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Fish Report 2/25/15

Capt. Tom Loe
February 26, 2015
Eastern Sierras - Freshwater Fishing Report

North wind made presentations tough again today. Warmer temps predicted before the storm this weekend. Upper Owens fished well before the wind, bigs hit before noon. No snow here at all. Middle Owens back on the bite while drifting. Spring caddis hatch a month early! Pleasant Valley Reservoir level down to 4380′. Focus on the transition section. Hot Creek will be good in select spots. East Walker flows down to 20cfs. The long range forecast shows a string of cold core storms to begin parading through by the weekend.

Our sincere thoughts to those affected by the Swall Meadows fire. This devastating blaze burned 8000 acres, & destroyed 40 structures. Swall Meadows is located 15 miles north of Bishop, on the west side of the Sherwin Grade. Vegetation along Lower Rock Creek was also destroyed in Round Valley. Click on this link to see pictures taken by Cat Connor. http://catconnor.artistwebsites.com/art/all/round+fire/all

Upper Owens River 2/25/15

Another big thank you to Gary "the drone master" Runnels for this great picture of the Upper Owens near the Long Years section. Click on the videos, or YouTube link of our nav bar to see great video that Gary made their trip on the Upper Owens.

Please be EXTREMELY careful when handling, or photographing fish at temperatures below twenty degrees. Fish removed from the water for more than a minute can literally "flash freeze" and die. Resuscitating BEFORE, & AFTER your fight is essential for a safe C & R on these wonderful fish. Do not remove them from the water immediately after you net them please. Keep their gills out of the silt and completely submerged while removing the hooks and reviving them.

Look for much more seasonable weather the next ten days. The irrigation canals and Hot Creek are dumping some ugly water into the river right now. It should clear in a few days & it is better in the morns before the run-off begins. The spring push of Crowley Steelhead is now on. We are seeing a fresh batch of bigs move up from the lake, with many of the hens heavy with roe. Angling pressure is moderate/heavy. Currently the fish are out of the deepest pools and into the longer runs, and pockets that have under cut banks as a signature. This will change when air temps get back into low teens/single digits in the mornings. Accurate casting with heavily weighted nymph rigs are mandatory to get get these rascals to bite. Flows holding at 45cfs. This a a very low release for this time of year. Historically the LADWP drains Grant Lake in the winter, then uses the water to fill Crowley through the Rush Creek/East Portal Diversion. Turbidity has really decreased below the merging of Hot Creek & the irrigation canals. Access is currently fine. We have been having good success using Assassin's, broken back tiger midges, SJ worms, crystal Vanderleeches, roe patterns. You will also want to have some smaller para-midge, or BWO adults for the afternoon midge hatch. The resident fish are responding to this on the warmer days. Drifters guides use the "Four P's" to consistently get on fish here. Position- Presentation-Persistence-Performance. Book a trip with us and we will teach you how to get these amazing fish.

Special angling regs in effect. Open year around upstream from the Benton Crossing Bridge. Closed from the Bridge downstream to Crowley Lake until next season.

Middle Owens River (Bishop area) 2/25/15

Been some north winds with some cold weather forecast on the weekend. Drifting has been good with water temps well above average. Use smaller streamers like the original Drifters Punk Perch to fool the trout. The P.P. is a "strymph" pattern. It can be a streamer, or nymph imitating a small baitfish, or swimming type nymph, or pupa. I am seeing some little golden stoneflies emerge already! The spring caddis have hatched early. These are larger than their summer brethren. #14-16 profiles are good calls. Flows are currently around 75cfs. below the dam at Pleasant Valley. Fishing is fair/very good from the footbridge at PV Campground downstream to the Five Bridges Crossing. Access to this area while wading has never been easier. The cold water mayfly called the "blue winged olive" is now emerging in numbers consistently. The first generations are large for mayflies, and a mainstay in the trouts late winter/spring diet. #16/18 BWO patterns are good profiles. Nymphing with tandem rigs-properly weighted will get you into fish before the hatch. I suggest you use Flashback PT's, Assassin birds nest, broken back midges, tiger midges, small gillies, crystal emergers, or chironomid pupa, olive crystal zebras, & caddis larvae (to imitate caddis larva & rock worms) below an Under-cator. You can use dry/dropper bead head rigs for the warmer days working the tailouts of larger pools, & riffles. Have some high vis para BWO's for the uppers & keep them dressed with desiccant to suspend your bead head nymphs. Guided drift boat trips are a great vehicle to reach the secluded, and less fished areas of the river. We have been logging excellent numbers of planted & holdover rainbows recently. We predominantly fish streamers like Loebergs, Spruce-A-Bu's, Punk Perch, Agent Orange, and Crystal Vanderleeches. Using a light sinking tip line we position the boat upstream from the target water, casting about 35 feet down towards larger pools. We then insert the rod tips below the surface to get the streamers down without using excessive weight. Stripping the line in an erratic series of short and long pulls imitates the swimming motion of injured baitfish. The "dip & strip" technique is a fun way to get into numbers and large rainbows that hold in the lower sections of the river well below the wild trout section. Check out my "be the fly" video by clicking on the videos link at the top of the page to see how we do it.

This fishery remains open year around. Special regs from the footbridge at Pleasant Valley campground to the fishing monument 4.7 miles downstream.

Hot Creek 2/25/15

Cooler temps on the way, no snow in the canyon. Midges are the most consistent hatch, with first generation BWO's now emerging. First generation adults are large and a huge part of the trout's winter/spring diet. High winged dark olive, or dun colored bodies #16/18 are good profiles. Keep them well dressed to ride high in the foam. PT's & bird's nest patterns are best for nymphs. Small parachute midge or mayfly patterns used with a 10 foot leader are best for surface presentations when the fish are on the midges/or clusters. There are a few sections that can be fished with a dry dropper nymph rig. Small dead drifted Punk Perch, broken back zebras, small gillies, egg patterns, SJ worms, scuds, flashback PT's, or assassin birds nest bead heads in #18 are good calls for the dropper.

This is a year around fishery with special regs in place.

*Tom Loe is under permit from the Inyo National Forest Service to guide Hot Creek.

East Walker River 2/25/15

Flows currently at 20cfs. Limited fishable water.

This fishery is open year around with special regs in place.

Pleasant Valley Reservoir 2/25/15

Lots of smaller (5-7 inch) planted rainbows around. The level is 4380′, this is very good to fish the transition area. The small river section has been excellent for numbers of smaller rainbows. Forget fishing the river, or inlet if the hydro station is ramped up (this is uncommon during the winter/early spring, but can occur to flush ice from the huge aqueduct pipeline at times). Dry dropper combos using Stimulators, hi-vis para BWO's or hi-vis caddis may be used as the upper fly-use crystal olive caddis larva, flashback PT's, Assassins, broken back or crystal tiger & zebra midges as your dropper bead head nymph. "Freeze tubing" has been very good recently. Streamers like Loebergs, Agent Orange, Crystal leeches, & Spruce-A-Bu's will get you into some nice browns, & larger bows in the rez proper. Use a full sinking line to get down to 10-15 feet quickly. You can also fish "Crowley midge style" in the rez near the drop-offs. Fish chironomid patterns below an Under-cator. Gillies, broken back midges, crystal emergers & pupa patterns. Tiger & zebra midges are always a solid choice for your larva pattern.

This fishery is open year around.

The Gorge 2/25/15

Great place to go if you want to escape crowds. Have those mayfly nymphs, & blue winged olive, & caddis adults handy. The spring caddis are coming off early this year. No snow or ice, trails are fine. This maybe the best dry fly fishery we have during the winter months. The Gorge could be classified as the true "tailwater" from Crowley Lake. The fish here are all wild browns with a large one going 16 inches. Moderate/difficult hiking is required to access the more secluded sections. Rock hopping and bush whacking can be expected. Dry/dropper bead head nymph combos work well in the deeper pools. Use PT's, Assassin birds nest, broken back midges, tiger midges, & crystal olive larva patterns as the nymphs. Hi-vis para BWO's, Stimulators, parachute midge adults, & elk caddis are good choices for your dry fly. Pack in water , have cleated wading boots and a stout staff. 2-4wt. rods are perfect for this water.

A compromise/ final settlement has been reached between the LADWP & CDFW for the re-watering and enhancement of the middle & lower sections of the Gorge. The Upper section will now be managed as a Tui-Chub" sanctuary for perpetuity- with no additional water, or trout enhancement allowed. The Middle & lower sections will begin to see immediate improvements in flows, fish access ladders, and management as a wild trout fishery. Final Draft of Owens Gorge Stipulation11 20 14[1] Special thanks to Crowley local James Parker for keeping us informed on this complicated situation.

Season open year around

We have a fully stocked fly box and Under-cators in Reagan's Sporting Goods in Bishop. The Drifters fly box will carry all the guide tested patterns you see on the fish report including patterns for Pyramid Lake, Eagle Lake, Lake Almanor, & other great trout fisheries in the west. This is a great shop with knowledgeable and super friendly people that is open 7 days a week. They open early, so you can get flies and tackle and still be on the water for the hatch! They are located on Main St. with easy access and parking. This store has everything you need for fishing, hunting, camping. They sell licenses too!

I have added a picture gallery to the website . Click on the "gallery" button and do a search for your name, or scroll through the pages. You can double click on the picture to enlarge it once it is located.

Thanks for reading my report
be the fly….Tom Loe
Sierra Drifters Guide Service

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