Urgent Crowley Lake Update 2008

Crowley Lake - Mammoth Lakes, CA (Mono County)

by Tom Loe

Howdy friends and Sierra Drifters. We've got an URGENT trout bulletin regarding the Fish'N Conditions on Crowley Lake!

You have all heard the expression it's always darkest before the dawn; well I am happy to inform those of you who enjoy fishing Crowley that it appears the sun is once again going to shine here.

There are not "epic" conditions or gigantic numbers being caught by fly fishers but we have had some very good days recently (30-40 to net for the more experienced sticks), with some of the larger hold over fish beginning to appear in the 5-10 foot depths around what is left of McGee Bay. The average size fish is smaller in length this year for sure, but rather rotund with no lack of bad attitude. No sarcasm intended regarding McGee. Most of you will be alarmed by how retracted the lake level is for this time of year. It is freak'N low! If you have a boat, be very careful to stay well north of Pelican Pt near Big Hilton Bay. The shoal extends well towards Lifeguard Pt. and is currently not marked with buoys on the outer part of the shoal.

The spring turnover was two to three weeks later than usual however; the worst of it has passed. Conditions will continue to improve but there will still be some tough days ahead especially when the winds blow from the east and stack the algae into McGee. When we have a stiff west wind in the afternoons (coming from Mammoth Mountain or the Minaret's), the next morning can be great until the algae moves in and slows the bite down.

The Sacramento Perch Fry are making an appearance as well as an excellent damsel fly nymph migration each morning. I suggest that for the next two weeks you have some #14-18 bead head PT's, some #16 Punk Perch, and a few damsel flies #12 in your quiver to get you into fish. The PT's are great imitations to use while still water nymphing as they have an excellent profile for the tiny perch fry as well as the few callibaetis nymphs that are emerging. The damsels and Punk Perch are also solid choices to hang as an upper fly while still water nymphing and may also be used while trolling or stripping with a sink tip or slime line near the surface.

The chironomids are not nearly as prolific as they should be for this time of year and this is a consequence of the lower than usual water levels. They are basically "hatched out" but will still be a significant factor until September. Tigers and zebras #16-20 as your dropper or lower fly, Gillies #18-20, or crystal emergers #18-20 on top.

Look for a major migration of trout into the north arm of the lake soon. The influence of the Upper Owens River will be a prevalent factor this season as I have recorded surface temps as high as 80 degrees on the calm afternoons! You will see up to three less degrees near the inlet here.

Check out the big Cutt Frank Carlsen caught and released in short water recently as well as the screaming double he had with Richard "pops" Rathcke. And the gorgeous Brown caught & released by firefighter, Chelsea Hope by clicking on www.sierradrifters.com/fish.htm

Hot Creek has been very good all year and it appears that the year around fishing pressure has had little impact on this seasons fishing. There are a bunch of small rainbows indicative of a fertile spring spawn. The mornings have been very crowded. The water levels are receding and although the conditions are good currently you can expect the aquatic weeds to protrude more and more as the summer goes on. Things are going to get challenging here by August. Dark bodied caddis #18-20 have been excellent in the afternoons, as well as hopper patterns or Stimulators #14-16. Dry/ dropper bead head rigs with an olive crystal caddis #18-20 work well also.

Take a look at Hot Creek and a nice rainbow fooled by fire Captain Jeffery Wenger on a caddis dry by clicking on www.sierradrifters.com/fish.htm

Stillwater Classic August 9th links to tournament entry forms and rules can be found on www.sierradrifters.com/fish.htm

Steve & Carolyn Schwind, owners of Central Reservations of Mammoth are offering a great deal for anyone entering the Stillwater Classic. You can receive a big 20% off on all condo rentals for the weekend of the contest. As well as 10% off any regular prime season rates for any other time you wish to visit Mammoth Lakes. You can check out all their great rentals on the lodging page of www.MammothLakes.com and then call 800-321-3261 to get these special deals.

They are also donating a stay in a Mammoth Lakes Condo which will be a prize at the Stillwater Tournament.

Be the fly...
Tom Loe
760-937-2015 Cell

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