Fish' N Conditions
by Doug Rodricks
A steady feed of winter storms continues to move through California. We are getting that in the form of snow here in the eastern sierra and it has turned out to be a “real winter”. These have been very cold storms as of late, which have brought with them some excellent powder conditions for skiers, snowboarders, and snowmobilers to play in. This current snowpack is setting the stage for an excellent summer for all waters in the high country. Being that it is only mid-February, and there are more major storms lined up, the run-off at this point will be high for the early portion of the general trout season. Places like the San Joaquin River will be fishing best by late July to August. Crowley Lake is almost at capacity now, and the LADWP will have no choice but to start releasing water in the future. The Middle Owens River will see an increase in flows once this happens, but for now the river has remained at typical winter levels. The afternoon BWO hatch has been solid when the skies are overcast around the noon to 2pm period, and the streamer of choice here has been the Spruce-a-bu for the larger fish. We have experienced some sub-zero temperatures on the Upper Owens which has kept us out of here on some days due to heavy ice coming down the river. The fishing has been solid here, and the extremely light fishing pressure this past week has renewed the bite along the entire river. Forecasters are calling for another cold week ahead for most of the state. The East Walker River was on fire last week and should continue to fish well once our next cold snap passes. Nymphs, eggs, and streamers have been accounting for some large trout here. Access to Hot Creek is now walk in only and there have been some great midge hatches throughout the day and a good mayfly hatch in the afternoons.
Middle Owens River/Wild Trout Section (Bishop Area)
The river is holding around the 86 cfs mark. The latest storms have left some puddles of water along the access roads leading to the river, so care must be taken when moving through these areas. Some nice and steady Baetis hatches have been taking place around the 12:30 – 2pm window. Fishing seems to pick up from this point on, using dry flies fished in the softer sections and pulling smaller streamers like our #16 punk perch light and darks through the same areas. Our Spruce-a- bu streamers in both light and dark have been fooling some larger fish. Bishop creek has been adding a little more water to the river above Line Street and the water is a bit clearer up above. The wild trout section below Pleasant Valley Reservoir has been producing some decent wild browns. Smaller nymphs in the mornings and decent mayfly patterns during the afternoons have made for some fun fishing. Best flies for these area have been #10 Loebergs in all colors, #8 Spruce-a-bus in light and dark, #16 Punk Perch, #14 Crystal Leech, #18 Assassin Light, #16 San Juan Worm Red, #18 Blue Winged Olive, #22 Parachute Midge, #18 Broken Back Copper Tiger Midge, and #18 Crystal Caddis Larva Olive Dubbed-Black.
Upper Owens River
It has been very cold here in the last week with plenty of snow on the ground for running the snowmobiles but tough access for 4-wheel vehicles to get in. Most have been parking at the bridge and walking in, but keep in mind there is now about 2-3 feet of snow all along the river, so it can be a tough trek. The fish are moving around with all the storm activity recently, so they can be heavy in specific pools and lighter in others. We have seen quite a few females in the river this year which is good news for the new generations of these wild rainbows. 6mm Otter Eggs in Tangerine Opaque, Kiwi Flash, Dead Egg, and Apricot, #14-16 San Juan worm red and Bead San Juan Worm red, #14-16 Level Crystal Leeches, #14-16 Parallel Assassin Dark and Light, and #16 Broken Back Copper Tiger Midge are lighting up the fish!
Walk in access only here and this isn’t going to change anytime soon as storm after storm hits the region. Great midge fishing in the mornings and into the day. There’s been a great window for throwing dry flies (BWO’s) during the afternoons as the trout are really keying in on them. There has also been a shortage of angling pressure here too, so fishing has been quite good. Otter eggs have been accounting for some bigger fish in the deeper runs. #18 BWO’s, #18-22 Parachute midges, and Otter eggs and SD Crawlers have been getting some serious looks and takes from the resident trout.
East Walker River
This place has really taken off with the bigs going on the chew. They are stacking up big time in the deeper pools and once the weather jumps up in temps a few degrees it should be epic. Otter eggs in all colors, #18 Copper Tiger Midges, #14-16 Parallel Perch, #14-16 Level Leeches, and Assassins dark and light both Parallel and normal have been great patterns to hang. SJ worms and Drifters’ Crawlers also working well.
Some big boys and girls have been coming to shore this week and the winter storms have been bringing more fish closer the beach. Anglers are seeing quite a few fish in the 3-6lb mark with some standout 19lbers in the mix. Give us a call if you are interested in fishing this area as we have dates available for the remainder of the month.
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Sierra Drifters Reportsfor Saturday, February 16th
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley): Quite a Few Females in the River this Year
Pyramid Lake: Anglers are Seeing Quite a Few Fish in the 3-6lb
Hot Creek: Fishing Has Been Quite Good.
Walker River - East Fork (CA): This Place has Really Taken Off
Sierra Drifters Reportsfor Tuesday, February 5th
Owens River - Middle: Producing Some Decent Wild Browns.
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley): Very Solid Up Here
Hot Creek: There’s Been a Great Window for Throwing Dry Flies
Walker River - East Fork (CA): It’s a Solid Winter Bite Here Lately
Pyramid Lake: More Fish Closer the Beach