November News and Fish Report

Doug Rodricks

Report Date:

November is here and the general trout season is soon coming to a close. This will mean the closure of most lakes and rivers in Mono County. The good news is that some of the best and most productive waters for big trout will remain open through the fall and winter season. We are able to access all of them through the coming months, and we foresee a very good season to come, as the fall has already been super productive. 

Our still water fishery of Crowley Lake finished up with a bang. Colder weather in the mornings and a bit of wind did not seem to stop or dampen the bite here. The fish are still feeding heavily on leech and baitfish patterns, and even midges on the warmer high pressure days. The lake is still accessible to fishing by float tube and from shore until November 15th. Focusing your efforts along the remaining weed beds in shallow water can be very productive around this time, and some of the largest fish of the season are on the prowl right now. 

Bridgeport Reservoir will also remain open to fishing until mid-November. The water level has dropped quite a bit here but there are still some nice fish being caught in various areas of the lake. Larger baitfish patterns in combination with midges are a good call to get into some of the late season giants that are searching for that big meal currently. Colorful streamer patterns are good flies to tug around now with most of the fish transitioning into their fall spawning colors. 

The East Walker has now dropped to winter release flows. Fishing will still be good here, but most of the fish will now concentrate in the deepest pools, especially with the water reaching colder temperatures. Egg and baitfish patterns will do best as the weather starts to reach fall and winter temperatures. If we get some snow anytime soon, you can expect a great bite from the large browns and rainbows. The fish will slowly start to move from the faster riffle sections into the slower water.

Hot Creek will fish very well this fall and winter season. This place has rebounded back into an epic fishery. We are currently experiencing some of the best dry fly fishing over any other water in the area. The fish are taking extremely small midges as their main food, and the occasional mayfly and caddis. They are not quite on the egg patterns here yet, but I have already witnessed several fish starting to fan out the gravel bottoms to build their redds. As the water gets lower you can expect more fish to move upstream in the Interpretive Site toward Mammoth Creek. According to the hatchery manager, many of the fish that were planted in Hot Creek have made their way into Mammoth Creek. Some very large rainbows and browns have been spotted moving up and down the creek recently. The section downstream of the ranch going into the canyon has also fished well this year. Some of the deeper pools are holding some very nice browns and rainbows. November usually marks the period where we start to see some of the larger browns move into the shallow riffle water to spawn. The timing varies from year to year, but the colder weather has snapped many of the fall spawning fish into gear already.

The Upper Owens River already has some of the “Crowley Steelhead” moving into the river and taking up their spots in the pools and along the undercut banks. We may see an early shot of larger rainbows moving up above the Benton Crossing Bridge this year by month’s end. It would be great if the timing lines up with the closure of the lower section of the Upper Owens River. Currently, the river is open to fishing from the fishing monument downstream to the lake until November 15th. 

Our snowmobiles are primed and ready to ride at the first good snowfall. Until then we are able to drive into the river and access all of our favorite areas by foot. If you have always wanted to fish in the fall and winter months this year will be good. Our snowmobile trips have become extremely popular with fly anglers, and it a super fun way to access and fish the river once the snow falls. So far there are no major storms in the forecast for at least the first half of November. It is too early to tell what will develop after that time. 

The road leading into Red’s Meadow is now officially closed for winter. Drivers will no longer be able to access Minaret Vista by vehicle, as this portion of the road has been handed over to the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area for its winter operations. SR 203 from U.S. Hwy 395 to the Main Lodge is open. 

The Lower Owens River flows have finally come down after a long high release period. Our drift boat season has now started. Fishing should be very good this year and typically is, immediately following a flow drop. The fish will now be able to access other parts of the river and take up new holding areas along the undercuts and deeper pools. Streamer patterns and sinking tip lines will be good now to lure out some of the bigger fish that were difficult to access during higher flows. Our boats are the perfect set up to get you into positions that are nearly impossible by foot. Every year that the flows go up high, the river bottom gets cleared out creating new habitat and holding areas for the fish. Our driftboats can accommodate up to 3 anglers comfortably and we get some good dry fly fishing opportunities in the afternoons on most days. Click here to fill out one of our trip request forms to book a fall trip with us.

We are now offering Pyramid Lake trips in Nevada from now through May. The “Land of Giants” has been fishing well and we are pleased to offer still water boat trips this year and are still doing shoreline ladder fishing trips. This is a great way to access all the best areas of the lake, much like we do on Crowley and Bridgeport Reservoir. Give us a call or text for details at 760-935-4250 or email

More Reports

Sierra Drifters Reports
for Thursday, November 7th, 2019
Sierra Drifters Reports
for Saturday, November 2nd, 2019
: Sierra Drifters Fish N' Conditions
East Walker River (CA): Flows Are at Optimal Levels
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley): Big Rainbows Moving In
Hot Creek: Hot Creek is Fishing Good
Crowley Lake: Crowley Lake Fishing Report


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