Hello Fellow Anglers,
After a couple of warm days we had quite the cool down as we move into the second week of May. Expect more of the same for the next few weeks with systems brushing by the area. Snow is still possible well into May and June, especially in a winter/spring like this. If you’re planning on fishing the area in the next few weeks, one should be prepared for late season snow at 7000 ft and higher. It has been a historic winter; one for the record books. Many parts of California have set precipitation records including Inyo and Mono County. Snowpack in some places is still at an all-time high. Mammoth Pass is closing in on over a 100” of water since October and the snowpack currently on Mammoth Pass is holding 80” of water. Mammoth Mountain has received over 614 inches of snow about 60” from setting an all-time record. Reservoirs like Crowley and Bridgeport have been releasing large volumes of water to make room for the huge runoff predicted to come late this spring and well into summer. Road openings, like Hwy 120 Tioga Pass and the Reds Meadow and Devils Postpile, will certainly be delayed this year. My best guess is roads will open up late June or early July. California’s drought has been declared over, but the consequences of 5 years of drought are lasting at some fisheries in the area that were hit hard. The abundance of water will jump start fisheries and with some help from Ca Department of Fish and Wildlife things should improve on many of the area lakes and streams affected over the last 5 years. The wild flowers and fauna up and down the valley will be spectacular. The Owens Valley from Lone Pine to Bishop is greener than ever and the flowers are starting to bloom along the 395 corridor. With the abundance of water the mosquitoes will be a huge factor, so don’t leave home without your bug spray especially as it warms up. For current Californian Highway information call 1-800-GAS- ROAD.
Looking at local conditions, most area streams saw a good pulse of runoff during last week’s warm weather. This brought a heavy surge of snow melt but then the weather cooled off over the weekend so most areas have dropped back down to fishable levels with the exception of the Lower Owens below Pleasant Valley reservoir and the East & West Forks of the Walker River. All are very high and really not worth fishing at these flows. A slip or fall could have life threating consequences, so use caution as the stream currents are swift and water temps are very cold. Hypothermia can set in quickly, so these streams should be avoided until flows subside. The Crowley Tributaries change daily depending on overnight temps and day time highs. All are seeing the spring migration of Cutthroat and Rainbow and a few stray brown trout moving up looking for a free loose egg falling out of the redds. Area lakes below 8500 ft are completely thawed, open and ice free including Convict, June Lake loop, and Twin Lakes in Bridgeport. The Mammoth Lakes are still under considerable snow and ice with the Twins starting to show open water. The road to the Lakes Basin is still closed. Fishing in the area overall is fair to good on the area streams depending on runoff conditions. Crowley is producing on the warmer windless days when the conditions allow for still water nymphing. This will be a season to target and improve your lake skill. At some point the stream levels will push over their banks. Look for these conditions beginning around Memorial Day and into June as all the snow in the high country will melt and runoff as the sun and overnight low temps get above the freezing mark. Tight lines, Be safe out there!
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OPEN YEAR ROUND
May 10th, 2017 –
The creek is looking good these days. This winter had several healthy flushing flows and runoff has been pulsing flows scourging the bottom and cleansing the gravel and removing the sediment and vegetation built up over the last 5 years of drought. Hatch wise some Caddis and Mayflies around midday look for some little yellow sallies stone flies as we get closer to the end of May. Fish wise, numbers are still on the lean side but very healthy mostly 15-17” brown trout. The fish planted last season are nowhere to be seen at this time let’s hope the moved up Mammoth Creek and will return when runoff is over. Plenty of scuds! I would suggest using 5X tippet and some lead to get your flies close to the bottom. Target the areas that are deeper and have some relief from the current. Use short drag free drifts.
May 10th, 2017 –
Good news with the current snow pack and precipitation, Crowley will fill to capacity this summer. The lake is on a steady draw down to make room for the historic runoff predicted later this spring into summer. My prediction is LADWP will draw it down to late October levels with the islands outside of Pelican point just starting to show before the huge snowpack runoff fills the lake to near capacity. The lake level should rise some 16-20 ft, just shy of the spill way if the water calculations are correct. LADWP will not put water over the spillway unless it’s an emergency due to critical Tui Chub habitat below the Long Valley dam in the upper Gorge. Lake temps are in the mid upper 50s. Good midge hatch on the warm days. Best action is on the east and north side of the lake, mid McGee Bay south to Sandy Point and up toward Leighton Springs and North Landing. Perch are already biting in a pre-spawn mode. For the trout target the ledges and drop off 14-18ft of water with Leeches and Midges. Red, Gray and Black midges sizes 14-16 leeches brown, burgundy, purple size 14-12.
May 10th, 2017 –
Mammoth Lakes BasinOPEN
Look for a delayed opening of the road and campground due to the current snowpack. Hope for things to open up in late June. Open water on the upper lakes may not occur until mid-June. There is a robust snow cover in the lakes Basin with some areas exceeding 15 feet. On some of the upper lakes the snow and ice was so thick ice fisherman could not make it through with their augers.
May 10th, 2017 –
Flows are extremely high!!!! Currently flows holding at 730-750 CFS. LADWP is discouraging any activities around the river. Signs are posted throughout the area warning of the dangers of high water. Best to fish elsewhere like the Gorge if you’re in the area.
February 13th, 2017 –
Section ABOVE Bridge to Private property: OPEN YEAR ROUND Under special regulations
Section below the Bridge to the Monument: CLOSED
From the Monument to Crowley Lake: OPEN
Make sure you read the regulations before you wet a line as special regulations are in place and a section is currently closed. Stream flows above the Hot Creek tributaries is currently at 100 CFS, below the lower Hot Creek tributary 200 CFS. Some Migratory Cutthroats along with a few Rainbows are starting to show up. The clarity is off-color and tea stained below the Hot Creek tributaries. Flood irrigating is in progress on the east side of the river so access is limited and some areas are very muddy and getting stuck is a possibility if you make a wrong decision. Might want to carry a shovel if you challenge the mud! A tow truck will be a costly mistake. Watch where you wade as fish have spawned this spring and new arrivals will be spawning also. Handle fish with care as they are producing the next generations of wild trout. Please let the fish do their business!