A Fish Report for 10/16/18

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 10/16/18

Cold mornings have now settled in as the norm for this fall season. Nighttime temperatures have reached freezing levels but you would never guess it from the warm sunny daytime temperatures. While some nights get down to 30 degrees or lower the daytime temperatures have remained warm and sunny in the mid 60’s. If you ask me, you couldn’t ask for more pleasant fall fishing conditions. The East Walker River is in prime shape now and this marks the beginning of our favorite time to fish here. Great fishing throughout the river now, drifting nymphs through the deep pools and runs. Hot Creek flows at fall/winter levels now with some nice afternoon hatches when the conditions are right. Upper Owens river starting to welcome some bigger rainbows into the tributary. Still some smaller fish willing to hit small streamers, nymphs, and dry flies. Crowley Lake continuing to be consistent through wind, rain, and bright sunny days. Some big fish and good numbers coming to the net recently. Middle Owens River on its way down in flows. Drift trips are within striking distance.



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Sierra Drifters is a guide service based near Mammoth Lakes, CA. There is no retail shop to visit.

Crowley Lake 10/16/18

We’ve been experiencing some very consistent fishing here. Fish are ranging in size from 7″ up to 23″. Rainbows, browns, and cutthroat trout are all feeding heavily on the tiniest of midges and small mayflies.

Tiny mayflies like this are mixed in with the midges in a Crowley trout’s diet!


Setting up “on the spot” is crucial now to get rods bent. A good sonar that can pick up not only fish marks, but distinguish between fish size can really narrow down the search. Our assassin and leech patterns fished high off the bottom have been getting some real nice ones. The water level is dropping quickly and the weed beds are beginning to disappear. Larger bait fish imitations are now responsible for attracting some hogs. Playing around with fly depth is a good idea now as the feeding depth of the fish is different daily. #14-16 Parallel Assassin Dark and Assassin Dark, #14- 16 Level Crystal Leech and Crystal Leech, #18 Crystal Zebra and Crystal Tiger Midge Long, and #10 Loebergs have been hot flies.

Jessica Ortiz with a great brown trout! 

Jorge Martinez fished with Chris Basso and scored a chunky rainbow!

Angie Violett fished on the same trip and got this nice brown!

Daniel Martinez is all smiles while fishing with Chris and holding this nice bow!

And Don Violett got in on the action too with this nice brown!

Carl Robbins fished with Jerry and scored this nice cutty!

Carl with another nice one, a brown this time!

Check this cutty out held by Rocky Rainbolt. Jerry was his guide!

Tom Baine got this nice cutty while fishing with Jerry!

And Russ Johnston while on the same trip tied into this one!

The Lamb bros. got into some good ones with Jerry! Here’s Doug with a fat brown!

Here’s Doug and Craig with a nice double!

Lonnie Argabright got into some good ones. Check out this nice ‘bow!

And Lonnie with another big cutty!

Jay Poore with a nice cutthroat while fishing with Doug Dolan!

Mitch Kelly shows his smiling face with a nice smiling brown!

And daughter Madison got her licks in too with this nice cutthroat!

Tom Foster fished with Two Bug Doug and defeated this brownie!

Jay with another nice rainbow!

Ron Ortiz displays a fine rainbow trout!

This one is even better. Nice paint job!

Mark Wiederkehr fished with his brother and Two Bug and scored this fat ‘bow!

Brother Craig displaying a chunky cutty!

Jessica Ortiz with another huge rainbow!

Denny Smithgall fished with Dave Carranza and scored this big cutty!

Peter Beucke while on the same trip caught this nice one!

Daryl Bradford made his annual trip to the lake for this big cutty!

John Bastian fished with Two Bug and got this sweet rainbow!

Taylor Wagner got into some good ones on the same trip!

Dennis Littlejohn came all the way from Oklahoma to see what the Crowley fuss was about. He got this nice brown!

And of course he had to get a nice cutty too!

And Jessica with another great fish on a cold and windy day!

Middle Owens River (Bishop Area) 10/16/18

Flows have started coming down recently. Current cfs is 563. We will be monitoring the flows here and are ready to pounce once the time is right. It shouldn’t be long now before our drift boats start splashing down.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on Middle Owens River near Bishop, CA for trophy rainbow, brown, & cutthroat trout.

Upper Owens River 10/16/18

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 increased to 115 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. #18 Caddis patterns working well. 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.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on Upper Owens River near Mammoth Lakes, CA for trophy rainbow, brown, & cutthroat trout.

Tim Williams got out with Hanzo and Tim’s trusty Lab and got into some fun action.

Hot Creek 10/16/18

Flows at 8 cfs now with weed growth prevalent. Latest rain and snow added a little bit more water here. 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 10/16/18 

Flows  now at 108 cfs. Some good fishing now with the water temperatures dropping. Flows are 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.

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on Upper Owens River near Bridgeport, CA for trophy rainbow, brown, & cutthroat trout.

Nate Weber fished with Doug Dolan and was rewarded with this killer colored brown trout!

Sierra Drifters guides fly fishers on Upper Owens River near Bridgeport, CA for trophy rainbow, brown, & cutthroat trout.

Mike Baume did the same and got into some fun browns too!






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

Sierra Drifters Guide Service © is trademarked & copyright issued May 4th 2013. No part of this website may be reproduced, duplicated, or distributed without direct consent from Tom Loe.