Fish N' Conditions

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sierra Drifters

by Doug Rodricks
(760) 935-4250

August is now upon us, and it has been a strange and different year thus far. I can say this has been one of the busiest years for Sierra Drifters, not to mention the guiding industry in general. It makes sense, given that travel plans for summer have been cancelled for many and the eastern sierra is an easy drive from southern California. 

We are now booking trips over 2 weeks out and we ask that you call 2-3 weeks prior to your planned vacation to secure a guide. Our team has been fishing daily and doing what they love to do. We have seen a lot of new faces this year and of course our loyal customers who have fished with us from the beginning. We still do not know what the future holds for us, but in the meantime, we will continue to fish and bring smiles to all that fish with us.

The lake is dropping a little faster now as the LADWP is flushing out the Gorge to create better habitat for the wild trout. These are good practices, as they create fresh areas for the fish to spawn and live in a healthy state. The Department is asking the public to stay out of this area until after this weekend for safety reasons.

There will be a 10 day shipping delay on flies that are ordered from our website starting 8/7/20 and ending on 8/16/20. All orders placed during this window will ship out on 8/17/20. We apologize for any inconvenience as we transition over to our new website which we will be launching then.

Looks like the low 80’s for temperatures in the Crowley Lake area over the next week and we are welcoming this slight cool down. The bite on Crowley has really heated up with the perch fry now growing into some larger sizes. 

I often get asked from clients and fisherman about the wind on the lake and how or if it affects the bite. The earlier months of May and June have the fish feeding on midges, so sometimes windy days can slow down the bite as the midges are not emerging as they would during calmer periods. Once we enter into mid-July and beyond, the fish turn more to the larger food items, like perch fry, damsels, and callibaetis. Wind does not become an issue at this time, and the bite can actually get better with the wind. 

The fish gravitate toward the shallower water along the weed lines, and the wind creates turbulence on the lake’s surface which makes the trout less spooked. The wave action also creates a nice natural-like movement on your flies. Often, you may find a better bite in the afternoons and evenings than in the mornings. The wind seems to chase many anglers off of the lake, but if you stick it out and position your boat or tube in the right area, you can stay on these fish all day.

The bite on the Upper Owens is still going strong. The wind can be your friend here too, especially when the hoppers are flying. The fish in the rivers will also feel less threatened with a little wind disrupting the surface. Smacking those hopper patterns down on the water simulates the wind blowing them off the banks. This really brings out a trout’s predatory response to feed before his food floats away. Water is very clear still, so sneaking up to your favorite hole is recommended. 

The San Joaquin River is still at a fishable flow, but the water level is dropping daily. You can get away from the crowds by taking a short walk away from the campgrounds and general parking areas. This area has not received as much pressure as most rivers this season, so it’s a good call for some seclusion from the more crowded than usual waters. Tie on some smaller dry fly patterns like Adams, Caddis, and Stimulators and you can have some all-day action.

Hot Creek is typical for this time of year. Once again, this is a prime time of year to learn to perfect your dry fly presentations as you can see the fish very clearly. Take notes and observe how a fish reacts to your drifted fly. If a trout turns to look at your presentation but rejects it, it could signal a couple of things. It could be the wrong pattern or more commonly, a slight amount of drag on your fly. The fish on the creek are used to people and can take more time than usual to examine your fly. 

You may need to reposition yourself before making your next cast. I find that many anglers I guide do not position themselves for the best drift in relation to the fish they are targeting. There is a sweet spot where you will get the most amount of time with no drag on your fly. It is your job or your guide’s to identify this and give yourself the best possible drift that is drag free. Take some time to play around with this rather than just staying in the same spot and changing flies. This will make you a much better angler and maximize your time on the water each time you go fishing. The only way to improve your skills is to learn and practice what you are not good at. This goes for most things in life, and fly fishing is no exception.

The East Walker River is still holding at perfect flows for wading, around the 125 to 130 cfs mark. There has been some good dry fly action in the evenings here around the slower sections. Nymphing is still producing the best numbers of fish, and as the water is warmer this time of year, focus your efforts on the oxygenated riffle sections during the day. 

Let’s not overlook the alpine and backcountry lakes. It has been incredibly crowded up here this summer and these upper elevation lakes are a great way to get away from the frequented areas. Whether you are hiking up to the backcountry or even a short day hike or drive to areas, there is less pressure here and great fishing. The fish here are not as picky and will take most flies that are offered to them in the correct size. Go with smaller patterns here in the #16-22 range. 

We are filling up fast for this month, but still have some openings. September is also looking great, so get in touch with us sooner than later to get out on the water. Please visit our friends that carry our flies and stock up on your outdoor vacation needs at their stores.

The Crowley Lake General Store & Deli ( full selection), Reagan’s Sporting Goods in Bishop (full selection),   Stroud Tackle in San Diego (full selection), Fisherman’s Spot in Van Nuys (seasonal top patterns), Bridgeport Reservoir Marina -(full selection)  Ricks Sport Center in Mammoth Lakes (seasonal- top patterns only). Eagle Lake RV and store. (seasonal- top patterns) and Fly and Field Outfitters in Bend, Oregon (seasonal top patterns)

Visit our website for more information on fly fishing and some additional resources. You can purchase our flies here, forget about the hassle of leaving the house, and opt for our delivery to your door. Fill out one of our trip request forms here to get in on some of the great fishing action we have been experiencing. If you are planning a trip to the area and plan on going on a guided trip with us, you will definitely want to book sooner than later as our days are filling at a faster rate than usual this year. 

Visit us on FacebookInstagram, and YouTube.

Fill out one of our trip requests here and we will get in contact with you to book a guided fly fishing outing.

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More Reports

Sierra Drifters Reports
for Wednesday, August 5th, 2020

East Walker River (CA): Flows Have Remained Stable
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley): Crazy Hopper Time Here
Hot Creek: Great Dry Fly Fishing Going On
Owens River - Lower: Edges of The River Are Fishing Best
Crowley Lake: Crowley Lake Fishing Report

Hello, anglers!  When I moved to the eastern sierra 14 years ago, I realized my dream had finally become a reality....... Read More