Eastern Sierra Fish'N Conditions

Steve Welsh had a bang up day with Hanzo and got into some beauties!

by Tom Loe

Happy New Year anglers! We at Sierra Drifters would like to thank all of you that fished with us in 2018 and made it a most memorable year of good catching! I won’t go into too much detail on the recap, but it was extremely consistent fishing right to the end. After what has seemed like a long dry spell for snow, old man winter has decided to show up again and drop on us some of that good fluffy white stuff. We are looking at a couple of feet on Mammoth Mountain after this weekend passes and the following week could bring us even more snowfall also measured in feet. The fish will be happy and so will the skiers and snowboarders. Big storms historically signal a push of new fish into the Upper Owens River. What has started as a great winter out there will get even better as some new fish make their way upstream. Hot Creek tactics are changing now with the colder weather and most fish are now being caught sub-surface using nymphs. The East Walker River has still been fishing well for medium to large sized browns with rainbows of different sizes spread out into the deeper pools and runs. The Middle Owens River has been consistent on some days and slower on others. Some drastic weather pattern changes can change the bite, but it seems to bounce back pretty quickly. Don’t forget to stop in at Reagan’s Sporting Goods in Bishop on your way up to load up on our seasonal fly patterns that will get you into the fish this time of year.

Middle Owens River (Bishop Area)
The river is holding at 86 cfs. The hatches around noon are coming off daily now when the weather is mild. With flows at their winter release rates for the past couple of months, it has become easier to locate bigger pods of fish. Some nice wild browns have been making  a showing in the slower pools around the bends in the river.  Streamers like Loebergs, Spruce-a-bu’s, Punk Perch, and Agent Orange have been fooling some nice fish recently. We can fish up to 3 anglers per boat and offer half day trips (4.5 – 5 hours) or full day trips (7 hours) to meet your needs.

Upper Owens River
What can I say here except that some big rainbows have taken residence in the usual spots. The fish are more spread out throughout the river now which is giving most anglers the impression that many fish have returned to the lake. It is quite the opposite here. The fish of December that entered the river are now higher upstream, but there is no concentration of fish yet in the pools and runs. The second batch of fish that made their way up prior to the Christmas holiday are now pushing through mid-river. This next series of storms will definitely bring in a fresh shot of fish and this should start to load up the pools with more mass. Most of the snow has dissipated from the roads and care must be taken while driving in and out as the possibility still exists to get a vehicle stuck. The section from the Benton Crossing Bridge down to the fishing monument is now closed.  Flows are now at 87 cfs. Crystal eggs, #14-16 San Juan worm red, #14-16 Level Crystal Leeches, #14-16 Parallel Assassin Dark and Light, and #16 Broken Back Copper Tiger Midge getting the most bites!

Hot Creek
Flows now at 7 cfs. A change in tactics has been called for but small nymph and egg rigs have been getting the fish to bite here.  Midges and mayflies have been showing up daily.  Larger size trout have been keying in more on nymphs, strymphs, and worm and egg patterns. It can get crowded here while the weather is mild so finding a good spot on the creek can pay off.  #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.

East Walker River
Still going pretty solid here in the deepest sections of the river.  The fish tend to concentrate in the deepest water this time of year as frigid temperatures and low water have them seeking out slightly warmer water.  Lots of juvenile perch have been washing through the pipe and stacking up below the dam area. A good mixed bag of fish sizes are biting on properly presented flies. Target the deepest pools and runs and you can be rewarded with some real beauties.  #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. #18 flashback hare’s ears, #18wd 40’s, and SJ worms also working well.

Pyramid Lake
 Lots of fish moving in tighter to the beach. Good opportunity now for fly fisherman.Water temperatures have now reached the 52 degree mark and the big cutthroat trout have moved in shallow. We have been seeing fish to 14.5 lbs with some even pushing the 20lb mark. Popcorn Beatles, Midnight Cowboys,#12 Copper and Black Tiger Midges, Parallel Assassins, and Spruce-a-bu’s working well.   Call for more info.

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More Reports

Sierra Drifters Reports
for Saturday, January 5th

Owens River - Middle: Some Nice Wild Browns
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley): Upper Owens Fishing Report
Hot Creek: Midges and Mayflies Have Been Showing up Daily.
Walker River - East Fork (CA): Still Going Pretty Solid Here

Sierra Drifters Reports
for Saturday, December 22nd, 2018

: Eastern Sierra Fish'N Conditions
Owens River - Middle: Middle Owens River Fishing Report
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley): Upper Owens Fishing Report
Hot Creek: Hot Creek Fishing Report
Walker River - East Fork (CA): East Walker River Fishing Report