Sierra Drifters Fish N' Conditions

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sierra Drifters

by Doug Rodricks
(760) 935-4250

Where's our snow? It is winter now and it has been a dry one. With a few storms here and there that have not brought us much snow, we continue to wait patiently. Nothing is in the forecast for the next few weeks for any major storms. The mountain at Mammoth can sure use it as can the rest of the state. We still have a few months of winter to go so we will see if things turn around.
In the meantime, we are taking advantage of the mild winter weather and fishing all of our usual locations like crazy. The nighttime temperatures are in the teens with nice weather during the day in the 40's and 50's. Some large fish are being caught daily, and the trophy trout will continue to move into areas like the Upper Owens as the weeks go on.
The Lower Owens River in Bishop is remaining steady with flows that have stabilized around 91 cfs. These fish are now holding in shallower water along the sand to gravel transitions as well as the deeper pools. There have been some solid BWO hatches in the afternoons and the bite window for dry fly fishing can last 30 mins some days and 1.5 hours the next. Smaller streamer patterns like our #16 Punk Perch Dark and Light have been great flies prior to and during this hatch. Around those times in the mornings and evenings an assortment of Loebergs, #14 Agent Orange, and Spruce-a-Bu Dark and Light have been doing the trick.

The Upper Owens River has been continuing to produce large rainbow and brown trout. We are getting a decent mix of males and females all in the 19 - 24" range and in the weight class of 3 - 6 lbs. These fish are strong and healthier than ever this year and are spread out around the river. We have large fish moving into the river out of Crowley Lake daily, and the cold nights are keeping them on the move. Egg patterns and #14-16 nymphs like Flashback Pheasant Tails and Dark Assassins are the ticket. More fish will begin to move into the river as the weather gets colder.
The East Walker River is running at extremely low flows of 16 cfs. At this level it is best to fish elsewhere. Flows should rise slightly later on in the winter months, but for now it is too low for any sustained and decent fishing.


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