Eastern Sierra Fish'N Conditions

Eastern Sierra Fishing Report

Bob Jorgensen broke the fly fishing curse of the Sierra by booking Jurassic Pond. He did great as you can see!

by Tom Loe

Fish’N Conditions

Flows have moved significantly higher on the East Walker (235cfs), this may slow the bite down until the fish adjust, & flows stabilize. Hot Creek still fishing well during nicer weather. Good water conditions here. Middle Owens flows have leveled off improving the bite, and water conditions. The warm up will trigger increased feeding activity. Drift boat trips have improved recently. Crowley Lake, & Bridgeport Reservoir fished well for the opener. The cooler/windy weather slowed “catching” down recently. Bite will no doubt pick up as the mercury climbs. Both locations have great water conditions. Cutthroat migrations on the Upper Owens, and tributaries of Crowley Owens remain light. Warmer weather, and full moon might be the catalyst to push them up. Owens Valley will see upper 80’s on the weekend. No precipitation on the horizon for a while, with a stable weather cycle forecast.

Crowley Lake

The lake is at full pool, (and rising) to begin the season, with good water clarity. The chironomids (midges) are emerging during warmer periods. Historically the water temps will be higher around Sandy Pt., Alligator Pt., & the North Arm. Look for the trout to be relatively deep through May. The aquatic weeds will begin growing by mid-May pushing the fish to the ever deepening mud lines. We typically string our still water rigs to hang in the 16-22 foot range this time of year. Reports have some fish feeding in the 10-12 foot depth near Sandy Pt. Hilton Bay, and McGee Bay will hold fish deeper due to colder water temps. If you plan on still water nymphing- I suggest using copper/dark tigers, BB (broken back) tiger midges, BB gillies, standard gillies, crystal emergers/midge pupa, crystal leeches, & dark assassins. My choice for first casts would be a standard #18 gillie as the upper, with a #18/16 copper tiger midge as the dropper. BB patterns will fish better if the surface is textured due to wind. You can periodically “twitch” your Under-Cator to give some animation to the flies if it is glassy; or calm.

Bridgeport Reservoir

It has been a number of seasons since BPR has been in such great shape to kick-off the opener. We are excited to see how this fishery has come back from the drought. Water clarity is great, & the lake near capacity with all the ramps, & boat docks operating. BPR will fish much like its big brother Crowley with respect to locating trout in deeper water, as opposed to cruising the submerged creek channels during the heat of summer. Rainbow Pt, the drop-off in front of the BPL Marina and RV Park, & the ledge around the public boat launch near the dam are historically where the trout congregate during the opening weeks of the season. Chironomids are not as prevalent on BPR; however they are a main food source until the callibaetis mayflies begin to pop in late May. The key to finding trout here is locating a weed free, mud bottom in the 15-20 foot range. I suggest you use the same still water nymph patterns as you might try on Crowley. There are also opportunities to troll streamers with a full sinking line around the marina. Fish are planted at least bi-weelky, and these rascals are more opportunistic than the holdovers on CL. Spruce-A-Bu’s, Loebergs, Punk Perch, Agent Orange, & Crystal Leeches will get grabs. Use the darker colors in low light periods.

Middle Owens River (Bishop Area)

Flows have been relatively stable for a the previous week. 200-250cfs is a good release to wade the wild trout section. Drift boat trips have been better with the lower flows. Bite picks up with the mayfly hatch, & warmer water temps afternoon. Still a decent BWO hatch coming off with a few stoneflies showing. Streamers like Spruce-A-Bu’s, Loebegrs, and Crystal Leeches used with a heavy sinking tip line are the right call under these conditions. Properly weighted nymph rigs with standard; or parallel Assassins, flashback pheasant tails, and parallel punk perch can get you grabs below an Under-Cator.

Upper Owens River

Still waiting for the cutthroat to arrive in numbers. The warmer weather, & full moon may be the catalyst to get the fish moving up. Water clarity is good, although it remains higher than normal. Use extra weight to get those nymphs down below your Under-Cators.  Access is currently better as the roads have dried out.  There are a few husky spring rainbows holding over, with decent numbers of catchable bows and browns on the warmer days.  Crystal Eggs, San Juan Worms, #16-18 Assassins (dark and light), #14-16 Crystal Leeches, and #16-20 Copper Tiger Midge, Zebra Midge, and Gillies have been good patterns fished with plenty of weight below an Under-Cator.  

McGee Creek 

Run-off is light, with good water clarity. The cutthroat run has not begun; but historically occurs by mid-May. 

Hot Creek

Water conditions and flows are great here.  Numbers are good here during warmer periods; with fish holding in the deeper slots and pools. Best bite occurs during early afternoon when the BWO’s are emerging. Large midge hatches coming off during a high barometer. Dry dropper rigs with a #16-18  Para Hi-Vis BWO and a #22 Gillie dropper 12″-18″ below is a consistent rig currently. When you observe those noses sipping the adults in the suds, remove the dropper, and dope up those high wings so they ride high on the surface.  Longer leaders, & light tippet in the 5-6x class is best. During off hatch periods try attractor patterns fished with/without an Under-cator. You can get into some of the larger fish using this method during the spring months.

East Walker River

The levels have come up significantly. Currently at 235cfs.  Flows can vacillate frequently throughout the spring/summer as irrigation demands on pastures in Nevada change.  Last falls planted rainbows are amazingly “rotund”, & very healthy. At these release rates, you can find pods of rainbows in the deeper riffles especially during the emergencies. Warmer weather can trigger some solid midge, & mayfly activity. Assassins, Drifters Crawlers, crystal eggs, broken back midges. Tugging streamers like Spruce-A-Bu’s and Loebergs in the larger pools can get a bad Leroy brown to come out and attack.

Jurassic Pond

Jurassic Pond has no equal in the Eastern Sierra. This private water holds the largest rainbow and brown trout to be found anywhere in the region. Sierra Drifters Guides have exclusive access to these amazing fish. JP is in terrific shape after the mild winter, and the fish are the largest average we have EVER seen. We fish streamers, nymphs, & dries for these monsters. We can guide up to four anglers at once here for a 4-5 hour session. To insure JP remains world class, we only allow fishing with a pro SD guide. JP is not fished more than four days a week to rest these amazing trout. Come test your skills with the largest trout in the Sierra.

Grant/Silver Lakes

Look for the bite to really pick up as the air temps get more seasonal. Both fisheries are in great shape to begin the season. Along with an aggressive rainbow stocking program to provide consistent “catching”, these lakes have a reputation for kicking out large wild browns that spawn in Rush Creek and grow to trophy sizes. The spring period has concentrations of fish in deeper water near the inlets and drop-offs; but not on the flats. Streamers with full sinking lines are good calls for these alpine jewels. Hot patterns here include Crystal leeches/level leeches, Loebergs, Agent Orange/level AO’s, & light Spruce-A-Bu’s. Hang a Killa-baetis, or Assassin nymph as a trail fly while trolling from your tube. Water temps are much cooler in both locations due to higher elevations, so anticipate midge/mayfly activity to be later than their high valley cousins CL, & BPR.

More Reports

Eastern Sierra Fishing Report
Eastern Sierra Fishing Report

Hi friends. Flows have moved significantly higher on the East Walker (256cfs), this may slow the bite down until the...... Read More

Sierra Drifters Reports
for Sunday, April 29th, 2018

: Eastern Sierra Fish'N Conditions
Crowley Lake: Crowley Lake Fishing Report
Bridgeport Reservoir: Bridgeport Reservoir Fishing Report
Owens River - Middle: Middle Owens River Fishing Report
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley): Upper Owens Fishing Report
Hot Creek: Hot Creek Fishing Report
East Walker River (CA): East Fork Walker River Fishing Report
Grant Lake: Grant/Silver Lake Fishing Report