Sierra Drifters Conditions Report

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sierra Drifters

by Doug Rodricks
(760) 935-4250

Greetings anglers and outdoor enthusiasts! I hope this newsletter finds you in good health and spirits as we continue to navigate through our current situation. Since there is no fishing to report on at this time, I would like to dedicate this month’s news to what lies ahead for fishing in the eastern sierra, what we need to consider currently, and other things we can do to improve our skills to pass the time.

As it turns out, March and part of April have become our wettest months since December, this winter. We recently experienced a healthy winter storm in the upper elevations which brought 2 to 5 feet of fresh snow from the 7500’ elevation level and higher. It has been great to receive this much needed precipitation as we get closer to the general trout season with the spring and summer months fast approaching. This will set up the rivers, creeks, and lakes for some great fishing later this season, and with the lack of fishing pressure that is predicted, we should see a very good trout bite.

Under normal circumstances, this would be the month where we take a look at the current snowpack, make run-off predictions, and forecast how the fishing might be for the general season opener which takes place on the last Saturday of every April. With rules and regulations changing daily, we have been adapting to what lies ahead for us as anglers. As of now, Inyo and Mono Counties have issued strong pleas to non-residents to please remain at home and not travel to these counties. Orders have also gone into effect by county, on making non-essential businesses illegal to operate within county limits and short-term rentals illegal to operate unless they are providing shelter to essential employees or to house the homeless.

Many of you are now very educated on this virus, how it spreads, and what needs to be done by everyone to shorten the time of these stay in place orders and get back to life as we know it.

Mono and Inyo counties are now both full of COVID-19 infection with 30 cases now confirmed. 1 death has occurred in Mono County, and for a small population, these numbers are high and will continue to grow with the movement of people in the area. Please remember that this virus cannot transport itself and needs humans to get it from one person to another. If you add its survival time on surfaces, you know that we are picking it up with our hands whenever we go into public areas. The best practice is for everyone to stay in their hometowns and areas, as our counties simply do not have the capacity or resources to handle a massive spread of the infection. To top things off, residing at altitudes of 4,000 – 9,000 feet can make breathing difficult under stress as it is, and we now know that even younger individuals can be severely affected by this infection.

I have been taking calls over the last month from anglers that wish to come here to fish and be guided, and I can easily see how some may think that being outdoors and limiting human contact would be deemed by many as harmless. This is true, if you actually avoided all stops along the way from home to our area. You would essentially have to avoid stopping at gas stations, convenience and grocery stores, and food service locations on your entire trip. Throw in the unexpected roadside assistance call or an anomalous medical emergency, and an already volatile situation has become worse by using up medical services that may be needed for the critically ill. Avoiding all of the aforementioned may be possible for some, but not all. Now, imagine if everyone had the same idea to come here to go fishing or recreate in the outdoors. It would be impossible to keep everyone from having contact at some point with commonly used surfaces or with humans, thus spreading the virus at an exponential rate. There is light at the end of the tunnel now in sight, and we just need to be strong and hang in there a little longer. This is hard for everyone, no matter who you are, and helping each other by staying put is the best thing we can do to get through this.

Looking toward the end of the month and opening day, things are up in the air currently. Crowley Lake has announced it will not be opening for the April 25th opener, but will be delaying their operations until further notice. Most agencies and authorities are all in agreeance on postponing the season in Mono and Inyo counties till a later date. There is no given date for when this would happen, as assessments would have to be made on containment of the virus in the future. The Department of Fish and Wildlife commission will be making an emergency decision in the next few days on whether it will be delegating authority to The DFW to suspend, restrict, or delay recreational fishing in specific areas. All campgrounds and developed recreation areas are currently closed.

In the meantime, utilize this time away to improve your angling skills and learn as much as you can about the sport we all love. Many anglers do all of their “casting practice” when they go fishing or on their guided trip. Get that fly rod out and set aside some practice time a few minutes a day. You will be amazed at how quickly your casting will improve by practicing 2 to 3 times a week with 15 minute sessions.

Fly tying is also a great way to kill some time. If you are new to it or have never done it, there is a great deal of information available today for beginner fly tiers and advanced tiers. Use the technology that is available to explore the instruction and information out there. You may enjoy it, or just find it is not for you, but at least you will have tried it. There are many other things, hobbies, and activities we can engage ourselves in. Try and find the good side of having to stay home and make the best of it. Be kind to those you live with, as they are also probably feeling the same restlessness that you do and cannot help but wonder what lies ahead. It is always the not knowing that eats away at us, but some things are unpredictable in life, and there is not anything we can do about it. Pandemics are not new to the world, but the life we are living today is. In the end, life always returns to normal, and we will all be back to work and in our favorite summer vacation spots with our friends and family soon enough.

Many of you are already planning your future vacations, and all of us will be fishing like crazy when we get the greenlight. Small businesses like guide services and others are taking a hit currently, and it was not easy for us to take the initiative early in this pandemic to clear our calendars and make the decision to cease all guiding until this is all over. Supporting your favorite businesses by planning future trips and getting those fly boxes stocked up for the big day really means a lot during this time and is greatly appreciated by all in the industry. Many of our clients have been purchasing gift certificates toward future trips. They never expire which gives you the option to use them when the time is convenient and can be loaded to the dollar amount of your choice in increments of $50.00. Give us a call at 760-935-4250 for more information or to order a G.C.

We also have some new fly patterns which will be available later this spring, and we are still shipping out our full fly selection from our online page here with no shipping delays. These new patterns will be killer on Crowley and moving waters as we have tested them ourselves this last season with amazing success.

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