December Fish Report and News

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sierra Drifters

by Doug Rodricks
(760) 935-4250

Happy December to all! 

The year of 2020 is finally coming to an end and what a ride it has been. Of course, this month typically has us all getting ready for the Christmas holiday or other holiday celebrations and gift purchasing is on everyone’s minds. This year will probably break records for online ordering of gifts and purchases as we get closer to tighter restrictions again. 

Our online store is an easy way to check off those fly fishing purchases that are on your list. We now have Gift Certificates for guided trips available on our shop page, along with fly boxesloaded with 1 dozen of our top flies, logo hats and t shirts, and our entire fly collection. Our gift certificates never expire, so they can be used for any future trip dates of your choice. 

This month is shaping up to be a dry December so far, and it looks like there isn’t much for snow in the next couple of weeks. This does not bode well for a strong winter, but it is still very early in the season. On the flip side, the daytime temperatures have been just perfect for fishing. We will continue to operate as long as Mono County permits, as the state of California falls back to its previous restrictions. Mornings and nights have been cold, but the warmer late mornings and afternoons have been triggering some great hatches. This has made dry fly fishing a blast, and I have even seen some of the larger rainbows in the Upper Owens River rising to Blue Wing Olive mayflies in the afternoons. 

You will find solid frost along the river banks in the mornings and some days we experience freezing fog rolling in around the Crowley Lake area. With the warm days, the fishing on Hot Creek has been loads of fun. Around 11 am – 12pm there has been a very solid Trico mayfly hatch. Many of the browns and rainbows will move into extremely shallow riffle water to feed on these treats. Small trico imitations with a good dry fly floatant and a perfect drift will get them to bite. These fish are ranging from 12 – 17” with some larger fished mixed in. Around that hatch you will find the fish feeding on super small midges. There are a few caddis flying around late morning and early afternoon too. Access to both areas on Hot Creek is open with no snow or mud yet. 

The rainbows continue to make their way into the Upper Owens. Egg patterns have been working well for these fish when the weather is cold, and if we continue to get the warm weather and the mayflies start hatching, nymphs like #14 – 16 Flashback Pheasant Tails and Assassin Dark have been getting the job done. More fish will continue their journey into the river in the coming weeks. Since no snow is in the forecast, we have been driving in with no restrictions. If the snow does come, we have our snowmobiles ready to fish through the winter months. 

The Lower Owens flows have continued to remain stable with decent hatches, good nymph fishing, and good streamer fishing. The Wild Trout section has been an ideal place for a dry/dropper setup and the access is great at these winter flows. The population of wild browns and rainbows has really come back in this area, and this place is a lot of fun with a 3 or 4 weight fly rod. Further downstream we have been deploying the drift boats and attacking the fish with smaller streamers. The water is extremely clear, so smaller flies are best like our #14 – 16 Punk Perch Dark and LightLoebergs, Spruce-a-bu’s, Crystal Leeches, and Agent Orangeare also good flies to mix up throughout the day. For the Wild Trout section stick with nymphs and midges in the #16 -  20 range like our Flashback Pheasant Tails, Assassin Dark and Light, Broken Back Copper Tiger Midge, Crystal Zebra Midge, Broken Back Black and Blue Midge, Crystal Tiger Midge Dark, and Crystal Chironomid Emerger Copper.

The East Walker is at extreme low flows currently, but a little snowfall and runoff may change this. We are not currently fishing here until the flows start to bump up some. We hope to see you join us for some great fishing this month. 

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Sierra Drifters Reports
for Monday, November 9th, 2020

: November Fish Report and News
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley): Upper Owens River Fishing Report
East Walker River (CA): Low Winter Time Flows
Owens River - Lower: Lower Owens River Fishing Report