Sierra Drifters Fish N' Conditions

Zach McKellar fished with Hanzo and scored some nice ones!
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sierra Drifters

by Doug Rodricks
(760) 935-4250

The monsoonal moisture has returned to the eastern sierra. This week we can expect some afternoon thundershowers that will cool us down during the hottest part of the days. Most areas are fishing exceptionally well whether stillwater or moving water. San Joaquin at 364 cfs, fishable along the pockets and slower seams and will improve as the days go on and flows drop. Most of the stillwaters in Mono County are doing really well with bigger fish coming on sinking lines and streamers in the higher alpine lakes. Crowley Lake and Bridgeport Reservoir are entering their peak of large fish that are on the bite. The larger trout have moved into the channels in both locations and are eating the thread and beads off of our flies in short water. Hot Creek and the Upper Owens have been excellent with dry flies in the mornings and nymphing in the afternoons. Middle Owens maintaining its 400 cfs flow while Crowley Lake continues to rise. East Walker fishing well at 337 cfs now.

Crowley Lake

The bite is in full swing as we are now finally able to make the transition from deep water to shallow channel fishing. It has been a pleasure to rig up a 13′ leader again after going over 20′ for the last few months. Heavy damselfly migrations have some real lunkers busting the surface throughout McGee Bay as the annual migration of fish move into the bay from the depths. Fishing in the deeper water is still producing some nice fish and they are eating everything from midges to perch fry imitations to damselfly imitations. You will find them over the weeds on the submerged channel banks and inside the trenches over the mud bottoms. The smaller browns seem to start out the morning, followed by a few cutthroat, and then the bigger rainbows move in big time! Copper Tiger Midges, Parallel Perch dark and light, Parallel Assassins dark and light, Assassins dark and light, Zebra Midges, Gillies dark and light are all number one flies for both Brigeport and Crowley Lake right now.

Middle Owens River/Wild Trout Section (Bishop Area)

Flows have stayed stable for some time now. Very hot down here this last week and temperatures will remain on the warm side. Go deeper with sinking lines and streamers to connect with some larger fish in deep water. The mornings and evenings are best as the weather is cooler then and the bug hatches are better.

Hot Creek

Really good action here on dry flies in the mornings and evenings. You will see fish rising all over the creek here and it is as good as it gets for dry fly fishing. I still can’t believe how well this place has bounced back from the effects of the drought years. This is one of the best spots to really learn fish feeding behaviors and how they react to your presentation. Sizes range from 10″ up to 22″ currently. Go with small nymphs, midges, and worm patterns. PMD’s, Caddis, midges, are coming off daily and the fish are all over them. Nymph it up with some SJ worms, SD Crawlers, gold and black head pheasant tails, and an assortment of midges for some good success!

Upper Owens River

Similar story here to Hot Creek. Great dry fly fishing throughout most of the day. Similar patterns to Hot Creek but you can throw some bigger streamers here to entice that larger brown trout that is hiding out in the undercutts. Take a lightweight rod and a good nymphing rod. Evenings have been fun around here, and the hoppers are now jumping around on the banks and landing on the water.  

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/Bridgeport Reservoir

Pretty good fishing again now that flows have come down some more on the river. Some of the riffle water is starting to produce fish in the afternoons when the hatches are coming off. The deeper pools are still holding some bigger fish and seeking out the oxygenated water has produced some good takes. Go with midges and Pheasant tails fished closer to the bottom. Don’t overlook throwing a hopper dropper pattern in the slower sections as the bigger fish will rise to the occasion.

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More Reports

Sierra Drifters Reports
for Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

: Fish N' Conditions
Crowley Lake: The Lake is On Fire!
Owens River - Middle: Flows Are Down Slightly
Hot Creek: Continues to Fish Well Here
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley): Flows Have Stabilzed
Bridgeport Reservoir: Fish Are Starting to Channel Up Along The Weeds
East Walker River (CA): East Walker is Slowly Dropping

Happy July to all of you summertime fly fishers! There are lots of changes to report on in this month’s...... Read More