Fritz Mutter showing off a chromed up Crowley Lake silver bullet
Kelley Pagett with a wide bodied Crowley Lake rainbow
All the way from Reading PA. Ron Ivison did great on Crowley with his b.i.l. Tim Kriebel this week on Crowley
May 12th 2012 update for Crowley Lake and Bridgeport
It truly reminds me of how Crowley fishes in mid-September recently. The numbers of grabs and fish are great and we are seeing the most catchable sized browns ever this week. Chironomid hatches on Crowley and Bridegport are fantastic and the fish really key on the morning emergences. The fish are spread out all over the lake and we are seeing consistent action in Hilton, Sandy Pt., Layton Springs, and McGee Bay. Stay in 11-15 feet and make sure you use a pupa or emerger type pattern as your upper fly during the hatches. We are getting alot of fish “climbing” the rope and taking the fly well off the bottom. The weeds are beginning to grow in 10 feet so make sure you stay on the mud and off the grass for better position.
Bridgeport has concentrations in Buckeye Bay, the “drop-off” near Rainbow Pt., and right in front of the marina near the Walker channel. Midges are going off in numbers here as well - once again position yourself on a mud flat or channel with your flies suspended away from the weeds or grass. A copper or dark zebra broken back has punished the fish when there is some texture on the surface. Use the tigers and zebras as your lower fly, tie a gillie on top. I put a brand new updated fly box in the marina store with patterns for Bridgeport, the East Walker, and Twin Lakes. Go say Baaah to Jeffery for me!
Jeffery Wenger at the Bridgeport Marina Tackle shop
Lower Owens River
We have had a few poor trips recently as the flows continue to trend upward. They are currently at 410 cfs below the dam at PV. Wading is pretty much toast at this release and it will be a week before the fish adjust to the new levels and the water clears enough to get back to business here. If you want to fish moving water-McGee Creek, East Walker (also going up slowly) Hot Creek on the rise as well, and the Upper Owens near the Crowley Lake inlet.
Conditions as of May 5th 2012
And so it begins. The 2012 Sierra trout season is up and running. By most accounts it was one of the better openers in recent years with very mild summer like conditions for the weekend. Access to open waters was excellent, and the DFG dumped plenty of stockers in the creeks and “put and take lakes” to ensure success for those who came up for the start of the season. Tioga Pass will be opening next week we are told, and the road into the Mammoth Lakes Basin has opened very early indeed. Indicative of the light winter for sure.
The Long Beach Casting Club will be helping out our Wounded Warriors with the Healing Waters Project this month on the Sierra Drifters Trophy Pond. Thanks in advance to the Vets for their sacrifices, and thanks to the LBCC members for their efforts. Let’s all wish them the best of luck on ”Jurassic Pond” and hope they all get a few troutzillas!
Currently we are having issues with a series of dry cold fronts dashing through the region bringing with them a bunch of wind. The “Sierra Wave” has been spectacular this month and has provided us with some amazing portraits during sunrises and sunsets. These unique cloud patterns are formed within the western jet stream as it cascades over the Sierra crest. Under conditions like these the wind can go from zero to sixty in nothing flat so if you see lenticular clouds (flying saucer shaped) in the sky at daybreak there is a strong possibility you will experience some potent southwesterly winds.
The spectacular phenomena known as the Sierra Wave has been entertaining us recently. Shot was taken from my back porch at Drifters HQ on McGee Creek.
Big City Chris Henrich says ”this is big country, with big fish-and if ya don’t respect that boy, it’ll kill ya!”
Crowley Lake and Bridgeport Reservoirs
As forecast Crowley Lake and Bridgeport Reservoir had good openers with numbers being reminiscent of the “good old days”. The ice free conditions throughout most of the “winter that wasn’t”, combined with phenomenal weather- put plenty of smiles on those that braved the crowds and came up to fish the untouched waters. Reigning Still Water Classic winner & ”Lord of the Fly” Carey Kutzke called me from McGee Bay on Crowley Lake opening day and said it was the best fly fishing bite he has seen in many years for the opener. I agree, Crowley has risen from the ashes and is promising to be very good this season. Stop by and say hi to the very friendly new managers Abbie Grooms and Adam Tomason who have been at the Fish Camp for a number of seasons now. John Fredriksen the owner of the lease for many years has put some nice new cabins in for rentals, and plans on having a small cafe and additional cabins in the near future. We have a link to their website on the resources page. Crowley is back, come check it out.
Brent Robinson with a super sized Bridgeport Reservoir bow he caught while still water nymphing over opening weekend
Craig Weismann with a fine Crowley Lake rainbow caught on one of the Drifters fish magnets
Natalie Wolf and Devin Preston with Crowley Lake double chocolate brownies!
The big reservoirs are both seeing solid emergences of chironomids on the warmer, high barometer days. We have been using twin gillies, copper tigers, and broken back midges during the hatches seeing grabs about 1-3 minutes during the better bites near Sandy Pt, Big Hilton Bay, and Layton Springs. The consistent depth has been 12-15 feet in these locations. The fish are in general very mixed with a bunch of dink rainbows, a surprisingly high percentage of 12-14 browns, and the occasional 20 plus rainbow or “Herman the German” in the mix. The wind has been killing the bite unfortunately but you can still pick away at them if you can find a lee shoreline.
Streamer fishing from a tube has been slow in both locations as there are no perch fry, damsel nymphs, or callibaetis in any significant numbers yet. May is looking good, get up here for a shot at a Fifty plus day this spring.
The Sierra Drifters Fish Magnets will take you to the hot spots on Crowley and Bridgeport in style
Lower Owens River
Frank Carlsen nailed this bucket headed rainbow on a Loeberg while drifting with us down the Owens
The flows are beginning to trend upwards after a lengthy period of stability this spring. They are currently at 300cfs immediately below the dam at Pleasant Valley Reservoir and creeping upward. Bishop Creek is also on the rise and is a main tributary to the Lower Owens River. The LADWP real time link is back and running, you can check this on the resources page of my website for updates. The wind and rising flows have been a negative factor at times on the LO but overall we have enjoyed a great spring with good fishing most days from the drift boats. Loebergs and Spruce-A-Bu streamers have been the go to flies recently, although Two Bug Doug likes to use a purple and black Rickard’s seal bugger when looking for big fish. Wading the wild trout section is getting near the “ain’t worth it” levels and you need to be careful crossing in most sections now. There have been some decent hatches of Ephemerella infrequens , commonly called Pale Morning Duns or PMD’s. These tri tailed, yellowish mayflies are a favorite snack for the wild trout and will emerge late mornings throughout the remainder of May and June on the Lower Owens. They have not begun to hatch on Hot Creek or the Upper Owens in significant numbers yet. The nymphs are classified as “spiny crawlers” and cling to the submerged branches and rocks that are prevalent on the LO. Flashback PT’s and bird’s nest patterns are good choices for the nymphs #14-18. There are also some caddis adults showing on the warmer days and the fish are clobbering the adults in the soft water pockets during the hatches. Use our crystal olive caddis and larva patterns #16-20 for nymphs, they will also imitate a rock worm . Rock worms are an important food source for the wild trout and are very prevalent in the Owens. You can see them clinging onto submerged dead willow branches near the banks.
Rich Asher got a bunch of these chunky rainbows while floating for two days on the Owens with us
The rainbows are in full spawn mode in these locations. You will observe pods of fish paired up in all the small freestone tribs leading into Crowley right now. The fish if not spooked-can be very aggressive in protecting their redds and will attack most any pattern that comes by. SJ worms, roe imitations, streamers, flashback PT’s #8-18 will all get looks if presented properly. The key to success on these small creeks is your approach. Walk up like a thirsty Cape Buffalo and you will see them dash off under a cut bank with little chance of getting a good cast. Water conditions remain very good as the snow pack is high and runoff is not influencing the water flows.
East Walker River
The EW can kick out huge browns in the spring as the warming water triggers aggressive feeding behavior
Still mighty fine. Flows are surprisingly low at just over 100cfs, I have a link on the resources page to the EW release also. The cooler weather here and windy conditions have kept pressure lighter than normal for opening week and reports are good for those nymphing the prime holes and runs with smaller mayfly and midge patterns. As it warms look for increased caddis and PMD activity.
Not fun to fish here in strong winds-which there have been plenty of this week. Flows are good now, however when it gets warm Mammoth Creek will swell and can cause HC to get stained and off color with some debris messing up your drifts. This will be the trend throughout most of May and into early June when it gets warm at elevation. Look for ideal conditions to set up after this, say late June early July-ish. Fall will be tough here. Midges are best along with the last generations of the twin tailed baetis mayflies or Blue Winged Olives, BWO’s which get smaller as they end their seasonal cycle. #18-20 currently.
Holly Robertson with a nice Hot Crick brown
We have not guided any of them yet, however reports are good for numbers with an absence of larger fish. June Lake Loop was is great shape, and from what I hear complaints were few and far between. Convict has been plagued with wind on several days this week, as were all the alpine regions - not many fly fishers out in these areas quite yet. Get a nice day in the near future and use a full sinking line type 4 line then go tug some Spruce-A Bu’s or Loebergs along the drop-offs and inlets. Bad bad Leroy brown may come out to play!
Lake Mary Road is the way into the Mammoth Lakes Basin and has opened very early this season. Pictured is beautiful Lower Twin Lake near the Mammoth Lakes Basin.
FOR SALE and ready to go for the new season: 24 foot one of its kind Bay Ranger. Better than new, too many features to list- I built this beauty for Cap’t Ron and it is absolutely the finest Bay boat around. 250hp Verado (40 total hours), Lowrance electronics, Sat radio, board racks, custom deck mats, BEYOND LOADED, just add water and turn the key. Stored indoors! 52K or best. Contact Tom Loe or Ron Obray (owner) 530-308-4408, email@example.com for details.
Thanks for reading my report friends. Be the fly…
Tom Loe, Sierra Drifters Guide Service