Hello Fellow Anglers,
Well, more late spring early summer-like weather has finally arrived in the high country this week. Two of the three major trans-sierra roads are open. Both 89 and 108 are currently open; Tioga Pass State Route 120 remains closed, most likely until late June or near the July 4th weekend before it opens. Good news, warmer weather in general is in the forecast leading into the new week. Bad news the runoff has started in earnest. Those planning outdoor activities should be prepared with the proper clothing as thunderstorms are possible again by the middle of next week. Runoff conditions are definitely on the increase and have started to impact the area streams. The major reservoirs in the area should start to rise with the run off commencing. Some 40-50 inches of water still remains locked up in the high country above 9000ft. it was an unusually cold and wet May and snowpack percentages for this time of year in the area are around 200% above normal so expect runoff likely into July. Runoff conditions can change daily as temperatures fluctuate. Night time lows still hovering in the mid to upper 30s lately in the higher elevations, most of the streams in the area will be more “bank full” if not over their banks for a brief period for at least 3-4 weeks. This will surely make stream fishing more difficult and wading difficult. At some point it might be time to hone up your still water tactics and skills as there may be a period where there will still be some limited stream fishing and the clarity may be off color. It was a significant winter by standards but much less than 2017 (some 16 plus inches less of water) which was the wettest in recent times. Best to keep an eye on the forecast and remember to check the stream flows before embarking on your adventures as release can change overnight. LADWP and USGS have most of the streams and reservoirs in our area graphed charted and monitored.
Currently fishing in the area rates 5 out of 10 and crowds are light to moderate mid-week and obviously increase on the weekends. Hot Creek, Upper and Lower Owens all have opportunities and the East Walker is still fishable but limited with current flows. The lower Owens is fishable at this time but flows remain on the high side just under 400 CFS, down from 650 CFS 4 weeks ago. Crowley has been hit and miss with weather being the issue on some days. When the weather conditions allow, it is fishing well! Bridgeport Reservoir has been producing big trout. Conditions for the lakes should improve weather-wise but the water levels should change rapidly in the coming weeks.
The weather is calling for a few breezy days then a warming trend leading into the new week with the possibility of thunderstorms returning by the middle of the week. You might want to keep that rain gear with you Wednesday and Thursday. Lightening is always possible this time of year with thunderstorms, so if you’re boating and you hear the roar, get off the lake and seek shelter. Strong out flow winds can accompany these storms so be prepared to move if you see one in the distance. It is best to seek a cove or move to the leeward side but don’t challenge the lake when it’s been whipped up and white capping from a thunderstorm. If it looks suspect, move before it’s too late or be prepared to ride it out! The wind can come up and surprise you on the area lakes. It can be life threating in a smaller boat, canoe, float tube, kayak or stand up paddle board. Use good judgement as water temps are cold and hypothermia is a great concern this time of year.
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-OPEN YEAR ROUND
June 7th, 2019 –
Flows are on the steady increase and the clarity is off. Still bugs hatching, but not a lot of action on the surface. The best results are those fishing the nymph. It’s a mixed bag size-wise, but for the most part 10”- 14”. Those skilled in the art of fishing subsurface have been doing well. Scuds, worm patterns and nymphs with a little flash working best. The clarity can change throughout the day and peak water temps are later in the day now that more water is come down Mammoth Creek. Mammoth Creek is up and starting to flow in the secondary channel up by where the 395 crosses near the off ramp leading into Mammoth. Keep an eye on it. As you see it increase, you will know the flows have increased below in the canyon section.
June 7th, 2019 –
The Road to Devils Postpile is closed; no changes here! The road leading up and down is still covered in a deep blanket of snow that is slowly melting. There has been no real firm word from the USFS on when they plan to open the road. It will really depend on Mother Nature and how much work will be necessary to make repairs. Between the “normal” heavy winter and the spring runoff it is possible this has negatively impacted the roads integrity. There could also be downed trees. My best guess is the road will open just before the 4th of July.
June 7th, 2019 –
Crowley Lake -OPEN
Fishing is good if the weather cooperates and better weather is in the forecast! Water temps are in the upper 50s-and low 60s surface depending on where you’re fishing. The fish are spread out and feeding up on the shelves and flats. Look in McGee Bay East shore up to Sandy, Green Banks, Christmas Bay, Leighton Springs, and Alligator Point in 16 -10Ft of water. Level seems to be steady for the meantime, holding at 6768 elevation. Water levels should rise rapidly in June. Best guess, it will come up 12 to 14 ft. Very strong Midge hatch and some large ones like size 12s so try larvae and pupa patterns; try hanging a leech pattern also. The Perch are on the grab!
June 7th, 2019 –
The flows have bounced up in the last few days currently flowing at 460 CFS five days ago the flow was 256 CFS with Bridgeport Reservoir making some room for storage and the on set of runoff from all the tributaries The reservoir is. holding water to just shy of the airport runway well above the private upper boat ramp for those that like launching there. The runoff will surely fill the lake to capacity and a larger release will most likely be necessary down the road later in the month of June. The fishing on the East Walker is rewarding for those who are persistent, and have the skills to make the drift in the higher flows, as you need to cover more water. The water temperature continues to warm but is still on the cooler side. The fish are spread out after being held captive during the low flows of winter where it was 30CFS and is now running more than 10x times greater than the winter flow. 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 and mayflies and more caddis. A few fish rise but very sporadically and inconsistently for the most part. Haven’t seen many bait fish up near the dam yet, but I’m sure that will change. The number of crayfish isn’t like two years ago but there’s evidence they’re around. 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 considerably more difficult and a wading stick is recommended in the more boulder filled runs. 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, size 5x isn’t going to cut it!
June 7th, 2019 –
Crowley Tribs, Convict, McGee, Hilton and Crooked Creeks -OPEN
All are still at fishable flows with both resident and migratory fish present. Flows will change and fishing will become difficult so it’s a roll of the dice to make the trek. There are a few caddis and mayflies. It’s way too early for the hopper thing but hopefully it will be another epic season of hopper fishing. Flows will start to increase in the coming days and clarity will decrease a little but still fishable unless it rains then all bets are off. There are migratory fish both Rainbow and Cutthroat entering and exiting the system. Be careful where you wade as the wild fish have spawned or are spawning. In the shallow depressions in the riffles are the trout nests or (Redds). If you see fish paired up, please leave them be and let them create future generations of wild trout.
June 7th, 2019 –
Mammoth Lakes Basin -Partially Open
It will still be some time before it is worth an outing up in the Lakes Basin, as there is considerable snow and ice on the upper lakes. Walking on the snow and ice is highly discouraged and can be life threatening. Use good judgement. Best to wait until the lakes are thawed out!
June 7th, 2019 –
Same report water temps should be falling as Rock Creek and Pine Creek are running cold and high leading into the Pleasant Valley Reservoir. Flows out of the Pleasant Valley Reservoir remain at 380 CFS. This flow is fishable but wading is challenging. Clarity will change as Rock Creek and Pine Creek will dirty up and the reservoir water will be a little off color. But currently the clarity is good coming out of the reservoir. Flows should hold for a while as the aqueduct system to the South is taking water in from runoff and Crowley Lake still hasn’t started retaining water with limited outflow. Hatch wise: Midge’s caddis, mayflies, craneflies and little yellow sally stone flies will start to appear as the weather warms up. As flows have dropped you might have some opportunities on the surface during the peak of the hatch on the quiet seams. 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. Once flows reach over 400 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.
June 7th, 2019 –
Section ABOVE Bridge to Private property: – OPEN YEAR ROUND Under Special Regulations
Section below the Bridge to the Monument: – CLOSED TILL MEMORIAL WEEKEND
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. Read your regulations and understand them as a ticket can be very costly. Basically it artificial barbless flies or lures; No Bait! The area from the Monument to Crowley Lake falls under special regulations also. From below the bridge to the Monument is now open. Water levels are on the increase; flows below the Hot Creek tributaries near 200 CFS and flows above near 100 CFS. About 12 CFS coming out of the tunnel (East portal) and water clarity decreased below the Hot Creek Tributaries and clearer above. Below the Hot Creek Tributaries it is tea stained Hatch wise: a few midges, caddis and beatis. Some fish are rising, but as flows increase and the water temperatures retreat, the fish will feed subsurface primarily. There are migratory fish, with both Rainbow and Cutthroat entering and exiting the system. Be careful where you wade as the wild fish have spawned or are spawning. In the shallow depressions in the riffles are the trout nests or (Redds). If you see fish paired up, please leave them be and let them create future generations of wild trout. Beware some of the areas roads on the eastside of the river could be flooded and the ground is soft due to flood irrigating. 4-wheel drive is recommended. If you’re fishing above the bridge and get stuck, a tow truck call will be very costly!