WOW. I have experienced some great fishing in the Sierra over the past 35 years, but I must say that the winter of 2011-12 will perhaps be one of the most memorable due to the fantastic fishing we have experienced on the UO recently. The weather although very cold most mornings, has been extremely pleasant by noon and when you throw in twenty plus inch rainbows consistently, you have found Nirvana! A big day can have you into double digit hogs and a very sore arm.
An average guide day will get you 1-6 opportunities at the bigs; they are not easy to land. These are powerful thick bodied wild fish that pull like a blue water tug boat!
Nymphing with San Juan Worms, Assassins, FB Pt's, broken back midges, and egg patterns heavily weighted are fooling these migratory rainbows coming upstream from Crowley Lake. The thicker the ice gets on Crowley, the more fish move up. I believe we have not peaked yet and if the last couple seasons hold true January/February will get even better weather permitting. On the warmer days you will see a solid hatch of small midges and the fish are sipping them in the softer pools. #22 parachutes work well. The baetis hatch is also getting attention with the adults emerging about 1:30. BWO patterns #18. You need to be dressed for EXTREME cold some mornings for the next couple months. Layered hooded clothing and rubber soled wading boots are a must.
Mark Knaup is shown in the photo above with a huge Upper Owens Hen.