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Quick look fish report 1/22/15

Capt. Tom Loe
January 22, 2015
Eastern Sierras - Freshwater Fishing Report

Cooler air temps this week; no snow in the ten day forecast. Flows on the Middle Owens back to 75cfs. below the dam at Pleasant Valley. Drift boat fishing has been very good below the confluence of Bishop Creek. Access & wading the wild trout section has never been easier. BWO's on the trout's menu. Upper Owens has slowed considerably for bigs, SINGLE DIGIT air temps at dawn here. Pleasant Valley Reservoir level rising-4387′, inlet section remains good for planted rainbows. Tubers doing well near the inlet section. Hot Creek fair in the deepest holes only, flows low. East Walker flows remain very low at 20cfs.

Upper Owens River 1/22/15

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.

Water temps have warmed up into the forties recently, and the smaller resident fish are sipping midge clusters in the late afternoon. Flows have dropped to 45cf. No ice, or snow around the river. Turbidity has improved below the merging of Hot Creek & the irrigation canals. Angling pressure remains heavy. Still a few bigs around if you work all the deep holes and have patience. More browns showing after Crowley iced over. 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/early spring fishing can be so great here. 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, & crystal soft egg 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) 1/22/15

Flows are currently around 75 cfs. below the dam at Pleasant Valley. Fishing is fair/good from the Footbridge at PV Campground downstream to the Five Bridges Crossing. Access to this area while wading has never been easier. The cold water mayfly called the "blue winged olive" is now emerging in numbers consistently. The first generations are large for mayflies, and a mainstay in the trouts late winter/spring diet. #16/18 BWO patterns are good profiles. 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 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 have been logging excellent 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 1/22/15

Access is fine, no snow or ice in the canyon. The aquatic weed situation has improved opening up more fishable water. Flows remain low, and the fish are hunkering in the deeper pools and slots with limited riffle water holding any numbers. Midges are the only consistent hatches coming off currently; however the BWO's will be coming off soon. First generation adults are large and a huge part of the trout's winter/spring diet. High winged dark olive, or dun colored bodies #16/18 are good profiles. 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. 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.

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 1/22/15

Poor conditions with some sheet ice on the slower pools. Flows currently at 20cfs. 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 1/22/15

The level has come up to 4387′. Not bad; however you will need to use roll casts along the tree lines to fish the transition area. The small river section has been excellent for numbers of smaller rainbows. 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). 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. "Freeze tubing" has been very good recently. 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 line to get down to 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 1/22/15

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.

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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