San Diego Fly Fishers Meeting
Sierra Drifters guide Tom Loe will be heading down to So-Cal to visit with his great friends at the San Diego Fly Fishers meeting on the evening of February 5th 2007. Tom will be doing a Power Point presentation on innovative fly fishing techniques for the Eastern Sierra. The public is welcome and sincerely invited to attend. You can get details by calling Stroud’s Tackle (619-276-4822) ask for the “mighty Osprey”, or by visiting the SDFF website at…… http://www.sandiegoflyfishers.com/
Tom will also be doing a Power Point seminar on March 31st 2007 at Bob Marriott’s Fly Fishing Store in Fullerton. This show will be in conjunction with Bob’s Sierra preview and there will be other industry pros and great gear on sale to get you ready for the new Sierra trout season. Put this one on your calendar and come by and talk trout, pick up guide tips and pointers on fly fishing trout in the Sierra. Contact Marriott’s at 800-535-6633 and ask for Kevin Bell, or visit Bob’s web at http://www.bobmarriotts.net
FISH ON BABY!!! Now that I have your undivided attention we need you all to write the Cal DFG Commissioners and express your approval of the new regulations opening sections of the Upper Owens River, Hot Creek and the tailwater section of the East Walker River to year round fishing beginning on March 1st 2007. We have included a link to the new regulations and as usual you can click on the button providing important DFG news by visiting our website at www.sierradrifters.com. DFG commission info at http://www.fgc.ca.gov/
There are a number of local businessman and land owners that are opposing this new regulation and will attempt to reverse the decision at the next Mono County Fisheries advisory meeting this February.
We at Sierra Drifters Guide Service support the new regulations and feel the additional year round water will benefit all catch and release fisherman with little impact on the fisheries, enforcement or search and rescue organizations. Get the word out friends we need to make our opinions heard.
What a difference 450cfs makes! The Lower Owens River flow rates have finally dropped and the fishing has picked up a bunch since our prior report. In addition Pleasant Valley Reservoir has also been fishing very well for larger fish for those hardy enough to climb into their “freeze” tubes and chuck streamers.
The weather has become more seasonal with some very cold mornings and gusty winds ripping through the valley once a week. Overall it has remained “abnormally dry” this year and the snow pack is well below average with only a fraction of what is was last year at this time.
Still relatively early, but it looks to be an early spring with Crowley Lake thawing well before normal. It is currently only partially frozen and still open at the inlets as of this report. There is only a trace amount of snow on the ground in Long Valley and Hot Creek although it has been very cold in the mornings. We are gonna have some obese trout this spring!
Lower Owens River: Good
The flows have dropped again the last couple of days and are currently at 120cfs below the dam at Pleasant Valley. The LADWP website link is currently being updated and accurate. These are great flows for wading the wild trout section and the dirt roads leading to the rivers edge are drying out nicely and can once again be used with caution. They will be frozen in the morning and safe to drive on but as the sun melts the ice some areas will become a quagmire and you can get easily stuck. One still needs to examine the banks before walking up to a step edge. They are extremely undermined this year and many are collapsing as they dry out.
Nymphing has been the best bet using zebra and tiger midges’ #16-20. With these low flows you can get those bugs down with a single bb shot or even #4 in some runs. There are some rising fish sipping baetis and midge clusters, but overall the surface action has been on the slow side. Look for a substantial change beginning in a few weeks as the first generations of baetis mayflies really begin to emerge and the water temps climb into the mid-forties.
The drift boat “catching” has picked up a bunch since the flows have receded and stabilized and we are just now starting to fish runs that have been too high in flows previously to fish. The river is in great shape and future looks bright for the remainder of the drift boat season with lower than normal spring releases expected. Streamers like our Spruce-a-bu and blood sucking Vanderleech used in conjunction with the “dip and strip” method are providing consistent action and some really nice fish. I expect some great may fly emergences to begin soon, especially in the lower sections of the river as the water temps rise much sooner than in the immediate tailwater sections of the Owens. We had some very slow days with the high levels and cold temps in late December and those Sierra Drifters fishing with us during that period had to really work for their fish.
Legal Eagles Jake “the beef” Brower from Orange, CA and his partner Daryl “heavy D” Anthony from Santa Ana, CA had a wicked passing cold front, high flows and 30mph winds to contend with as they drifted the first of a two day float. Not to be denied, “the beef” spanked a large rainbow as chunks of ice flew off the guides on his rod during the battle. Talk about work ethic, this one goes in the books- chapter one!!!
Wally “waldo” Sinner and son Danny from Upland, CA took a day off skiing and drifted with us recently with Waldo getting big fish honors by using “old age and treachery” to overcome the youth and skill of son Danny. Fun trip guys, Happy New Year!
Veteran Drifter Jim Moses from Bakersfield, CA hosted his son Kyle for his first drifts down the Lower Owens and the father and son teamed up for twenty rainbows and browns a day with several double hook ups each day. “Mose” caught and released a rainbow with a very fresh paint job to make another fish report.
Pleasant Valley Reservoir: Good
The Rez is fishing well despite the cold weather and those hardy souls doing the polar bear thing and jumping in their freeze tubes are enjoying some solid fishing especially for the larger grade rainbows beginning to stage near the inlet area of the lake. Streamers are your best bet currently used with a heavy or full sinking line fished around ten feet in depth. Look for the small river section to pick up a bunch as the trout begin to migrate into the transition water and lower flows. I like dry/dropper bead head combos for this section and you will be hard pressed to find a more consistent fly here than our crystal tiger midges #16-18 as your lower bug.
Be careful in the mornings wading in felt soles along the banks as the ice can be very treacherous!
The Gorge: Fair
The wild browns in this section are still pretty lethargic and I would not call their feeding behavior “ravenous” most days. Hit the larger pools with nymphs in the #18-20 range and keep your tippets in the 6X range for the most grabs. It will not be long here before we start to see some significant baetis mayfly hatches and some great dry fly opportunities. No snow or ice here currently and if you want some water to yourself this is the place!
You can pick up our Authentic & Improved Sierra Drifters Guide Flies, Sungicators & Killer Kits (Great Holiday Gifts) only at the following stand out locations (don’t be fooled by any of the imitations out there!): Kittredge Sports in Mammoth Lakes, Malibu Fish’n Tackle in Thousand Oaks, The San Diego Fly Shop and Stroud’s Tackle in San Diego, The Fishermen’s Spot in Van Nuys, Bob Marriott’s in Fullerton, Buz's Fly Shop Too in Bakersfield and online at www.bigfishhappen.com. There are links to these locations at www.sierradrifters.com/resources.htm. We pride our Guide Service & Products on Innovation not Imitation!
Be the fly friends…
Sierra Drifters Guide Service
About The Author: Captain Tom Loe
Company: Sierra Drifters Guide Service
Area Reporting: Eastern Sierras - Lower Owens River
Bio: Tom Loe grew up in Thousand Oaks Ca. and married his high school sweetheart Michele after attending Moorpark Jr. College.
The next 20 years Tom spent harpooning broadbill swordfish as the owner/operator of offshore commercial fishing vessels on both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. He is currently a licensed Coast Guard captain and year round fly-fishing guide residing full time with Michele on McGee Creek overlooking Crowley Lake in the Eastern Sierra. Tom has had a maniacal fascination with trout his entire life. He began tying flies at 12 years to assist him in financial support of his addiction to fishing. The truant officers had no problems locating Tom if he turned up absent at school, find trout, you found Tom!
During extended periods his sword boats would be tied up in port Tom would spend large blocks of time fishing the Eastern Sierra developing and perfecting unique methods of fly-fishing for trout in the area. Tom pioneered guided drift boat trips down the Lower Owens River and the “dip and strip technique” in 1998 after selling the swordfish boat “Bandido” that same year. Sierra Drifters Guide Service was founded and has been in operation since 1998 and to date has assisted thousands of fly-fishers in pursuit of trout in the Eastern Sierra.