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.
Fishing Conditions 8/19/19
We are back to warm weather again, as the cooler summer finally has given way to bright sunny days with little precipitation. The afternoon breezes have been coming up and cooling off the day to very pleasant temperatures. Bridgeport Reservoir had a good run of rainbows, browns, and kokanee salmon showing up last week. The East Walker River is fishing well on smaller nymphs and medium sized streamers. The San Joaquin River is at ideal flows and the dry fly fishing has been good. Hot Creek has stayed consistently good from season’s start through the summer months. The Upper Owens River has continued to kick out lots of fish with the best bite method being dry flies and grasshoppers. The hatch this year is off the charts! Crowley Lake finally starting to trend downward in water elevation. Fish are still spread out throughout the lake. The Middle Owens River still holding at 400 cfs with some caddis, trico, and midge hatches daily.
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Sierra Drifters is a guide service based near Mammoth Lakes, CA. There is no retail shop to visit, but our time tested fly patterns are available to purchase at select locations and online here on our website. Click here to view our entire selection of flies.
Crowley Lake 8/19/19
The lake level is beginning to drop and exposing the tops of the weeds in some areas. There is still plenty of flooded grass and shorter weeds where fish have been feeding heavily on perch fry throughout the day. Midges are also being sought out over the mud bottoms, but they have been scarce this season as the rising water levels forced the fertile shallow areas deeper. It will probably be another few weeks before any midge activity starts to appear in the shallower water. This year, the term “shallower water” refers to anything under 20′, which is not usually the norm for a season on Crowley. Perch fry and callibaetis imitations have been doing very well in the channel and along the weeds. Tiger midges fished along the bottom have also been accounting for good numbers of fish. Fish are spread out throughout the lake but are gravitating toward the creek channels. When the wind comes up in the afternoon the bite can really turn on in McGee and the north arm! Best Flies: Parallel Assassin Dark and Light – 16; Assassin Dark and Light – 16; Parallel Punk Perch Dark and Light – 14, 16; Broken Back Dark Zebra Midge- 16; Crystal Tiger Midge Long -18; Broken Back Copper Tiger Midge – 18; Crystal Copper Tiger Midge – 18; Crystal Midge Pupa Black – 20; Crystal Caddis Larva Olive Copper – 18; Punk Perch Dark and Light – 14, 16; Damsel Nymph Dark and Light; Flashback Pheasant Tail Tungsten Black Head – 14, 16, 18.
Our bay boats range from 20 – 24′ in length and are the most comfortable boats on the lake!
With our expert guides behind the wheel, it takes all the guess work out of finding the fish!
Michael Ledesma is usually keeping busy running Gomez’s Mexican Restaurant in Mammoth, but he does find time occasionally to cast some flies! He and Paul (below) fished with Jerry!
Paul Vanacore shows off one of his beefy cutthroat trout!
Young Carlo Noriega fished with Jerry and got this football of a rainbow trout!
Middle Owens River/Wild Trout Section (Bishop Area) 8/19/19
Flows still consistent here around the 400 cfs. There have been good hatches of tricos, midges, and caddisflies. Streamer patterns fished in the deeper runs can pull out some big fish. Water color is still a little off color but best fishing times have been in the mornings and evenings. We will start to visit this area with the drift boats soon.
Hot Creek 8/19/19
Great fishing here all month. Lots of good dry fly action throughout the day, with heavy emphasis in the mornings. Nymphing when the fish fall from the surface down to the mud has been very productive. Best Flies: Flashback PT’s #16-#20, Tricos Spinners #20-22, SD Crawlers in Red #14, Copper Tiger Midges #18-20, and #18 Assassin Dark.
Upper Owens River 8/19/19
The grasshopper population (explosion) is unlike most years. They are so thick up here that as soon as they hit the water they don’t stand a chance of survival. Any trout within sight range is taking in these easy meals with no doubt or uncertainty. Imitating these bugs with the right fly can be challenging but also a fun process. Mayfly patterns and caddis have also been getting a lot of good fish here. There are some larger fish in the river this summer due to the abundance of food and the flooded banks around the mouth going into Crowley Lake. Best Flies: Stimulator – 12, 14, 16; Crystal Copper Tiger Midge – 16,18; B100FB – 14, 16, 18, 20; Spruce a bu dark and light; Loeberg Mallard Silver; Loeberg Guinea Silver, Crystal Midge Pupa Black – 18; Crystal Chironomid Emerger Copper – 16, 18; Broken Back Copper Tiger Midge – 14,16,18.
Chris Kersting got into some good ones with dry flies and grasshoppers while fishing with Doug Dolan!
This is a year around fishery with special regs in place. We walk and wade guide here.*Doug Rodricks, Doug Dolan, Hans Grotewold, and Devin Preston are under permit from the Inyo National Forest Service to guide Hot Creek.
East Walker River/Bridgeport Reservoir 8/19/19
Good fishing here as flows continue to hold at the 320 cfs level. Smaller nymphs and streamer patterns are getting looks from some bigger fish. The slower water on the edges of the faster moving stuff has been the key. Get those flies down to the fish this time of year with enough weight. Bridgeport Reservoir has been good in the channel where the weed growth is minimal. The weeds have choked up a lot of the inside channels this season as the high water has changed conditions up this year. Best Flies: B100FB – 18, 20; Crystal Copper Tiger Midge -16; Crystal Zebra Midge – 16, 18; Punk Perch Light and Dark – 14, 16; Parallel Punk Perch Light and Dark; Crystal Leech – 12, 14, 16; Agent Orange 12, 14, 16; Parallel Agent Orange – 14.
Balanced patterns are the new rage for nymphing, & streamer fishing. 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.