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A Fish Report for 12/28/14

Capt. Tom Loe
December 28, 2014
Eastern Sierras - Freshwater Fishing Report

Fly fishing the year around waters of the Upper and Middle Owens Rivers, Pleasant Valley Reservoir, Hot Creek, & the East Walker River located near Mammoth and Bishop Ca. will give you opportunities to catch trophy rainbows and browns while being guided by expert fly fishing pros. We use top of the line drift boats, snowmobiles, and float tubes to access these blue ribbon trout waters.

Quick look fish report 12/28/14

More cold weather forecast through New Years Weekend with snow on the 30th. Middle Owens drift trips very good. Numbers and bigs taking streamers. Upper Owens wicked cold in the morns, still kicking out quality Crowley Steelhead. Numbers of anglers up-numbers of fish down. Hot Creek slowing down some for numbers due to cooler temps and less water once again. East Walker still so-so with very limited water. Pleasant Valley Reservoir very good for numbers, will be crowded over the holidays.

Upper Owens River 12/28/14

Access is good in most areas; however you will find some deep mud in the ruts after the ground thaws on only the warmest days. Look for single digit/below zero air temps along the river at sun-up, with highs only getting into the thirties or low forties. Water can be dirty with weed below the confluence of Hot Creek. You will need to cover alot of water to locate the larger fish, and the deeper pockets they hunker down in. Solid mending techniques are critical in getting the bigs to hit. Stay on the "tail" of your targets whenever possible & keep those nymph rigs bouncing on the dirt. If you are not tickling the bottom at least half the drift, your leader is too short; or improperly weighted. Your presentations and mending might just suck too! As Crowley slowly fills, the communication between the lake and river improves, giving the trout a more favorable pathway to migrate upstream. This is why winter fishing here can be so great! The colder air temps force the fish to seek refuge in the deeper pools. Nymphing below an Under-cator is the best method to get the larger migratory rainbows and browns to take a fly. Use attractor patterns-appropriately weighted, and in tandem such as San Juan Worms, & roe imitations. Flashback PT's, Assassin birds nest, broken back midges, tiger midges, GILLIES, Agent Orange, & Crystal Vanderleeches are also good choices especially after the gravel warms up in the afternoons. You will see a decent midge hatch and small mayflies during periods of warmer weather. Small para BWO's or duns, and midge cluster patterns are good surface profiles. Streamer fishing can also be a good call during windy days. Stay along the deeper/channel side of the river and use the "dip & strip" technique with a light sinking tip, or floating line. Loebergs, Spruce-A-Bu's, & Punk Perch #10-6 can get those big boys out from under those deeper cut banks where it is difficult to dead drift a nymph rig.

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) 12/28/14

Access is good in all areas of the Owens Valley. Drift boat fishing has been good with some big male rainbows showing consistently on streamers. The LAWDP realtime website is down. Flows are currently 75-80 cfs. below the dam at Pleasant Valley. This is a very low release and perfect for wading the immediate tailwater sections. Fishing is consistently good from the Footbridge at PV Campground downstream to the Five Bridges Crossing. We are seeing a more seasonable weather pattern develop with the big fall hatches of mayflies fizzling out. There are still fishable hatches of tricos and last generation BWO's on the cloudy/warmer days. Smaller midges will become more prevalent as the days shorten. Nymphing with tandem rigs-properly weighted will get you into fish consistently. 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). 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 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 12/28/14

Access is good, no snow or ice. Water conditions have improved since the weather has become cold; however this cooling trend has once again dropped the flows making extended drifts more difficult. There is less aquatic weed in many spots. Locate these slots in the weeds making short accurate drifts. The "interpretive" section is fishing better than others currently. If you see a few cars at the parking area keep on trucking, as there is very little fishable water here. Midges are the only consistent hatches coming off currently. Small parachute patterns used with a 10 foot leader are best for surface presentations. There are a few sections that can be fished with a dry dropper nymph rig. Small dead drifted Punk Perch, Scuds, broken back zebras, small gillies, egg patterns, SJ worms, 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 12/28/14

Flows currently at 22cfs. Limited fishable water. Diploid browns will be planted here again-great news!

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

Pleasant Valley Reservoir 12/28/14

CDFW planted numbers, & some brood fish for the holidays. The reservoir level has been stable for an extended period – around (4383′). Be cautious when the mud thaws along the river bank. The small river directly below the powerhouse is awesome when the flows are low, or stable. Forget fishing the river, or inlet if the hydro station is ramped up (this is uncommon during the winter, but can occur to flush ice from the huge aqueduct pipeline at times). The quiet water at the inlet can be great for tubers during this period. 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. Streamers like Loebergs, Agent Orange, Crystal leeches, & Spruce-A-Bu's will get you into some nice browns 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 the same 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 12/28/14

Access is good, no snow or ice. Good place to go to escape holiday crowds. Water conditions are very good, and access remains free of ice or snow. 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.

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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