Eastern Sierra Fish'N Conditions

The recent weather left us with some stunning scenery at all elevations!
Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Sierra Drifters

by Doug Rodricks
(760) 935-4250

Fishing action has really heated up in a few areas. We had what seems to have been the last of the winter storms roll through, but the fishing stayed very consistent through most of it. We can expect to see some good high pressure days to come as we slide into the month of June. This is great news for everyone as I think we are all tired of the snow at this point. Crowley Lake has been extremely good this month with fish scattered throughout the north arm. We are finding biting fish at all depths around here. McGee Creek cutthroat were a bit finicky this past week, but more fish are moving in daily, and the turn around in the weather will bring in more pods by next week. Hot Creek has been a blast this past week with the cooler temperatures slowing down the snowmelt and allowing for some good action with dry/dropper setups. Middle Owens River flows came down some but will likely fluctuate over the next few weeks. Upper Owens has a few cutthroat in the lower sections below the Benton Bridge. East Walker River has been pretty slow with a few fish concentrated in certain areas.

Crowley Lake

What a month of May it has been here with solid numbers of fish on a daily basis. We have been seeing double and triple hookups here quite often on most days as the fish have been feeding in 12 to as deep as 25′ of water. We have employing some different methods here depending on the depth of the water and connecting with some real solid fish. If brown trout are your thing, then now is a good time to get on the lake as we are seeing plenty of them daily. Mix in some stellar rainbows and the occasional large cutthroat trout and you’ve got yourself a solid Crowley Lake slam! Going into this weekend we should see some enormous midge hatches as the weather warms back up to seasonal temperatures. Larva patterns have been the best during the low pressure days tight to the bottom, but the fish should begin to feed higher up as we get into the bigger hatch periods.  #18 Broken Back Copper Tiger, #18 Broken Back Dark Tiger, #18 Broken Back Zebra, #18 Broken Back Gillie, #12 Level Crystal Leech, and #18 Gillie Dark and Light Chironomid Pupa have still been the hot flies this week.

Middle Owens River/Wild Trout Section (Bishop Area)

Flows jumped up a few days ago but then returned to  400 cfs here. It’s been a little slower here lately. This level is still too high for wading in the wild trout section, but fishing the slower water and the edges can yield some takes. Smaller nymphs with some flash in them are a good call with plenty of weight to get your bugs down. Look for some afternoon hatches on all sections of the river.  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

A few cutthroat showing up in the lowest sections of the river, but beginning to spread up stream steadily. It changes here daily as more fish begin to make their way up river.  Smaller flies are best currently like #16-18 Copper Tiger Midges both long and short, #16-18 Gillie Dark and Light, #16-20 FB Pheasant Tails and Tungsten Pheasant Tails, and #14 SD Crawlers in red and brown still getting bit.
Hot Creek

The fishing has been really fun here. We have had what looks to be our final run in with winter weather for now and the storms that came through slowed the run off and made for some good conditions. With summer now closing in you can expect to see much more bug activity, and the caddis hatches are close.   Finding the good holding areas for the majority of trout is the key. Water temps will start to warm back up with some coming high pressure. If you are nymphing go small in the canyon in the I- site area. Best flies this week have been #20-22 Para midges,  #16-18 BWO’s, , and Otter eggs and SD Crawlers in red. #18 Gold FB Pheasant tails are also hot.

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

Flows have dropped to 256 cfs and it was slow fishing when they were up. We will see it start to pick up here again soon with warmer temperatures and the fish transitioning into their summer feeding patterns. The hatches will start to build here as well and you can expect to see fish moving into the shallower sections as they take up the best holding areas along the river.   #18 Copper Tiger Midges, #14-16 Parallel Perch, #14-16 Level Leeches, and Assassins dark and light both Parallel and normal, SD Crawlers in brown and red are the ticket.

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More Reports

Sierra Drifters Reports
for Thursday, May 23rd

: Eastern Sierra Fish’N Conditions
Crowley Lake: Continues To Be Good At Crowley
Owens River - Middle: Fishing Edges Can Yield Some Takes
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley): Cutts Will Be Making Their Run Soon
Hot Creek: Spring Can Be The Best Days on The Creek
Walker River - East Fork (CA): Flows Have Dropped

Sierra Drifters Reports
for Friday, May 17th

: Eastern Sierra Fish'N Conditions
Crowley Lake: Great Opportunites For Beginners
Owens River - Middle: Flows Are Remaining Stable
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley): Cutthroat Starting To Show Up
Hot Creek: Flows Have Slowed Down
Walker River - East Fork (CA): Flows Are On The Rise