A Fish Report for 9/2/15

Fly fishing trips on the waters of Crowley Lake, Silver Lake, the Upper and Middle Owens Rivers, Pleasant Valley Reservoir, Hot Creek, & the San Joaquin River 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, and fly fishing tackle to guide you on these blue ribbon trout waters.


Quick look fish report 9/2/15


McGee Bay at Crowley went bananas again! We got us a honey hole chocked full of big cutthroats. Chironomids emerged in mass 9/1. North end has slowed; but still has quality fish at times. San Joaquin very low water, fishing fair at best. West Walker low; but very fishable. I like dry/dropper rigs in the deeper sections. Hot Creek is tough, flows continue to be very low. East Walker has dropped to twenty cfs. Fish elsewhere. Upper Owens the best moving water in the area-use a hopper and a dropper. A few bigs moving up from Crowley. Some of the alpine lakes have trophy rainbows; it is slow overall for numbers in most. Streamers are good calls with a full sinking line. Road work continues on Rock Creek Lake, & Convict. Middle Owens continues to have flows around 100cfs. Cooler weather this weekend will improve water conditions soon. For now-fish early, or late afternoons. The “Rough Fire” near Kings Canyon is bringing heavy smoke at times to the region. It is only partially contained with over 60,000 acres burnt so far.


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 9/2/15

McGee Bay has got some jumbo cutthroats, & we have the honey hole wired! The west wind cleaned the water up along the weed lines, & brought the bigs into 12-14 feet. Huge midge hatch before the south wind whipped up the white caps. The wide open bite has slowed in the north end. Still good at times along North Landing with another concentration of fish around Sandy Pt. providing some bendo. Have patience and wait for the fish to cruise by, especially if you are fishing the hard weed edges. The aquatic weeds are protruding now (16 feet) making it easier to identify the hard weed edges. Spot up along these weed lines. 14-17 feet is the sweet spot in the north end. Shallower in McGee. Still water nymphing with chironomids, & perch fry imitations has been the hot ticket. My go to rig has been an Assassin as the upper with a long shank dark zebra as the larva. The CDFW has begun it’s planting of sub-catchables here. Thousands of juvenile cutthroats & rainbows have been planted. Crowley is managed as a “put & grow fishery” due to it’s potent ability to grow fish. Water clarity is fine; some algae can drift through when the winds blows east for a spell. Crystal emergers and pupa patterns #18, gillies #18 & 20, crystal tiger midges both dark, and copper #14 through 18 along with their articulated brethren the “broken back midges” #16 and 18.  Try the BB dark zebra, or the long shank crystal zebra midge as your lower fly in deeper water. Articulated patterns like broken backs work well when you have “texture” from the wind on the surface. Try hanging an assassin, or punk perch #14/16 as your upper fly along a weed line. The Under-cator strike detector “slides” if you wish to make it easier for you to fish deeper water.  If you prefer tugging streamers from a tube -use a light sinking tip and have some damsel nymphs, crystal leeches #12, or #16 & 14 punk perch streamer patterns. Look for those aggressive boils around the weed lines in 16 feet. These are the predatory trout feeding on the damsel nymphs & small perch fry.

hills 9-2-15 - 4

Ron & Rick Hill absolutely slayed them in McGee Bay. The big cutt’s were on the prowl scarfing midges, & Doug Rodricks used the best chironomid pupa pattern around “the Gillie” put numerous twenty plus cutthroats on their fins. 

george conway 8-30-15 - 5

George Conway got back to back slams during a red hot bite in McGee Bay using Assassins & dark zebra midge tandem rigs.

george conway 8-29-15 - 8

It was every cast for over three hours in McGee Bay for George Conway. The bigs were on the prowl in 12-13 feet.

brett & charlie 8-30-15 - 1

Another one Charlie? Charles was bendo dang near every cast during a red hot morning bite in McGee. All three species of trout moved into 12-15 feet. Doug R. was using Assassins and dark zebra midge tandem rigs.

brett & charlie 8-30-15 - 2

Brett Edmondson got into a red hot morning bite in McGee with Doug Rodricks. The bigs moved in along the weeds to hunt perch fry.


Way to go Charlie Ginsburg! That is a slammer. The cutthroat have been the most voracious biters in the north end as of late. Two Bug Doug doing the hold.


Ben Cohen nailed this nice cutty with Doug Dolan in the north end.

ed williams 8-27-15 - 5

Long time Drifter Ed Williams showing off a pretty rainbow that smacked an Assassin along the weeds at Sandy Pt.

ed williams 8-27-15 - 4

Big Ed hit some very nice browns off Sandy Pt. on Assassins & tiger midge combos.

mike & kimberly 8-26-15 - 2

Mike Shannon had his best day of fly fishing getting into some nice browns like this near Layton Springs.


Quality fish, for a quality individual.  Mark Poore did well hanging Assassins and zebra midges in the north end off of Doug Dolans fish magnet.

bruce - 1

Been fish’n with Bruce Blumenthal for many years. You know it’s going to be a great day when your first fish is a twenty inch rainbow! Bruce & family crushed them for their Crowley reunion trip recently using Assassins & brown back tiger midges off Green Banks.

blumenthals 8-25-15 - 13

Pretty Emily Blumenthal took big fish honors with this awesome rainbow she caught on a broken back tiger midge in the north end.

blumenthals 8-25-15 - 6

I have had the honor of fishing with Jefferson Blumenthal since he was knee high to a grasshopper! Jeff had a great day with his family along the weeds in the north end.


Dan Dolan got the Crowley slam back to back fishing Assassins and midges along the weeds in the north end.


You know its good when the guides call their family & friends up to fish on their days off. Dan Dolan got into numerous trophy fish like this awesome cutty near Green Banks.

constantine 8-24-15 - 8

Lorraine Constantine had back to back cutthroats take her into the backing. This one took a light Assassin in the north end. Husband Ed helping out with the hold. Note the bent rod on Two Bug Doug’s boat in the back ground. It has been steady in the north end.

constantine 8-24-15 - 2

This quality brown got Ed Constantine his grand slam along the weeds in the north end using a light Assassin & BB tiger midge combo.


Impressive rainbows like this slug long time Drifter Steve Reich fooled, are showing on a regular basis. Doug Dolan put him on the bigs in the north end.


Sharon Wilson fooled this nice cutty with Two Bug Doug along the weeds in the north end.


It has been a special year for large rainbows on Crowley. Susmith Mukund will attest to it! Doug Dolan set him up in the north end and Susmith delivered!


First time timer to Crowley Susmith Mukund rode with Doug Dolan and got into a bunch of beautiful fish like this glowing cutthroat. 

david crabtree 8-23-15 - 1

David Crabtree hit this long and lean cutthroat using a light Assassin along the hard weed lines in the north arm while fishing with Doug Rodricks.

frank u tyler k 8-22-15 - 1

The big cutts just keep on coming. Frank Ugsumi with a deep bodied fish that took an Assassin along the weed lines. Doug Rodricks was his guide.

frank u tyler k 8-22-15 - 2

Tyer Kizu got this rotund cutthroat fishing the north end with Doug Rodricks.

eric t roger s 8-20-15 - 12

Veteran Drifter Eric ” Big E” Telleson spanked the bigs along the hard weed line at Sandy. I had him hanging a light Assassin and copper broken back tiger below an Under-Cator to get into several fish like this magnificent brown.

eric t roger s 8-20-15 - 13

A true butter belly, and extremely gorgeous specimen of  Salmo Trutta. Crushed an Assassin. Nice job Big E!

eric t roger s 8-20-15 - 8

Roger Szuchan got into some nice browns off Sandy Pt. fishing with Assassins & broken back tiger midges.

scott max  8-20-15 - 2

This might be an “escapee” from Jurassic Pond! Holy trout, that is a fat rainbow friends. Scott Wasserman used an Assassin/Punk Perch combo while being guided by Doug Rodricks near Green Banks.

San Joaquin River 9/2/15

Heavy smoke in the valley at times. The flows are really getting low here, & will continue to drop unfortunately. The trout will hit surface imitations in the #14-18 range. Look for shady areas along the banks deeper that a foot. Make upstream presentations, staying on the “tails” of the fish. I like hi-vis para mayflies, Stimulators, and  hi-vis caddis patterns as a point fly.  Tie a two foot dropper off the hook bend and add a blue winged olive or natural caddis adult.  Dry/dry tandems are effective and can really help you see you imitations in riffle water, or shadows.

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

tyler janice suzuki 6-24-15 - 5

Flows have receded, & are currently low. Focus on the deeper pools and slots along shadowed banks. 

West Walker River 9/2/15


Flows are low here; but this location is running better than most of the freestone creeks in the Sierra. Dry dropper rigs are my choice for fooling the trout in the deeper pools and runs. I like a Stimulator, hi-vis para BWO, or hi-vis caddis as the upper fly. Hang a crystal tiger midge, Assassin, or FB PT about 2-3 feet off the dry. Pikel Meadows is a fun spot to fish with plenty of area to fish. Winds can make it tough, so get on the water early.

dimson walker 8-2015 - 3

The West Walker River north of Bridgeport is in the best condition of all the freestone creeks in the region.

Middle Owens River (Bishop area) 9/2/15 

Cooler weather & shorter days next week will improve water temps. At this point-No news flashes here. Heavy smoke at times settling into the OV. Flows below 100cfs.  Conditions continue to be poor in the drift boat sections below the Five Bridges Crossing. Stick to the early mornings, & late afternoons as the water is very warm with hot air temps. Caddis & small mayflies are present below the dam at PVR. Have some #18/20 light bodied adults, light assassins #18, and FB pheasant tails for nymphs, #18 & 20. Early mornings, and calm late afternoons are best for dry fly fishing. Caddis emerge when the barometer goes up. Use hi-vis caddis #16 & 18. Nymphing with crystal olive caddis larva, assassins, and broken back midges are also good when the hatch is off. Flows are trending upward, & have increased to 100cfs. Dry/dropper bead head rigs can be effective in the deeper riffles. The bass have moved up from the lower sections of the river, and migrated through the canals from Buckley Pond into the Owens. Even the wild trout section has numerous bass now.  

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

Upper Owens/ McGee Creek 9/2/15

Dry dropper method is the way to go here. Conditions are good here with a few larger fish moving up from Crowley. A few nice cutty’s & browns in the deeper holes. The sections up from Benton Crossing are much better. You can get into a few decent browns on caddis, and last generation BWO adults at times. Some larger browns hitting crystal leeches fished with a sink tip in the deepest pools.  Stimulators, hi-vis caddis, & natural caddis are good calls for dry flies.  I like a tandem nymph rig in the deeper pools using an assassin, FB PT, or crystal leech as the upper-put an egg, or smaller Assassin as the dropper. Flows are low here (40cfs) with aquatic weeds an issue in the lower sections below the Benton Crossing Bridge.

McGee Creek proper has some small browns and a few decent rainbows. Dry dropper rigs, & nymphing with FB PT’s, Assassins, & olive crystal caddis below an Under-cator, or hi-vis caddis or hi-vis para BWO will work. Some really nice fish working the inlet to the lake. Use mayfly/callibaetis adults and sight fish to risers.


Yvonne Schloemer & husband Steve got into all three species of trout on their trip to the UO. Hi-vis BWO with a FB PT, or hopper and a hares ear did the trick for Steve. This rainbow took an Assassin and egg combo. Heavy smoke settled into Long Valley from fires on the west side.

doug pease 8-4-15 - 1

Doug Pease got this pretty cutty while nymphing one of the few deep pools on the UO with Doug Rodricks.


Robin Edwards first fly fishing trip to the UO got her this nice cutthroat as her first fish of the day.

holibers 7-26-15 - 1

Check out this beautiful cutthroat trout Noah Holiber fooled while nymphing. Doug Rodricks says the conditions are good on the UO, with more catchable sized fish moving into the deeper pools and slots recently.

Hot Creek 9/2/15

Tough fishing here, with minimal water. This is as low as I have ever seen the levels in August.  Some good caddis & micro mayfly activity currently. Dark bodied, or natural colors for the caddis bodies are the hatch. Light olive to gray for the Mays. Keep them well dressed to ride high in the foam. Pheasant tails, & bird’s nest patterns are best for nymphs. Small parachute midge; or mayfly patterns used with a 10 foot leader are best for surface presentations when the fish are on the midges/or clusters. There are a few sections that can be fished with a dry dropper nymph rig. The hoppers are now present. A stimulator is a good profile for them. Use these in the wind, as the terrestrials get blown off the banks, & the trout hunt for them along the shoreline. Try my hi-vis caddis pattern, it works well here. Dead drifted broken back zebras, small gillies, scuds, flashback PT’s, or assassin birds nest bead heads in #18 are good calls for the dropper. Size 18 or smaller crystal olive caddis larva or zebra midges are good calls as droppers.

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.

Bridgeport Reservoir 9/2/15

Reports have some nice rainbows getting caught by the dam during the cooler days, & early mornings. There is a small boat launch/courtesy dock near the dam that will get you on the water. Water is low and warm, get those streamers down near the bottom by the dam.


Alpine Lakes 9/2/15

Smokey air at times. Most drive too lakes have been fair with some getting nice sized Oregon planters. Fish the low light periods with a dry dropper rig if you see fish rising.  Roads to Rock Creek Lake, & Convict Lake have major construction, expect some delays & temporary closures. Streamers are always a good choice for these waters, and full sinking lines will get you down faster, & more effectively. Laurel, Kirman, and Parker have been slow. Loebergs, Agent Orange, Crystal Vanderleeches, Spruce-A-Bu’s, & Punk Perch in the #6-12 range are good for early alpine trout. Use my Killa-baetis, assassin, or crystal tiger midge as a trailer fly two feet behind the streamer. We will be guiding Silver and Grant Lake this season from a  drift boat, or tube depending on what techniques are working best. 

*Tom Loe is under permit from the Inyo National Forest Service to guide Silver and Grant Lake.

East Walker River 9/2/15

Running at 20cfs. Go elsewhere.

This fishery is open year around with special regs in place.

Pleasant Valley Reservoir 9/2/15

Levels have been “yo-yoing” the last two weeks. They are currently trending down at 4381′. The small river section has been best for numbers of smaller rainbows, & browns-use dry/dropper bead head nymph combos here. Forget fishing the river, or inlet if the hydro station is ramped up due to hydro power generation which can happen at anytime.  Heavy weeds are now present in the transition section near the inlet, and along the lakes shoreline. 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. Tubing  has really picked up from the launch ramp, up to the inlet section.  Streamers like Loebergs, Agent Orange, Crystal leeches, & Spruce-A-Bu’s will get you into some nice browns, & larger 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” in the rez 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.

This fishery is open year around.

The Gorge 9/2/15

Still to warm for me this time of year unless it gets nasty in the upper valley. Flows are running at 40cfs. This is up a little from historical norms.   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. Watch out for rattlers. 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. Snakes may be out early!

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. 

 Jurassic Pond 9/2/15

We will be hosting the “Healing Waters/ Wounded Warriors” with the good folks from the Long Beach Casting Club on 9/17/15. Please wish these wonderful & brave individuals the best of luck. They are always on the bite here! You can book session on this amazing fishery with one of our top guides. These trout are by far and away the largest fish you will find in the Sierra, with many fish in the twenty pound class. This is a totally private fishery situated in a beautiful setting on McGee Creek. We use streamers, and still water tactics to dance with these beasts.


There are many browns & bows well over ten pounds in Jurassic Pond. Larry Souza seemed to have a knack for getting big browns while nymphing on his session with me.


Rob Souza with one of many he got using streamers and nymphs on our trophy pond. This one ate a crystal leech.

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.


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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