Crowley Lake Fish Report

Crowley Lake - Mammoth Lakes, CA (Mono County)

by Tom Loe

There have been mornings around the boat docks where the Drifters fleet of "fish magnets" are moored that I almost believe we are in the Everglades swamp. I keep waiting for a report of a gator sighting! The algae is as thick as it gets this September and it has really made fishing on Crowley tough at times. Kind of reeks like cow manure. Contrary to common sense and observation... we are told that the couple thousand or so head of cattle grazing and relieving themselves around the lake have little influence on the water quality. Please!!! Hard to believe this is a "drinking water reservoir". It is truly ironic that the algae is a necessary evil and eventually becomes food for the thriving aquatic insect population. Algae is what makes Crowley and Bridgeport such fish growing machines.

Despite the horrid surface conditions most days on Crowley we are still getting into consistent trophy sized fish. The numbers are down for sure this season; this has been the case for the last couple of years and has little to do with water quality, but rather a decrease in the amount of fish being planted the last few seasons.

Streamer fishing has been good around the outskirts of the weed lines in McGee and the Green Banks areas when the "goo" is not thick enough to coat your flies before they sink. Trolling or casting perch fry imitations #10-12, or callibaetis nymphs #12-14 as a trailer or point fly have been working well for the limited amount of tubers I see fishing Crowley these days.

Still water nymphing has been iffy most days and locating clean water is essential if you are a bobber lobber. There are still good emergences of chironomids and callibaetis near the immediate inlet sections. Gillies #18, broke backs #16, tiger midges-all good stuff. If you are fortunate enough to find some clean water you might also hang a #14-16 Punk Perch as an upper fly especially around the weeds. You will locate fish in depths starting around 9 feet and out to 14 feet. The lake has been dropping quickly due to the high release rates on the Lower Owens River. The weed lines are now about ten feet and falling, but you may need to move out another foot or two to find some clean bottom. The lake level remained very high this year well into early September and the Owens Channel and McGee Creek Channels have filled with weed in many areas.

The best scenario currently is to have a strong westerly wind blow for six-twelve hours prior to fishing the North Arm, or McGeeBay. If there is a steady south or east wind- check out Layton Springs or Crooked Creek for cleaner water. We will need to see the water temps drop before we see a significant change in the conditions.

If you would like to go fly fishing with Sierra Drifters give them a call at (760) 935 4250 and for more information visit their website

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More Reports

Sierra Drifters Reports
for Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Owens River: Upper Owens River Fish Report
Owens River: Lower Owens River Fish Report
Walker River - East Fork (CA): East Walker River Fish Report
Bridgeport Reservoir: Bridgeport Reservoir Fish Report
Hot Creek: Hot Creek Fish Report
San Joaquin River: San Joaquin Fish Report
Adobe Pond: Adobe Pond Fish Report

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