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Quick look fish report 3/11/15

Capt. Tom Loe
March 12, 2015
Eastern Sierras - Freshwater Fishing Report

We got nothing from this last storm. Record highs forecast for Bishop this weekend. Upper Owens gets a little rest for a couple days, the bigs will come out and play! Middle Owens the place to be for dry fly action. Caddis & baetis adults on the menu. Hot Creek good in limited open water. Pleasant Valley level down to 4379′. Transition section is much further towards the dam. Good midge & mayfly hatches here. Large trout derby here this weekend. Hike into the Gorge to escape the crowds, surface action very good here.

Upper Owens River 3/11/15

Please DO NOT WADE on spawning reads. These are circular depressions found in the tailouts of pools, or in deeper riffles. 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.

Not a drop here from the last storm, just wind. Weekend will see above average temps again. Numbers of smaller rainbows have picked up recently with a good showing of caddis, midge, and baetis adults popping after 2 pm. The larger migratory rainbows are very active on the warmer days, and can be found in the deeper pools and along the cut banks, or depressions. If the bigs get a rest for a couple days, you can see some very good action. These fish will spook easily and a quiet approach is necessary to keep them in their nests. Access is currently fine. There will occasionally be some off colored water downstream from the confluences of Hot Creek, & the irrigation canals. This condition may occur when we get warmer air temps. 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, high vis caddis, or BWO adults for the afternoon hatches. 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) 3/11/15

Drifting has been fair/good with water temps well above average. Fish are in a late spring/early summer feeding pattern due to the above average air temps and warmer than normal water. Afternoons can slow down a bunch after the hatches. 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, & large drake mayflies 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 80cfs. 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. Crowds have been huge on weekends. 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 early 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, or hi-vis caddis for the uppers & keep them dressed with desiccant to suspend your bead head nymphs. Stimulators are perfect stonefly imitations, & in smaller sizes are good calls for larger adult caddis profiles. 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 3/11/15

The weeds are beginning to grow earlier than usual making drifts tougher in the limited open water. Midges are the most consistent hatch, with some BWO's & small dark caddis now emerging. First generation adults are large and a huge part of the trout's early 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. Size 18 or smaller crystal olive caddis larva or zebra midges are good calls as droppers.

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 3/11/15

Flows back down to 22 cfs. after a brief increase. Blue winged olive mayflies are the hatch.

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

Pleasant Valley Reservoir 3/11/15

There is a huge trout derby on the weekend of 3/13. The good news is PV will be heavily planted for this event. The level is 4379′, this is good to fish the transition area with dry/dropper rigs. Be careful of the mud after it thaws. The small river section has been best 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. Tubing has not been so great as most of the biters are in the inlet section. If you do tube, I suggest you stay near the dam and use full sinking lines. 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 3/11/15

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 early spring 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
760-935-4250
www.sierradrifters.com

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