Sierra Drifters Fishing Report

Jerry Gilpin guided Mark
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sierra Drifters

by Doug Rodricks
(760) 935-4250

Hi friends! It has been a long wait to announce this, but we are officially back open for business. We have been approved by Mono County to resume professional guiding services once again. We are still taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, and taking the time to ensure the safety of our clients and our team. Rest assured that all of our equipment and high touch surfaces are sanitized and disinfected between trips to ensure a clean fishing environment for all. We appreciate the patience from our customers during our down time and we thank you for the support you showed us with gift certificate and fly purchases. I have received a lot of phone calls, texts, and emails over the past few months with questions on what will be open and when. We only know the information that the county releases, so it is best to refer to the county websites here:

Fishing has been nothing short of excellent in most areas. Crowley Lake opened last weekend, and it has been GOOD! Bridgeport Reservoir is also giving up a few fish in deeper water. The East Walker River is fishing well in most of the usual spots with perfect flows. The Upper Owens River and Hot Creek have been good for dry fly fishing and nymphing. The Lower Owens flows are remaining driftable with some days giving up fish and others slightly slower. With most areas being under-fished this season, we are taking notice of some exceptional catches.

Crowley Lake

What do you get when you have a fishing opener that is delayed by over 1 month? You get excellent fishing due to zero fishing pressure and zero limits (no fish taken out of the lake in May). Those who were lucky enough to get on the water for opening weekend, were rewarded with some great fishing. The brown trout have been hard pulling, chunky fighters this year, and some larger rainbows have been cruising the depths in search of their favorite spring morsels; the chironomids. The lake level is high once again, so most fish have been found in 20′ of water or greater. There are fish that are catchable in shallower water, however, the numbers have been deeper. Midges fished right on the bottom have been the ticket and the fish have been biting all day long. There are some peak feeding periods taking place by mid-morning for 2 hours and then it becomes a steady bite. The wind has been kicking up in the afternoons, but finding the lee sides of the shoreline can keep you on the fish. Damselflies are now very prevalent in the north arm of the lake and the weeds are establishing themselves in 17′ of water.

Lower Owens River/Wild Trout Section (Bishop Area) 

The flows have remained very fishable for this time of year. We are still fortunate enough to be able to drift the river at this time. Bishop Creek has been adding some water to the lower sections here so you will notice a bit of stain to the water color. The fishing has still remained consistent on most days, with a few off days when the weather starts to kick up now and then. This last weekend saw some serious wind that really slowed the bite. These fish will return to their normal feeding behavior this week as some warm weather is in the forecast. Streamers have been accounting for most of our fish using the “dip and strip” method. Dry fly action is sporadic, but some caddis are starting to show under the right weather conditions. The wild trout section does have some areas that are ok for wading, but most fishing can be done from the banks. 

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, San Juan Worm Brown #14, Crystal Caddis Larva #18

Hot Creek 

Pretty steady action in both the Interpretive Site and in the canyon. Smaller nymphs and dry flies are working well here. Water will start to take on a slightly stained look on the warmer days with the snow melt being brought into the creek. Look for a decent caddis hatch in the evenings and solid midge hatches throughout the day. Access is now open to both areas.

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

It’s good here up and down the river. The cutthroat spawn is pretty much coming to an end with a few fish still left in the river. Most of these fish are beat up and tired from their long spring excursion so it is best to leave them be and let them return to Crowley Lake in peace. The rainbows on the other hand are on the chew with a vengeance. These fish are very aggressive and we have been having some excellent days down here catching them. Most nymphs are working this time of year, as they are not very picky. As long as your drift is somewhat decent, you will get into fish. Look for some good dry fly caddis action in the evenings.

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.

East Walker River 

Flows have been perfect here this spring. Some big fish have been biting and most areas of the river are fishing well. The bite can be great here any time of day so no need to get here early. The miracle mile section has been giving up some good ones and various other spots are holding some big ones. Crossing at the current flow rate of 150 cfs is fairly easy, so access to the best spots is completely feasible. Nymphing has been getting the job done.

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 Monday, June 8th, 2020

East Walker River (CA): Flows Have Been Perfect Here For Spring
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley): Fish Are Aggressive and We Have Had Some Excellent Days Catching Them
Hot Creek: Pretty Steady Action on Hot Creek
Owens River - Lower: Flows Have Remained Very Fishable For This Time of Year
Crowley Lake: Brown Trout Have Been Pulling Hard

Crowley Late is now open! The fishing was good from 11-21' and fish were found in various locations. Midge hatches...... Read More