Eastern Sierra Fish'N Conditions

Brown Trout
Carson Ezell with a nice painted up brownie!
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sierra Drifters

by Doug Rodricks
(760) 935-4250

The winter storms have finally left us, and warm and sunny days are now the norm in the sierra. We have experienced some overcast days with some wind lately but it looks like hot and sunny weather is very close. This will get the snowpack melting at a quick rate and we can expect the freestone rivers and creeks to swell and become off color during the late morning and afternoon periods on most days. Afternoon thundershowers will return as usual for this time of year and they are welcomed and provide quite the refreshing cool down during the hottest part of the day. Crowley Lake has been good on most days with the fish holding at different levels of the water column. They are moving around now and must be located day to day. Middle Owens River holding at 400 cfs and should increase soon with McGee Creek bringing in more water to Crowley Lake. McGee Creek cutthroat are in and taking over the riffle sections. East Walker flows ramped up big time! We will see if they come back down and Bridgeport Reservoir is allowed to rise in water level. Still a week or so out before the fish start to channel up in the Res. Hot Creek fishing great in the mornings in both sections. The clearing of the roads in the Mammoth Lakes Basin has begun.

Crowley Lake
It has been kind of up and down fishing here with the mix in the weather. Some days we are seeing some pretty good wind come down the lake and others are warm and glassy. There is no real concentrated body of fish currently as they seem to be moving around from day to day. Different holding depths are being selected by the fish depending on the weather. Some big fish are being caught in the usual areas but we are weeding through the recent plants of some smaller browns and rainbows. #16 Copper Tiger Midge, #16 Zebra Midge, #16 Broken Back Gillie have been good flies. The first generation of damselflies and callibaetis are now making an appearance. It won’t be too long before the fish make their move into McGee Bay along the weeds in the shallows to start feeding on them.

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
The few cutthroat that entered here seem to have retreated back to the lake. There are some great Caddis hatches taking place late morning and afternoon. Lots of wild rainbows and browns are taking advantage of this and a light weight rod with a dry fly setup can be quite fun here now. Smaller nymphs fished under a small indicator will pick up these fish in the slower water too.
Hot Creek
Great caddis action here too. Dry dropper setups have been effective fished in both the Interpretive Site and the canyon sections. Mammoth Creek exhibiting run off behavior after the mornings warm up. Egg patterns and SD Crawlers also good nymph setups to fish currently.
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
Best to fish elsewhere right now as the river recently blew out with flows over 700 cfs. Great fishing though before the increase, so it will be solid once the flows come back down.

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Sierra Drifters Reports
for Tuesday, May 28th

: Eastern Sierra Fish'N Conditions
Walker River - East Fork (CA): Fishing Will Pick Back Up Again Soon
Hot Creek: Fishing Has Been Fun Here
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley): Conditions Are Changing Daily
Owens River - Middle: Flows Jumped Up A Few Days Ago
Crowley Lake: Solid Numbers of Fish On The Daily