Crowley Steelhead Update

Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley) - Eastern Sierra, CA (Mono County)

by Tom Loe

We have actually had some pretty good days recently considering the weather. Numbers are down; but size is up this year on the migratory Crowley Steelhead. The forecast for the holiday period is not so good. The coldest air temps of the year are now predicted beginning on 12/26. It is possible to see FIFTEEN BELOW ZERO on the river at sun up, with highs remaining in single digits, or low teens. When we get an extended period of sub-zero air temps; it forces the LADWP to flush the standing ice out of the Rush Creek Diversion and washes debris, & ice bergs down the channel. Eddies will become solid sheets of ice making the river unfishable. If air temps warm enough, & the flushing is successful-the river can clean up in the afternoon. Overall water clarity has become poor below Hot Creek. The fish are very spread out, & are actively on their redds during warmer periods. They vacillate from the gravel beds into the deeper pools when we experience a duration of colder air temps. I have seen a few honey holes that have multiple fish in them; but this year you can expect one or two bigs per spot for the most part. Most popular attractor patterns will get you looks with solid drifts. SJ worms, crystal Vanderleeches, crystal soft eggs, Assassins, and Agent Orange patterns have got us into them while nymphing below an Under-cator. Please don’t squeeze the egg laden hens near the belly for a quick picture. That will cause the roe to discharge prematurely. Air temperatures below ten degrees can “flash freeze” the gills if you keep the fish out of water for more than a minute. Look for oval depressions that appear brighter, or scraped clean on the riffles below pools. These are active reads and you need to avoid stepping on them. Snowbows here we come! If you want the most unique fly fishing experience the Sierra has to offer; book a winter snowmobile trip with us. It is truly a magical fishing adventure. We pioneered winter time snowmobile access on the Upper Owens, and have the most experienced guides to put you on the fish safely.

If you would like to go fly fishing with Sierra Drifters give them a call at (760) 935 4250 and for more information visit their website

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Sierra Drifters Reports
for Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015
Owens River - Middle: Drifting is working!
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