A Fish Report for 1/25/15

Fly fishing the year around waters of the Upper and Middle Owens Rivers, Pleasant Valley Reservoir, & Hot Creek, 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 use top of the line drift boats, and fly fishing tackle to guide you on these blue ribbon trout waters.


Quick look fish report 1/25/15

We finally have snow in the forecast! Make sure you have foul weather gear for Tuesday/Friday. Middle Owens continues to be excellent for drifting. BWO hatch is on in the wild trout section-flows remain at 75cfs.  Upper Owens improving for bigs, conditions remain very good. Pleasant Valley Reservoir heavily planted and fishing great from a tube, & in the small river section. Reservoir levels getting up there-currently 4388′.  Hot Creek fishing well in limited areas. Conditions in the Gorge very good with increasing BWO activity here. 


Winter is the perfect time to “catch a drift” on the Owens River around Bishop. Thanks to Gary Runnels for the drone shot.

Upper Owens River 1/25/15


Please be EXTREMELY careful when handling, or photographing fish at temperatures below twenty degrees. Fish removed from the water for more than a minute can literally “flash freeze” and die. Resuscitating BEFORE, & AFTER your fight is essential for a safe C & R on these wonderful fish. Do not remove them from the water immediately after you net them please. Keep their gills out of the silt and completely submerged while removing the hooks and reviving them.

Increased numbers of “Crowley Steelhead” have moved up recently. Water temps have warmed into the forties, the smaller resident fish are sipping midge clusters in the late afternoon.  Flows stable at 45cfs. This a a very low release for this time of year. Historically the LADWP drains Grant Lake in the winter, then uses the water to fill Crowley through the Rush Creek Diversion.  No ice, or snow around the river. Turbidity has improved below the merging of Hot Creek & the irrigation canals. Angling pressure remains moderate/heavy. We have been having good success using Assassin’s, broken back tiger midges, SJ worms, crystal Vanderleeches, roe patterns. You will also want to have some smaller para-midge, or BWO adults for the afternoon midge hatch.  The resident fish are responding to this on the warmer days. Drifters guides use the “Four P’s” to consistently get on fish here. Position- Presentation-Patience-Performance. Book a trip with us and we will teach you how to get these amazing fish.

Special angling regs in effect. Open year around upstream from the Benton Crossing Bridge. Closed from the Bridge downstream to Crowley Lake until next season.

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Carol Fuji from the Inland Fly Fishers booked Doug R. to get her on some Crowley Steelhead. They got em big time! Hot flies were Assassins, & egg patterns. 

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Awesome job Carol, bravo.

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Carol flat out got errr done!


Brian Stiver christened his new rod in a big way with this Crowley Steelhead. Nice fish buddy!


Mark stuck with the program of “dredging” attractor patterns in the deeper pools to nail this exceptional male rainbow. Nice Marky, thanks again buddy.


Fourth down, fourth quarter, last play of the game…Greg Jones hit this big rainbow hen at the buzzer to put the icing on the cake of a fun, and productive day on the Upper Owens.


Mark Vidovich showing off a gorgeous male brown he schooled on a blustery day. Great job of casting in that wind Marky!


Long Beach Casting Club member Bob “Rocco” Ruscitto showing off a very rotund hen. This fish went over five lbs!


Ingrid Young spent a day with Two Bug and tied into some “Crowley Steel” Beautiful fish mam!


Not bad for your first trout of 2015!  Michael DelPero got this kyped out male to smack a SJ worm when the ice was still in the guides.


Just 48 hours ago the river was unfishable. Russ Hing back in the report in a big way.  Way to stick them Russ!


CHROMER ALERT! It took an exceptional angler to get numerous Crowley Steelhead to play under the conditions Kyle Gonzales had.  High fives to you KG! Super casting, & perfect dead drifts payed off.

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Eric Troxel booked a last minute trip with Doug R. and man did it pay off!  Here is one of his jumbo hens.  No question, the migratory fish are larger on average here this season.

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GO Navy! Ben Ellison with a monster hen rainbow that ate some crystal eggs.  Ben & his dad Brett did great on numbers in 65 degree weather! This is an exceptional fish, even for the Upper Owens, congrats!

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Frank with a gorgeous rainbow hen Doug R. netted.  He used Assassins & Gillies to fool  his fish. Check out that flagging dorsal- Looks like a sailfish!

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Chris Rhoden with an an amazing rooster. Best one I have seen this winter.

Middle Owens River (Bishop area) 1/25/15 

Flows are currently around 75 cfs. below the dam at Pleasant Valley. Fishing is fair/good from the Footbridge at PV Campground downstream to the Five Bridges Crossing. Access to this area while wading has never been easier. The cold water mayfly called the “blue winged olive” is now emerging in numbers consistently. The first generations are large for mayflies, and a mainstay in the trouts late winter/spring diet. #16/18 BWO patterns are good profiles. Nymphing with tandem rigs-properly weighted will get you into fish before the hatch. I suggest you use Flashback PT’s, Assassin birds nest, broken back midges, tiger midges, small gillies, crystal emergers, or chironomid pupa, olive crystal zebras, & caddis larvae (to imitate caddis larva & rock worms) below an Under-cator. You can use dry/dropper bead head rigs for the warmer days working the tailouts of larger pools, & riffles. Have some high vis para BWO’s for the uppers & keep them dressed with desiccant  to suspend your bead head nymphs. Guided drift boat trips are a great vehicle to reach the secluded, and less fished areas of the river. We have been logging excellent numbers of planted & holdover rainbows recently. We predominantly fish streamers like Loebergs, Spruce-A-Bu’s, Punk Perch, Agent Orange, and Crystal Vanderleeches. Using a light sinking tip line we position the boat upstream from the target water, casting about 35 feet down towards larger pools. We then insert the rod tips below the surface to get the streamers down without using excessive weight. Stripping the line in an erratic series of short and long pulls imitates the swimming motion of injured baitfish. The “dip & strip” technique is a fun way to get into numbers and large rainbows that hold in the lower sections of the river well below the wild trout section. Check out my “be the fly” video by clicking on the videos link at the top of the page to see how we do it.

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

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Former MLB catcher Jeff “Tetonka” Grotewold and MLB pitcher Kip Gross had a big day on their recent float. This beautiful male crushed a Loeberg streamer.

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Groters with another nice one fooled by a Loeberg. The Pitcher & catcher team did over 50 on their drift.

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The Grotewolds; Jeff & son Hanso, put over 120 rainbows to net in two days of drifting. These top guns fished Spruce-A-Bu’s & Punk Perch under blue skies and calm winds. 


Steve Soldo’s drift trip with Doug Dolan was very good. Steve broke well into double digits using Loeberg streamers.

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Alan Yamada is back on the fish report. He used punk perch patterns & BWO adults to break into double digits on his float.

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Robbin Okamoto found one right on a nice drop-off using #14 pink perch patterns. The veteran Drifter had a good day in beautiful spring like conditions.


Ingrid Young back in the fish report. She crushed the fish on a solo drift with Two Bug Doug using the “dip & strip” method of streamer fishing.

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Mr. Linkcredible & author Andy Rafkin are no strangers to the fish report. The dynamic duo netted 129-yes I said 129, in two days of drifting. We would have easily busted 100 the second day; but decided to go hog hunting. Way to “dip & strip” guys!

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When you land a fish like this on your first stop of the day you know it’s going to be good!  Russ & Gina Lewis took their first drift trip down the MO and the couple landed double digit numbers in sixty degree weather. Russ tagged this handsome buck on a Crystal Vanderleech #12.


Paul & Carrie Riley floated with Two Bug & got into a slug of very nice rainbows while pulling streamers like Loegergs. Great picture kids, thanks.

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One of the first fish caught for 2015.  Don Grondin got this nice male with me using a Spruce-A-Bu.


This chunky brown caught by Connor Huser has not missed many hatches.  The “dip & strip” method of streamer fishing did the trick. Two Bug Doug Dolan was his guide.


Bako boy Garth Huser stuck it out and ended up with a nice afternoon flurry bite on his float. Doug Dolan took the shot.

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Tommy Maclean showing off one of his nicer bucks he got on a Spruce-A-Bu with Doug R. doing the rowing.

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Adam Archiable hit some jugged holes late in the drift, and ended up with a great day drifting with Doug R.

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Happy birthday Alex Le! His gal Cherrilyn B. gave him this fantastic double for the couples first drift down the MO. Hot fly was the Spruce-A-Bu.

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Alex did fantastic in the afternoon getting into a bunch of kyped out males like this one.


Now that’s an awesome double! Kat Villamor & Mike Cruz hit the jackpot on their first drift down the Owens near Bishop. The handsome couple used the “dip & strip” technique of fishing a Spruce-A-Bu streamer to fool a whole bunch of quality rainbows. Fun day kids, thanks!


Kat with her largest of the day. She and Mikey did over twenty for their first venture drifting the Owens. Great day kids, thanks!


Kat’s twin sister Krystel, and her squeeze Chino Delacruz had a fun day with Two Bug Doug. The couple picked up the “dip & strip” method of streamer fishing quickly getting into some nice rainbows and browns.


Michael & son James Maron hit a beautiful stag rainbow right out of the gate for their first drift trip.  This kyped out male ate a Spruce-A-Bu. Fun day guys, thanks!

Hot Creek 1/25/15

Access is fine, no snow or ice in the canyon. The aquatic weed situation has improved opening up more fishable water.  Flows remain low, and the fish are hunkering in the deeper pools and slots with limited riffle water holding any numbers. Midges are the only consistent hatches coming off currently; however the BWO’s will be coming off soon. First generation adults are large and a huge part of the trout’s winter/spring diet. High winged dark olive, or dun colored bodies #16/18 are good profiles. Keep them well dressed to ride high in the foam. PT’s & 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. Small dead drifted Punk Perch, broken back zebras, small gillies, egg patterns, SJ worms, scuds, flashback PT’s, or assassin birds nest bead heads in #18 are good calls for the dropper.

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.


I hit a few spots at the “crick” recently. It was pretty good using SJ worms in the deepest pools I could find.

East Walker River 1/25/15

Flows currently at 20cfs. Limited fishable water. Diploid browns will be planted here again-great news!

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

Pleasant Valley Reservoir 1/25/15

Heavily planted recently and fishing great. The level has come up to 4388′. At this level it may be better to use a strike indicator, or Under-cator to fish the transition section due to increased depth. The small river section has been excellent for numbers of smaller rainbows. Forget fishing the river, or inlet if the hydro station is ramped up (this is uncommon during the winter, but can occur to flush ice from the huge aqueduct pipeline at times).   Dry dropper combos using 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” has been very good recently. 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 line to get down to 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 small river down from the powerhouse resembles the East Walker in many ways, and is a true tail water. It’s rocky bottom provides excellent habitat for a number of aquatic insects. Growth rates rival those of Crowley. Dry/dropper nymph rigs are deadly in the riffles and pocket water. 

The Gorge 1/25/15


No snow or ice, trails are fine. This maybe the best dry fly fishery we have during the winter months. 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 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[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. This section is no good for Tui-Chubs darn it!

craig lamb grand rapids MI. doug lamb ridgecrest 003 rs

We have a fully stocked fly box and Under-cators in Reagan’s Sporting Goods in Bishop. The Drifters fly box will carry all the guide tested patterns you see on the fish report including patterns for Pyramid Lake, Eagle Lake, Lake Almanor, & other great trout fisheries in the west. This is a great shop with knowledgeable and super friendly people that is open 7 days a week. They open early, so you can get flies and tackle and still be on the water for the hatch! They are located on Main St. with easy access and parking.  This store has everything you need for fishing, hunting, camping. They sell licenses too!

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