A Fish Report for 11/23/15

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.

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Thanks to Deborah Taylor for this classic monochrome shot of the Upper Owens. Good stuff!

Quick look fish report 11/23/15

Polar air will move into the Sierra this week & through the holiday weekend bringing the possibility of low elevation snow, strong winds, and sub-zero air temps in the upper valleys. Middle Owens flows have fallen to 70cfs. Fishing has been very good in the sections below the dam at Pleasant Valley. Small mayflies have been best, colder air temps will slow the bite down this week. Drift boat trips have been fair using streamers, low flows making conditions tough. Upper Owens has a few migratory rainbows & browns staged up; fishing is slow overall with low fish counts. Air temps will dip well below zero by mid-week with highs remaining below freezing through next weekend. Hot Creek flows are very low, & will drop further as colder air sets in. Fishing is slow. Pleasant Valley Reservoir fair/good near the inlet, & small river section. This storm may bring snow & ice here, and the Gorge with air temps in the teens.

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. 

Middle Owens River (Bishop area) 11/23/15

Fishing has been fair using the “dip & strip” method of pulling streamers. We are getting a mix of rainbows, & smaller browns.  Streamer fishing using Loebergs, Punk Perch, & Spruce-A-Bu’s with a moderately weighted sinking tip can be a good call for winter fishing. Flows have lowered to winter drought releases, & are very low. Wading the WT section below PVR at this level is very easy. Water temps will lower into the low forties/upper 30’s by mid-week. Under these conditions the fish will migrate into the deeper pools and runs. You will continue to see small mayflies (tricos), midges, & last generation blue winged olives (BWO) present below the dam at PVR through the winter months during warmer periods. Have some #18/20 light bodied adults. Light & dark assassins #18, 16; or FB pheasant tails for nymphs, #18 & 20. Trico mayflies are very small- #20-24 and can be difficult to see. I suggest you use a dry/dry rig with the lead fly being a Stimulator, larger caddis; or mayfly adult pattern 2-3 feet from the point fly. Fall caddis is pretty much over.  Nymphing with crystal olive caddis larva, assassins, and broken back midges are also good when the hatch is off. Dry/dropper bead head rigs can be effective in the riffles during the hatches.

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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“Team Tulare” hit the Owens & we had some fun tugging streamers from the drift boats. Adam Poole got the numbers award for the group getting into double digits with a small Punk Perch pattern.

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One of the “Tulare Boys” Ryan Hesse landing a nice rainbow while Adam kicks back & enjoys the show.

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Dennis Fuller got a “lean & mean” brown on his drift with Doug Dolan.

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Cap’t Tom Ferrari took some time off the Red Rooster III to toss some streamers on a drift trip. He nailed some really nice fish even though we had small craft warnings up for stiff winds on the MO.

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Sammy battled stiff NW winds & cold air temps but managed to fool a bunch of fat rainbows using a Spruce-A-Bu.

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Guy Margallo & Chris Maese clobbered the rainbows using the same fly all day. The “Mary Ann” dark Spruce-A-Bu was the hot streamer. They C & R over 30 on their float.

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Chris Maese did great on his first float. We had several doubles on this drift, check out Guy going bendo.

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Guy had a dream day sticking over twenty fish solo.

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Mike Monahan drifted with Doug Dolan for the first time & got some nice fish on streamers. Good going Mike!

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Jeff Hudson tight to one of many rainbows & browns under blue skies. Storming in the mountains and tee-shirts down in the Owens Valley!

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Louise D. waited until one of the very last stops on her drift trip with Kramer K. to land this awesome hook jawed rainbow on a #14 olive Punk Perch. Fun day kids, thanks.

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Ante D. hit this beautiful trophy bow on a Loeberg streamer for his first drift with friend Jason R. Nice fish Ante!

Upper Owens 11/23/15

Look for some brutally cold air to set in after Tuesday with a chance of snow. High temps are forecast to remain below freezing throughout the holiday weekend. Fish counts are low, & numbers of fish have surprisingly decreased recently. You will find many runs/pools void of fish. The low flows have what few fish are here in the deepest pools only. I like a tandem nymph rig in the deeper pools using an assassin, FB PT, SJ worm, or crystal leech as the upper-use crystal eggs, or smaller Assassins as the dropper. 

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. 


This colorful male took a crystal egg & leech rig. Mark Phillips laid down numerous casts along a cut bank to finally get this rascal to come out & play. 


Mark got some nice fish; but had to cover a lot of water to find them.

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Joe Killerfer had to cover a bunch of water with Doug Dolan to get this chunky brown. Numbers have dropped recently on the UO.

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Trevor & Chelsea Franchise went with Doug Dolan for a nymphing session on the UO & did very well. The best time of the year to hunt bigs is just beginning as the “Crowley Steelhead” & fall run browns are migrating up from Crowley Lake.

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Trevor nailed some great fall run browns in full spawning color. We are seeing a few large brownies moving up from Crowley.

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Chelsea with another nice bow she caught nymphing. Not bad work ehhh guys!


The “elusive ones” are lurking in the deeper pools. Jack Taylor fooled this nice brownie on an assassin.


Jack got this fat rainbow on crystal eggs & leech combo.


Jeff Hudson showing off some fine “Crowley Steel”. This big hen took a crystal leech. We had to cover some water, and time casts between wind gusts; but it eventually paid off. Nice work man! 


Jeff used Crystal leeches, Assassins, & crystal egg patterns to get into some quality fish during the storm.

Hot Creek 11/23/15

It will be wicked cold here this week, & into the holiday with snow forecast to fall in the canyon. Flows have dropped, & fishing is tough here with limited open water.  Micro mayflies (tricos), & midges are the hatches currently. 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. 

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 11/23/15

Polar air setting in this week will slow the bite down, & may leave some snow & ice in the canyon. Fishing has been fair for planted rainbows. The lake level has been stable but is on the high side at 4388′. Hit the 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 rainbows, & browns. No hydro power generation recently.  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 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 11/23/15

We could see some snow & ice here after mid-week. 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. 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. 

East & West Walker Rivers 11/23/15

Flows are at winter levels, fish counts are low in both locations. There will be significant “bed ice” forming in the channel after mid-week due to zero morning air temps.

Santa getting in some fly fishing from a Drifters sled!

Holiday gift certs available for that special fly fisher. We can customize a gift cert to cater your needs. “contact us” at the top of this page if we can be of service.

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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