A Fish Report for 10/26/16

Photo Credit: Sierra Drifters

by Tom Loe

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.

Quick look fish report 10/26/16

Looks like some wet, & unstable weather will move into the Sierra for the next week. Snow levels will be above 8000 feet. Significant precipitation is being forecast to fall on around the Mammoth area. Gusty winds will accompany a series of Pacific Storms. The bite has slowed on Crowley due to poor weather conditions, and fish moving into different areas of the lake. We are still seeing some very nice fish on guide trips; with an increase in trophy browns in the north arm. Midge hatches have been light recently, & you can expect this trend to continue as the water temps continue to cool. Crowley is open until 11/15/16 for tubers and shore fishers. The marina closes on 10/31/16. Middle Owens flows have stabilized at 80cfs. below the dam at Pleasant Valley Reservoir. Wading the wild trout section has been fair/good during the nicer weather periods. Caddis, & smaller mayflies are on the trout’s diet. Drift boat trips continue to kick out big rainbows on streamers. Pleasant Valley Reservoir levels have lowered this week providing more access to the transition near the inlet area. The bite has been fair/good for tubers using streamers around the inlet, & boat ramp. Dry/dropper rigs fished in the small river section have been working well for those fishing the short river section below the powerhouse. Upper Owens remains at higher flows. Use heavily weighted nymph rigs; or medium sinking tip lines for steamer presentations. Some migratory browns, & rainbows are now moving up from Crowley; but overall fish counts remain low here. The section below the Benton Bridge down to the CDFW fishing regulation sign near the inlet to Crowley is closed for ALL anglers. The UO is open year around above the bridge with special restrictions. Alpine Lakes have been tough due to high winds and sporadic precipitation. Fishing is good is some locations during holes in the storms. Full sinking lines with larger streamer patterns fished near the inlets can get you into a trophy brown, or planted big rainbow. Hot Creek flows have come up a little due to recent rains. Be gentle with those recently planted fish. East Walker is fair/slow. Flows remain between 30/100cfs. with improving water clarity conditions.

We want to thank all of our clients for supporting us. It has been another record summer for us, & we truly appreciate your business, & friendships. It is not always possible to post all of our client pictures on this fish report page. I do my best to put them in our gallery. If we have previously posted your pictures on this page; or you have had a recent guide trip with us, you can always find them by going to the photo gallery and search for your name.

Crowley Lake 10/26/16

The fish are spreading out, and the bite has slowed some in recent days. We are still getting into some great fish; with more trophy browns beginning to appear in the fish counts. Access to the marina will terminate on 10/31/16, & shore/tube fishing will be open until 11/15/16. The fish have moved around the drop-offs around Hilton Bay, Alligator Pt., Layton Springs, Six Bays, & Sandy Pt. The bite has been good at times in the north end also. 10-13 feet is the depth. Fall is the time for tubers to be looking to troll some larger streamers, & perch fry along what remains of the aquatic weed lines, & drop offs. The larger browns, and cutthroats are on the prowl for larger sources of protein to prepare for the lean winter months. Still water nymphing remains the most consistent way to get into big numbers, and quality fish. Hang your flies above a clean mud bottom in close proximity to a hard weed line for consistent action. The fish are primarily hunting the larva close to the bottom. Broken back midges, crystal zebra, or tiger midges (big ones), & leeches are all good calls while fishing below an “sliding” Under-cator. If you see those midges popping, get out those gillies, broken back gillies, & crystal emergers. These imitate chironomid pupa, the stage prior to becoming a winged adult. My go to rig has been an Assassin; or Drifters Punk Perch #14/16 as the upper, with #18 copper tiger midges, dark crystal zebra midge (#18), or broken back copper tiger (#16) as the larva pattern. We have had some big number days on the school sized fish at Sandy, & Alligator Pts. Keep the tigers 6-12 inches off the deck. I have also been using twin Assassins; or a Punk Perch/Crystal Vandeleech with an Assassin dropper along the weeds. Keep them a foot or more above the bottom. The rookies have been planted in numbers, so treat them with care. ***Special angling regulations begin on 8/1/16 and will continue throughout the remainder of the season on Crowley. The entry gate to the marina opens at 7am instead of 6am now.

This fishery opens last Saturday in April & closes November 15th.

Middle Owens River (Bishop area) 10/26/16

Flows have dumped to 80cfs. This is very low for late October. The bigs are on the prowl thanks to some brood fish being planted. Drift boat trips are consistently landing some trophy rainbows using the “dip & strip” method of streamer fishing. Good conditions for drifting; however we can only ride two anglers at this release. Wading & crossing are not difficult at rates below 150cfs. Caddis activity will remain solid through late October, with Trico mayflies showing when it begins to cool down in the Owens Valley. It is prime time to book a drift trip as the “catching” is very good currently. Chub & sucker fry will be the primary target for the bigs, so have a selection of streamers like Loebergs, Spruce-A-Bu’s, and Punk Perch with a moderate sinking tip line. Good nymphs to have are Assassins, flash back pheasant tails, Drifters Crawlers, olive crystal caddis, olive dubbed caddis, and broken back tiger/zebra midges.

This fishery remains open year around. Special regs from the footbridge at Pleasant Valley campground to the fishing monument 4.7 miles downstream.

Upper Owens River 10/26/16

Fish are staging in the north end of Crowley near the inlet, & expectations are high that the fall migration of browns and rainbows will begin as soon as the weather could down. Flows remain at near 100cfs. Much higher than last year at this time, & more than twice what has been moving for most of this year. The migratory bigs historically show in late October. Conditions are fair downstream from the Benton Bridge due to heavy aquatic weed growth. Upstream from the bridge special regulations apply, & the conditions are better above the confluence of Hot Creek inlets. Fishing has been slow, with mostly smaller planted fish in the calmer pools. Use attractor patterns like crystal eggs, & Drifters Crawlers with plenty of weight. Nymphing below an Under-Cator with Assassins, FB PT’s, & olive crystal caddis will also get you grabs in the pools. The large wildfire that consumed thousands of acres near Big Springs, and the Glass Mountains is now out. Some historic structures at the old Alpers Ranch were destroyed.

The section upstream from the Benton Bridge is open year around with special regulations. Seasonal closures, and angling restrictions apply downstream from the bridge, check regulations before fishing in this section.

Hot Creek 10/26/16

Click on this link to read what the CDFW is now documenting as to how Hot Creek will be managed. In short, HC will be receiving some small sub-catchable sized rainbows and browns on 10/6/16. More fish are slated for next spring. This is a significant change in how HC is being managed since the new laws have been implemented several years ago. Hopefully we will get a solid winter to provide much needed flows.

This is a year around fishery with special regs in place.

*Tom Loe is under permit from the Inyo National Forest Service to guide Hot Creek.

Thanks to the CDFW, and passionate volunteers for their efforts to get fish planted in Hot Creek. Many 8-10 inch rainbows, & thousands of 4 inch browns have just been put into HC. If we can just get some help from mother nature on the water part…HC will comeback strong next summer. These are very small fish, and will have a long winter to face. Please take it easy on them if you choose to fish HC at all. Several public sections were planted. Drifters guide Doug Rodricks toting fish transport buckets.

Pleasant Valley Reservoir 10/26/16

The reservoir level has dropped recently providing more access near the inlet section. Brood stock rainbows have been planted recently here. The small river section can kick out some good numbers of hold over trout, as well as the big boys using dry/dropper rigs, & streamers. Flows have dropped, & this fertile little river can be really fun if you work the harder to reach brush areas accessible when the powerhouse is not generating. I like dry/dropper combos like Stimulators, hi-vis mayfly, or caddis as the upper. Use smaller Assassins, FB PT’s, or crystal tiger midges as the nymphs. Tubers can have a blast here as well, & it is a great place to fish as a back up spot for Crowley if the weather becomes nasty up the hill. Use full sinking; or heavy sink tips to get down ten feet quickly. Loebergs, Crystal Leeches, Agent Orange, Spruce-A-Bu’s, & Punk Perch will get you grabs.

This fishery is open year around.

The Gorge 10/26/16

Prime time now hat it is cooling down some in the Owens Valley.Flows are great at 52cfs. Use caddis adults, Hi-vis caddis, or para hi-vis mayflies as your upper fly. Good dropper nymphs are # 18 Assassin nymphs, or FB PT’s. Cooler temps improving conditions. Good call during weekends, or holidays.

Season open year around.

Bridgeport Reservoir 10/26/16

No reports. The lake is very green from fall turnover. The Bridgeport Marina & RV Park are now closed until next season.

This fishery opens last Saturday in April & closes November 15th.

East Walker River 10/26/16

Flows vacillating between 25-100cfs. Water is off color; but not bad. Fishing has been fair-slow.

This fishery is open year around below the Bridgeport Reservoir dam to Nevada State line. Open year a in Nevada also.

West Walker River 10/26/16

No reports. Water conditions can be influenced by significant rains.

This fishery opens last Saturday in April & closes November 15th in some sections, open year around along HWY 395. Check regulations for specific info.

San Joaquin River 10/26/16

No reports.

*Tom Loe is under permit from the Inyo National Forest Service to guide the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River.

This fishery opens last Saturday in April & closes November 15th. Access is prone to weather/road closures, & may not allow entry during open periods of the season.

Jurassic Pond 10/26/16

Beautiful Jurassic Pond is a private trophy trout fishery that is exclusively guided by Sierra Drifters pros. It is situated near McGee Creek, and overlooks Crowley Lake. We fish with streamers, nymphs, & dry flies during warmer periods. You will not find larger trout anywhere in the Eastern Sierra. If you want a dance with a twenty pound rainbow, or double digit brown-this is the best private fishery in the region. We will stop guiding here in late October unless the weather remains exceptionally warm.

This is private water, and access is by permission from Tom Loe of Sierra Drifters Guide Service.

Alpine Lakes 10/26/16

The weather has been tough recently, & more rain and snow is forecast for the next six days. Fall is prime time to get that huge brown in the upper elevation alpine fisheries. I hear that a nineteen lb. brown was C & R at Grant by a fly fisher! Tubers trolling streamers with full sinking lines can get into some larger fish while targeting drop-offs, inlets, & structure. Agent Orange, Crystal Leeches, Loebergs, Spruce-A-Bu’s, and Punk Perch patterns are good calls to use along drop-offs, structures like submerged stumps, and near inlets. Try dry dropper rigs using hi-vis mayfly patterns as your indicator/dry fly while suspending a small midge, Killa-baetis or Assassin nymph below it 2-3 feet during low light periods. The wild brookies and browns can be fooled using this technique during the warmer summer months.

These fisheries open the last Saturday in April & close November 15th. Weather related closures may prohibit access during otherwise open periods of the trout season.