A Sierra Drifters Fish Report for 2/12/17

Guided fly fishing trips for Crowley Lake, Grant & Silver Lakes, the San Joaquin, Upper and Middle Owens Rivers, East Walker River, McGee Creek, 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 2/12/17

Jeff Jappe with his largest rainbow on the Upper O! 


Hello Fly Fishers! A much needed and appreciated warming trend of high pressure has set in for a few days this week. Another storm is forecasted to hit the region beginning later in the week, with the remainder calling for a chance of snow. Night time temps have dropped back down to freezing which has been great for the Upper Owens and our snowmobiles to navigate in the snow. Fishing has been nothing short of epic here. We are hammering the big fish up here consistently on a daily basis. Clients have been coming away from these trips with some of the largest trout they’ve landed to date.  East Walker flows are up and the river is raging. Hot Creek flows have come down from last report and fish are starting to take nymphs in the slots and deeper pockets. Middle Owens and Wild Trout section yielded chocolate colored water from the last series of rain storms. Fishing very slow down there. 

A special thank you goes out to the San Diego Fly Fishers for presenting our own Tom Loe with the Stroud Lifetime Achievement Award for fly fishing. This was a lofty honor for Tom, and he was extremely grateful. Tom and Bill Stroud had a very special relationship that transcended the fishing business. The award raffle proceeds were donated to Wounded Warriors Healing Waters; which is a program that Sierra Drifters strongly supports. Ricky Vorst from Stroud Tackle in San Diego accepted it on his behalf. We have guided SDFF club members for many years now, and we sincerely appreciate the support given by this outstanding organization.


Tom Loe pictured with the late great Bill Stroud of Stroud Tackle in San Diego.


 Upper Owens River 2/8/17

Our Sierra Drifters winter fleet of snowmachines ready for battle! Pictured is myself with “Two Bug” Doug Dolan, with Tom Loe behind the lens.



The fishing just keeps getting better here by the day. Fish are moving daily around the river and large concentrations of snow-bows have been found in multiple areas. Our guides and snowmobiles have been working hard to get our lucky anglers to these winter beauties. The latest storm series has done some serious melting of the snow out here and the banks along the river along with the sagebrush are starting to show.

Water is slightly stained from the tannin leeching from the river banks and being brought in from Hot Creek. This has had no effect on the amount of fish holding in the river or the catching for our clients. Snow shoes are still needed for the soft snow to walk in, but our snowmobiles are the best and easiest way to get you to the fish. A major wind event hit the area producing 35-40mph sustained winds with gusts well over 90mph. This was quite the wind storm that left downed trees,  broken sign posts, and dislodged roof shingles in its wake. 

Shot taken from my home in Crowley Lake at sunrise before the major winds hit.

Michael Pouliot with a blimp of a fish while fishing with Tom Loe!

  Joe Baffoni got into them also on the same trip with Michael!

Scott Trulik displays his Crowley snow-bow he got while drifting a crystal egg!

Here is Scott posing with a nice double alongside his good buddy Brandt Wynalda! 

Pictured is Brian Loven with a beauty of a female caught under the guidance of Doug Dolan!

Eric Krause scored big with this nice hen on a frosty morning!

Jeff Jappe with a colorful Crowley steelhead!

Joal Clayton with a bullet headed hen he fooled with a Crystal egg!


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.

Middle Owens River/PVR/Wild Trout section (Bishop Area) 2/12/17


River flows at 221 cfs. Severely stained water similar to chocolate in color coming through here now. This condition should clear up as the flows stabilize. We have been drifting and covering the entire section of our runs here. We are still catching a few fish here and there, but far and few between. Many other anglers have been reporting tough conditions, and we are sad to say that this fishery is beginning to collapse. The river is in dire need of some fish, and it is anyone’s guess as to what has taken place here to cause the poor fishing. BWO hatches and even a sparse Caddis hatch have been taking place daily with little to no fish showing. The larger fish that we do catch are hold-over fish from earlier this winter. We encourage you to write the State Fish and Wildlife Commission and get involved in bringing this fishery back to what it once was. You can read up on the Commission policies for designated wild trout waters here:



Steven Esgate of the Sierra Pacific Fly Fishers scored this beast of a rainbow recently. Way to go Steven!

SPFF member Pete Mahoney doing the holding honors with this nice rainbow that fell to a #14 Punk Perch. His buddy Ed Stimson also of the Sierra Pacific Fly Fishers doing net duty and admiring the catch.


 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 2/12/17

Flows have lowered to 74 cfs. Run-off is coming in from Mammoth Creek and a steady system of rain storms has added water here. Water clarity is a bit stained but should improve as we return to our more seasonal winter freeze conditions. If you fish here you must snow shoe into the canyon or Interpretive Site. Fish the edges of the creek in these conditions to catch these fish here.

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

*Tom Loe, Doug Rodricks, and Doug Dolan are under permit from the Inyo National Forest Service to guide Hot Creek.

The Gorge 2/8/17

This area still contains fish and has been fishing fairly well. Dry/dropper setups are the fun way to go, but nymphing the deeper runs can get you into fish when the flows have risen. Careful hiking into the canyon when the mornings get down to freezing temps.

Season open year around

 East Walker River 2/12/17

Flows rushing through at tremendous levels at 805 cfs. We have not seen the river at this flow rate in quite a few years due to drought conditions. Don’t even bother fishing here currently. River flows need to stabilize for a few weeks to be fishable. If you fish here, try the slower pools and river edges where the water is not rushing through as fast. Use heavy weight and get your flies on the bottom fast. Bridgeport Reservoir continues to fill and is just above 31,820 acre feet; its capacity is 43K. My friend Jeffrey Wenger who runs Bridgeport Reservoir RV Park and Marina reports he’ll be putting the docks in early this year and will have plenty of water for the upcoming season. Jeff was kind enough to take some snapshots of the area for us to view.

The E.W. recently viewed from the river bank! 

Lots of water coming through this winter!

The mighty Bridgeport Reservoir making a strong comeback!

This fishery is open year around below the Bridgeport Reservoir dam to Nevada State line. Open year around in Nevada also.

***New for 2017! I have limited quantities of some new patterns that will guarantee advantage in your quest for trophy trout. Balanced patterns are the new rage for nymphing, & streamer fishing. We have been guide testing these patterns for several years, & I can honestly say they are the most significant improvement in fly design in over a decade. They are truly superior to conventional fly designs. The flies ride “parallel”; or “level” to the bottom giving them a far more realistic profile. The jig style hook becomes more effective as it seldom gets snagged on the bottom, & sets efficiently in the fishes mouth. These flies are intended to fish as your bottom fly in a multi fly; or tandem rig. They are deadly fished solo as a streamer. Add these patterns to your quiver for all fisheries that you still water nymph; or cast streamers. Some sizes are not available due to back orders on jig hooks, & are only available online at this time. I will add more sizes on some patterns as we get shipments in. Click on “fly sales” on the nav bar above, hit “menu” first from a mobile device to access the nav bar.

You can pick up our 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.

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.

Thank you for visiting our website and checking out our report. Be the Fly…. Doug Rodricks, Sierra Drifters Guide Service.



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