Sierra Drifters Guide Service
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.
Fish’N Conditions 9/17/18
Cooler nights have come to the sierra triggering the fish in the lakes, rivers, and creeks to start loading up on food before the winter arrives in a few months. We have seen our first freezing nights in the higher elevations, and the daytime temperatures have remained perfect between the high 60’s to the low 90’s from Bridgeport to Bishop. We are still a few weeks away from the fall colors showing up, but a few of the aspens are starting to show the first change in color. Bridgeport Reservoir still giving up fish in the river and creek channels as well as the mud flats. East Walker River getting some new life with the cooler nights now. Some bigger fish showing up all along the river. The June Lake Loop lakes are starting to kick into fall mode now with some bigger fish cruising the shallows looking for larger meals. North end of 158 between Grant Lake and Parker Rd is currently closed due to a wildfire until further notice. Hot Creek flows continuing to drop slightly, but good action with dry flies and terrestrials fished along the open areas. Upper Owens river fishing well above and below the bridge for smaller rainbows with a few browns joining the mix. Crowley Lake giving up some nice big ones with a mix of medium and smalls. Good midge hatches coming off daily along with all the other high protein food sources. Middle Owens River up to high flows again with a sudden increase the last week. This is bringing more water out of Crowley Lake but we should see them drop back down soon.
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Sierra Drifters is a guide service based near Mammoth Lakes, CA. There is no retail shop to visit.
Crowley Lake 9/17/18
Some great midge hatches have been coming off in the last week. You will locate good concentrations of big fish in specific locations during this time. Use your sonar to find the cool water combined with a solid mud bottom for consistent action. The weed lines have also been good areas to target, as many fish of all sizes are feeding on the perch fry, callibaetis, and occasional damselfly nymphs. It has been quite the late season for callibaetis mayflies this season. Mixing up your fly patterns can help to narrow down what the fish are feeding on. Best areas have been the north arm, Leighton Springs, Alligator Point, McGee Bay and Crooked Creek. #16-18 Copper Tiger Midge, #18 Zebra Midge, #16 Parallel Assassin Dark, #16 Parallel Assassin Light, #16 Parallel Punk Perch Dark, #18 Gillie Light and Dark have been the best flies.
Don Tilley got into some nice ones like this cutthroat!
Don got good bends in his rod all day long!
Scott Alexander fished with Two Bug Doug and scored this nice brown!
Tom Hundley was stoked to get this big ‘bow while fishing with Doug Dolan!
Here’s Scott with another nice rainbow!
Brian Austin road tripped it from Arizona to get into some nice fish!
Henry Wynne got into some nice cutthroat and a bunch of other species too!
The Babcocks spent a couple of days with us. Jerry Gilpin and I got them out for some hot fishing! Here’s Ethan with a great cutthroat!
Two Bug helped Toni Wood score this nice brown!
Emily, Ethan, and dad Gary Babcock with a stellar triple!
Ethan with another biggie!
Two Bug got Bill Wood on some nice ones!
Another big one for Billy!
Bill Dunlap was very happy on his first visit to the lake!
Michael Walseth had a great morning out there!
Here’s Michael with a big one and dad George by his side!
Jerry Thatcher fished with Jerry Gilpin and got this beautiful cutty!
George Walseth with a nice cutthroat of his own!
Hanzo got Matt Green on some great ones like this cutty!
Walt Becker fished with Jerry and scored this cutthroat! Do you guys see a pattern here yet? The cuttys are out in force.
Ethan with another nice rainbow while fishing with Jerry!
And a great brother/sister double for Emily and Ethan!
Craig Mohns fished with Jerry and he got a real fatty rainbow!
Anthony Blanco fished with newest SD guide Devin Preston and had a great morning!
Devin also took Sean McFadden out and they banged some nice ones!
Ken Davidson fished with Jerry for this nice one!
Joe Contaldi took John Cookson out for an epic day of fishing! John got some real nice ones like this big ‘bow!
Bridgeport Reservoir 9/17/18
The water level is dropping and the weed tops are very defined on the surface now. Fish are still hanging in the channels, and midges, perch fry, assassins, and pheasant tails have been working well. You will find a mix of fish sizes now as most fish are seeking out the cooler water coming from the creeks. Assassins and Punk Perch hung under the indicators close to the weeds have been effective. Midges still working well over the mud bottoms. #14-16 Level Crystal Leeches, #14-16 Assassins Light, #14-16 Parallel Punk Perch, #12-18 Copper Tiger Midges, and Zebra midges have been great and effective patterns.
Middle Owens River (Bishop Area) 9/17/18
Flows have started coming through heavy again recently. Current cfs is 500 but this shouldn’t hold for too long as we approach the fall months shortly. There have been fish hanging in the deeper pools chasing smaller bait fish and nymphs as they drift along the river. Mid afternoon hatches will be on hold until the flows come down again and at that time we will start resuming trips here.
Upper Owens River 9/17/18
Fish scattered above the bridge with better numbers below the campgrounds. The river has a good amount of catchable size rainbows all over, but more fish below the bridge. Flows have dropped to 105 cfs. A few larger than average sized trout in the deeper sections. Target the deeper pools and riffle water that leads into them and you can get into some fun action fishing small nymphs, dry/droppers, and small streamers. Look for rising fish in the mid-morning and later in the afternoons along the slower moving sections. The foam lines have been where it is at. Throwing stimulators and hopper patterns in the foam can entice fish to take on the surface.
The section upstream from the Benton Bridge is open year-round with special regulations. Seasonal closures and angling restrictions apply downstream from the bridge, check regulations before fishing in this section. We walk and wade guide here. During winter we will access the UO with snowmobiles.
Peter Saputo fished with Hanzo and had a fun day sticking these guys under the indicator!
Joe Saputo also got into the heavy action with some fun in the sun fishing on the river!
Hot Creek 9/17/18
Flows at 8 cfs now with weed growth prevalent. Target the open lanes between them for the best success. Different day to day here as more weeds hit the surface and begin to choke up the open water. Dry fly fishing along the open stretches has been productive. Still fun with hoppers fished on a 9′ leader. #18 mayflies, #18-22 midges, #20 Brassies, and egg and SD worm patterns have been getting some serious looks and takes from the resident trout.
This is a year around fishery with special regs in place. We walk and wade guide here.*Tom Loe, Doug Rodricks, Doug Dolan, and Hans Grotewold are under permit from the Inyo National Forest Service to guide Hot Creek.
East Walker River 9/17/18
Flows fluctuating and now at 181 cfs. We had a good run of some nice sized rainbows and browns this last week. Flows were down to very wadable and crossable levels. Seek out the deep runs and pools. Perch fry patterns stripped slowly back are a good call now. Crawdad patterns work great this time of year, along with #18 Copper Tiger Midges, #14-16 Parallel Perch, #14-16 Level Leeches, and Assassins dark and light both Parallel and normal. #18 flashback hare’s ears, #18wd 40’s, and SJ worms also working well.
Devin Preston guided Steve Clerou to some nice ones on the Walker!
Here’s Steve pictured with another nice ‘bow!
Joe Contaldi guided the Brazinas to some nice ones. Pictured is Gary with a great rainbow!
Gary’s son Joe got in on the action as well. Check out this fat ‘bow!
Grant/Silver Lakes/Alpine Lakes 9/17/18
Some bigger model fish are starting to show in shallower water now. Good fishing hanging midges under an indicator above the weeds at Silver. A good sonar will give you an idea of where the best concentration of fish are. This time of year the creek and river inlets hold the most fish. They still bite as the breeze comes up and you can have some pretty good number days here. The weeds are now well established at the south end of Silver. Grant Lake has been giving up some nice fish toward the inlet under an indicator. Other alpine lakes may require longer leaders to get down to the fish but the setup is still the same. 9′ leaders with #18-20 paramidges and griffith’s gnats for the surface action. Go with small copper john’s , Pt’s , and midges when going subsurface or hung under an indicator.
Balanced patterns are the new rage for nymphing, & streamer fishing. Parallel Punk Perch has been the hottest fly on Crowley Lake recently. 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. 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.
Thank you for visiting our website and checking out our report. Be the Fly…. Tom Loe, Sierra Drifters Guide Service
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