Well… I’m unfortunately thinking that this week’s fish report offers up what has to be the least desirable week of fishing this calendar year in the Eastern Sierra. I’m not going to sugar coat this week’s report, and tell you that the fishing is great. Cause, it’s truly not. When I started jotting down fish tales several years ago, I realized that wordsmiths of fish reports have the power of gods. People want to hear what people want to hear. But, I’ll be blunt and honest and tell you what’s going on…
Before we divulge into conversation what is not fishing, I’ll offer up a glimmer of hope of what is fishing: Crowley Lake. Crowley is really thee only game in town. The lake is fishing relatively well right now. The armada of boats and tubers on the lake have been stacking up in very limited real estate on the North End. Get there early! Midge fishing tends to be decent up there while fishing a depth of 9 to 12 feet of water. The fish are biting one day, and slowing down a bit the next. It tends to be game on, game off. I think that mixing up your bugs with creative patterns is critical this time of year. Those fish have seen a lot of flies at this point in the season. I was having success last weekend with big, colorful midge patterns. Mix it up. Be creative. McGee also seems to be fishing okay. My buddy Danny Corral joined us on the boat one day to cast jigs. The fish did not seem to be in the mood for chasing protein. But, the midge fishing is still working. There’s not much else going on right now… this is basically what the Eastern Sierra has to offer for this week. Crowley is saving the day.
The mandated forest closures are in effect for one more week. The good news about this is that the next fish report will have plenty of beta for you on how to fish rivers and lakes that are currently legally closed. The Humboldt Toiyabe National Forest (HTNF) didn’t close. So, heading up to the northern part of Mono County is going to offer some limited fishing opportunities. Now would be a good time to spend on Robinson Creek. This jewel of a creek is a fun place to both bait fish and fly fish. You’ll get trout with salmon eggs. It’s also a fun place to wave the tenkara wand. A standard size-16 Parachute Adams is the only fly you need there to entice fish. They don’t see many flies. Lower Twin Lakes near Bridgeport also always houses some big trout. It’s a very pretty setting, and legally open to fishing now. The good folk in the tackle shop there can better direct you than I can on how to hook fish there now. You have some options in the HTNF.
While the Upper Owens River and the Lower Owens River are legally fishable, they aren’t practical to fish this week. The Upper Owens River is a trickle with very few fish in it. I don’t see this changing soon. The Lower Owens River just had its flows bumped up substantially. LADWP is pulling over 500 cubic feet per second (CFS) of water out of Crowley Lake right now. About half of that is ending up in Pleasant Valley Res, and the other half in Tinemaha Res. That said, Pleasant Valley Reservoir is a fishable option right now. (When I think about it, I can still identify places to fish this week!) Bait anglers soaking worms in PVR will hook fish. It’s also a fun place to cast lures. But, there really are no rivers in Inyo County and the southern part of Mono County that are fishable this week.
Next week’s report promises to be more optimistic. Barring a major natural disaster in the region, the forest will open up again, and give us a lot more to discuss in the report. So… practice patience, anglers, and realize that it’s going to get good again soon. Till then, I might find you out on Crowley playing bumper boats with everyone else.
That’s your short and sweet fish report for this week. There are too many fisheries to list. Chris Leonard will be giving us our weekly fish report, and will mix it up every week talking about different places to get fishy. Chris Leonard guides for Kittredge Sports in Mammoth Lakes.
Have fun. Be safe. Go get ’em!
Chris Leonard is a longstanding teacher at Mammoth High School, and experienced fly fishing guide. He guides both rivers and lakes in the Eastern Sierra. His understanding of teaching and fly fishing makes him a choice guide in the region.