The following report courtesy Sierra Drifters Guide Service:
REPORT AS OF 4/16/2019
Some big spring changes are in the air and in the water! Most of our year round winter fisheries are now completely accessible by vehicle and by foot. The warmer days of spring has cleared up the snow on Hot Creek, Upper Owens and the East Walker River. Fishing has been good in all the locations, with a daily BWO mayfly hatch coming off like clockwork in the afternoons. You must use caution when navigating the roads leading to the river on the Upper Owens as it is mud bog city out there. I would have multiple tow straps with shackles on hand if you are planning on having someone pull you out in the event you get your vehicle stuck. Winter is still trying to cling on to the region as every week we still seem to be getting some cold fronts that move through but only bring light snowfall and rain. This time of year it becomes difficult for the roads to receive any measurable accumulation of snow as they are too warm. It's looking great for the general season opener this year and Crowley Lake is now completely ice free. Some heavy winds last week made quick work of the ice and cleared the lake within 2 days. The East Walker River just increased lately and is continuing to fish well. We can expect more fish to seek out shallower water as the temperatures warm. Hot Creek has been good in the canyon and the Interpretive site with small midges and an assortment of different nymphs. Upper Owens still has a few nicer rainbows throughout, but they have started the migration back to Crowley. Middle Owens flows up again and the fish have settled into their new holding areas along the river.
Upper Owens River
Most of the bigger rainbows are making their way back to the lake. The ones you find that are holding up in the pools are still on the bite. You can get lucky and catch some trophies feeding mid-day in the shallows and the snow melt has picked up the tannins along the banks and is depositing it in the water. We were very lucky to get an extended season on snow bows this year as the fish stayed in the river through April. Some nice browns have entered the river as well. Try our Hi- Vis Blue Wing Olive in size #16-18 when you see them breaking the surface. 6mm Otter Eggs in Tangerine Opaque, Kiwi Flash, Dead Egg, and Apricot, #14-16 San Juan worm red and Bead San Juan Worm red, #14-16 Level Crystal Leeches, #14-16 Parallel Assassin Dark and Light, and #16 Broken Back Copper Tiger Midge are good calls now. Try our #16-18 Hi-Vis BWO's in the afternoons.
Middle Owens River (Wild Trout Section):
Flows up to 450 cfs over the last week. We have seen some BWO hatches mid-day again. Flows are too high for wading right now, so drift boat fishing is the best way to locate and access the best river spots. Some midges hatching in the mornings and streamers which imitate wounded bait fish have been good bets for getting into the larger fish. When the mayfly hatch is happening, try switching to our #16 Punk Perch and Crystal Leech just prior to and after the peak of the hatch. Best flies for these area have been #10 Loebergs in all colors, #8 Spruce-a-bus in light and dark, #16 Punk Perch, #14 Crystal Leech, #18 Assassin Light, #16 San Juan Worm Red, #18 Blue Winged Olive, #22 Parachute Midge, #18 Broken Back Copper Tiger Midge, and #18 Crystal Caddis Larva Olive Dubbed-Black.
Complete access is now offered on Hot Creek in both areas. The bite has been really good as fish are feeding on small midges in the mornings and BWO's in the afternoons. If you are nymphing go small in the canyon in the I- site area. Best flies this week have been #20-22 Para midges, #16-18 BWO's, , and Otter eggs and SD Crawlers in red. #18 Gold FB Pheasant tails were also hot.
This is a year around fishery with special regs in place.
East Walker River:
Flows have finally bumped up here to 300 cfs and moved fish all over the river. Some nice ones are being taken on soft eggs, midges, assassins, and SJ worms, and SD Crawlers. Fish are holding in the softer sections and tailouts of the deeper pools. Make sure you are getting your flies down near the bottom to get into the big ones. Otter eggs in all colors, #18 Copper Tiger Midges, #14-16 Parallel Perch, #14-16 Level Leeches, and Assassins dark and light both Parallel and normal have been great patterns to hang.
This is a year round fishery with special regulations.
Some nice fish over the 10 lb mark have been coming to the net here. It has been a consistent bite in the afternoon from 11 - 2 pm. Fish are biting in calm conditions as well as windy. Beatles and streamers have been accounting for most fish with some good number days happening. Some fish to 20lbs have been caught during mid-day!