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Fish'n Conditions January 23rd 2014

Capt. Tom Loe
January 23, 2014
Eastern Sierras - Freshwater Fishing Report

Fly fishing has been fantastic on the Middle Owens River near Bishop & Mammoth casting streamers like Loebergs and Spruce-A-Bu's. Guided drift boat trips for rainbow and brown trout are generating big smiles like the one on Steve S. & friend John P. handsome mugs.

I've added a photo gallery to the website. It has a tab at the top of the page. It would not be possible for me to post all the pictures of the past 17 seasons, but we are doing our best to post the highlights of the last few years. It is still being edited, so bear with us if you find your picture.

Well it's official. The driest year ever recorded in California is now on the books. Please read this, it is going to impact the Sierra for sure. "State of emergency" http://gov.ca.gov/home.php
These two paragraphs are important:
14.The Department of Fish and Wildlife will evaluate and manage the changing impacts of drought on threatened and endangered species and species of special concern, and develop contingency plans for state Wildlife Areas and Ecological Reserves to manage reduced water resources in the public interest.

15. The Department of Fish and Wildlife will work with the Fish and Game Commission, using the best available science, to determine whether restricting fishing in certain areas will become necessary and prudent as drought conditions persist

Upper Owens River (1-23-14)

We were greeted to an absolutely stunning sunrise today. Trouble is these clouds came in from the north, and brought only cooler temps with little moisture dammit! The holiday crowds have thinned out greatly and conditions remain excellent. You will still have the evil inversion to cope with, and this equates to sub zero air temps to begin your day. The fish are holding along the deeper under cut banks and depressions behind bottom structure. Anything 4 feet or deeper may hold a fish or two. Some of the hens have their dropped eggs & I have seen some pretty beat up bucks the last couple of days. I do not think it's over but the run may have peaked. 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? 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!

Make sure you have a 2014 fishing license, the 2013′s are expired. I have a link on my resources page to buy one online. You can pick up our flies and tackle at Reagan's Sporting goods in Bishop & the Crowley General Store in Crowley. They are also sold on my online store at the top of this page.

Middle Owens River (1-20-14)

Our drift boat trips are doing well with many rainbows being caught in the 2-3 lb class while fishing streamers with a light sinking tip. The weather has been incredible with near 70 & light winds. Looks like another dry and warm week headed for the Owens Valley. Spruce-A-Bu's, Loebergs, Crystal Leeches, Agent Orange, & Punk Perch olive are all getting takes. Wading the MO continues to be very good for numbers. Tandem nymph rigs with flashback PT's, assassin bird's nest, & crystal tiger or 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. Flows remain at 75 cfs. below the dam at Pleasant Valley Reservoir, the LADWP gauge remains inaccurate at times.

*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 1-17-14

This is the only year around still water open in Inyo or Mono Counties. It is also the most heavily planted year around fishery in the Sierra. The transition area is choked with heavy weed beds-more than I have ever seen. The level is very high and you will find only limited access near the inlet section. It pretty much sucks here right now in this section. 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 mild winter weather has 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.

This section is historically the place to be during the winter months. I call it the transition zone, and it is located upstream from the "elbow" on the reservoir proper. It is where the moving water from the river meets the lake. Under current conditions it is not a good location to fly fish due to inaccessibility & heavy weed growth.

"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 (1-17-14)

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 (1-17-14)

It can be wicked cold in the shadows of the canyon this time of year. Below zero is pretty normal here, & it will remain freezing until the sun gets well above the rim. Flows remain pretty good considering the lack of water in Bridgeport Reservoir. They are averaging 34 cfs. We have fingers and toes crossed for a big dump of snow in February! The best area to fish currently is water close to the dam. Look for the deeper pools and use punk perch, crystal leeches, broken back midges, & ham & eggs (SJ worms and glow bugs) while nymphing. 2-3 more weeks and we will see the first significant BWO hatches.

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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