Sierra Drifters Fish N' Conditions

Doug Rodricks

Report Date:

After another cooler period with wind and some cooler temperatures, we are looking ahead to another warm up and dry weather for the coming weeks. We have been staying busy this fall as our happy customers come up to fish during their favorite time of year in the eastern sierra. The aspen trees in the high elevations have started dropping their leaves already as the couple of cold snaps we’ve had got them going early. There are still plenty of fall colors to see though, as most of the trees at middle elevations are still turning color. Most areas are in full fall mode now with water levels settling down and colder water temperatures moving the fish toward the tributaries. Plenty of weeds are still providing an abundance of food for the trout in Crowley Lake, and all species are hitting the buffet this month. Upper Owens River and Hot Creek are now showing signs of fish getting ready to transition into autumn mode. Some really nice fish are being caught on most of our fly patterns used. Different areas are requiring different flies, so changing up your bugs is key. Give us a shout if you need some recommendations on what flies are working best where, as this does change weekly. The East Walker River is starting to clear up again, and the water temperatures have dropped. Some nice fish are being caught in the mile section and below the bridge. McGee Creek is also showing some fish throughout the area. Egg patterns are starting to shine this month as the fish work their way up the creek. The Lower Owens River still pushing 700 cfs as Crowley drops a little each day. Not quite fishable yet but we are monitoring the flows here closely for our chance to drop the drift boats in. The snowmobiles are being uncovered from the summer storage locations and rigging of our dog sled trailers has begun. We are getting ready for the coming winter and hoping for another epic snow year!

Crowley Lake

It’s a very consistent bite here, but locations have been changing from week to week. Water temperatures are dropping quickly, as the cold nights begin to push the warm water to the lake bottom. The weed beds are here to stay this year, which has provided everlasting shelter for the vulnerable perch fry and callibaetis mayflies. Midges fished under the indicator have been our most successful methods this month. Varying your depth and colors will keep you on the fish throughout the day. Some fish will only bite if you have the right position on them with your boat or float tube. The 7 – 16′ depth has been the best for most locations. There are still fish in McGee Bay, but most of our fishing has taken place at the north end of the lake.

 Best Flies: Parallel Assassin Dark and Light – 16; Assassin Dark and Light – 16; Parallel Punk Perch Dark and Light – 14, 16; Broken Back Dark Zebra Midge- 16; Crystal Tiger Midge Long -18; Broken Back Copper Tiger Midge – 18; Crystal Copper Tiger Midge – 18; Crystal Midge Pupa Black – 20; Crystal Caddis Larva Olive Copper – 18; Punk Perch Dark and Light – 14, 16; Damsel Nymph Dark and Light; Flashback Pheasant Tail Tungsten Black Head – 14, 16, 18.

Middle Owens River/Wild Trout Section (Bishop Area)

Flows are raging here again as the flood gates have opened up. Best to look elsewhere as it can be an unsafe condition here if you go in.

Hot Creek

Winter is coming according to the fish. The grasshoppers are now gone, and the fish are more dependent now on aquatic insects and baitfish. Eggs are coming back into style this fall in various colors. Dry dropper rigs fished under the cut banks have also been producing some quality fish.

Best Flies: Flashback PT’s #16-#20, Tricos Spinners #20-22, SD Crawlers in Red #14, Copper Tiger Midges #18-20, and #18 Assassin Dark, Tangerine Opaque, Kiwi Flash, and Apricot Flash Otter Eggs have been excellent.

Upper Owens River

Find the deep pools and find the fish. Fish are moving in from Crowley, and the slower eddies are holding some medium sized models. Water is very clear, so stay back down stream, away and out of sight from your targets. They can spot you very easily this time of year, and you will get into more fish by taking the stealthy approach. Dragging eggs on the bottom with a SJ Worm on top has been a great combo. We may see some really nice fish move in by November this year.

Best Flies: Stimulator – 12, 14, 16; Crystal Copper Tiger Midge – 16,18; B100FB – 14, 16, 18, 20; Spruce a bu dark and light; Loeberg Mallard Silver; Loeberg Guinea Silver, Crystal Midge Pupa Black – 18; Crystal Chironomid Emerger Copper – 16, 18; Broken Back Copper Tiger Midge – 14,16,18, Kiwi Flash and Flamingo Otter Eggs.

East Walker River

The river has dropped some more today, thus concentrating more fish in deeper water. Work the deep slow pools well, as they are holding some good numbers right now. The cold snap will definitely put some larger models on the bite in the next few days. Don’t get complacent went it comes to adjusting your indicator and how much weight you are using. There are times when the fish won’t touch your flies if they aren’t close enough to the bottom. Cover suspected fish holding zones thoroughly, as some of the bigs want your flies right in front of their faces. Medium size streamers are great flies to pull through the lanes and pools currently.

Best Flies: B100FB – 18, 20; Crystal Copper Tiger Midge -16; Crystal Zebra Midge – 16, 18; Punk Perch Light and Dark – 14, 16; Parallel Punk Perch Light and Dark; Crystal Leech – 12, 14, 16; Agent Orange 12, 14, 16; Parallel Agent Orange – 14, Spruce-a-bu Dark and Light.

More Reports

Sierra Drifters Reports
for Thursday, October 10th, 2019
Crowley Lake: Consistent Bite Here
Owens River - Middle: Flows Are Raging
Hot Creek: Winter is Coming According to The Fish
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley): Fish Are Moving in From Crowley
East Walker River (CA): The River Has Dropped
Sierra Drifters Reports
for Friday, September 27th, 2019
Crowley Lake: Fishing is Off The Hook!
Owens River - Middle: Flows Are Raging
Hot Creek: Excellent Bite Here
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley): River Has Been Better The Ever
East Walker River (CA): The Bigs Have Been Coming Out To Play!
: Fishing Has Been Phenomenal!


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