Big fish still here? YES! The Upper Owens River near Mammoth lakes California is still steadily producing some of the largest fish a Fly Fisherman can find in small running water. Flows are up a little after some of the precipitation we received over the last couple of weeks, and we are preparing to receive more possibly over the next couple of days. The fishing has remained consistent and unchanged since my last report with some snow melt making for slightly better access. Right now you need to have a snowmobile, snow shoes, or just walk up the river until you find a place in the Upper Owens that could possibly hold the trout of a lifetime!
The Fabulous East Walker River is only still flowing at just below 20cfs … As the river rises we will be on top of it for an update of conditions. The Fish are in there but at these flows we will stick to the Upper Owens where fish of equal size predatorize the river with fives times as much water eagerly awaiting the East Walker to add some volume to her current flows.
Storms has given the Owens Valley a good amount of precipitation the last couple of days. Upon arriving at the river today we were delighted to find it flowing low and clear with very happy fish. Click the link below for a sample recorded tonight of the rivers condition. Low flows with great clarity and a great Mayfly hatch around 1:00pm today.
(click report link for video)
The long-awaited Lower Owens River dry fly fishing is beginning at a great rate. Come to the Owens and fish size #14 through #18 Baetis patterns for the fly fishing you’ve all been waiting for!
BWO hatch is on!! The event that many of us have been waiting for! A little past high noon a thick Baetis hatch comes off in a rather large size of #16. The fish have recently started responding and looking up to these top-water protein snacks. Blue Duns #16-18, Hendricksons #16-18, and Baetis Zingers in similar sizes are a few of the patterns popular with the fish we cast to them. Before this day changing event the nymphing has also been very successful, making for an amazing day. Use the same bugs as listed in previous reports; Caddis, Mafly, and Midges tied in nymph stages. Soft Hackles, PT’s, Bubbleback Emergers, Caddis Worms, and various Midge Emergers will get you fish when placed in the troutiest water such as; foam lines, large deep pools with evident seams, well defined drop offs and deep riffles.
The Upper Owens has been continuing its legacy of giving us BIG Trout all winter long! Recently some rather handsome fish have been coming out of her deepest and darkest runs and holes. By the picture you can see the amount of snow is not at a level where it inhibits driving to the river from the pavement at Benton Crossing Bridge. However, we did fire up the snowmobiles up the other day to be ready for the big snow that could possibly blanket the banks of the Upper Owens in the near future. At this point nobody can really predict if we will actually really need them this year. The 4×4 vehicle may be sufficient. Streamers and Attractor style nymphs are still on the menu as the big fish must eat! SJ worms variations, Copper Bobs and Jons, PT’s and Princes are just a few of the patterns lost on the bottom of the Upper Owens while trying to seduce an oversized trout. Flows continue to be low are very fishable. Its time to come and fish the Upper Owens River 2019.. You’ll regret it if you don’t!
The Lower Owens has been nothing but good to us this January of 2019! Nymphing has been very steady nearly all days on the same usual winter patterns: (Tung Jig PT soft Hackle, Green Caddis, Midge Larvae..ect.) The flows continue to be around 100cfs give or take a dozen cfs. This, of course, leaves the entire river open to wading and access is at its best. The Baetis (BWO’S) are starting to make an appearance! In the last week we have had the pleasure off fishing dries for a good part of the day! This, as I have said before, only happens in certain parts of the river. One must find a slow moving foam line in deep enough water with adequate cover nearby. That is where you will find the risers at the moment. Soon, very soon this even should be river-wide… stay tuned!
Some snow has arrived on the banks of the Upper Owens River making it even more of an amazing place to visit. The Big Trout are still there with newer prospects arriving and moving. Flow rates are at their usual winter levels with great to good visibility, depending on where you fish. The Big and small flies have been tricking the large trout in 2019. Lots of attractors of various types: Hot Head leaches, Pistol petes, Sammy Juan worms, Copper Bobs and Jons, and other similar patterns, Midge patterns, Soft hackles, and some small Beadheads are flies to attach to you tippet. The snow is there but we are still able to drive in, those with a 2-wheel drive vehicles can park at the bridge and take an easy walk in. Streamers! Yes! A sinking tip or longer weighted leader on a standers floating line presented properly on some days seems to be the way to get one of these unforgettable fish into your net!
The Lower Owens, once again, has been very good to the persistent Fly Fisherman. Flows are down at their usual levels for this time of year of around 100cfs give or take 10cfs depending on where you are. Spotty dry fly hatches have been happening for some anglers in the bend right above their buddies! These have been larger Baetis Mayflies and can be replicated with a #16 or #18 BWO pattern (Blue Winged Olive). Some midges can be seen above the water but with limited response from the Trout. They seem to be liking Midges much more below the water recently. Green Caddis worms, or some types of Midge larvae fished under the waters surface have been a fish producer for most of the day. Tung Jig PT’s with a nicely tied Soft Hackle have been absolutely reliable for us fishing guides at STM on the Lower Owens River recently. The entire system has something to offer this time of year. You have to come up and try it for yourself to see exactly what I am talking about. Call the shop for more info. 760-873-0010
The Upper Owens has been a consistent Big Trout Factory for the last couple of months! Awesomely wild and perfectly finned Rainbows, Cutt Bows, and Brown Trout will continue to be roaming the waters of the Upper Owens River for the next few months. The snow level has pretty much vanished at this point and needs no further attention. Of course upon arriving in the morning hours it is well below freezing on most days, this, of course adds to the experience as you take in the surroundings and realize what are special place you are able to visit to sample her amazing Trout. The same techniques and strategies hold as in my December post. Deep holes and riffly water erase the view from the surface which keeps these oversized beasts of the river hidden, feeling comfortable and safe, and ready to eat! All sorts of Tubifex worm patterns, Tung Jigs, and various attractor patterns in larger sizes will give you a shot at these unforgettable fish. Streamers are always an option here as well. This will keep you casting and strategizing all day on how to get one of these trophy Trout into your hands for just a moment….