My guests and I have been working the middle and northern areas of Lake Davis in the past week with hit or miss action. The low lake levels are very apparent walking in the north section, the above image says it all. This is where the bone dry Grizzly creek enters the lake as of now, the creek itself just has idle pools of water here and there. It's amazing to be standing in areas that are high and dry that at one time I have caught dozens of fish.
Record high temperatures have blanketed much of California, last Friday it was 83 degrees at the lake, and 102 in San Diego! Water temps have jumped up and are now ranging from 58 to 64 degrees. Abnormal for this time of year. Fall colors are getting ready to peak in the next few weeks, with drought conditions, this fall is not that spectacular in the Northern Sierra. I've also noticed a complete halt on sandhill cranes migrating from the Modoc plateau down to the greater central valley due to the warm weather we have been experiencing.
The rainbows of Lake Davis are showing the same characteristics of last year due to low lake levels. They are consuming Daphnia (zooplankton), and feeding in areas that they usually do not inhabit, like the bay in front of Lightning Tree. I have found a few pods of working fish that are sipping #14 blood midges. They are not easy to catch and precise and accurate presentations with the right fly and 4x tippet is a must. Still a few callibaetis mayflies are fluttering about, but nothing to get excited about. I've learned over the years to concentrate on the points of peninsulas during low water levels, these are transition zones that offer more comfortable water temps, and a greater food source - It's all about the fertile flats.
A good plan for the day would be to target rising fish on the skinny flats with dry flies or slow sinking patterns, then fish deeper water with either a very heavy fly and a floating line, or a light fly with a sinking line. Effective flies have been brown and burnt orange wiggle tails, and the sheep creek special. We need a cold snap and some weather to get these fish on the grab again. So far September has had better action than the famous month of October. Best of luck out there, I'll see you on the water in the weeks to come.