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 3/20/19
Hello anglers! The major storms of February have now turned into a wimper for the little snow that we do get coming through in March. Some rain and snow is expected over the next day and possibly another light storm next weekend. Besides that, the weather has been warmer with some high pressure settling in and making for some beautiful days as spring approaches. There are some major changes to report on a few areas and some major proposals of fishing regulation changes to take effect this year. Some of these regulation changes are for the better, but some would be detrimental to some of our trophy trout waters here in Mono County. You can view the proposed changes on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website here https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=165844&inline
To sum it up, Crowley Lake would delay the bait season by a month, but would extend the bait season through the months of August and September and change the bag limit from 2 fish over 18″ to 5 fish with no gear restrictions. These are very critical months when the majority of our large and wild fish are found in shallow water and would be susceptible to a massive population decline by take from anglers that wish to fill their limit. We need to think about how this would literally destroy a thriving fishery like Crowley Lake. The current allotment of trout that are planted in the lake are not the high numbers of past years, and with that being said we would see the wild trout population disappear after a couple of seasons. Less fish would enter their spawning grounds on the Upper Owens, McGee Creek, and the other lake tributaries, and they simply would not be able to reproduce and grow fast enough to keep up with the loss of wild fish during the months of August and September. The current regulations which end the bait season after July 31st were put in place to make Crowley Lake the best fishery for growing fish to trophy size. A better proposal would be to open the bait season at the start of the general trout season, which is currently the last Saturday in April, and if they wish to extend it, the limit should be changed to 2 fish and 4 in possession. I have witnessed first hand how this type of management works. Eagle Lake has used this regulation for years with tremendous success. McGee Creek downstream of 395 to Crowley Lake is also under fire from this one. The new regulations would expose the spawning cutthroat that enter the creek from Crowley Lake in the spring to be taken with a 5 fish limit with 10 in possession and no gear restrictions. This would with out a doubt, wipe out the cutthroat population by not allowing them to spawn, along with the rainbow trout that enter the creek at that time too. There will be a meeting held at Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday April 6th from 12pm – 2pm. I urge all of you who are passionate about the area to please attend and give your opinion on these new changes. If you cannot attend, you may contact CDFW Inland Fisheries Program Manager Roger Bloom at (916) 445 – 3777. You can also leave your comments on CDFW’s online form here https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing/Inland/Trout-Plan/Regulation-Simplification/comments
The East Walker River has come alive with increased flows and some hungry large trout. With the water recently increased and still on the cold side, fish are still holding in the softer areas. Hot Creek has been great for small and medium sized fish feeding on the surface mid-day. Upper Owens River still kicking out some nice rainbows as we continue to access it here by snowmobile. Middle Owens flows dropped a bit over the weekend, but we may see another increase here soon. Fish are holding in the foam lines and the eddy seams and taking small streamers.
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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.
Middle Owens River/Wild Trout Section (Bishop Area) 3/20/19
Flows came down to 250 cfs over the weekend but are slated to go up this week. The BWO hatch has been starting a little later, but should settle into its afternoon window here with some more high pressure days. Some midges hatching in the mornings and streamers which imitate wounded bait fish have been good bets for getting into the larger fish. When the mayfly hatch is happening, try switching to our #16 Punk Perch and Crystal Leech just prior to and after the peak of the hatch. Best flies for these area have been #10 Loebergs in all colors, #8 Spruce-a-bus in light and dark, #16 Punk Perch, #14 Crystal Leech, #18 Assassin Light, #16 San Juan Worm Red, #18 Blue Winged Olive, #22 Parachute Midge, #18 Broken Back Copper Tiger Midge, and #18 Crystal Caddis Larva Olive Dubbed-Black.
Upper Owens River 3/20/19
It has been spring fishing here over the last week with a good shot of some wind at the start. When the wind blew, it really blew, and when it was calm, the days really heated up and melted a lot of snow off the banks. Some big rainbows are still holding up in the usual pools and runs. The warm afternoons have the fish moving into the riffles now to feed on the major BWO hatches that are happening in the early afternoons. Try our Hi- Vis Blue Wing Olive in size #16-18 when you see them breaking the surface. 6mm Otter Eggs in Tangerine Opaque, Kiwi Flash, Dead Egg, and Apricot, #14-16 San Juan worm red and Bead San Juan Worm red, #14-16 Level Crystal Leeches, #14-16 Parallel Assassin Dark and Light, and #16 Broken Back Copper Tiger Midge are lighting up the fish! We had the pleasure and privilege of guiding a great group of war veterans who were brought to us by Wild Ops. This is a great organization that helps war veterans transition back to normal life after their time served. It is extremely healing for these guys and we thank them for all they have given up for our country.
Hanzo with the group from Wild Ops. Here’s Steven Kuester with a nice trophy bow!
Carl Wesely fished with Doug Dolan and got into them!
Cory Strouth with Wild Ops fished with Two Bug Doug and got not just one…
Wild Ops veteran Ryan Krause did well here too!
Brent Husung with Wild Ops fished with Hans and got this beauty!
Carl’s grandson Drew Ludwig didn’t do bad either!
but 2 big ones out of the same area!
Here’s another pig of a ‘bow for Ryan!
The Wild Ops boys had a great time with the “trout war wagon”!
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 are currently accessing the river by snowmobile.
Hot Creek 3/20/19
Cold mornings the last week gave way to a nice warm up and some good fish rising to midges and mayflies. Smaller nymphs and midges like our #18 Copper Tiger have been whacking them here. You can then get them on #20-22 Paramidges fished in the film along the foam lines and in the eddies. Still some deep snow walking in to the Interpretive site and it becomes even more dicey if you are making the descent into the canyon, but can be worth the hike. #18 BWO’s, #18-22 Parachute midges, and Otter eggs and SD Crawlers have been getting some serious looks and takes from the resident trout.
Wild Ops veteran Travis Mackie shows off a nice rainbow that ate a midge!
Jim Kelly with Wild Ops also got into some nice ones here!
This is a year around fishery with special regs in place. We walk and wade guide here.*Doug Rodricks, Doug Dolan, and Hans Grotewold are under permit from the Inyo National Forest Service to guide Hot Creek.
East Walker River 3/20/19
Flows have finally bumped up here and moved fish all over the river. Some nice ones are being taken on soft eggs, midges, assassins, and SJ worms. Fish are holding in the softer sections and tailouts of the deeper pools. Make sure you are getting your flies down near the bottom to get into the big ones. Otter eggs in all colors, #18 Copper Tiger Midges, #14-16 Parallel Perch, #14-16 Level Leeches, and Assassins dark and light both Parallel and normal have been great patterns to hang. SJ worms and Drifters’ Crawlers also working well.
Drew Ludwig scored this fatso rainbow on a #18 Broken Back Copper Tiger Midge!
Brad Preston with a nice rainbow that also fell victim to a midge!
Pyramid Lake 3/20/19
It has been a good bite here as the winter storms have stirred up the giant cutthroat to move into the beaches to feed. The bite has really picked up here lately with some real monsters putting themselves in the mix. Popcorn beetles, balanced leeches, midges, and black buggers have been the flies of choice lately. The water can be off color south of Wino, but it has been cleaner and more consistent from the North nets area. Some of the popular areas like Pelican have been crowded so get there early. Give us a call as March is a prime month to get after these beasts.
Darren Thornberry had a great day on the lake and got into some good numbers!
Here’s a nice cutty for Darren!
And another nice one as he switched back and forth from a floating to a sinking line!
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.
Thank you for visiting our website and checking out our report. Be the Fly…. Doug Rodricks, Sierra Drifters Guide Service