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A Fish Report for 3/25/15

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

Fly fishing the year around waters of the Upper and Middle Owens Rivers, Pleasant Valley Reservoir, & Hot Creek, located near Mammoth and Bishop Ca. will give you opportunities to catch trophy rainbows and browns while being guided by expert fly fishing pros. Sierra Drifters guides use top of the line drift boats, and fly fishing tackle to guide you on these blue ribbon trout waters.

Quick look fish report 3/25/15

Get out the wet wading gear! Record high temps forecast for the weekend. Flows remain low on the Middle Owens near Bishop- very good surface action on with mayfly and caddis imitations. Upper Owens great for numbers of catchable sized bows and browns. Aquatic weeds an issue in the section below Hot Creek. Caddis activity triggering the bite. Hot Creek has some weed issues, good in the open slots. Pleasant Valley Reservoir levels down to 4384′. Transition section good at this level for dry/dropper rigs.

Upper Owens River 3/25/15

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

The UO is fishing like it is May. Lots of smaller fish have moved into the river from Crowley to feed on caddis, & midge hatches. The larger migratory rainbows we call "Crowley Steelhead" are thinning out. You will need to cover a lot of water to locate a few quality fish. These fish will spook easily, and a quiet approach is necessary to keep them in their nests. "Angel hair" algae and aquatic weeds are now a factor in the sections below Hot Creek, & the irrigation canals. Silting/sanding is also occurring in some of the prominent oxbows & pools. Flows remain very low at 44cfs. The dark caddis hatch is the big news. Time to break out those delta wing profiles for some surface action. Numbers of catchable sized rainbows & browns have picked up quite a bit with the warmer air temps. We have been having good success using Assassin's, broken back zebra midges, tiger midges, SJ worms, crystal Vanderleeches, Agent Orange, flashback PT's, & roe patterns. You should 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) 3/25/15

I got the word from an LADWP source that flows may go up to 125cfs. sometime in early April. Drifting has been fair/good with water temps well above average. We care seeing some big, bigs on the cloudy days, or early in the morn. Fish are in a late spring/early summer feeding pattern due to the above average air/water temps. Afternoons can slow down 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 fished as a streamer, or nymph that imitates a small baitfish, larger swimming nymph, or a caddis nymph in the pupal stage. I am seeing some little golden stoneflies, dragon/damsel flies, & pale morning dun mayflies emerge already! The spring caddis are peaking on the high pressure days. 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. Crowds have been huge on weekends. The cold water mayfly called the "blue winged olive" are decreasing, & smaller in size. PMD's are taking their place. # 16 high wing, long tail adult mayfly profiles will get grabs on the surface. 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 good 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 3/25/15

Spring through early summer are best period to fish the crick I believe. As the spring and summer roll, on conditions will only worsen in drought years. The weeds are beginning to grow earlier than usual making drifts tougher in the limited open water. Some good caddis/mayfly activity currently. High winged dark olive, or dun colored bodies #16/18 are good profiles for the BWO's. 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. Try my hi-vis caddis pattern, it works well here. 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 3/25/15

Flows have dropped to 20cfs. Will be another tough year here I'm sorry to say.

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

Pleasant Valley Reservoir 3/25/15

This is the most heavily planted fishery during the spring months. Some huge rainbows have been tossed in here from a recent trout derby. The level is 4384′ & falling. This is an excellent level to hit the transition area with a dry/dropper rig. The small river section has been best for numbers of smaller rainbows, & browns-use dry/dropper bead head nymph combos here. Forget fishing the river, or inlet if the hydro station is ramped up. Power generation can occur anytime during the spring. 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 really picked up from the launch ramp, up to the inlet section. 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, or heavy sink tip line to get down 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 3/25/15

Great place to go if you want to escape crowds. Have those mayfly nymphs, PMD adults, & caddis adults handy. The spring caddis are coming off steady. This maybe the best dry fly fishery we have during the 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, & hi-vis 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. Snakes may be out early!

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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