Conditions on the East Walker River just north of Mammoth are very good for fly fishers currently. JB with a stunning brown he caught on a SJ worm pattern.
Most of the fisheries in the Eastern Sierra are fishing very well right now. This in part due to the below average snow run-off and some warmer than average temperatures. The high passes are currently open to vehicles, and access to alpine regions at the 9,000 foot level is good. The reservoir levels remain low, fall will look different with some access issues for boaters. This will be the case in many lakes and reservoirs throughout California this year, not just the Sierra region. Creeks and tail waters are in great shape currently, they will be lower than normal this fall. The migration of cutts and rainbows is peaking currently in the tribs of Crowley and Bridgeport, it will begin tapering off soon. Hope you can make it up and enjoy a great opening season here, see you on the water.
East Walker River
Flows recently up to near 100cfs. This is still an excellent release for fly fishers and will further spread the fish out into other than just the deepest pools. The mayflies are the story here late morning/early afternoon #18 with a showing of caddis just beginning. MOVE AROUND. The Miracle Mile has been hammered, and although you will still get fish here with freshies in the morning-there is quality water downstream, especially at these new flows. The fish are holding in pocket water and riffles instead of just the larger pools. Use sufficient weight to get your nymphs down in this faster water.
Jeff hit this one on an Assassin bird’s nest fished in a riffle.
One of my favorite times of year to fish Crowley is on Mother’s Day Weekend. I have seldom been let down, and this year was no exception. The bite was on all over the lake during the hatch, steady grabs while still water nymphing with a #18 gillie, a crystal pupa or emerger as the upper, with a #16 & 18 crystal copper tiger/zebra midge as your larva pattern. I prefer bright bead heads when the water is clean, go to dark when you see algae here. The chironomids are happy campers right now & coming off in big numbers. Took 20 freak’N minutes to clean off the dead spinners after the trip today! Warmer than normal water, mild air temps and a stable water level have made for some very good conditions on Crowley for fly fishers. Sandy Pt., Layton Springs, Big Hilton, Beaver Cove, Crooked Creek, North landing-10-16 feet. Most of the fish I am seeing on the number days are small for Crowley. 12 inch cutts and rainbows are the standard issue, however there are good numbers of browns and three year old bows showing up as well. Water level has not changed and is up only TEN feet from last years low point. Look out for navigation hazards around the Hiltons and towards the Upper Owens inlet. You can get all the flies and Under-cators at the Crowley Lake General Store located right next to Crowley Lake.
Jake with a lean mean fighting machine. His dad Rusty and friend Wayne did well recently.
Mark with a bull headed bow, nice fish!
Big Ben tubed up a nice brownie in Beaver Cove using a dark Spruce-A-Bu
Wayne and Rusty with a double hanging. Gorgeous back drop for this shot.
Jason got himself a quality brown in the breeze
Sung hit many chunky bows like this one
Ian should be a boxer with a reach like this! He did crush the competition on his trip and proved youth and skill will overcome old age and treachery!
Brian with an airborne bow and awesome backdrop
Charles tight to one on Doug R’s “fish magnet” Crowley is fishing well early on
Upper Owens/McGee Creek
The spring migration has been good for smaller cutthroats and rainbows, just a lack of slammers this season. It has improved since opener and I would venture to say it has peaked, and will begin to decrease the next week or so. I have already seen some hens that have dropped their eggs, and some pretty worn out looking bucks. Water levels are very low on McGee and Convict Creeks, the rest are not even worth looking at. The fish are averaging about 10-12 inches, most are cutts on the Upper Owens, it is 50/50 on McGee. Some nice mayfly hatches on the UO with a shot at some wild browns on the surface. Fish are very, very, very spooky in the low clear water on McGee-try an upstream approach and drift your imitations down to them. UO has great conditions with nice flows-the deeper water is more friendly for presentations. Assassins are killer here, thanks for the scoop Cody!
Bruce with a pretty cutty from McGee Creek taken on an egg pattern
Jeff stuck over twenty himself while nymphing with us on McGee
SDFF member Howard hanging on to a nice rainbow on McGee Creek
Another SDFF member George made the long trek to get into quality cutts like this on McGee Creek
Middle Owens River
Flows have been bouncing around from 220-260cfs. Pretty sweet for this time of year, you will find some great fly fishing at times in the wild trout section and while drifting with us. This is a plus for a low water year. Strong caddis in the afternoons, we are seeing some sucker fry along the slack water which has made for some good streamer fishing. Take advantage of these low flows this time of year, it is rare to get such warm weather and stable flows on the Middle Owens. Use flashback Pt’s #16-18, broken back midges #16, Assassins #16 & 18, olive crystal caddis larva #18-20 while nymphing. Mayfly adults #16-18 light bodies (PMD’s are good) light olive caddis adults #16 in the afternoon. Loebergs and Spruce-A-bu’s are my go to flies with a heavy sinking tip line. Use the “dip & strip” in the riffle water and at the base of pools.
Bill stung this nice bow on a Spruce-A-Bu while drifting the MO with us recently
Joe beat his personal best on a float with us recently. This was an active morning fish on a Loeberg
I wish we had more water to fish here. It gets comfy when conditions are this good and it can be tight, especially on weekends. Flows are fine currently, look for low water and weedy conditions as the spring rolls into summer. Midges, mayflies, caddis-they are all showing up on the menu. Fish the far stripes/slots in the weed lines for the biters. I like a #20-22 para-midge with a 10 foot leader-5X for surface action. Try attractor patterns in the morning and late afternoon-SJ worms can be deadly here in the spring while nymphing. (Tom Loe is under permit to guide Hot Creek by the Inyo National Forest Service)
James positioning to release this active fish. Note the lower water level after a short cold snap.
Conditions are good here early on and the fish are active and eagerly hitting midges in the morning. The late mornings and afternoons have been slow, with a poor showing of callibaetis thus far. The fish are larger here this year on average and I caught the best brown ever here while scouting. If you like gorgeous scenery, wild trout, and the seclusion of private water give us a call.
BW with a quality “Dobe” brown. Dry dropper and sight casting to rise forms is how you do it from the drift boat at Adobe.
It is absolutely beautiful and tranquil here. One of my favorites to guide. Looking for a place to build your dream vacation house? Give a call and I will put you in touch with the broker.
The fish are concentrated near Rainbow Pt, 9-13 feet. Midges and some callibaetis coming off on the nicer days. The marina is fine for launching smaller boats, water level is dropping to levels that may not work for larger craft. Conditions are very good now, get it before the weeds set in and levels drop too much. Look at the drop-off in Buckeye Bay towards Rainbow. Find a slope, or the edge of the submerged peninsula. Some action along the east shoreline towards Paradise in the old channel-good call for tubers trolling a Loeberg and midge or Killa baetis trailer. Jeffery has these flies at the marina store.
Mixed reports from tubers and shore fishers. Between the CDFW & some IAG plantings most of more popular locations are getting a good jag of fish this spring. Conditions are overall very good in most locations and it looks more like June than May in the Alpine areas this year due to the high snow levels. Use full sinking or heavy sink tip lines to get those streamers down along the drop-offs and near the creek intlets/outlets 10-15 feet.
San Joaquin River
The road to Red Meadow will be opening by Memorial Day, this is very early. The SJ will be very fishable early on this year and not blown out by heavy run-off. Fish will be eager to hit most dry fly attractor patterns like Trudes, Royal Wolfes, Humpies, Stimulators, Sofa Pillows, para chute hi-vis mayfly adults-#14-16. There remains more downed tree removal to be done again this year so be aware of the INFS postings near campgrounds. (Tom Loe is permitted by the Inyo National Forest Service to guide the middle fork of the San Joaquin)
We are going to have low water here again this year, however fishing will be very good in the south basin early as the fish will be concentrated here. We still have some dates open and will have three boats on the water here in June. Click on waters we fish-Eagle Lake for dates and info at the top of this page. (Tom Loe is under permit from Lassen National Forest Service to guide Eagle Lake).
Jurassic Pond Loebows
Here are some monsters caught recently on my trophy pond located on McGee Creek. This is private water and we use this exclusively for Drifters clients and special events/groups. There is NO place like it in the Sierra and you will see why!
Jeff with his first monster
And one more that needed extra hands to hold!
Skip with his trophy Loebow-should have seen the one that got away just before this! We would have needed a small crane to get it out.
Bruce shows a nice brown from Jurassic Pond
Bruce and I with another troutzilla from Jurassic Pond
Thanks for reading my report, be the fly…Tom Loe, Sierra Drifters Guide Service