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Fish'n Conditions February 2nd 2014

Capt. Tom Loe
February 3, 2014
Eastern Sierras - Freshwater Fishing Report

I have added a picture gallery to the website this year. You can click on it at the top of any page of this website. My apologies to any of our wonderful clients who have been with Sierra Drifters for the last seventeen seasons and do not have a picture posted. I just can't post the 30,000 pics we have taken! I will make an effort over time to post what I have. 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.

I must be dreaming! Another great day on the UO. Started out sub-zero as the cold front passed and did not warm up much all day. Had ice in the guides as I netted the last fish for some more Bako boys that did very well for their first time fishing the UO. Steve and George Clerou broke double digits on bigs while nymphing. No snow on the ground and will be cold here this week with some winds at times. Focus on the deeper pools and slots as the fish are moving with the colder temps. (1-31-14) It was a magical day spent with some great fly fishers from the Sierra Pacific club. We absolutely clobbered the big rainbows in less than perfect weather. It is not often I can put together an entire collage from a single guide day to make a report! The morning saw every 2-4 drifts a solid grab or hook up, and the bigs were quite aggressive & plentiful! Late afternoon they went nuts again and one pool kicked out 12 fish over 20 inches! Including the largest stag I have netted this winter, and a fish that has haunted me for about two weeks. It hit a blck/red crystal leech while nymphing. This is the best average size I have seen since the year around opening of the UO & the consistency has been mind boggling. 30 fish days with fish of this caliber are hard to find anywhere, hope you can make it up to fish with us so we can show you our innovative and unique methods of getting these trophy rainbows.

GUIDE TIP: Winter time takes are as soft as a butterflies kiss, so set on anything. If your Under-cator stops, shimmies, hovers, or plunges, SET IT! I tell clients look for reasons to set the hook, not excuses why you didn't! Swings are free, and you can't strike out while fly fishing. Try to set the hook moving your rod the direction your indicator is moving. This establishes ANGLE & insures you pull the hook INTO the fish, not out of it's mouth. Anything 4 feet or deeper may hold a fish or two. There is decent midge activity; however they are very small and clusters or parachute patterns will do the job. A few fish rising around 2 pm. I saw the first mayflies in quite a while, maybe the beginning? Actually caught a few on 1-27-14 using a dry dropper using a para bwo hi-vis #14 and a dark flashback PT #20. Crystal leeches, egg imitations, San Juan Worms, Assassins, broken back midges #18, olive crystal zebras,& flashback pheasant tails are good for nymphing. The fish are very spooky, keep low and walk slow!

You can pick up our flies and Under-cators at Reagan's Sporting goods in Bishop & the Crowley General Store in Crowley if you are in the area and need the hot flies we use on this report. They are also sold on my online store at the top of this page.

Middle Owens River (2/2/14)

Flows remain stable, & conditions excellent in all sections of the mighty MO. The DWP gauge is inaccurate at the PVR outlet, currently 75-80 cfs. Water temps can fluctuate greatly this time of year, especially with the low flows. If temps drop 3/6 degrees you can see a dramatic decline in hatches and hence-feeding behavior as cold blooded critters metabolisms slow down. It can go the other way just as quickly. Get a warm front moving in & bada boom! On the bite again. The first generation baetis are coming off in ever increasing numbers. Make sure you have some BWO patterns #16/18 along. First gen BWO's are good sized and like candy to the trout. My favorite time to fish dries on the MO for sure. Nymphing the deeper holes can be very productive before the emergence, and the wild fish are moving into riffle and tailouts of pools to feed on midge clusters and BWO adults. Streamer fishing remains great & will get you some nice brood fish in the lower sections. Use a light to moderate sinking tip while doing the "dip & strip" method of sub-surface presentation. Spruce-A-Bu's, Loebergs, Crystal Leeches, Agent Orange, & Punk Perch olive are all getting takes. Tandem nymph rigs with flashback PT's, assassin bird's nest, & crystal tiger or zebra midges, olive crystal caddis & zebra midges will get you downs below your Under-Cator. There is sporadic surface action on midge clusters and some first generation blue winged olive mayflies. Keep those adults riding high with desiccant for a better presentation. We are entering a really fun time to fish here. Dip & strip streamers in the mornings, switch to the 4 wts. when the BWO's come off.

*The Lower Owens River is now being designated as the "Middle Owens" due to re-watering of the section below Tinemaha Reservoir down to the Owens Dry Lake several years ago. This has been deemed the LORP, or Lower Owens River Project. The mid-Owens is around Bishop Ca.

Pleasant Valley Reservoir/The Gorge 1-31-14

Levels have fallen considerably since my last update here which has improved access to the "transition" section near the inlet to the Rez proper. Still plenty of weed but with the lower levels you can now get to the elbow area which has better conditions. Watch for the mud! It will be frozen in the morning, and can thaw rapidly. I know of a few wading boots buried in the muck due to this common error. The DFG planted a bunch of big brood stock here and some catchables recently. Not the prettiest fishery, but it can kick out Fifty fish days if you know how to fish it. The short creek section is fishing well in the deeper pools & runs. Midge patterns and smaller mayflies are good choices for nymphing or dry/dropper combos in both areas. FREEZE tubing has been the most consistent currently. Still water nymphing can be productive along the drop-offs on the west side in 9-12 feet. The rainbows and browns here on the chew by late morning. Tiger midges, gillies, crystal pupa and emergers are hard to beat here fished below an Under-cator. If the wind picks up use a broken back tiger as the lower. Small Assassin birds nest work well for imitating the mayfly nymphs, use these under a stimulator or hi-vis para Bwo as your indicator. Streamer tuggers have a full sinking or heavy sink tip line. Loebergs, Agent Orange, & Spruce-A-Bu's will get you grabs near the inlet and launch ramp areas.

"Freeze Tubing" can be very productive during the cooler months on PV Rez. This is the "elbow" and it is typically a very good location to fish a streamer or use a still water nymph rig (midge'N) Crowley style. Key is to locate 7-12 feet that is weed free. Not easy this winter as the lake has well above normal weed growth everywhere.

The LADWP has been conducting extensive maintenance on the hydroelectric facility for quite a while. This is the "power house" and it is where the small river section begins & flows into PV Reservoir proper. The water emanates from Crowley Lake. The small stream to the right on this picture is the flow that comes from the "Gorge" It is currently very low as you can see.

The Gorge has very low flows due to work being on the hydro plants. The wild browns are holding in the deepest holes and significant dry fly action has been dropped off the last couple weeks even though the weather has been near perfect for this area. Dry/dry, or dry dropper bead head rigs using small mayfly and crystal olive caddis nymphs are good choices. Fish are small and scrappy here, but plentiful in the middle and upper area of the lower sections. You need to be able to hike and rock hop. Waders are a must, studs & a staff will help immensely.

Hot Creek (1-31-14)

Not much change since my last update. Access remains good, no snow here. There is limited water to fish here although access to the area remains very good. Look for the deepest pools-check out the area just below the hatchery called the "interpretive" site. Not a place you want to spend a day on, and it becomes crowded with 4 anglers. Keep driving if you see a few cars by the kiosk. The bulk of HC's fish winter here and DFG survey's show this is the most densely populated section of HC. Dry/dropper's, streamers, swinging soft hackles, all will get grabs. You can't fish Mammoth Creek this time of year so I suggest you do not cross and stay on the HC side of the river. Hit the deep holes and slots in the canyon, weeds are unfortunately still an issue in the prime riffles. Midges and mayflies-smaller sizes are the standard. Try a crystal scud, or a SJ worm and roe pattern to spice it up on the cooler days.

East Walker River (1-30-14)

We finally did a trip up to the EW and am happy to report it is good for numbers. The bigs were a tad shy, although a few came up and gave the proverbial fin! The bad news remains the same-very limited water where you will find concentrations of fish due to low flows. The warm front before the storm had the fish on the chew in the miracle mile. Some BWO's coming off. Nymphing the deepest pools with Punk Perch, Agent Orange, & crystal Leeches as the upper fly or as a streamer will get you grabs. Hang a broken back tiger or zebra midge, assassin birds nest, crystal glow bug, olive crystal zebra, SJ worm or copper tiger midge as your lower. Loebergs also work well in the deep pools used with a light sinking tip line.

I am happy to announce that the we will have a well stocked fly box and Under-cators in Reagan's Sporting Goods in Bishop! This is a great shop with knowledgeable and super friendly people that is open daily 7-5 during the winter. 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!

Thanks for reading my report.
Be the fly…Tom Loe
Sierra Drifters Guide Service

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