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 7/25/16
Middle Owens around Bishop is blown out at 475cfs. Go elsewhere. Crowley Lake conditions improving as the algae bloom diminishes. Sandy Pt. Hilton Bay, & McGee Bay best. Flows are now very fishable on the San Joaquin River, & West Walker Rivers. All freestone/snow melt fisheries are experiencing improved conditions as the water levels recede. Hot Creek bite is fair for smaller fish in limited water. Use grasshoppers (stimulators), & caddis adults. Upper Owens flows are at the lowest of the year, with poor conditions below the Benton Bridge due to aquatic weeds choking the channel. Long Years section has low water; but fair/good conditions for smaller planted rainbows and wild browns. Hopper with a dropper time here. East Walker River fishing fair/good in the riffle water, & sections free of aquatic weed. Levels trending downward & currently at 170cfs. Bridgeport Reservoir fair for planted rainbows, warm weather making mid-day bite shut down. Alpine Lakes getting some love from the stocking programs. Most are in very good shape with still water nymphing, & streamer fisherman putting out good reports on Virginia, & Convict Lakes. Jurassic Pond still kicking out GINORMOUS trout for clients fly fishing here. The Sierra will get a 55 gallon drum of hot air temps poured on it for a spell.
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, you can always find them by going to the photo gallery and search for your name.
Crowley Lake 7/25/16
The blue algae bloom is peaking & should be decreasing in the near future. The lake level is now falling quickly due to high releases on the Middle Owens. The submerged aquatic weeds are now protruding making the deeper weed lines easy to identify. This condition will set the stage for some great fly fishing in August as the perch fry, & damsel nymphs hide along the edges. Sandy Pt. & Hilton have had decent snaps depending on algae conditions. Tubers should be looking to troll some damsel nymphs along the weed lines in McGee, Sandy Pt. and Hilton Bay. The aquatic weeds are currently growing out to 18 feet in most sections of Crowley. The trend of fishing deeper while still water nymphing will persist for a while. 18-23 feet is the best depth. The trout are concentrating in the cooler, more oxygenated water emanating from McGee Creeks influence, & the insulation that deeper water provides. The damsel nymph emergence is also triggering aggressive feeding behavior as the trout follow the nymphs towards the submerged aquatic weed lines. Hang your flies above a clean mud bottom in close proximity to a hard weed line for consistent action. We are having good fortune at times near the inlet to McGee in 4-7 feet. Locating a weed free area large enough to work is not easy, & the spots are limited. Gillies, broken back midges, crystal zebra, or tiger midges (big ones), and damsel nymphs are all good calls while fishing below an “sliding” Under-cator. My go to rig the last few days has been an Assassin #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.
This fishery opens last Saturday in April & closes November 15th.
Micky Middleton did fantastic for her first time on Crowley. This jumbo rainbow fell to a Punk Perch in short water near the inlet to McGee. The bigs are hunting the multitude of damsel fly nymphs that are now present on Crowley.
Sir Charles Middleton displaying a quality rainbow that slammed a Drifters Punk Perch near McGee Creek.
Young gun William Hull battled brownzilla to the net on his guided trip with Doug Rodricks.
Bako boy Darren Thornberry got into some nice fish off Sandy Pt. with Doug Rodricks.
Congrats to Ryan Schramm for besting this awesome rainbow. Ryan fished Assassins off Sandy Pt. with Doug Rodricks.
Courtney Schramm showing off a beautiful brownie she got using Assassins on Doug Rodricks Ranger boat.
No stranger to the fish report, & trout enemy number one, Chris Linkletter did well near the inlet to McGee using Assassins while still water nymphing.
Kathy Murray got big fish honors after besting this big rainbow off Sandy Pt. while hanging Assassins below an Under-Cator on Doug Rodricks Ranger boat.
Julie Balfour “was the fly” as she got a trophy brown on Doug Rodricks sled.
Mike Konier used Assassins near the inlet to McGee Creek while being guided by Doug Rodricks to get this beautiful rainbow.
John Wymore hit Sandy Pt. in the morning to nail this nice brown on Doug Rodricks boat.
Justin Couwenberg got a sweet brownie with Doug Rodricks off Sandy Pt. using Assassins.
My great friend and veteran Drifter Franko “whiskers” Carlsen always gets big fish. This buck took a #14 dark crystal tiger midge in twenty feet.
Please bow to this gentleman friends. Richard “Pops” Rathcke is 89 years young and still setting the hook in 21 feet of water! He was 4-4 on the sets to start his day. One of my dearest clients & friends, Pops has been a role model for me in the twenty years I have had the pleasure of fishing with him.
Upper Owens River 7/25/16
Don’t expect good conditions 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. Grasshoppers are prevalent currently. 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 solid caddis hatch. Hi-vis caddis adult patterns used with a dropper will 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.
Most sections below the inlets of Hot Creek downstream from the Benton Bridge are choked with weed, and difficult to fish with nymphs or streamers.
Middle Owens River (Bishop area) 7/25/16
Blown out. FLOWS ARE 475 cfs. and the highest in several years. Wading is not practical, or advisable in the wild trout section currently.
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 7/25/16
The run-off from Mammoth Creek has dropped a bunch, and flows are coming down on the Crick. 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 can still get into some good bites on smaller fish 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.
This popular section has succumbed to aquatic weeds and is not fishable currently.
Pleasant Valley Reservoir 7/25/16
Continuous hydro power generation, & fluctuating water levels are not conducive to consistently good fishing at this time. Pretty dang hot here after the sun gets up a little too. The higher flows will help clean out the aquatic weeds to improve conditions when it starts to cool down in the fall.
This fishery is open year around.
The Gorge 7/25/16
It can get down right hot this time of year, bring along plenty of water if you hike into more remote sections. This fishery is not prone to water increases during the spring, and can be a good call when flows are trending upwards in other areas. Flows are around 52 cfs. You will see solid caddis hatches on the warmer days here. Fishing can be quite good 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
Bridgeport Reservoir 7/25/16
Getting tougher as higher water temps are driving the fish down and slowing the bite. Still some decent fishing for planted rainbows during cooler periods of the day. Full sinking lines with Punk perch, or damsel nymphs will get you grabs.
This fishery opens last Saturday in April & closes November 15th.
The Bridgeport Marina has enough water for launching, and boat rentals.
East Walker River 7/25/16
The EW is showing signs of life after a tough couple of years. The flows are now down to an ideal 170cfs. There remain issues with aquatic weeds in the slower sections. Focus on the pocket water; or riffles for more consistent action. Heavily weighted nymph rigs fished in the faster riffle water downstream will get you a shot at a larger browns. 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.
Todd Ayers did well on his trip to the EW with Doug Dolan. The browns are fat & happy thanks to the increased water we have seen here this summer.
Quality is the game now on the East Walker. All the way from Norway, Oivind Haugen got into some large trophy browns using his hand tied tung head nymphs in the deeper pocket water.
West Walker River 7/25/16
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 7/25/16
Conditions have greatly improved here and the SJ is in good shape. 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 skeeters are ravenous down here this summer, don’t forget then deet.
The run-off is over and conditions are great on the San Joaquin.
Stark weather Lake at sunrise. This beautiful small still water is being planted and easy to access.
*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 7/25/16
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.
The Vikings came over to check out the monsters on Jurassic Pond and were not let down. Andre Kristiansen from Norway got to dance with several bigs on his session at the pond. This one took an Agent Orange “strymph” pattern.
Oivind Haugen from Norway nailed this blimp on one of his own caddis larva patterns. Nice fish “O”
Sue Brock had a fantastic time “catching” on JP with her husband and friends.
Dave Liebhart got big fish honors on his first trip with his dad to JP. Dave had a great day, & fooled this monster on a Punk Perch pattern.
Kelly Liebhart slayed them on his session to Jurassic Pond. He got this beast on a streamer. Pleasure watching you “catch” Kelly. Nice job.
Neysa DeMann hanging onto a “blimp” sized rainbow that she got while nymphing the inlet at Jurassic. Nice one mam!
Check out the stunning color on this male rainbow Keith Cohn got on the pond.
The U. S.C. G.’s finest, Dave Froning got his fish of a lifetime on Jurassic Pond. Great fish Dave, congrats! This fish is over thirty inches.
Postcard shot ehhh? Lauren Froning got this one on an Assassin nymph with her hubby Dave helping out with the hold.
Alpine Lakes 7/25/16
Seek the flow grasshoppers, seek the flow. Fish those inlets and outlets this time of year. There are some good looking 1-4 lb. Oregon planted holdover rainbows making it interesting in some of the local alpine lakes. Blue skies and warm temps will get the trout on the chew. 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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