The fish and the weather have been big at Crowley!

The weather at Crowley has been something to really pay attention to when your out on the water lately. Try to pay attention to the storm fronts coming thru the area and if you see any lightning at all, retreat back into the marina as soon as possible.

Saturday had a big storm come thru bring high winds, rain, thunder, lightning and hail. We were out on the water by 8am and the thunder clouds were already starting to build. We were supposed to be greeted with the storm front after 11am according to the weather service but it came in early.

The bite on Saturday was slow early but seemed to build just like the storm front and we got into some really nice quality fish. We started out with the rest of the fleet of boats, probably 15 or more in the North Arm around Green Banks. We anchored up and no one hooked any fish for over 30 minutes.

We pulled anchor and went for a long boat ride back into the McGee Bay area, just between the S.S. Porta Pot and the mouth of McGee Creek. We posted up in 15.7 feet of water. I found some weedy areas on bottom, just next to the clean mud bottom and started our hunt in McGee.

The perch are everywhere, I have never seen them this shallow this early, we are going to have an early perch fry hatch I am sure of it. Of course I don’t care, the faster these fry, high protein food items come, the fatter our trout will get and be better!

You are going to catch you fair share of perch, to the point where you or your guide is saying when the indicator goes down, BE A TROUT, BE A TROUT. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but keep weeding your way thru the perch and the trout will show up!

The midge hatches are phenomenial, as thick as I have seen in a while. You will literally breath them into your nose and mouth if you don’t have your sun mask on.

Every fish that I throat pumped were full of midges (chironomids) with many different colors. Make sure you keep switching colors, you will find a good one eventually and get on a good run of trout. Our best color seemed to be a size #16 Black/Silver with Silver head.

The other thing we figure out quickly on Saturday, the fish were running high in the water column, 4 feet off the bottom and we took advantage of this with a nice run of fish fishing 4 to 5 feet off the bottom.

Most of our fish running high in the water column were big thick Cutthroats all over 18″ or better.

The water is very clear, you can see at least 7 feet down into the water following your anchor rope and the water temperature is a perfect 56 to 57 degrees on the surface, pretty much the same all the way to the bottom. This is why the fish are not concentrated anywhere on the lake, very spread out and if you do find a high concentration, too many boats will come in and break them up and scatter them.

We had a real nice run of trout and perch until we ran into high winds, lightning, hail and rain. We went in early for lunch because the electricity from the storm was shocking our hands from the rods. It was so strong it stung me at least 20 times before I could get the rods down and onto the bottom of the boat. The rods sang like a small engine and didn’t stop making noise until we got into the marina. Really fun coming in, being shocked by the center counsel bar and big hail stinging you in the face at 40mph trying to get into the marina for safety. My right hand, thumb, pointer and index fingers are still numb and tingling since Saturday.

We went in for lunch, waited about two hours and went back into McGee to find the wind not blowing in the Marina but howling in McGee Bay, very typical with McGee Bay having a wind tunnel always blowing thru the middle of the bay. We had not grabs in an hour and 4 moves so we went over into the North Arm to try to hide from the wind. As soon as we anchored we were on a very nice 18″ brown and then 3 more nice fish over 18″ and then the wind shifted and started blowing in at about 25mph. This completely shut off the bit and we called it a day! We ended the day with 18 trout to the net and about 30 perch.

We finished up the evening with a beautiful T-Bone steak from the Mogul in Mammoth and great conversation with good friends Andy and Steve Frumento.

Pay attention to the midge life cycle, blood midges early in morning and midge pupa when the hatch gets going!

Sunday, same group of anglers, Andy and Steve Frumento, weather started out beautiful, blue bird sky, the barometer was rising and high hopes for a better day out on the lake. We started early around 7am to see if the fish were also early risers but the fish had other ideas. It was a tough day, with 6 trout hooked and about 30 perch but we did get a few porkers including a brilliant 22.5″ rainbow that jumped 3 times and landed by Andy. We moved around McGee bay from 17 to 13 feet of water and didn’t get anything really going until about 10:30am and in 16.7 feet of water.

Much better conditions on Sunday but everyone struggled to put any kind of string of trout together so at noon we called it a day and headed home.

The areas seem to be McGee, Big Hilton and Green Banks of the North Arm that are the most consistent in the lake so far. The water is warming, the cutthroat will soon come out of McGee Creek and Upper Owens and it should pick up when we finally get some days of consistent high pressure to trigger the fish again.

Stay safe, be courteous to your fellow anglers and try to give as much room as possible to other anglers out on the lake, its going to be crowed this weekend.


I do love me some “Stillwater” fly fishing…..Ernie