Your gateway to the best fly fishing that California has to offer                                                                                                             
photo by Greg Vinci

impoundments along the Owens River that provide water to the 250 mile LA Aqueduct that terminates in Los Angeles.  In the early part of the twentieth century the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) bought up the water rights along the Owens River and began diverting the water of its tributaries to the aqueduct and the lush farmland of the Owens Valley was thus doomed.  Their actions literally created a water war, and an undercurrent of bitterness still remains today among a few of the locals. 

Catching fish can be occasionally challenging, and attention to a few techniques can make a big difference in success on Crowley.  One important technique is, that if you have no luck at particular depth, be willing to shorten or lengthen your leader to find the depth where the fish are feeding.  Tying flies at different positions on the leader is one way to accomplish this, or just re adjusting your indicator on the leader will accomplish the same thing. Indicators that create a 90 degree hinge in the leader are much more sensitive to strike detection  and  several indicator brands such as Insta-Set Indicators, Pop-Top Indicators or Boles Indicators,  will accomplish these two functions.  4 to 6 weight rods are fine for Crowley though it is good to keep in mind that landing one of Crowley’s monsters will be much easier on a heavier rod. 

Midges may be the most prolific hatch on Crowley, but the fishermen who fish it regularly have more than one trick up their sleeve.  As mentioned before, Sacramento Perch were illegally planted in Crowley some years ago, and have proliferated to the point that they have become a major food source fore the larger trout.  As the summer progresses the Perch fry concentrate around the weeds along the shore near the creek inlets which draws the larger Rainbows.   Stripping streamer patterns such as a Hornberg Special, olive Matuka or a local pattern called the Loeberg,  can catch some huge fish.  Other patterns for fishing down deep are Wooly Buggers #8 & #10, Denny’s Seal Bugger or Tom Loe’s “Punk Perch” #8 & #10.  Not to be overlooked are the damsels which are prolific along the shallow weedy flats and among the algae blooms.  Such patterns as Burk’s Damsel #14 or #16 stripped in the weed channels can be deadly. 

Much of the best fishing is around the inlets of the creeks that enter the lake on the west side.  The largest of the tributaries is the Owens River that enters from the north.  These areas generally are rather shallow (ten to fifteen feet), and have lots of weeds which are home to aquatic food sources of all kinds.  There are also several springs that seep into the lake and provide the cooler water that attracts fish as the water warms up later in the summer.  Hint, if fishing during the warmer months look for green patches on the shoreline along the lake’s bank that indicate the location of springs that seep cool water into the lake.  The most popular tubing areas are Alligator Point, Leighton Springs, Mc Gee Creek and Hilton Bay.  Though the northwest side of the lake has good vehicle access, some areas are best accessed by boat.  Often times fishermen will load their tubes on to a mother ship so to speak, motor out to the area they want to fish and get dropped off.