Quick Cast:
 Area Reports

 Clubs & Orgs.
 Fishing Reports
 Fly Fishing
 Guides & Charters
 Photo Gallery
 Reef Locator

 About Us
 Terms of Use
 Web Development

Fall 2011 Fish'N Conditions

Capt. Tom Loe
October 29, 2011
Eastern Sierras - Freshwater Fishing Report

Howdy friends and Sierra Drifters. It has been a fantastic fall season in the Eastern High Sierra and we are nearing the crescendo. The fall migrations of rainbow and brown trout are running late in some areas this season thanks to an extended period of mild weather. Look for increasing numbers of fish to begin moving en mass within the next couple of weeks.

Overall flows are excellent in most fisheries and running nicely thanks to the huge snowpack of last winter and a good dusting atop the Sierra crest earlier in October. The one exception is the Lower Owens which remains very high, making access difficult for those who wish to angle in the wild trout section or other areas along the Owens banks. Please click on www.sierradrifters.com/fish.htm to view all the great photos for this report.

Upper Owens River:
The bigs are finally on the move and we are seeing increasing numbers of fall run trophy sized fish moving into spawning areas. The numbers of browns remain on the skinny side due to the warm weather, however it will not be long until their maternal alarm goes off and we see good numbers move upstream out of Crowley Lake. The flows have come down for the time being and water conditions are excellent both above and below the confluence of Hot Creek. The section DOWNSTREAM from the fishing monument (third dirt turn-off south of the campground on Hwy 120) to Crowley will remain open until November 15th with special regulations. The section from the Benton Bridge down to this monument is now CLOSED to all fishing. Upstream from the bridge will remain open year around with special regulations. Debarb your hooks, NO BAIT, and don't keep any fish and you will be fine in the open areas. This time of year it is possible to fish streamers, nymphs, and dries here. Loebergs, leeches, Punk Perch, and Spruce-a-bu's will all get grabs when used with a light to moderate sinking tip line. Flashback PT's, bird's nest, broken back midges, crystal olive caddis larva, San Juan worms #14-20 are all solid patterns for nymphing with or without an Under-cator. Para midge adults, hoppers, and BWO imitations are also good choices when you see the hungry little snouts poking up late morning and mid-day.

I believe this to be an absolute outrage! The annual occurrence of cattle ranchers blocking and bypassing the many irrigation canals along the Upper Owens stranding and killing hundreds, if not thousands of "wild" juvenile trout and allowing cattle inside the fences during spawning periods or at any other time as they spread mud snails by trampling the stream bed is beyond me. I have contacted both local & state DFG biologists, and a LADWP supervisor to look into this matter and resolve it before we lose these valuable wild fish. I will keep you posted as to the outcome of this matter and if need be ask you all to contact the necessary agencies and demand that this and other areas be policed for the protection of wild trout and the streambeds they inhabit.

There are pictures on the website Fish'n Conditions page of one of the many "de-watered" irrigation canals on the Upper Owens River above the Benton Crossing Bridge.
I estimated in this one pool alone that 200 TWO HUNDRED juvenile rainbow and brown trout are stranded and destined to die without continuous flow. Wild trout are a valuable and precious resource that needs to be enhanced in fisheries that are managed as such. How can this be allowed to happen? Makes me sick. What the hell good is this fence? Cattle trample streambeds spreading MUDSNAILS and causing bank erosion especially during the spawn. All of Long Valley to graze and they have to use the riverside as well!

Crowley Lake:
Better late than never…Crowley is fishing excellent now for both numbers and size. Conditions have improved greatly since the middle of October and weather permitting this bite may last until the closer on 11-15. Unfortunately the launch ramp closes (10-31) before the fishing season closing for some reason??? So get up here soon, this has been a long time coming. We will continue guiding from tubes after the landing closes so if you need some help give us a call. Tubing and trolling or casting streamers has been right near "epic" recently in a number of areas including the North Arm, McGee Bay (more towards the south shore.), Hilton Bay, and Layton Springs. Two Bug Doug at one point said he could not go fifty feet without a hookup this week! Loebergs and Punk Perch #10-12, you are done changing flies until they get shredded! The DFG has put thousands of sub-catchables in this year so you may have to re-locate if you get into the dinks. Next season and the following-Crowley will be back in form. Still water nymphing has also picked up as the algae are on its way out in most areas. The water level has dropped significantly enough to allow reasonable setting of your depth below the Under-cator. 10-12 feet is average along the weed lines. The usual chironomid patterns will work as long as it remains mild, but I suggest you use PT's and bird's nest patterns. I have been using my version of a B nest bead head pattern all year on Crowley, Bridgeport, and Eagle Lake that is proven deadly and will be available for you to buy this winter. I call it the Drifters "Assassin" #14-18. Get this bug, it really works.

Lower Owens:
Flows continue to be very high; however they appear to have settled in just below 600 cfs. Not good news for wading and accessing the LO on foot. There are areas that can be reached in the wild trout section and fishing is actually pretty good in some limited sections, but crossing and positioning can be dangerous and difficult in much of the river at this time. Sorry to report that these high flows will remain for much of the fall and perhaps into early winter this year. Drifting is the best way to fish the river currently and it has been pretty good using streamer patterns with heavy sinking tip lines. We see some big fish in the fall and early winter from the drift boats and with the mild weather pattern setting in we will see some fine "catching" going on this season.

East Walker River:
Flows remain great for the fall season but should begin to fall some in the near future. The EW has been a popular destination lately especially in the miracle mile section immediately below the dam. All methods of fly fishing are proving to get grabs currently but you will get a better shot at a trophy fish staying below the surface using nymphs and streamers. I suggest you use patterns that have some red in them this time of year on the EW; they can incite aggressive behavior with the browns. Perch fry imitations are good choices for streamers.

Hot Creek:
The water conditions are very good for this time of year. With the mild weather so far this fall we are still seeing some excellent hatches and opportunities to fish hoppers & dries on the surface. Dry dropper bead head combos work well in the riffle water and tailouts.

Bridgeport Reservoir:
I am sorry to say I have not been able to get up here and fish it because the reports I get are very good from tubers trolling streamers. Hit the drop-off right near the marina and then towards the launch ramp area working back towards the south. Perch fry patterns and leeches are the hot ticket. Jeffery at the Marina sells our flies and will be happy to get you on the fish, just say BAAAAAH when you see him.

Pleasant Valley and the Gorge:
Too much water moving in the river inlet to PV right now as power generation is going full blast. The rez is fishing ok near the inlet and launch ramp, use streamers and still water nymph the drop-off on the west side across form the road. Lots of rainbow stockers and the brown bite is picking up near the inlet.
The Gorge is still very over grown but should thin out here by mid-November. It is fishing very well in the areas that can be easily accessed. Still some hoppers and caddis around as well as a decent mayfly hatch. Dry dropper bead head combo's are the ticket.

Alpine Lakes:
Even if you don't catch anything, it is worth a drive up here to see how beautiful it is. The "second summer" stocking program is providing some nice IAG fish along with the late continuation of DFG plants. Temps are cooling down up here so you will need to fish a full sinking line and streamers down to the 15 foot range to find the fish around the drop-offs. Look for the wild browns and brookies in areas that have them to begin staging near the inlets and outflow areas.

Adobe Pond:
We have until November 15th to fish this fertile piece of private water. It has been very good lately with a some 16 inch plus fish showing on nymphs. Call for booking info and availability or click on the Adobe Link at www.sierradrifters.com

Be the Fly…
Tom Loe, Sierra Drifters Guide Service
Cell 760-937-2015
Email [email protected]

The Sierra Drifters Website content is copyright © by Sierra Drifters Guide Service. No part of this site may be
reproduced or redistributed in any way without written permission. All rights reserved.
1998-2011 Sierra Drifters Guide Service (®Trademarked) all rights reserved

More Fishing Reports:


We offer great year-round fly fishing adventures with diverse types of water and programs designed to intrigue the most traveled anglers...check out our Fishing Reports for current info. Join our mail list to receive regular Eastern Sierra fishing reports Click on A Closer Look for a description of the fisheries we guide in the Eastern Sierra. We are a full service outfitter and will gladly arrange your guiding, lodging, equipment, and catering needs. Visit MammothLakes.com  for Mammoth Lakes I

Contact Info:

Sierra Drifters Guide Service
HCR 79 Box 165-A
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
Phone: 760-935-4250
Email the Captain
Visit his Web Site
Display Find-a-Guide Listing

Copyright © 1997-2024, CyberAngler - All Rights Reserved
Privacy Policy :: Terms of Use
For Questions and comments please use our Feedback Form
Back to the Top