Eastern Sierra Fish'N Conditions

Here’s Lisa in her fighting stance!

by Tom Loe

Fish’N Conditions

I can see for miles and miles…. I can see for miles and, well you get the point. Most of the neighboring fires have been contained or reached near containment status, which spells nothing but clean air and great visibility in the eastern sierra. Pair this with some of the best weather in the state for this time of year and excellent fishing and you’ve pretty much got an angler’s paradise. You can expect beautiful summer weather for the rest of the week with some wind kicking up the next couple of days and a warm up going into Labor Day weekend. Bridgeport Reservoir still kicking out fish. Getting a little tougher as the channels get weeded in. East Walker River experiencing cooler nights now, and beginning to change water temps to more suitable levels for the fish. Silver and Grant Lakes starting to cool on the surface bringing bigger fish into the shallows. Upper Owens River good for schoolies above the bridge and better numbers below. Hot Creek very low now and weeds making the nymphing zones small. Dry and dry/dropper the best way to go here now. Crowley Lake kicking out big fish as usual. Knowing where to spot up can make all the difference. Middle Owens River down to fishable levels by boat again. We may begin drifting here soon.

Crowley Lake
The lake level is dropping at a significant pace. This is putting a lot of the weeds on shore to dry up, thus lowering the water depth of the weed walls. Still seeing fish in extremely shallow water in the mornings cruising over and between the weeds. The trout are full of perch fry and small midges and any decent imitation fished the correct way can land you some real monsters. Choosing the right place to anchor is crucial now, as you need to find the big concentrations of fish to keep a consistent bite going. The fish are moving around throughout the day, and you must stay on them to keep those rods bent. The bite has been consistent on some days with good numbers and a mixed size of fish, and other days have been yielding less numbers but excellent quality. Hanging our parallel and level pattern flies over the weeds and in the channels has proven deadly. Please take care to avoid large bird schools as the grebes are still tending to their young and it is best not to disturb them. Take the time to steer around them when traveling by boat. Watch the surface temperature where you are fishing and take great care not to over stress your catch upon landing them. Keep them in the water so they can recover fully before even considering taking a photo. The fish should then come out of the water, a picture or two should be snapped, and then the fish should be immediately returned to the water, preferably inside a net that will allow full recovery before they are released. Make sure the fish is strong enough to push towards the bottom and needs no assistance in staying upright. We have noticed a few fish this season from improper catch and release handling that simply did not make it back alive. You can help keep this fisherie’s status as one of the best in the state for trophy fish by ensuring the survival of these breeders, both wild and hatchery. Best flies have been #14-16 punk perch, #14-16 parallel punk perch, #14-16 assassins dark and light as well as parallel, #18-20 Gillies dark and light chironomid pupa, #16-18  Crystal Zebra Midge Long, and #16 Crystal Tiger Midge Dark.

Bridgeport Reservoir
Getting tougher here as the weeds fill in the channels and the water level drops, but there are still some good size monsters here to be had. You will find a mix of fish sizes now as most fish are seeking out the cooler water coming from the creeks. Assassins and Punk Perch hung under the indicators close to the weeds have been effective. Midges still working well over the mud bottoms. #14-16 Level Crystal Leeches, #14-16 Assassins Light, #14-16 Parallel Punk Perch, #12-18 Copper Tiger Midges, and Zebra midges have been great and effective patterns.

Middle Owens River (Bishop Area)
Flows now around 313 cfs. Crowley Lake dropping but may slow down as we get into September. We are awaiting the flow drop before we begin trips here again. Fish early mornings and evenings here if you go and use plenty of weight to get those flies down. Probably more effort than it’s worth at these current conditions.
Upper Owens River
Fish scattered above the bridge with better numbers below the campgrounds. The river has a good amount of catchable size rainbows all over, but more fish below the bridge.  Flows have jumped to 123 cfs. A few larger than average sized trout in the deeper sections. Target the deeper pools and riffle water that leads into them and you can get into some fun action fishing small nymphs, dry/droppers, and small streamers. Look for rising fish in the mid-morning and later in the afternoons along the slower moving sections. The foam lines have been where it is at. Throwing stimulators and hopper patterns in the foam can entice fish to take on the surface.

San Joaquin River
Flows now at 20 cfs. Still some nice wild fish to be had here. Cover some ground to hunt the wild fish willing to take a dry fly. Escaping the campground madness can get you some solitude and good action on fish.  Dry fly and dry/dropper combos producing best. Keep your flies floating high and they will get looked at by most fish they pass over. A good mend in your line with little to no drag is all it takes.

Hot Creek
Flows at 9 cfs now with weed growth prevalent. Target the open lanes between them for the best success. Different day to day here as more weeds hit the surface and begin to choke up the open water. Dry fly fishing along the open stretches has been productive. We have had some fun and memorable days this summer getting our clients on some rising trout through the mornings. #18 mayflies, #18-22 midges, #20 Brassies, and egg and SD worm patterns have been getting some serious looks and takes from the resident trout.
East Walker River
Flows have risen again to 190 cfs. Warmer water has the fish spread out into the deeper sections but cooler nights are now prevailing and this will bring things back to normal living conditions for the trout sooner than later. You’ll find cooler water the closer you get to the dam, and fishing in the deep sections can produce some nice fish. Take care when landing these fish after you play them for an extended period. The sooner you can land them the better. Try to minimize the trout’s “out of the water” time by having everything set up in advance for a photo if you choose to do so. A few seconds too long out of the water at these temps can be a death sentence to a trout.   Crawdad patterns work great this time of year, along with #18 Copper Tiger Midges, #14-16 Parallel Perch, #14-16 Level Leeches, and Assassins dark and light both Parallel and normal.

Grant/Silver Lakes/Alpine Lakes
Good fishing hanging midges under an indicator above the weeds at Silver. A good sonar will give you an idea of where the best concentration of fish are. This time of year the creek and river inlets hold the most fish unless you plan to go very deep. They still bite as the breeze comes up and you can have some pretty good number days here. The weeds are now well established at the south end of Silver. Grant Lake has been giving up some nice fish toward the inlet under an indicator. Other alpine lakes may require longer leaders to get down to the fish but the setup is still the same. 9′ leaders with #18-20 paramidges and griffith’s gnats for the surface action. Go with small copper john’s , Pt’s , and midges when going subsurface or hung under an indicator.

More Reports

Fly and Field Outfitters LLC Reports
for Sunday, August 19th, 2018

Crowley Lake: The Lake is Dropping at a Fast Pace!
Owens River - Middle: Use Plenty of Weight to Get Those Flies Down!
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley): Target the Deeper Pools and Riffle Water!
San Joaquin River - Middle Fork (Mammoth Lakes): Still Some Nice Wild Fish to be Had Here.
Hot Creek: Some Rising Trout Through the Mornings.
Walker River - East Fork (CA): Fish Spread Out into the Deeper Sections.
June Lake Loop: Grant/Silver Lakes/Alpine Lakes Fishing Report!

Eastern Sierra Fish'N Conditions
Eastern Sierra Fishing Report

Fish’N Conditions Nice late summer weather has set the stage for great days on the water and a lot of the...... Read More