Hello Fellow Anglers,
The weather has warmed up considerably. Most area campgrounds are now open including the Mammoth Lakes Basin and the Reds Meadow Devils Postpile area. The major trans-sierra state routes are now all open: Tioga Pass (Hwy 120), Sonora Pass (Hwy 108), and Monitor Pass (Hwy 89). The “High Country” is coming into its’ prime in the coming weeks.
Runoff is subsiding at a respectable pace; the “stream scene” continues improving and prime time is approaching as the hatches increase and the terrestrial hoppers start to take wing. Crowley Lake and Bridgeport Reservoir are nearing lake level capacity and both are providing good opportunities on the fly rod for those that like still-water nymphing. The weather has been near perfect in the High Country and hot in the Owens Valley and Bishop vicinity. Bishop and the Owens Valley temperatures hit the century mark last week. It feels summer-like and the forecast is calling for more of the same with some fairly breezy afternoons. Although no real thunderstorm activity is in the forecast, it always best to be prepared as they can be isolated and form quickly this time of year.
Current stream flows: Hot Creek 125 CFS USGS site, McGee Creek at the LADWP gaging weir 110 CFS, the Lower Owens below Pleasant Valley Reservoir 401CFS, the East Walker River 390 CFS USGS down from 445, the Upper Owens at the East Portal Weir 100 CFS, the San Joaquin at Devils Postpile 450 CFS.
Currently fishing in the area rates 7 out of 10 and crowds are light to moderate mid-week and increase on the weekends. Hot Creek, Upper and Lower Owens and the East Walker have some good opportunities The Flows on the East Walker have dropped to 390 which is the lowest the flows have been for the past 5 weeks. The Lower Owens is still fishable at this time but flows remain on the high side just hovering right around 400 CFS. Best to keep an eye on the flows down there as it won’t be long before they bump up over 500cfs as Crowley Lake is approaching its capacity and LADWP will start exporting water southward. I have seen LADWP employees working on the diving platform they use to inspect the piping infrastructure at the bottom of Crowley Lake Dam. That tends to be a sign they’re getting ready to export water at a more consistent and considerable rate; best guess the end of the month.
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-OPEN YEAR ROUND
July 17th, 2019 –
Flows are holding near 125 CFS which is still well above the season average but not as high as 2017. There are still bugs hatching; some action on the surface mid-morning and some large pale morning infrequent Mayflies hatching along with the morning Caddis migration and later morning the small Yellow Sally Stoneflies. Hoppers are starting to fly and bounce around in the grass. There has been a good window of dry-fly fishing starting with some Trico and Caddis in the early part of the morning then moving to the PMDs. It’s a mixed bag size-wise, but for the most part 10”- 14” and some larger but less frequent. Those skilled in the art of fishing subsurface have been doing well also. The water clarity is good. Peak water temps are near midafternoon now that the majority of (snow melt) water is coming down Mammoth Creek. Mammoth Creek is still slightly over its’ bank near Hwy. 395 but dropping each day. One note to those fishing the gear restricted water of Hot Creek, CA Fish and Wildlife Officers have been making almost daily checks and citing those who aren’t abiding or obeying the regulations. You must have your license in your possession, pinched barbs and the correct equipment as it is fly fishing only. Having the officers around is a good thing, as there are numerous times bait and lure anglers have been seen fishing down there!
July 17th, 2019 –
The Road to Devils Postpile is open along with most of the campgrounds. There are travel restrictions for day-use as a mandatory shuttle is in place from 7am to 7pm, 7 days a week until mid-September. The river is running high but is fishable in areas. Current flow is at 450 CfS at the Devils Postpile gaging site. Currently, it is best to fish in the afternoon when the water is warmer and the hatches come off. Use caution as flows are still high and getting around in some areas is very difficult; a wading staff is recommended and cleats on your wading boots are strongly advised. Take your bug repellent with you as some areas the mosquitoes and deer flies can be bad. Try larger dry flies, Stimulators, Cahills, Adams are a good start! If your fishing under the indictor then try bead-head PT, Hares ears, Copper Johns!
July 17th, 2019 –
Crowley Lake -OPEN
Lake level continues rising; the inflow is decreasing. Water temps are on the rise with the warmer weather they start in the mid to upper 60s midmorning rising to near 70 on the surface by midafternoon depending on where you’re fishing. The algae bloom has started but as yet not bad enough to affect the fishing. The algae is noticeable in places and is on the increase in the form of pea soup and gets moved around by the prevailing winds. The wind has been a factor coming up out of the south in the later morning then swinging around out of the southwest in the later afternoon. It looks like the wind will be more southwest as we start the new week. The fish have started migrating towards the cooler areas and feeding on the upper water column. The Daphnia hatch has passed for the time being and the fish are keying primarily on midges and damsel flies. The recent fish that have been planted are spreading all over the lake but mostly concentrated up near the Marina and Hilton and Crooked Creek Bays. Lake level still rising about 1” a day; it should peak about the end of the month. Fishing-wise the bulk of the fish are still holding pretty deep around 15-25ft and the weeds are still playing catch up with the rising lake level but it will not be long before they start hitting the surface.
July 17th, 2019 –
The flows have continued to recede, currently holding at 390 CFS from a peak of just less than 800 cfs three weeks ago. The reservoir is holding water past the airport runway and well above the private upper boat ramp for those that like launching there; the lake level is still rising. The runoff in the tributaries continues to subside and the lake is nearing capacity. Water releases can vary below the dam, even if the runoff subsides, as downstream irrigation needs play a role on the flows. The good news is the river is at a very fishable flow right now. The fishing on the East Walker is rewarding for those who are persistent but flows over 500cfs make it much more difficult to get around and land a fish so best to check before embarking on an adventure to this fishery. The water temperature continues to warm but is still on the cooler side for this time of year. The fish are spread out. The water clarity is good with minimal weed growth. There is some algae on the rocks in the slower water. Hatch-wise there are Midges, a few Mayflies and more Caddis. A few fish rise but very sporadically and inconsistently for the most part during the day, it is better in the evening when the sun retreats off the water. The bait fish are now present up near the dam, small perch and chubs. The number of crayfish has increased. The river is still holding true trophies. Those trophy fish might tangle with you and landing them might be a different story, but if you are willing to put in the time the story will be a good one. Generally the fish range from 14” -17” (and some much bigger) with both Rainbow and Browns. Wading at the current flows is manageable and a wading stick is recommended in the more boulder filled run. Cleats on your wading boots are recommended. There are a few opportunities to take a fish on the surface, but the nymph and streamer seem to be more productive methods! Nymphing is still the 1# method; nothing new for those who fish the Walker regularly. Second method would be stripping or swinging streamers. I would recommend using the appropriate tippet, 5x isn’t going to cut it a lot of times especially if you hook a trophy size fish!
June 21st, 2019 –
Crowley Tribs, Convict, McGee, Hilton and Crooked Creeks -OPEN
Flows are still a little high but decreasing weekly. Currently fishing is a little more difficult with the current flows, so it is a roll of the dice as to whether to make the trek. There are a few Caddis and some Mayflies. The hoppers are prolific in some areas and starting to fly and bounce around in the grass. It looks to be another epic season of hopper fishing. It is probably best to wait until the flows drop a little more before make the journey.
July 17th, 2019 –
Mammoth Lakes Basin -Partially Open
The Road is open and most facilities are now open. The Lakes Basin has been stocked and is producing some nice fish for those who enjoy the alpine setting. The weather has been great in the mornings and pretty breezy in the afternoons, best to plan accordingly. You can take fish on the dry fly and floating line or dry dropper setup and Adams is a good fly for the surface and dragging streamers is generally the most productive method on those lakes using a type 3-4 sinking line with a 9ft 4x leader with a Woolly Bugger patterns Greens, Blacks, and Brown colors tend to be the go to size 10-12s.
July 17th, 2019 –
The temperatures are hot down in the Bishop area by late morning so best to get an early start if you’re targeting the Pleasant Valley area. Fishable flows should hold for a little bit longer but I expect them to change sometime soon as Crowley Lake is nearing capacity and both Rock Creek and Pine Creek runoff are subsiding. Hatch wise: Midges Caddis, Mayflies, Crane Flies and little Yellow Sally Stoneflies will start to appear as the weather warms up. Flows have remained stable for nearly 2 months and there are opportunities on the surface generally near the bank and in areas of relief from the current, mostly in the shallower water. Subsurface look for the fish to hold where there is some relief from the current or on the ledges and drop-offs. It will take a fair amount of weight to get your fly down and a little more distance from your fly to your indicator. Always best to check the flows before you embark on your journey to the Lower Owens. Once flows reach over 450 CFS you might want to reconsider your options. Also read your regulations as there are different sections that fall under special regulations i.e. the wild trout section falls under barbless artificial flies or lures no bait.
July 17th, 2019 –
Section ABOVE Bridge to Private property: – OPEN YEAR ROUND Under Special Regulations
Section below the Bridge to the Monument: – OPEN
From the Monument to Crowley Lake: – OPEN Under Special Regulations
Open upstream from the bridge to the private property. This section is open year round and falls under special regulations and Ca Fish and Wildlife officers are checking. Read your regulations and understand them as a ticket can be very costly. Basically it artificial barbless flies or lures; No Bait! Above the Benton Crossing Bridge, up 395, and the area from the Monument to Crowley Lake fall under special regulations during certain times of the year. From below the bridge to the Monument is now open. Water levels are on the decrease; flows below the Hot Creek tributaries near 225 CFS and flows above near 100 CFS. About 12 CFS coming out of the tunnel (East portal) and water clarity is good below the Hot Creek tributaries and even clearer above. The lower reaches of the river below the Benton Crossing have been planted, as is done on a regular basis. Hatch wise: Midges, Caddis and PMDs some Tricos along with Hoppers in some areas. Fish are rising. There are a few migratory fish hold-overs and some strays moving up out of the lake as lake levels are high. Seeing mostly resident Browns and Rainbow; the spring Rainbow and Cutthroat spawners have exited the system. Beware some of the areas roads on the Eastside of the river can be flooded and the ground is soft due to flood irrigating. 4-wheel drive is recommended if you’re fishing above the bridge. Getting stuck will be very costly and triple AAA doesn’t work out there! Take your mosquito repellent with you; they are present if the wind is not blowing.