The following report courtesy Sierra Drifters Guide Service:
REPORT AS OF 9/11/2020
Things are changing quickly in a matter of days around the state of California. We have had many anglers call in and ask about the air quality in the eastern sierra. It changes daily here as one day can be blue skies and clear air and the next could have the smoke coming in heavy where the visibility becomes limited. Take a look at the following two photos. They were shot on two consecutive days, and they show how different any given day can be here in regards to air quality.
The wind direction determines the air quality daily, so we are asking our customers that have trips already scheduled with us to please take this into consideration. On most days, the wind comes up in the afternoons and clears the air. The National Forests in California have temporarily closed to recreational and commercial use. Here is a link to the Forest Service for more information: https://www.fs.usda.gov/inyo.
During times like this, we are fortunate to have access to the LADWP waters like the Upper Owens River, Crowley Lake, and the Lower Owens River. These areas remain open to fishing, and are where we have been experiencing our best numbers and quality of fish.
The lake level continues to drop on Crowley Lake and the channels are starting to get very shallow. There are a lot of fish being caught in open water with a clean mud bottom and when the wind kicks up they will move in close to the weed lines to feed on small perch. Midges fished close to the bottom and a few feet higher have been the most consistent method. You may not mark a lot of activity on you sonar in this shallower water, especially when the clusters of boats are all fishing close to each other, but the fish will swim through these areas to feed. Select the right fly and be ready.
Lower Owens River:
The Lower Owens River is still running on the high side of things, so walking and wading are tough currently. We may see a drop in flows as we get close to mid-month or later. Drift boating is a good option for getting around on the river currently, but we like to hold off until the river drops a bit more. Hot Creek has been fishing well in both sections with good dry fly action throughout the day. Nymphing in the deeper pools are turning up some nice brown and rainbow trout.
Upper Owens River
The Upper Owens River is fishing well with hopper patterns, but the cooler nights now are thinning these tasty morsels out. Nymph fishing is accounting for for fish that are all "hoppered out". They have seen their fare share of these imitations this season, so throwing some different flies them may pique their interest. Smaller midges and San Juan Worms are also getting a lot of looks from the fish here.
East Walker River:
The East Walker River is still holding at a decent flow level for drifting nymphs through the deeper sections. Mornings and evenings have been best here, but as the nights get cooler and the daytime temperatures begin to drop the mid-day fishing will pick up.