Sierra Drifters July News Letter

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sierra Drifters

by Doug Rodricks
(760) 935-4250

Happy July to all of you summertime fly fishers! There are lots of changes to report on in this month’s newsletter. We have reached the peak of the summer run-off and most of the freestone rivers and creeks are running at full speed. The snow continues to melt off at an increasingly rapid pace but will begin to slow down as we get into the month of July. This will bring down the swelling in the streams and open up new areas to fish. One area that has not been drastically affected by the increase in flows is Hot Creek. The fishing here was excellent this past month and continues to shine as many fish spread out over the entire creek and find their new holding areas. Smaller nymphs with some flash and worm patterns have been the hot ticket with the higher summer flows. Some really big fish have been falling victim to a properly presented fly rig.

All passes are now open and Tioga Pass just opened on July 1st. Some of the lakes along the pass are just beginning to melt away their final stash of ice that has covered the upper elevation lakes for most of June. What a winter we have come out of. The road to the San Joaquin River will open for travel beginning on the 4th. Fishing on the SJR is one of my favorites, as most of these trout are wild and willing to take most dry flies that are thrown in their direction. The water will be a bit high for fishing until mid-July. There is a decent population of golden trout in this area, and fishing the pockets and deeper holding areas of the river are a fun way to hone your skills with a dry fly setup.

Crowley Lake hit some slow periods during the month of June, as the bigger fish stayed deep and the midges that were hatching daily began to lose steam. The next generation of emergers has returned and we are seeing solid swarms of midges growing in numbers each day. This equates to solid numbers of trout increasing daily as well. Most of the fish are still deep, however, they are taking flies much better now as they have multiple food sources to choose from. The damselfly hatch has begun and we are seeing the fish slowly make their way toward shallower water and over the weed beds. The weeds are out to the 21’ depth in some areas of the lake and this is due to the rising water levels, which are coming up about 2” a day. There are a few callibaetis mayflies around the lake, but the big hatches will start this month. The current fish that are over the weeds will begin to feed exclusively on the damselfly nymphs, and casting a clear intermediate or moderate sinking tip fly line with a damselfly imitation on it can get you into some real monster fish.

The evening bite on the lake has been really good too. Sometimes we get an even better bite for the second half of the day. We will be running the option of afternoon and evening trips on Crowley this summer, which is a great option if you daytime plans for the area and want to finish the day off with some fishing. The kids have been having a blast so far this summer on the lake. There has been lots of yelling and screaming going on, and not because they are throwing tantrums, but because of the thrill of hooking into trout on the fly rod!

The East Walker River is coming down in flows as Bridgeport Reservoir starts filling up. Flows may come down even more this month and we will be fishing here quite often this summer if they do. Before the major flow increase, the fishing was epic for large rainbows and browns. It will be a really good summer bite this year, and the larger snowpack will allow for great summer and fall fishing late into the year. Bridgeport Reservoir has the fish moving into the Robinson and Buckeye channels. With the high water this year, there is plenty of room in the channel for these fish to move back and forth to feed. Our fly box is fully stocked at the marina with all the patterns you will need for getting into these trophy fish. The best patterns to have on hand are Assassins in dark and light #14 #16 and Parallel Assassins dark and light in the same size. The Level Leech is also a great fly for this Reservoir. Mixing up those patterns with a copper tiger midge is a deadly recipe for the large trout of the lake. We will keep you updated on our website as we fish more up this way. Be sure to say hi to the friendly staff at the marina while you are there too. They offer boat rentals and have other items that may be of need to you while you are fishing the Res.

The Upper Owens River is still on high flow watch as we begin to run out the course of the higher water. There have been some good dry fly opportunities with the caddis hatch here. This area will definitely improve for fishing this month as the water begins to recede. The area below the bridge has been receiving regular trout plants and many of these little guys are making their way upstream.

We hope you can get up here to join us for some great fishing this month. Please be sure to checkout our website for all the latest updated information and to purchase our flies online. We ship out to your door priority mail and it is a very convenient way to shop and saves you a trip. Please check out Reagan’s Sporting Goods in Bishop, the Crowley Lake General Store in Crowley, and Bridgeport Reservoir for our full selection of flies. Rick’s Sporting Goods in Mammoth also carries a partial selection of our seasonal patterns as well. Our full list of retailers that carry our flies can be found here.

You can fill out one of our trip request forms here to save time and get your summer fishing adventure booked with us. The month of July is beginning to fill up fast so I wouldn’t wait too long especially if you already have plans to be in the area around a specific time.

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More Reports

Sierra Drifters Reports
for Monday, June 24th, 2019

: Eastern Sierra Fish'N Conditions
Crowley Lake: Crowley Lake Fishing Report
Owens River - Middle: Flows Should Be Dropping Soon
Hot Creek: Really Good Fishing At Hot Creek
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley): Good Dry Fly Action
East Walker River (CA): River is Starting to Come Down

Sierra Drifters Reports
for Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

: Fish N' Conditions
Crowley Lake: Some Days Are Diamonds Some Days Are Rocks
Owens River - Middle: Flows Have Jumped Up and Then Returned
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley): Water is Coming Through Fast
Hot Creek: Lots of Water Flowing