Fishing Reports

  • Fishing Report April 7, 2014

    Fishing Report April 7, 2014

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    Wait for it…

    Feeling a bit ready to hit the lakes of the Eastern Sierra? Well, that day is coming. This should be a rare year to find most all of the lakes and streams open to fishing with few places covered in snow and ice. And the weather has been remarkable. Some streams are already open and the regular season starts April 26, 2014.

    Fishing Report

    These are the latest reports (as of April 7, 2014). If you have a report, or wish to add one here, send us a note.

    Closed. Opens April 26, 2014

    Closed. Opens April 26, 2014

    Closed. Opens April 26, 2014

    Closed. Opens April 26, 2014

    Tom Loe of the Sierra Drifters Guide Service (760-935-4250) (, reports the following for Hot Creek. Contact Tom for expert guide trips in 2014.

    Ice and snow is gone, just a few patches remain. Water is up & a tad off color due to recent run-off. Decent caddis & mayfly activity occurring daily. The small spring caddis are like candy to these wild fish and you will enjoy the best snap during this hatch. #18/20 hi-vis elk hair imitations will suffice, try some crystal olive caddis larva patterns for nymphs.

    Dry dropper rigs using para midge or hi-vis para BWO or blue wing olive adult patterns #14-18 as an upper, while dropping a broken back zebra or tiger midge, assassin bird’s nest, or crystal olive caddis/zebra larva pattern will get you into fish in the slots between the weeds. Lengthen your leaders to ten feet here, 5X is a good tippet size.The deeper pools can be fished with weighted attractors like SJ worms and egg patterns hung beneath an Under-cator.

    A hot rig is an olive or light Punk Perch as your upper fly with an assassin or PT as a dropper. You may also “swing cast” the Punk across the deeper slots and pools for a shot at one of the bigs that hunker along the weed lines or in the gut of the larger holes. Use the yellow, or clear for short water nymphing. Midge cluster, or para midge adults in the #20-24 range are hot flies for surface action.  BWO adults fished high in the suds #16/18 also good calls afternoon when the baetis start to emerge.

    Steve Osterman of Performance Guide Service, (760) 934-6101,, reports the following:

    Water flow is up to 5 CFS. Forecast is for warming weather which should improve the bite here. Best  chance is nymphing with caddis larva or small pheasant tails. The BWO’s are beginning to show in decent numbers and surface action has improved.

    The lower Owens River between Independence and Lone Pine is getting very little fishing pressure. Some folks reporting limits coming out of the Lone Pine lakes. No reports for much of this area on what they are using. Power Baits and nightcrawlers the usual suspects.

    Closed. Opens April 26, 2014

    Closed. Opens April 26, 2014

    Steve Osterman of Performance Guide Service, (760) 934-6101,, indicates the following:

    Upper Owens River:
    Current flow is 105 CFS. The section downstream  of the Benton Crossing Bridge is closed for the season. Upstream of the bridge is open all year. Fishing is slow. Some larger lake fish showing up here and there. Some hold over stockers and a few wild fish available.
    Nymph fish with WD-40,buckskin nymphs and midge pupa.

    Lower Owens River:
    Water flow 144 CFS. Fishing is  good  in the wild trout section with WD-40′s,  pheasant tails and hares ears.
    Hatches have been sporadic lately and surface action is minimal.

    Tom Loe of the Sierra Drifters Guide Service (760-935-4250) (, adds the following tips for the Owens River:

    Flows have doubled to 98 CFS recently. It has made the “catching” tough. The LADWP is routing water through the Rush Creek Diversion-it is NOT run-off from snow melt. There are still a few jumbo sized migratory rainbows holding; however the peak of the run is over and most of the hens you see have dropped their eggs.

    The small dark spring caddis hatch – #18- is coming off on the warmer days, even in the upper sections near Long Years. Lots of smaller resident trout slurping the caddis this afternoon.  Look for a decent BWO mayfly hatch as well, both seem to peak about 2pm.

    You may find some muddy sections along the two rack roads after the ground thaws so be careful driving in this week.  Have some mayfly nymphs like flashback PT’s, assassins, hares ear, #14/20.  The dark assassin bird’s nest IS the hot fly #14/16, along with the egg patterns we are selling at Reagan’s in Bishop, and the Crowley General Store. You will also want broken-back articulated or regular crystal tiger and zebra midges, crystal olive zebras and caddis larva patterns #14/18 for tandem nymph rigs fished beneath an Under-cator.

    On bright sunny days use the yellow or clear 3/4 inch Under-cator.  It will not be as obtrusive to the wily trout. Hi-vis para BWO adults are good to use as an indicator on a dry/dropper bead head rig.  Parachute midge patterns #20/22 are also hot surface flies for the sipping trout late morning. #18/16 BWO adults are also on the menu, I really believe in the quill wing patterns I sell and use, check them out at the least.

    The hot rig during off hatch periods is a crystal leech, dark assassin, or SJ worm as your upper fly.  Use the Otter egg patterns we sell at Reagan’s, and Crowley General store as the lower. This set-up is just flat deadly, and we have perfected how to rig and present it to fool those Crowley Steelhead.

    Streamer fishing can also be productive using a light or clear sinking tip. This is a good option if the wicked witch of the west blows in.
    Use Loebergs, punk perch, agent orange, or crystal leeches working the deeper cut banks & pools from an upstream position.
    Book a trip with us and you will obtain the keys to the castle & learn how to catch these incredible fish.
    The spring run rainbows are just beginning to move & water conditions should be excellent this season with stable conditions.

    Middle Owens River: (4/6/14)
    Flows are on the way up friends. 145 CFS and trending up. Still not bad, but you may see substantial increases soon. The LADWP is still not generating power here, so flows may remain very fishable for a while.
    It remains consistently inconsistent here. You could have a twenty fish day, or if the fish switch turns off just a few.
    The surface action has been disappointing the last few days, nymphing has been good. I believe it has to do with dissolved oxygen and water temperatures emanating from Pleasant Valley dam.

    The Middle Owens is a tailwater fishery and this shallow reservoir can have “mixed” batches of water moving through at times.
    The BWO/PMD mayfly & spring caddis hatch is in full swing and the wild fish are moving into the riffle water and tail outs to feed mid-day. Theses hatches are EXTREMELY associated with air & water temps. Cold winter like storms can alter hatches quickly this time of year.

    The caddis hatches are coming off afternoon. The trout are really keying in on these pops & you may experience a decline in grabs after the emergences some days.

    The midge hatch is nearly a blanket emergence on the high pressure days.  These smaller insects are a mainstay for the Sierra’s trout.  Use very small patterns like tiger and zebra midges with crystal tails #20/22 to imitate the shucks they crawl from. # 20/22 gillies, pupa, & crystal emergers work well while nymphing beneath an Under-cator.
    Midge cluster patterns and parachute adults #20/22 are best for dry fly enthusiasts. The BWO or baetis mayfly hatch is also a hot ticket now.

    The recent warm weather has also triggered the beginning of the spring caddis emergence. On the high pressure calmer days you will see good numbers of these light bodied delta winged insects covering the water. Hi-vis Elk hair caddis adults are good replicas #16/18.
    Nymph patterns like assassins birds nest, flashback pheasant tails, and ribbed hares ear patterns work great to represent the larger sub-surface profiles. #14/18 are good calls. Mayfly adults have upright wings, twin tails, and ride high in the foam lines.

    The pale morning duns (PMD’s) are good sized for mayfly adults. Use a #16 pattern for these sulphur bodied duns. Keep them high riding in the suds or foam lines. “The foam is home, don’t roam from the foam” during a good mayfly hatch!
    Streamer fishing using the “dip & strip” (see my guide tips on how to fish this method- top of any page of this site),  is also productive & will fool larger trout more often.

    During low light periods , or “off hatch” cycles use the Spruce-A-Bu.  This has been my top producing fly for many years on this river fooling countless larger trout.

    With the fish feeding now and warmer water temps, patterns like olive and light punk perch #12/16, Loebergs #10, crystal leeches & agent orange #12/16 are good choices.

    Recent drift trips have the olive punk perch as the top producer. This fly is a “strymph” pattern.  Cross between a streamer and a nymph. Use these with a light sinking tip & swing your fly into the foam lines or main current-do not cast on top of where the fish are holding so you don’t put them down or spook them.

    Tom Loe of the Sierra Drifters Guide Service (760) 935-4250, has this report:

    Pleasant Valley Reservoir:
    The level has come up significantly-at current levels the transition area is tough to fish.  Best way to fish here now is to cross at the footbridge and hike to the west side. Less trees & willows to deal with. Flows may be on the high side for wading the “brambles” section located downstream from the powerhouse to the lake proper. They have over 120 CFS moving down the gorge currently.
    The transition section is fishing well if you know how to strip a streamer or use a dry/dropper bead head combo. Not a lot of huge fish, but the numbers can be great.

    Tubing is best under current lake levels.

    Check out the short river section just down from the powerhouse using dry dropper combos like hi-vis para BWO and stimulators as the upper-broken back tiger and zebra midges, assassin birds nest, flashback PT’s, crystal olive zebras, and copper or dark tiger midges as the nymph.

    Don’t “roam from the foam” as the fish really line up on this section of water to feed on the emergers drifting down in the slower current.

    Tubing has also been very productive using Loebergs, Punk Perch, Agent Orange, & crystal leeches.  Use a full or heavy sinking tip line.
    Still water nymphing Crowley style can also get you into big numbers along the drop-offs.  Use Broken back midges like gillies and tigers, crystal emergers, and pupa patterns are good calls as upper flies on a tandem rig. Stick to tigers and zebras as the lower flies.

    Watch out for the slippery or frozen mud along the shoreline so long as the level remains low.

    The Owens River Gorge:

    The Gorge has very high flows for this time of year as the LADWP is moving water down from Crowley through this section instead of the pipe that goes into the power house. Work continues to go on here. Flows are at 121 CFS with normal being 33 CFS. Tough to fish here at this release.

    Closed. Opens April 26, 2014

    Closed. Opens April 26, 2014

    The Nevada Department of Wildlife,, indicates:

    Fishing is starting to pick up. Largemouth fishing is picking up with the upper 50 degree water temperatures. Concentrate your efforts on the coves with shelves and drop offs. The bass will start transitioning from deep water to shallow for spawning. The males will move into the shallows but the females will still be in the transition zones feeding heavily until spawn.

    The trout fishing has been off. Boat anglers should try using Rapalas and nightcrawlers behind dodgers. Shore fishermen should try Power Bait, Power Eggs, salmon eggs, and nightcrawlers.

    The Nevada Department of Wildlife,, offers the following:

    The Truckee’s current flow in Reno is 337 + CFS.

    Fly fisherman try using March Brown imitations and Blue Winged Olive May Fly’s. Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of streamers this time of year. Try sculpin and crayfish patterns for best streamer patterns. Fly anglers should concentrate on nymph fishing and streamers.

    For traditional anglers this time of year floating salmon eggs, Power Bait and imitating bait fish work well.

    Closed. Opens April 26, 2014

    Closed. Opens April 26, 2014

    The Nevada Department of Wildlife ( reports:

    East Walker Flow is currently at 43 CFS. Fishing has been good with the low river flows. Anglers have reported a good Squala hatch this April, but the hatch will not continue into May. Try using May fly patterns this time of year and drop off a heavy weighted caddis or bb shot with a caddis pattern.

    Fish the edges hard this time of year, fish tend to concentrate on the edges to gobble up stone fly hatches. A brown trout study is going on and researchers are requesting information on tagged fish including color (to determine if wild or hatchery) and location where caught.

    EAST WALKER RIVER – California
    Jim Reid of Ken’s Sporting Goods Store in Bridgeport (760) 932-7707,, reports:

    The East is still running at 40 CFS right now ( for over a week now) and is still fishing excellent! The 40 CFS flow gives the fish a little more room to spread out compared to a 22 CFS flow. I would still recommend being pretty stealthy as the fish can tend to be a bit spooky with this flow.   Lots of good nymphing going on, we’ve had a few good reports on streamers and some really good reports on dries, especially on the Nevada side!

    The weather has been nice so the baetis haven’t been too active, but it’s been good for the skwalas on the Nevada side.
    Some patterns working both on the Cali and NV sides include: rainbow warrior, silver streak, mercury midge, san juan worm, flossy worm, top secret midge, dark lord, zuddler, zonker, moal leech, jj special, mini leech, designated hitter, para madam x, chubby chernobyl, para adams.

    Sceirine Ranch: 

    The ranch has also fished excellent this past week, lots of good dry action as well as nymphing and some streamer action.
    With the weather warming up it will soon be time to fish some crawdad patterns like a dead drift crawfish as well as some larger streamers. The patterns that are working on the Cali side will also work on the ranch.

    WEST WALKER RIVER – California
    Jim Reid of Ken’s Sporting Goods Store in Bridgeport (760) 932-7707, reports:

    Haven’t heard much from the West this week, I’d expect it to be the same as last week though, small wooly buggers, maybe some attractor nymphs like princes or pheasant tails or zug bugs. Be sneaky so as not to spook the fish, search out the deeper pools where the fish will be hanging out. Remember it’s catch and release until the regular season opens!


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  • Memorial Day Fishing Report

    Memorial Day Fishing Report

    Subscribers to the ESF Newsletter receive these reports before anyone. Join Now


    That’s the key word for this Memorial Day weekend in the Eastern Sierra. Fishing will certainly mark the top activity for many folks, but there is also the annual Mule Days festival in Bishop to experience, with its 20-mule Borax Team and the assorted other sights. Bishop will be very busy this weekend, so why not head to higher ground?

    Making a big trip? Don’t forget to check out the website: and post comments when you get a chance. We’d love to hear about your trip!


    Fishing Report

    Speaking of Bishop, the Bishop Creek drainage continues to please anglers. Up at Sabrina, the bait anglers are outfishing the lure anglers at midday. Look for using PowerBaits, Salmon Eggs and other baits to attract the fish. The good news is that while bait anglers are kicking it at midday, the lure anglers are finding great success early morning and evening. The ol’ Thomas Bouyant seems to be the best pick.

    Heading down the canyon, anglers are enjoying themselves at Intake II, North Lake, and down at South Lake. The reports coming in indicate lures are working well and bait anglers are having success floating the bait about five feet below the surface with a bobber. This is the spawn, so if you don’t need to eat the fish for dinner, please consider practicing sane catch-and-release tactics.

    Up north from Bishop, the Pleasant Valley reservoir is really hot, as in too hot for comfortable fishing. With all of the lakes up in the high country ice-free, consider moving out of the Valley and push up to say Rock Creek Lake. (Buy some pie at the Rock Creek Lakes Resort.)

    The Mammoth Basin is opening up and anglers report success using lures. Convict Lake is really hot right now with anglers pulling 3 lb fish out of the water consistently. Farther north at Bridgeport Reservoir, bait fishing and trolling has yielded excellent results.

    I haven’t heard from the June Lake Loop. Anyone care to report back?

    Down at Crowley, the hot spot is the Sandy Point area. Look for the best catches along the east side of the point. Browns and cutthroats can be found about 12 feet below the surface hugging the bank. Anglers report the best success using Stevie Wonders in black and grey. I’m told the water level is much lower this year; probably due to the low winter snowpack. Watch out for water hazards that might have been submerged in past years.

    The mosquitos are already a problem. Plan on bathing in insect repellent and remember to wash your hands before you put on any bait or lure. Nothing repeals fish better than smell of any bug repellent.

    Also, this is the Sierra, so while it is generally beautiful, count on some rain and perhaps snow at the higher elevations. The afternoon rainstorms have kicked up a lot of mud of late in the Long Valley making fishing in Hot Creek a challenge in the afternoon. Of course, with a great caddis hatch late in the day, this chocolate water color might just be something you can learn to live with.

    Memorial Day Fishing Deals

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  • Owens River – March 6-13, 2013

    Owens River – March 6-13, 2013

    Tom Loe of Sierra Drifters Fly Fishing Guide Service (760-935-4250) ( reports:

    Upper Owens River:
    Access is pretty good but you will still encounter some muddy sections on the feeder roads leading into and along the fence line. Remember- all wheel drives just take you further in to get stuck!

    Flows have been bumped up to 110 CFS and this has actually helped the conditions improve. We are still seeing some bigs that have migrated up from Crowley but the huge fall rainbows we call Crowley Steelhead are spawned out and the hens have deposited their eggs.

    Look for the Kamloops and Eagle Lake strain bows to begin moving in mass as soon as the ice thaws near the inlet to Crowley. It is receding quickly and should be open by mid-March for sure. There is also spotty dry fly action on the warmer days. I suggest midge cluster patterns, or # 20-22 para midges.

    With the onset of this warmer weather forecast the BWO’s will begin to show soon. First generations are good sized, # 16′s will get looks. Nymphing is best, always is this time of year. Use attractors as your upper fly on a tandem rig, stick with small flashback PT’s, birds nest, crystal & broken back midges as the dropper.

    Egg patterns will also get grabs on the colder days when the fish are more lethargic. With the higher flows we have seen some nice fish move out of the pools and along the deeper cut banks, so look for those darker slices of water along the channel side for opportunities now.

    Lower Owens River:

    I have not used the word epic to describe fly fishing down here in a long, long time. Due to a combination of ideal water conditions and a large planting of catchable rainbows put in below the wild trout section-we are enjoying some fantastic fishing on the LO. The last three drifts had fish counts of 47, 112, & 88 caught and released. I call this “catch’N” not fish’N!

    The wild trout area is also fishing well with flows remaining at, or below 100 CFS. The wind has been a factor at times messing up the baetis emergence; however this is the main course for the wild fish.

    Have a # 16 BWO adult ready to go after 1 pm, find a deep pool with a long riffle leading into, or below it for some consistent dry fly action mid-day. Stick to pheasant tails or birds nest patterns while nymphing # 14-18.
    Light to moderate sinking tip lines and the “dip & strip” method of streamer fishing is crushing the rainbows.
    Sierra Drifters Spruce-a-Bu, Punk Perch # 14, and Loebergs # 10 working.

    Flows look to remain low for a longer duration this year, so if you want a combination of warm weather and good fishing give us a call and we will set up a drift trip for you in March.

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  • Alpers on the Bite

    Alpers on the Bite

    Kevin Davenport caught a 17.0″ / 3.0 lb. Rainbow Trout on Wednesday June 27, 2012  near Lee Vining in Mono County, California (CA), United States North America using a Salmon Egg

    Kevin was on a 2 day fishing trip to Tioga Pass and caught 41 beautiful trout in 2 half days of fishing. O f those 41 fish, Kevin caught 5 weighing over 2 lbs.

    Kevin reports this was the first time he caught a Eastern Sierra Alpers Trout after 23 years of fishing the Eastern Sierra. He says it fought like a normal Rainbow 3x its size would have. More at 3.0 lb. Rainbow Trout caught by Kevin Davenport fishing in

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  • Trout Unlimited Shares the Joy of Fishing with Veterans

    Trout Unlimited Shares the Joy of Fishing with Veterans

    The Eastern Sierra certainly can help calm your nerves, especially after a long week of negotiating or fighting corporate raiders. Well, imagine how much stress can be taken away from a veteran.

    Project Healing Waters, a Maryland-based organization, provides physical and emotional rehabilitation for veterans through fishing, fly tying and rod building. Trout Unlimited, and its California chapters, has played a major role in helping with their efforts.

    On Sunday, April 15, TU California (TUCA) volunteers Mike Caltagirone, of the Sagebrush Chapter, and Matt Hargrave, of the Truckee Chapter, joined with TUCA staff members Dave Lass and Sam Davidson to take veterans fishing on the East Walker River, in eastern California near the Nevada border., joined with TUCA staff members Dave Lass and Sam Davidson to take veterans fishing on the East Walker River, in eastern California near the Nevada border…More at TU Takes Veterans Fishing in California | Trout Unlimited Blog

    Project Healing Waters

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  • Lower Owens Flowing Steady for Opener

    Lower Owens Flowing Steady for Opener

    The Lower Owens has been flowing a steady 275 cfs for the last few weeks.

    During the day BubbleBack emergers and Trigger Nymphs have been producing fish all times of the day in sizes #16-20, Crawling Caddis, Caddis Emergers, and The Ticket in sizes #14-18  are also on the Lower Owens menu these days. Midge emergers in various dark colors #18-20 are also a great choice for your bottom fly on your nymph setup.

    On the surface of the water good ol’ Elk Hair Caddis #16-20, Stallcups Adult Caddis #16, Hemingway Caddis and other Turkey Winged caddis in #18′s. BWO thorax #16-20, Ext. Body BWO #16-20, Good old Adams and Para BWO in the same sizes will also produce….More at Lower Owens River – STM Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

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  • East Walker Satisfies for Eastern Sierra Fishing Opener

    East Walker Satisfies for Eastern Sierra Fishing Opener

    The East Walker River has been fishing very well with cool water temps, clearer water,  and springtime  flows  some very nice specimens have been hooked! Some even landed!  Flows seem to be fluctuating between 100-150 cfs recently which can be optimal with the cooler water temps.  Most fish being caught are hefty brown trout with a few chunky rainbows mixed in.  Nymphing and streamers are taking the majority of large trout in the East Walker….More at East Walker River – STM Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

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  • DFG Working to Stock All Eastern Sierra Before Opener

    DFG Working to Stock All Eastern Sierra Before Opener

    The general trout opener in the Eastern Sierra kicks off on April 28, one hour before sunrise. In Inyo and Mono counties, all waters are open to fishing Saturday morning. Because of the popularity of Opening Day with anglers, the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is working with all speed to stock trout in all accessible waters approved for planting prior to the season opener. This has been a mild winter, however, the DFG is hedging a bit and saying lingering winter conditions could play a major role in how many rivers, creeks, lakes and reservoirs can be stocked before April 28.

    Most lakes, rivers and streams have a limit of five trout per day and 10 in possession. However, regulations differ on season opening and closing dates, bag limits, minimum and maximum size limits and gear restrictions. Anglers are advised to check the 2012-13 California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulation booklet, found online at, for regulations specific to each body of water….More at Annual General Trout Opener Coming Soon in the Eastern Sierra 

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  • Crowley Lake Expected to Draw Record Crowds

    Crowley Lake Expected to Draw Record Crowds

    Crowley Lake in the Eastern Sierra is expected to be one of the most popular opening day destinations for anglers from around the state. In past years, an estimated 10,000 anglers have turned out for the opener, and approximately 50,000 trout are caught during the first week of the season.

    Typically Crowley is planted with hundreds of thousands of small and medium sized trout, and because of excellent food sources in the 5,280-acre lake, these trout grow to catchable sizes and weigh at least three-quarters of a pound by the opener.

    About 10 percent of the trout caught at Crowley during opening weekend weigh over a pound and a half. These fish are from stocks planted in previous years or are wild fish produced in Crowley’s tributary waters.

    More at Annual General Trout Opener Coming Soon in the CA DFG News


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  • Carson River Opening Day | Eastern Sierra Fishing

    Carson River Opening Day | Eastern Sierra Fishing

    CARSON RIVER, East, West — Both Forks are again scheduled for more California Department of Fish and Game trout plants in advance of the general trout season, which begins April 28. The DFG planted 500 pounds of cutthroat trout in each fork this past week, according to Todd Sodaro at the Carson River Resort….More at The Fishing Report — April 20, 2012 – Record-Searchlight

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