Sierra Drifters: Fish N' Conditions

Backus with another Crowley Lake rainbow trout.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sierra Drifters

by Doug Rodricks
(760) 935-4250

Still no hope for snow in the forecast, at least for the next couple of weeks. A weak system will move into the area later in the weekend but it will bring mostly windy conditions with very little if any precipitation. Yes, unfortunately this dry winter is continuing for us, which does not bode well for the coming summer months. We can just hope for snow going into next month, as some years during March have brought solid amounts of snow before the end of winter. The Lower Owens River is still on an up and down cycle. Some days are really good while others can test your skills and get you working for those biting fish. Flows are still perfect here for drifting and the hatches are starting to increase in quantity. The Upper Owens River is still the shining star for the month as big fish make their way into our nets daily. Access is still wide open. Hot Creek’s dry fly bite is incredibly fun right now and can be challenging for such a small creek. The East Walker river is still not facing much pressure and the fish here are very receptive to solid presentations.

Lower Owens River/Wild Trout Section (Bishop Area)

The river is still flowing at its 150 cfs rate. The BWO hatch is really starting to take off here and we are seeing more fish starting to move into the shallows and get into good feeding positions to take advantage of these easy meals. This time of day, the early afternoons can produce the best bites. Small streamers like our punk perch patterns have been accounting for most of our fish. On some days, you will find the fish hanging in the shallow and soft water, while other times they will be deep and tight to the bottom. Throwing frequent pauses into your retrieves can lure these fish into a strike.

Best Flies: Spruce-a-Bu #8 Light and Dark, Loeberg #10 all colors, Agent Orange #8-10, Crystal Leech #8-10, Punk Park dark and light #8-12, Flashback PT #16-18, Copper Tiger Midge #18-20

Hot Creek

A great area to fish with the dry weather hanging around. Dry fly fishing is fantastic here now, and if this is your game, you need to fish here. Small midges and a larger population of mayflies are now showing. The trout here are eager to eat all day long, so no rush to get here early especially since the cold doesn’t subside until mid morning. Use smaller nymphs in the deeper sections to get to the larger trout.

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, Tangerine Opaque, Kiwi Flash, and Apricot Flash Otter Eggs have been excellent.

Upper Owens River

A great bite here and the best for consistently large fish. I have experienced many anglers covering way too much water in a hurry. Knowing where these fish hold and how they behave is something that has to be learned. This is not the same fishing as the warmer months, and adjustments to your casts, presentations, and line control must be made in order to catch these trophy trout. There are still a lot of very nice fish in the river in the 19-24″ range. Our guides can teach you a lifetime of their knowledge and impart their skills to you by spending a day with any one of them. Fill out a trip request form here to get into these monster winter rainbows. Fish are still hanging in their usual deep water holding areas. Pheasant Tails, egg patterns, and SJ worms are really getting them going. “KEEP YOUR DRIFT DRAG FREE” for the best results!

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, Tangerine Opaque, Tangerine Red Flash, Kiwi Flash and Flamingo Otter Eggs.

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

Still light on the fishing pressure here. The fishing is good if you can get into the right pools and throw the right bugs. The fish are definitely opportunistic this time of year, and as they lay corralled up in big numbers they remain very competitive. Work the main pools and you could be rewarded with some monster fish!

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, Spruce-a-bu Dark and Light, Eggs: Tangerine Red Flash, Dead Egg, Tangerine Opaque, Flamingo.

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More Reports

Sierra Drifters Reports
for Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

East Walker River (CA): The Fishing is Good in The Right Spot
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley): Great Bite Going On
Hot Creek: A Great Area to Fish With The Dry Weather
Owens River - Lower: River is Still Flowing 150 cfs

Greetings anglers!  We hope you are enjoying the mild winter this year. We are currently experiencing a sustained dry period this...... Read More