophy rainbows is peaking, with February being one of the best months to get into a fish of a lifetime. Book this extraordinary trip with us, and learn how to catch the finest fish the Sierra has to offer.
Quick look fish report 2/7/16
Winter is outta here for an extended period. Above average air temps with no precipitation forecast for the next ten days. Upper Owens has been very good for quality rainbows. Roads are a mess, 4 X 4 needed to access upper sections. Flows coming up a tad; with off color water at times during warm cycles. Middle Owens flows trending upward, now 100cfs. BWO hatch triggering excellent action around the upper sections near Pleasant Valley Reservoir. Drift boat trips fair/good for numbers in sections down from Hwy. 6 crossing. Fair/good reports from still water fly fishers at Pleasant Valley Reservoir. Tubing best for numbers of planters, with a few wild browns in the mix. Gorge, & river section immediately down from the power house pretty fun using dry/dropper bead head rigs with mayfly imitations. Hot Creek seeing a bump in flows that have improved overall conditions. Mayfly action picking up with the warmer weather. Turbidity may be an issue next week due to snow melt. East Walker flows still low, bite picking up in limited water.
***Rate increase after March 15th , 2016. I am offering a special deal for those clients that wish to buy guide trips at current rates for future trips this spring and summer. We will honor current rates until March 15th, 2016. Buy a trip; or gift cert, and secure your next fishing adventure at lower, current prices. Our rates have not gone up in over a decade, & we must keep up with rising overhead costs. Thank you for your patronage, & support in advance.***
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Upper Owens River 2/7/16
Warmer weather on the way for an extended period. This will cause flows to come up moderately due to run-off. Turbidity can be significant especially below the confluence of Hot Creeks inlets, & the irrigation canals. Snow and ice present on the roads that take you to the river. The deeper ruts on the two track roads have deep water, & soft mud. All wheel drive, higher clearance vehicles necessary to safely take you in. The ground will be frozen in the morning, then thaw afternoon making the roads difficult to navigate. I saw 5 vehicles stuck last week. Crowds in the lower section have been very heavy. Fishing has been excellent for jumbo Crowley Steelhead. Fish have spread out recently, adding additional habitat for those bigs to hide. On the warmer days the smaller resident fish go on the bite. First generation BWO’s, & small midges are triggering some feeding activity around 2pm. Most popular attractor patterns will get you looks from 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, & FB PT’s will replicate this hatch, and nymph stage of this cold water mayfly. Use smaller broken back midges, crystal tiger & zebra midges for nymphing. Parachute adult midges will get you looks when the fish are feeding on the “clusters” late afternoons. Please don’t squeeze the egg laden hens near the belly. That will cause the roe to discharge prematurely. Air temperatures below ten degrees can “flash freeze” the gills if you keep the fish out of water for more than a minute. Look for oval depressions that appear brighter, or scraped clean on the riffles below pools. These are active spawning nests; or “redds” and you must avoid stepping on them.
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.
The Bako boys are back in the report. Steve & George Clerou, owners of Clerou tire in Bakersfield (I get the MT tires that take me into the quagmire that the UO currently is from them) with a memorable father and son double. Good stuff happening up here right now friends.
The icing on the cake! George Clerou got this awesome hen on his last stop. Fun times buddy, thanks.
Steve had a great day, landing a high percentage of his takes. Nice shooting man.
George had his best day ever on the UO. Bako boys can fish baby!
I don’t use the word EPIC very often; but Mike Amatisto and Brad Jenkins had a day that well deserves this label. It was as good as it gets for these two veteran Drifters.
Brad Jenkins with an exceptional male snow bow that punctuated an “EPIC” day on the UO.
Mike Amatisto-“Pinch me, this must be a dream” Extraordinary day my friend, congrats.
Mr. Amatisto “this was the best day fishing I have ever had” Mike banged out FIFTEEN of these beasts.
Bradley with another slammer. High fives man!
Mikey absolutely punished the fish.
Glenn Inouye got this extraordinary rooster in a small slot that required some special mends. Great stick work buddy.
When a great stick, & good bite collide-you get fish like this. Bishop local Glenn Inouye showing off a beautiful Crowley Steelhead. Nice work sir.
I think the “road kill hat” was the key to Robert Hernandez success. Atta boy Robbie. That is a nice one!
That smile on Rob’s face should tell it all. Great day buddy, thanks again.
Glenn with another Crowley chromer. Fun day man, thanks.
When you see me post “multiple doubles” I suggest you get in touch for a trip with us. Don Klahs with son in law Matt Camara, share a special fly fishing moment. Bravo guys, well done.
Mark Perez with a bedazzling snow bow. These rainbows are by far and away the most beautiful fish in the Sierra.
The “fireman” was on fire! super fish Mark, way to stick them.
Matt Camara with a stunning snow bow. High fives buddy, you rocked them!
Matt did fantastic for his first time fly fishing.
Don Klahs has been on the fish all winter. Check out the girth on this hen.
Mr. Klahs with another trophy snow bow. Congrats Don, you are doing great buddy.
Rising turbid water, gusty winds, rain, and freezing temps could not keep stand out Kern River fly Fisher & Bako boy Rich Arner from nailing this trophy “snow bow”. Way to hang Rich. Super fish!
Kern River Fly Fisher, & Bako Boy Greg Anzalone stuck this awesome buck in horrid conditions.
Middle Owens River (Bishop area) 2/7/16
We could see 70 degrees next week in the Owens Valley. In my humble opinion the very best time of year to fish the Middle Owens is upon us. The cold water mayfly called the “blue winged olive” thrives on the MO, & it’s emergence peaks in late winter through early spring. When air temps are above freezing at daybreak, look for a significant hatch to begin late morning. It can last as long as 4 hours; but typically peaks after 90 minutes around mid-day this time of year. 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 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 larva patterns, #20/22 gillies or crystal midge pupa/emerger imitations, & #18 broken back tiger or zebra midges are good calls for colder days. Have some parachute midge adult profiles when it gets cold, the fish will look for midge clusters if the BWO’s don’t come off. Flows continue at low releases; but are already trending upwards and are at 100cfs. now. I predict March will be very different this year compared to the last several springs. Flows may be blown out as Crowley is very full, and the winter snowpack above average. Drift boat trips have been better recently with good numbers of smaller planted rainbows, and a few wild browns in the counts. The fish are smaller this year on average, with trophy sized fish MIA so far. The drought had a huge impact on the MO as well as other fisheries, & I believe we had fish kills last summer as water temps and low flows combined to make for lethal conditions for trout on the lower sections of the river around Bishop. The stocking of larger fish from the CDFW, & tourism entities in this area is not occurring thus far either. Guided drift boat trips are a great way to get into secluded sections of the river, & get into good numbers of rainbows. 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, & Spruce-A-Bu’s if it gets cold.
This fishery remains open year around. Special regs from the footbridge at Pleasant Valley campground to the fishing monument 4.7 miles downstream.
Vic Davis put down his wrenches for a day, and got into his first trout on the fly. Vic hooked a bunch of fish on his drift trip using punk perch and Loeberg streamers.
Dan Finn and Harry Munn with a nice double they got with Doug Dolan on a recent drift trip. These guys spanked the numbers.
Hot Creek 2/7/16
Look for this warming trend to trigger a consistent mayfly hatch. We experienced the first “turbidity condition” of 2016 recently. With all the low elevation snow this winter, the crick will be prone to off color, rapidly rising water during periods of warmer days where it remains above freezing, or it rains. There is some snow in the canyon, & on the access road to the NFS gate. On warmer days the “catching” has improved overall. Midges, scuds, & attractor patterns are best during winter months. #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.
Pleasant Valley Reservoir 2/7/16
Lake levels are stable and currently high (4388′) making access more difficult in the sweet spot near the transition from the stream to the lake. At this level the water line is close to the trees. Fish this transition into the lake; or small river section below the powerhouse using dry/dropper rigs. The short river section has been best for numbers of smaller planted rainbows, with some wild browns. 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. “Freeze Tubing” the section from the launch ramp, up to the inlet section is the best. Streamers like Loebergs, Agent Orange, Crystal leeches, & Spruce-A-Bu’s will get you into some decent browns, & holdover 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” 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.Little, or no hydro power generation recently. The LADWP will “flush” the feeder pipe out periodically to remove ice build up, and stagnant water. This can put the fish down until it stabilizes.
This fishery is open year around.
The Gorge 2/7/16
The BWO hatch is in full swing on the warmer days here. Fishing can be quite good during warmer cycles 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 Special thanks to Crowley local James Parker for keeping us informed on this complicated situation.
Season open year around
East & West Walker Rivers 2/7/16
Flows continue at winter levels. Bite picking up in limited water, look for those BWO’s to bust loose during this warming cycle.
You can pick up my flies & Under-cators at Reagan’s Sports in Bishop, the Crowley General Store (not at the lake), Rick’s Sport Center in Mammoth Lakes, Bridgeport Reservoir RV Park, 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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