Pleasant Valley Reservoir is located about 8 miles north of Bishop off Hwy 395. It can be accessed on either the north, or south end. It has a paved service road that parallels the lake end to end. You may not drive on this road; but it makes walking with a float tube easier. Bait and barbed hooks are allowed here year. It can get very crowded on holidays, & weekends due to easy access and heavy planting by the CDFW. PVR can be defined as “three fisheries in one location”. The gorge flows into PVR, it’s junction located at the powerhouse.
The lake itself is not the prettiest still water in the Sierra; but it is the true tail water to Crowley Lake. It is considered a “buffer” type reservoir that is used by the LADWP for hydroelectric power generation. The north end of the lake has a parking area that is situated right next to the powerhouse. Just downstream of this area is a fertile trout fishery that has planted rainbows, and wild brown trout. The small river section is less than a mile long; but resembles the East Walker River in many ways. Its rocky bottom, and aerated water make an ideal habitat for trout. This section is heavily lined with willows, and can be difficult to access with high flows when power is being generated. When flows are low this section is the ultimate place for fly fishers using a dry/ dropper bead head nymph combo, or mayfly and midge adults for surface action. Long riffles and pocket water are common here. Casting from a downstream position is the best approach. Studded wading boots, and a staff are a must!
The “transition” section between the lake proper, and the moving water can be the sweet spot depending on the level of the reservoir. Here you may find numerous pods of feeding trout foraging on the abundant aquatic insects that emanate from Crowley and the rocky river bottom itself. The picture above illustrates this section. Good casting and solid “dead drifts” are needed to fool the wild and holdover fish here. Midges and mayflies come off during the fall, winter, & early spring months when flows are typically lowest and power generation is sporadic. We guide this often under the right conditions and it is a super place to get into big numbers of fish with indicators or dry/dropper combo rigs.
Float tubing the lake proper is best during the cooler times of the year as well. The CDFW plants rainbows near the “launch ramp” located near the middle section of this narrow stillwater. During the cooler months great fishing can be had here from a tube and I have affectionately nick named this craziness “freeze tubing”. If you decide to tube in December you will see why! Full sinking fly lines are needed to get the streamers down at least 10 feet for action when it is cold. Still water nymphing is also highly productive during periods of chironomid emergence, and we have nick named this location “little Crowley” because it fishes very much like its big brother to the north. Stick along the drop-offs on both sides and near the inlet for a shot at a 50 fish day.