Sierra Drifters Fish N' Conditions

Michael Ledesma is usually keeping busy running Gomez’s Mexican Restaurant in Mammoth, but he does find time occasionally to cast some flies! He and Paul (below) fished with Jerry!
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sierra Drifters

by Doug Rodricks
(760) 935-4250

We are back to warm weather again, as the cooler summer finally has given way to bright sunny days with little precipitation. The afternoon breezes have been coming up and cooling off the day to very pleasant temperatures. Bridgeport Reservoir had a good run of rainbows, browns, and kokanee salmon showing up last week. The East Walker River is fishing well on smaller nymphs and medium sized streamers. The San Joaquin River is at ideal flows and the dry fly fishing has been good. Hot Creek has stayed consistently good from season’s start through the summer months. The Upper Owens River has continued to kick out lots of fish with the best bite method being dry flies and grasshoppers. The hatch this year is off the charts! Crowley Lake finally starting to trend downward in water elevation. Fish are still spread out throughout the lake. The Middle Owens River still holding at 400 cfs with some caddis, trico, and midge hatches daily.

Crowley Lake

The lake level is beginning to drop and exposing the tops of the weeds in some areas. There is still plenty of flooded grass and shorter weeds where fish have been feeding heavily on perch fry throughout the day. Midges are also being sought out over the mud bottoms, but they have been scarce this season as the rising water levels forced the fertile shallow areas deeper. It will probably be another few weeks before any midge activity starts to appear in the shallower water. This year, the term “shallower water” refers to anything under 20′, which is not usually the norm for a season on Crowley. Perch fry and callibaetis imitations have been doing very well in the channel and along the weeds.  Tiger midges fished along the bottom have also been accounting for good numbers of fish. Fish are spread out throughout the lake but are gravitating toward the creek channels. When the wind comes up in the afternoon the bite can really turn on in McGee and the north arm! Best Flies: Parallel Assassin Dark and Light – 16; Assassin Dark and Light – 16; Parallel Punk Perch Dark and Light – 14, 16; Broken Back Dark Zebra Midge- 16; Crystal Tiger Midge Long -18; Broken Back Copper Tiger Midge – 18; Crystal Copper Tiger Midge – 18; Crystal Midge Pupa Black – 20; Crystal Caddis Larva Olive Copper – 18; Punk Perch Dark and Light – 14, 16; Damsel Nymph Dark and Light; Flashback Pheasant Tail Tungsten Black Head – 14, 16, 18.

Middle Owens River/Wild Trout Section (Bishop Area)

Flows still consistent here around the 400 cfs.  There have been good hatches of tricos, midges, and caddisflies. Streamer patterns fished in the deeper runs can pull out some big fish. Water color is still a little off color but best fishing times have been in the mornings and evenings. We will start to visit this area with the drift boats soon.

Hot Creek

Great fishing here all month. Lots of good dry fly action throughout the day, with heavy emphasis in the mornings. Nymphing when the fish fall from the surface down to the mud has been very productive. Best Flies: Flashback PT’s #16-#20, Tricos Spinners #20-22, SD Crawlers in Red #14, Copper Tiger Midges #18-20, and #18 Assassin Dark.

Upper Owens River

The grasshopper population (explosion) is unlike most years. They are so thick up here that as soon as they hit the water they don’t stand a chance of survival. Any trout within sight range is taking in these easy meals with no doubt or uncertainty. Imitating these bugs with the right fly can be challenging but also a fun process. Mayfly patterns and caddis have also been getting a lot of good fish here. There are some larger fish in the river this summer due to the abundance of food and the flooded banks around the mouth going into Crowley Lake. Best Flies: Stimulator – 12, 14, 16; Crystal Copper Tiger Midge – 16,18; B100FB – 14, 16, 18, 20; Spruce a bu dark and light; Loeberg Mallard Silver; Loeberg Guinea Silver, Crystal Midge Pupa Black – 18; Crystal Chironomid Emerger Copper – 16, 18; Broken Back Copper Tiger Midge – 14,16,18.

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

Good fishing here as flows continue to hold at the 320 cfs level. Smaller nymphs and streamer patterns are getting looks from some bigger fish. The slower water on the edges of the faster moving stuff has been the key. Get those flies down to the fish this time of year with enough weight. Bridgeport Reservoir has been good in the channel where the weed growth is minimal. The weeds have choked up a lot of the inside channels this season as the high water has changed conditions up this year. Best Flies: B100FB – 18, 20; Crystal Copper Tiger Midge -16; Crystal Zebra Midge – 16, 18; Punk Perch Light and Dark – 14, 16; Parallel Punk Perch Light and Dark; Crystal Leech – 12, 14, 16; Agent Orange 12, 14, 16; Parallel Agent Orange – 14.

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More Reports

Sierra Drifters Reports
for Thursday, August 8th, 2019

Bridgeport Reservoir: Great Bite Here Throughout The Day
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley): Good Quality of Fishing Showing Up
Hot Creek: As Good As it Gets Here!
Owens River - Middle: Fish Have Settled Into Usual Holding Areas
Crowley Lake: Damselflies are all over the lake

Sierra Drifters Reports
for Friday, August 2nd, 2019

: August News and Fish Report
Walker River - East Fork (CA): East Walker is Great Fishing Right Now
Bridgeport Reservoir: Bridgeport Has Come to Life
Crowley Lake: Crowley Lake Has Turned on Into August
Hot Creek: Quite The Gem Lately
San Joaquin River: Ideal Conditions Are Coming
Owens River - Lower: Flows Remain Consistent at 400 cfs