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Memorial Day Fish'N Conditions Update 2011

Capt. Tom Loe
May 23, 2011
Eastern Sierras - Freshwater Fishing Report

Howdy friends and Sierra Drifters. I hope you all get the opportunity to get up and fish the Eastern Sierra this Memorial Day. The weather is FINALLY shaping up this spring with the extended forecast showing no significant cold fronts on the horizon. Looks like a great holiday weekend with seasonal & pleasant temperatures across the region. Painting the Sierra's fish'n conditions with a rather "broad stroke" I would have to say most regions are fishing well with few locations that are not worthwhile. Destinations around the 8700 foot elevation remain heavy with snow and ice, however the lengthening days are attributing to melting the snowpack despite the record 30 inches of snow Mammoth Mountain received in May. Tioga and Sonora Passes remain closed as of this report but road crews are working to get them open for the holiday. The road into the San Joaquin will NOT be opening until late June. The Mammoth Lakes Basin road may be open by the Memorial Weekend. As the weather warms you will begin to see the freestone creeks begin to swell with the run-off. Please exercise caution with children and pets in these areas. Don't park or camp near a river or creek especially if you see the threat of a thunderstorm. We will have unusually high water levels this summer and many areas will become very dangerous due to the high run-off. Do not tempt fate and walk on ice that will be breaking up on the alpine lakes over the next couple weeks. Rotten ice is extremely dangerous for children and pets. Please click on www.sierradrifters.com/fish.htm to view all the great photos for this report.

Wounded Warriors & Healing Waters:
[Picture] The guide team at Sierra Drifters, the San Diego Fly Fishers, the owners and staff at Central Reservation of Mammoth, and several gracious homeowners would like to thank from the bottom of our hearts Wounded Warrior's Richard McCullough (front yellow), Bill Perkins (end left), Andrew Moritz (front left kneeling), & Joe Gracia (holding net) for their sacrifice and service to our country. We had a special day fishing with these extraordinary individuals at our trophy pond recently and it proved to be truly "memorable". The SDFF was the host for the "Healing Waters Project" MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

[picture] Bill landed what is the LARGEST TROUT I have ever seen, or heard of caught on a fly and fly rod (5wt Temple Fork rod- using a #18 copper tiger midge) in the Eastern Sierra. All from a chair. This fish has been in the pond for many years. Two Bug Doug said twenty plus and that he could barely hold this behemoth! Note the immense girth of this blimp. You well deserve it Bill, thank you.

[picture] Joe landed many fish with this incredible brown being the icing on the cake. This heroic individual did it all sitting down as well! If that smile doesn't warm your heart-you aren't breathing.

[picture] Andrew was nick named the "heron" for his tactics that netted him so many trout this day. He kept Phil busy with the net. Thank you for you service and sacrifice Andrew.

[picture] God bless you Richard. Shown with San Diego Fly Fisher Lucky Ketchum, Rich worked the perimeter of the pond for big numbers and this jumbo rainbow.

One more [picture] of Bill's gargantuan rainbow for anyone who may have doubts about the immense size of this fish. Check out the size of that head! You did it Bill, just like you said.

Lower Owens River:
[picture] Skip Rood with a 25 inch beast caught on a recent drift boat trip. Way to be the fly Skip!
As promised the flows are dropping making for some good fishing from the drift boat these days. You can click on the LADWP flow rates at the top of the page on www.sierradrifters.com/fish.htm.
Currently they remain on the high side for wading the wild trout section, but keep an eye out especially as it begins to heat up in the lower Sierra. I think you will be pleasantly surprised to find some excellent conditions in the not so distant future.

We are still doing the "dip & strip" technique of pulling streamers for the most consistent results. The numbers have been steadily picking up on most floats as the release rates continue to fall. Spruce-a-Bu's and our Punk Perch patterns are getting the rascals. The hatches have not been red hot recently but you will see some golden stones, caddis, and PMD mayflies emerging for the main course. Midge activity has been weak as well lately but we have had more low barometers than we like to see this time of year down in the Owens Valley. We are going to have a great June on the Lower Owens for a change, hope you can make it up and fish with us.

[picture] Skip got this nice brown right out of the gate to round out a nice day with T. Loe.

[picture] John Mcnulty fooled a gorgeous spring rainbow a few days back while on a drift boat trip.

[picture] Art Prangley tight to nice rainbow. Focus on the soft water transitions along the tulles and willows-avoid the deep pools that have "boils" showing.

[picture] Ron Noble shown "bendo con rainbow" at the head of a large oxbow. Wading is tuff at current flows but good for drifting.

Crowley Lake:
Definite improvement when the freak'n wind stops blowing! I suspect some good things here as this extended period of nicer weather moves in over the holiday. The perch are showing up on the gravel in 8-12 feet so not all that pulls your Under-cator down is a trout these days. All around Sandy Pt. and Layton/Alligator Pt. are best with some scattered fish in Six Bays and the North Arm. Stay out past eleven feet, they are also as deep as sixteen feet. Copper or bright bead head midge larva and emerger patterns #16 &18 seem to be the best right now as the water remains clear. You will be amazed at how LOW the lake is. The LADWP has pretty much drained Crowley in preparation for the potentially massive run-off. By August you will see full pool and then some I suspect. No weed lines to speak of. Watch the shoals around the Hiltons of you are in a boat, it is getting skinny!

[picture] Keith Helm with a broom tailed Crowley rainbow caught on a broken-back copper tiger midge at Alligator Pt. recently. The bite has been spotty with all the wind but looks to improve soon.

Hot Creek:
The flows are coming up slowly and not really messing up the consistent bite. The winds have flat ravaged the place at times but it looks good for the holidays. Clarity is good with steady hatches of Pmd's and last generation baetis emerging. At these flows many of the spots you may be accustomed to fishing will look very different and there will be good opportunities to fish the infinite amount of channels in the weed beds (hint, hint) that are not possible under lower flows.

East Walker River:
Not quite the Mississippi, but getting there. 400cfs is not huge and those that are strong waders and know how to properly weight their rigs will do just fine. You can also access the EW flows by clicking on www.sierradrifters.com/fish.htm at the top of the page. The average fly fisher may struggle here at these releases and should respect the crossing points unless you want to do your Brad Pitt water ride imitation! My guess is you will see some big water here this summer so get your EW fix soon. PT's, SCUDS, SJ worms, & broken back midges are good choices for nymphing.

Pleasant Valley Reservoir/the Gorge:
For whatever reason the DFG is cramming PV with a bunch of stockers. My guess is that the Owens is high and they are putting that allotment in the res? Knowing this - I suggest if you like tubing go here as opposed to Crowley for numbers. The inlet on the far west side, the launch ramp (stay out of mortar range from the bank) & even the dam section are all kicking out good numbers. Full sinking lines are best; most streamer patterns in the 8-12 range will get grabs. Still water nymphing can be as good as it gets here as well and is seldom talked about. Use the same rigs as you would on Crowley or Bridgeport and identify the drop-offs along the banks. It is very much like fishing Six Bays or Alligator Pt. Setting your depth is more difficult because of the steep slope, but once you get adjusted it will be game on! Midges and PT patterns #14-18 below the Under-cator.

The Gorge is a good choice because it has very stable flows relative to what the weather or water lords are doing. This is not a tailgate spot and hiking and rock hopping is mandatory for the better, more consistent regions. Dry dropper bead head rigs, dry/dry tandems, or just a good old fashion #18 elk caddis cast from a downstream position will work well here. Smaller on average, they all have big hearts and appetites.

Bridgeport Reservoir:
My good friend and guide Mundo Robles ([email protected]) has had some "epic" days while still water nymphing here this spring. He got into some big numbers of 20 inch plus fish and the best is yet to come for the "Bridge" We have not yet fished here yet so give him or Jeffrey at the marina www.bridgeportreservoir.com a call for the best locations.

Upper Owens/McGee Creek:
It has been so windy here lately I expected to see Dorothy and Toto spinning around above me in a tornado! It may take the Wizard of Oz to catch consistent numbers of fish here. It has been slow overall and the bigs are getting thinner by the day. The Long Years section is holding more quality, the monument area better numbers but pounded by the meat hunters as the campground area remains closed until May 28th. Hard to beat a flashback PT #16 as the upper with a crystal tiger or broken back as the dropper. Look for a MAJOR blowout here in the future as the Rush Creek diversion will be roaring soon to drain the June Lake Loop for the run-off.
McGee has been slow as well despite the good conditions. The wind has not been an ally here and you may want to bring along a kite just in case the fish aren't snapping! If you are not averse to fishing egg patterns or SJ worms on the redds, there are still ample opportunities but the majority of fish are returning to the lake. Better numbers closer to the lake, but it is a hike!

Adobe Pond
I am really looking forward to fishing here this spring and summer from our drift boats. With all the water Dobe should be fantastic! The callibaetis hatches will be off the charts. The fish have truly picked up in size since we started guiding here a several seasons ago. Click on http://www.sierradrifters.com/AdobeRanch.html to get more information and to book a trip please.

Eagle Lake
Doug and I are chomping at the bit to get back here this spring. Eagle will be in great shape and it promises to be the best spring we have ever experienced. The lake has got plenty of water and will be at excellent levels this summer. We have limited booking dates available in June and July so get back to us soon. The Eagle Lake RV Park is offering special discount rates on spaces and dock rentals-mention promo code N11011 to get discounts. No question the finest rainbow trout still water in California. Please click on http://www.sierradrifters.com/EagleLakeCalifornia.htm to view the video and to get booking information for the spring trip this June & July. Fill out a trip request form and specify Eagle Lake if you are interested. Doug Rodricks and I will be guiding this incredible fishery from our custom 24 foot Ranger "Fish Magnets" again. If you are into super hard pulling 18-26 inch native rainbows on the fly, this is trout Nirvana!

Thank you for taking the time to read our report.
Be the fly friends…
Tom Loe, Doug-R, Fill T., Two Bug Doug D. and Chris B.
Sierra Drifters Guide Service

Be the Fly…
Tom Loe, Sierra Drifters Guide Service
Cell 760-937-2015
Email [email protected]

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