Crowley is exceptionally high this year and it is posing some problems for fly fishers. When water levels remain high on any of the meadow type reservoirs for an extended period of time during the summer months thick lake/pond weed and grass begin to grow out to depths of 18 feet. The once scoured submerged creek channels that had been free of vegetation now have been filled with weed and grass making it difficult to nymph or streamer fish in these once productive areas. Such is the case with Crowley this year and this condition will remain well into October.
The lake is also experiencing a second significant algae bloom which has made it difficult at times to keep your flies clean out along the deep water weed lines in McGee and Hilton Bays. The north arm has far less algae as the thick weeds scrub and filters the goo near the inlet to the Upper Owens. The issue here presently has been a lack of consistent catchable sized fish with limited area to work due to the heavy weed that has also begun to consume the clearings along the submerged creek channels.
The old channel along Green Banks is your best bet; look for small clearings beginning at 16 feet in depth. The DFG began an aggressive planting of small sub-catchable rainbows recently and these fish have infiltrated all areas of the lake with highest concentrations being in Crooked Creek, Hilton Bays, and the inlet near the Owens mouth. They are relatively opportunistic and will take most midge imitations once you get located. The larger fish are still feeding on small perch fry, the final stages of callibaetis emergence, & the damsel nymph migration. Chironomids have not been as abundant this season due to the fact that this springs low water levels destroyed much of the habitat that is currently covered in 20 feet of water. You can have success with midge larva patterns fished deep; hang a punk perch or crystal leech as an attractor for the upper. Tubers trolling outside and along the weed lines will do better using Loebergs with full sinking or heavy sinking tip lines-locate the clearings 18 feet or deeper in the north arm and Alligator Pt./Leyton Springs.
Our main photo shows my great friend Bill "the mighty osprey" Stroud owner of Stroud's Tackle in San Diego (he is 91) fished with me for several days on Crowley recently and caught many beautiful trout with this exceptionally photogenic male that seemed to enjoy posing for the camera.