A Sierra Drifters Fish Report for 1/21/17

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 1/21/17

 January will go down as one of heaviest snowfalls on record for the month. We can expect extremely high flows this summer in most areas. Mcgee Creek and the Upper Owens will see a major increase as the snow pack melts and Grant Lake fills this summer. This may affect the spawning run of cutthroat trout that typically enter these areas in the spring. Crowley Lake is now at 6768 elevation and we can expect it rise much higher by opening day. Deepwater fishing will most likely be the scenario this year, and we may be fishing the boats way up the McGee Cr. channel this year. The East Walker River will see a major flushing this year and will return the river back to what it once was.  A nice break in the storms has brought sunshine to the Long Valley area today, which will give everyone a chance to dig out and move snow around in preparation for the big one coming tonight. Then we will see a nice break of dry weather coming into the beginning of February. The winter migration of rainbows and browns is in full swing now. Large numbers of fish have moved into the Upper Owens and are spread throughout the river. We have been gaining access to them with our comfortable snowmobile rigs which has allowed us to fish some unreachable spots by foot. These are scenic and adventurous trips, which allow anglers to hook into multiple big fish, and the experience alone is something special. We are the only guide service that offers trips like these and have years of experience on this river for this time of year. Hot Creek has access by foot only and has seen a flow increase from last report. Middle Owens holding at 156 cfs with water starting to clear up some. Wild Trout section and Pleasant Valley Reservoir still fishing decent with clearer water above dam. East Walker bumped up to 51 cfs and Bridgeport Reservoir is now full. 


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 photo gallery. If we have previously posted your pictures on this page; or you have had a recent guide trip with us, you can always find them by going to the photo gallery and searching for your name.

The snowmobile trout slayer is ready to rock! Why walk in when you can ride in comfortably? 

The river on 1/18/17.



 Upper Owens River 1/21/17

The river is now officially under “drive in at your own risk” status. Our snowmobiles have been the best way to gain access to the river. We have been running trips here with our “sleds” for the last 2 weeks and the fishing has been nothing short of “exceptional”. Many of our customers have been absolutely crushing these fish lately. There are now large numbers of them holding all over the river, with more moving in. The anticipated major migration of these large rainbows and browns has finally taken place. The fish decided to hold off a little later this year but are now in full spawn behavior. Mornings have been cold, but on non-storm days we’ve been experience a nice warm up by late morning/early afternoon. Egg patterns have by far been our best setup. Heavy weight must be used to dredge the bottom of the deepest of runs and pools to reach these fish. Proper presentation is just as important. You must get your rigs to drift directly in front of them to induce a grab. Allow our highly experienced guides to ride you in comfort to the river by snow machine and instruct you on the advanced techniques we utilize to catch these amazing fish. Other patterns for this time of year are #18-20 Hare’s Ears, #16-18 PT’s and Assassins, San Juan Worms, Glo-Bugs, #16-20 midges, and #14-16 Crystal Leeches.


Good Ol’ Bruce Blumenthal hit multiple big fish like this one on his 2 day trip with T-Loe. What a scenic background and treat to catch fish like these in the winter Bruce!

Another one of Bruce’s that fell to an egg pattern drifted correctly! This one was worthy of a celebratory cigar!!

Bruce managed this fine chromer on a cold morning with Tom Loe doing the guiding.

Bob Sholler took a half day on the river with me before the approaching storm to hit multiple bigs like this chunky football. Fun day out there Bob!

Bob caught multiple bigs on his trip. He was targeting the large males of the river that day!

Here Bobby is displaying the final fish of the morning which turned out to be a stunning Kamloops variety of rainbow!

Eric diplays a fine specimen while taking a knee in the river!


Regular, Ben Kaufman with a beautiful male “Crowley Steelhead”!

His wife Kelsey is no stranger to big fish. Way to stick this beautiful male snowbow!

These two spent all day hooking multiple big fish which have recently moved into the river.

Ben shows off another decent ‘bow hooked in the early morning hours!



Middle Owens River (Bishop area) 1/21/17

River holding at 156 cfs. River is starting to show signs of clearing slightly. Fishing has slowed down here considerably, but we will keep an eye on it and report when things pick up again. BWO hatches at mid-day are still consistent, and that is a good time to locate pods of fish in the river. #18-20 BWO will get you grabs. Some of the bigger fish in the river have relocated to other pools. Larger profile streamer patterns are a good choice for when the water is stained. 

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

Ed Bowen and John Bakken enjoyed their recent drift trip. Get that fish to the net Ed!

The Chang sisters had a fun day on their trip. Celina shows off her trophy ‘bow that took her for quite the ride. This fish wrapped itself around everything it could to escape. Well deserved photo, Celina!


Her sister Tamara decided she would join her in the quest for the big ones. Good job girl!

Another nice one for Tamara!

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.

Hot Creek 1/21/17

Walk in access only here, and more snow to cover the area after this weekend.  Smaller fish are surface feeding at the Interpretive Site between the storm activity. Lightweight rods like 3 wt’s and smaller can be a lot of fun with dry flies. #18-22 Snowshoe midges, Griffith’s Gnat’s and #18 – 20 BWO patterns are getting takes. The creek has dropped down to 37 cfs but will come up again after the storm cycle has passed. Not too many people going into the canyon right now, so plenty of open water to target. Scout out the deep pools and you’ll find the fish. Single nymph rigs with PT’s, Assassins, Eggs, SJ Worms, and Copper John’s have been getting bites. You can play around with the sizes between #18-22.  Click on this link to read what the CDFW is now documenting as to how Hot Creek will be managed. HC has been recently planted with thousands of sub-catchable rainbows and browns.

The access road leading into the Interpretive Site. More snow on the way will fill in the road here.

The drive halfway up to the canyon. That is water running down the tracks in the snow!

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.

Thanks to the CDFW, and passionate volunteers for their efforts to get fish planted in Hot Creek. Many 8-10 inch rainbows, & thousands of 4 inch browns have just been put into HC. If we can just get some help from mother nature on the water part…HC will comeback strong next summer. These are very small fish, and will have a long winter to face. Please take it easy on them if you choose to fish HC at all. Several public sections were planted.  Here I am taking a moment to watch these young fish adapt to their new home.

Pleasant Valley Reservoir 1/21/17

Recent storms have dropped some light snowfall in the area with some more possible by the end of the weekend. Fishing has been decent here with clear water. Some of the boulders in the river section are holding good sized rainbows. Look at all the pocket water here and the deeper slots along the river. The section that widens leading to the lake is slower flowing and holding bigger fish too. It is more crowded in this area so getting here early can make a difference. Look for afternoon dry fly action with light weight rods. The BWO hatch can be tons of fun here and dry dropper set-ups can be deadly just prior to the peak of the emergence.


The river on 1/20/17.

Cheyne St. Laurent displaying one of the larger rainbows holding in the river currently.

This fishery is open year around.

The Gorge 1/18/17

Also a great dry or dry/dropper place to go. Careful hiking down here, especially during of after storms. It can get icy and dicey overnight pretty quickly. BWO, Parachute Adams, and midge patterns in #18-22 are best. You can attach a short dropper nymph about 2′ or so to your dry when the fish aren’t feeding on top. Good patterns are #18-20 copper tiger and zebra midges and #20 PT’s with or without flashbacks.

Season open year around

The GorgeLooking down into Middle Gorge from the “rim”. Lots of riffles and pocket water opportunities. 

East Walker River 1/21/17

Flows up to  51cfs now. Expect flows to increase here soon as Bridgeport Res fills.  We will most definitely see flows to at least 300cfs  this summer if not higher. It is cold here with more snow coming. Fish the deep and slow areas of the river for best results. Eggs, SJ worms, Assassins, Serendipities, Copper John’s, and Midges are good searching patterns this time of year. 

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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