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A Fish Report for 1/2/15

Capt. Tom Loe
January 3, 2015
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 1/2/15

Make sure you get those 2015 sport fishing licenses, the 2014's are now expired Weather getting warmer during the day- still single digit air temps in the morns. Middle Owens around Bishop fishing well in some spots. Upper Owens off color/muddy with ice. Hot Creek is ice free in the canyon, the interpretive site is covered in sheet ice. East Walker unfishable due to anchor ice.

Upper Owens River 1/2/15

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.

Ice situation has improved, but water conditions remain poor overall. No snow on the ground, access is fine. LADWP is flushing the Rush Creek Diversion pipe, & irrigation canals to prevent ice build up from clogging them. Consequently you will see some very muddy, cold water that has slowed the bite down here a bunch. Look for single digit/below zero air temps along the river at sun-up, highs may reach the mid-forties this weekend. Water can be extremely 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) 1/2/15

Access is good in all areas of the Owens Valley, no snow or rain from the last storm. Drift boat fishing has been good during warmer periods, with some big male rainbows showing consistently on streamers. The LAWDP realtime website is down. Flows are currently 75 cfs. below the dam at Pleasant Valley. This is a very low release and perfect for wading the immediate tailwater sections. Fishing is fair/good from the Footbridge at PV Campground downstream to the Five Bridges Crossing. We are seeing a more seasonable weather pattern develop, and the colder water has slowed feeding activity. Smaller midges are the primary hatch, but the cold water mayfly called the "blue winged olive" will begin emerging more frequently as January rolls on. 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 1/2/15

Very cold in the morns-no bed or sheet ice except near the confluence of Mammoth Creek in the interpretive section. 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. 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 1/2/15

Currently unfishable due to anchor ice. Dangerous cold the next couple of days, with a warming trend by Saturday. 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 1/2/15

Fishing in the short river section & transition area really picked up after it warmed. Thanks to Garrett Tracanna & Cap'n Jon Bell for the scoop-they whacked them on my crystal tiger midges. You may have some rising flows, and off colored water in the inlet section as the LADWP flushes ice from the pipe that feeds the hydro plant at times during the winter months. This practice is done when it gets well below freezing for extended periods. 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 can be 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 1/2/15

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.

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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