The East Walker still kicking out some nice fish as Chris “Linkcredible” shows us a quality brown
Howdy friends. Hope you are all having a great start to summer and get a chance to come and visit us soon. Excellent fly fishing conditions can be found in most areas due to the mild run-off and seasonal weather. The alpine lakes and freestone creeks are also fishing well; this is not typical for the Independence Day weekend so if you are thinking about making the trek up the the Sierra soon you will not be disappointed. The only major exception is the Lower Owens River which continues to flow at over 500cfs below the dam at Pleasant Valley. Throw in 100 degree air temps in the Owens Valley and I suggest you fish elsewhere. Bring along some insect repellant, the blood suckers are out in force in some areas but not as bad as last season for sure. The road into the San Joaquin is open with the moderate flows currently, this is a great place to fly fish early this summer. Water flows will be very low here come September. Lake Mary Road which is the gate way into the Mammoth Lakes Basin is also open with great conditions on the water.
Please be extra careful this summer with campfires, driving offroad, and discarded cigs. The dry winter has created severe wildfire danger in our forests and along highways.
Jim Maguire hit the EW on a nice day and was rewarded with many fine fish while nymphing and casting terrestrials
East Walker River
Flows remain very low considering the warm weather. They have fluctuated a little but are staying in a range from 120-170fcs. Water clarity remains great and overall the fly fishing is good especially in the lower sections down from the “miracle mile” which has a tendency to be beaten like a red headed step child at times. Caddis flies, PMD mayflies, midges, and an ever increasing amount of terrestrials are on the trout’s menu now. Use olive crystal caddis and midge larva patterns, flashback PT’s, broken back midges, Assassin bird’s nest for nymphing. A good set up when the bite gets slow is to hang a punk perch or crystal leech as the upper fly #12-16-then drop a bead head 12 inches below it. The EW has small Sacramento Perch and damsel fly nymphs which the punk imitates well. Low sun periods are always better this time of year, however you will see some consistent surface action during the mayfly and midge hatch. Focus on the base or tail outs of the pools and deeper riffles during the emergences for surface opportunities.
Serge Maguire with a pretty EW brownie. Way to spank them buddy!
Future Guide? The kid is hot!
HC is still fishing well, solid surface action on caddis, midge or midge clusters as they are getting smaller. PMD mayflies around as well so have some #18-20 adults. I like to use a size or two down from the naturals here unless you are tossing terrestrials like hoppers or beetles. Flows are low for this time of year, it will get tougher here as the summer rolls on and fall will have very skinny water and high weeds. Dry dropper combos with bead head nymphs or emergers are a good choice if you are working water that is over two feet. Deep slots in the weed lines are also great holds this time of year and accurate casts with a spot on dead drift will get grabs. Don’t target too much water at once on a drift. Position, present, perform.
Jim made the rounds this trip fly fishing several waters with us including Hot Creek. He did well on all!
Any day now the lake will complete its turnover and the goo will be a thing of the past for sometime. The warm weather forecast is conducive to wiping out the goo soon. Currently Crowley is as Drifter’s guide Fill Therrien describes it “split pea soup and ham”. Despite the poor water conditions we are getting into some nice fish daily and it will not be long before this fishery erupts. Stay outside the weeds 12-16 feet, fish larva patterns near the bottom. McGee Bay, Sandy Pt., Little Hilton and in the North Arm near Big Weed if you can locate the old channel. The chironomids are not emerging in large numbers right now and the lake has pretty much had it’s plug pulled, meaning it is dropping rapidly. The creek channels are filled in with weed so you won’t locate the trout near the cooler water of the inlets of McGee and the Upper Owens. The lake did not drop sufficiently enough last year to allow these inlets to gouge out and clear the channels. Stay on the mud! a wide variety of midge larva patterns will get you grabs on Crowley. Crystal flash in the pattern is a good choice. Tiger, zebra, and broken back patterns are good selections. It is always darkest here before the dawn- trust me on this one friends, Crowley will go off big time soon and I hope you are with us to prove it!
Lower Owens River
Go elsewhere. Flows are high (over 500cfs) and the weather is only good for rattlesnakes, horny toads and solar panels!
San Joaquin River
Do not believe I have told you to go down and fish this area in July in many moons. The wild fish are on the small side here but can be eager to hit dries all day. There is a plethora of aquatic insects here and you will get looks on mayflies, caddis flies, ants and beetles, hoppers, stone flies, a piece of yarn or the ugliest most beat up pattern you have in your box! They are opportunistic and the key is to hit fresh water. Walk away from the campgrounds and get freshies. Fish the pocket water and behind large boulders or rocks. The larger fish will hold in the deeper pools or under the brush in the shadows. Work your way upstream along the riverbed and make your presentations “on the tail”. Studs are very good to have on your wading boots here.
The Bridge is encountering the same turnover issues as Crowley. The creek channels in Buckeye Bay have been filled with thick weeds making it difficult for the trout to migrate into the cooler more oxygenated water near the feeds. Hence, you need to look deeper, on the mud flats where the thermocline and location align. The east shoreline has several areas that are holding concentrations of fish, as well as the drop-off near Rainbow Pt. Locate the weed lines and fish along these edges. You may have to look in 15 feet to get some clean bottom. The lake is really full considering the low snow pack and when it is done turning over you will see some great fly fishing in these areas. Jeffery at the marina says the trollers and bait dunkers are doing well in deeper water. Tubers using full sinking lines and punk perch or damsel flies are getting more fish than still water nymphing currently.
Upper Owens River
Low water for this time of year and I fear it may get worse. Being a spring creek in nature with a major confluence being Hot Creek, this river can get warmer than trout like it in the summer and we will have to see how it plays out this summer. The larger fish are located closest to the lake, due in part to planted fish, however the best dry fly action will be found upstream above Hot Creeks merging. Caddis, and midges are best with a decent showing of PMD mayflies late morning. Use flashback PT’s, Assassins, crystal tiger and olive zebra midges for nymphing. Elk caddis and para mayfly patterns are good choices for dry fly adults. The skeeters are here folks, have some repellant.
The DFG trucks will make the holiday weekend good for catchable sized rainbows in most of these locations. I really like Virginia Lakes, Rock Creek Lake, Silver Lake, and Twin Lakes Mammoth for tubing and trolling along the drop offs and inlets. Have a full sinking or heavy sink tip line to get down 15 feet quickly. No question on the patterns-Loebergs and Spruce-A-Bu’s.
Doug and I want to thank all of you that fished with us here this spring and give you another look at the beautiful fish we caught here. This lake is a national treasure and I an sure most would agree it is the best around. We will be back next spring. It is still fishing well and you can buy our flies at the Eagle Lake RV Park in Spalding. We miss it already!
Thanks for reading my report.
Be the fly…Tom Loe, Sierra Drifters Guide Service