Hello Fellow Anglers,
Well the winter of 2019 hasn’t completely relinquished its grip on the area yet, as a series of weather systems continues to affect the area including wind, rain, and snow depending on the elevation. I would keep an eye on the forecast as it looks inclement leading into the holiday weekend and beyond. Those planning outdoor activities should be prepared with the proper clothing as the weather can change rapidly this time of year. Runoff conditions are creeping up but haven’t really impacted the area streams negatively YET, and the major reservoirs in the area continue to making room for the above average snow pack still left in the high country. Some 40-50 inches of water still remains locked up in the high country above 9000ft. Runoff conditions will change as we near the end of the month or once the weather pattern changes. Sometimes the runoff starts early in May, but when you get a hard freeze it takes a few days to start melting again. By late May we should see the streams in the area become more “bank full” for at least 3-4 weeks. This will surely make stream fishing more difficult. It would be wise to get your stream fishing in now; then it will be time to hone up your still water tactics and skills as there may be a period where it’s the only real game. It was a significant winter by standards but much less than 2017 (some 20 plus inches less of water) which was the wettest winter in recent times where some streams were in runoff flows well into late July or early August. This year runoff will not be as severe, but will impact most of the western states: Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Nevada, and parts of Montana. Remember to check the stream flows before embarking on your adventures as release can change overnight. LADWP and USGS have most of the stream and reservoirs in our area graphed charted and monitored.
Currently fishing in the area rates 6 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 for those willing to put the time in to figure out the puzzle; some very large fish have been produced. The lower Owens is fishable at this time but flows remain on the high side just under 400 CFS, down from 650 CFS 3 weeks. Crowley has been hit and miss with weather being the issue some days but when the weather conditions allow it is fishing well! Bridgeport Reservoir has been producing big trout.
The weather is calling for an increasing chance of thunderstorms leading into the weekend so one should be prepared with rain gear. Lightening is possible, 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
May 22nd, 2019 –
Flows are inching up 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.
May 22nd, 2019 –
The Road to Devils Postpile is closed! 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.
May 22nd, 2019 –
Crowley Lake -OPEN
Fishing is good if the weather cooperates! 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. Water temps are on the rise. Level seems to be steady for the meantime, holding at 6767.9 elevation with maybe a slight decline or increase of an inch every 4 days. This will change rapidly once the runoff starts; look for the lake to rise rapidly late May through 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!
May 22nd, 2019 –
The flows jumped up to 450CFS and dropped back to 340 in the last few days as Bridgeport Reservoir making some room for storage. 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 larger releases will most likely be necessary down the road later in the month. 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 a few caddis but predominately it seems to be the mayflies. 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!
May 22nd, 2019 –
Crowley Tribs, Convict, McGee, Hilton and Crooked Creeks -OPEN
All are at fishable flows with both resident and migratory fish present. 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.
May 22nd, 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 threating. Use good judgement. Best to wait until the lakes are thawed out!
May 22nd, 2019 –
Flows out of the Pleasant Valley Reservoir are currently holding 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 midges caddis, mayflies, and little yellow sally stone flies just start to appear as the weather warms up as we get towards June. As flows have dropped you might have some opportunities on the surface during the peak of the hatch on the quite 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.
May 22nd, 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 remains closed until Memorial weekend. Water levels are on the increase; flows below the Hot Creek tributaries near 160 CFS and flows above near 80 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 are flooded and the ground is soft. 4-wheel drive is recommended. If you’re fishing above the bridge and get stuck, a tow truck call will be very costly!