High water has finally hit the Eastern Sierra and that allows fish in certain places where they otherwise do not go. This usually means large lake fish go up flowing streams and creeks to seek out new food sources and spawn the next generation of beautiful fish. We happened to catch some of these waters on the way up and found some of the fish that had recently moved in. Healthy with pointy fins and white tips on all sides these fish are on fire once hooked with 4 and 5wt fly rods! This should only get better as fish use the added water flow rate to make their move upstream. Three species of trout are known to make this run. Flashy Bright nymphs and such as larger Trigger Nymphs #16-18, Robo Pt’s #16-18 and tubifex worm patterns are aggressively being eaten. ..
Hot Creek is in rare condition as Mammoth Creek pours in shortly downstream of where Hot Creek flows from the Earth. Currently flowing at 228cfs Hot Creek is in full runoff for the moment and water his high and off color. But, at 11,000-14,000 fish per mile one can still hook fish! This runoff is no doubt good for the system, and when it is all said and done it will be interesting see the effects on the fish after experiencing all the new food getting flushed down the them. Streamers and bugs of the larger variety will still actually take fish here. Stayed tuned for another update in a few days.
The Upper Owens lies about 35 minutes north of Bishop just short of Mammoth. As stated before a few fish seem to be arriving every day, some are very big fish! Some anglers are doing well and some come back with fishermans tales of the big one that got away. With this weather the flows have increased some 30% in the past two days possibly allowing for some numbers of trout to roll up the Upper Owens from the famous trout infested Crowley lake. For bugs try; Prince Nymphs, Robo Pheasant Tails, Pheastant Tails, and Copper Johns in #’s 16-18 Ice Cream Cone Midges and Chironocones in red, olive and black and in #’s 18-20 are also prime bug choices. Large streamers fished correctly by undercut banks can also bring out the meat! Fish your favorite streamer and get it down to them! I will be on the Upper Owens in the next couple of days and I will update here if things drastically change.
The Lower Owens River has been raised to a very fast 547cfs of slightly off-color water. Fly fishing is tough at these conditons and access can be hard at best to find. On the other hand the water temps are up to a point to where the wild brown trout that reside there are very hungry. Foam lines and slower moving parts of the river are the places where you will find fish. Robo Pheasant Tails, Sparkle Trigger Nymphs, Prince Nymphs and RS2’s are getting eaten, all in sizes #16-20. Streamers on a heavy sink tip are also a method to take fish at these flows. We have been doing the best with darker coloured streamers recently.
The Lower Owens has stabilized at around 300 cfs of very fishy river. Water temps are in the prime zone to turn up a trouts metabolism = they have to eat a lot. Lots of holding water can be found at these flows, clarity is 90%. The drift boat is back out and I am loving it! Small baetis hatches come out early morning – afternoon but are not found on the entire river. you can find different holes and riffles where dries are being eaten during these times. Nymphing has been excellent! – Trigger nymphs, Sparkle Triggers (here at shop), Robo Pheasant Tails, PT’s, Hot wire princes, princes, and Ice Cream cone style midges are taking fish. All is sizes #16-18. I did see some Yellow Sallies out the other day so some #14’s in the PT styles have been working nicely. If these flows sustain these levels at this time of year the Lower Owens will continue to be a very dependable fly fishing destination. A+
Flowing at a steady and unusually clear 183 cfs the East Walker is nothing short of spectacular! Springtime weather seems to finally be hitting the Walker drainage and fish are responding accordingly. A Baetis hatch comes off strong in the Miracle Mile around 11:30am with fish up to 16″ responding. Small midges also come off after the sun hits the water. Nymphing and fishing with “meat and potatoes” flies will get you the toothy beasts that roam this water. Midges of all sorts will be eaten here all in #’s 18-22.. Grey Poly Wing Emergers, T-Midges, Zebras and Tigers, Discos and Biot Midges just to name a few.. Pearls, Silvers and Greys seem to be the preferred colours at this time. WD-40’s and Micro Mayflies in the same colour schemes are also on the East Walker resident trout menu. Large Streamers of are getting some heavy attention when passed through aggressive trout territory. Remember, any strike on the East Walker can result in hooking the trout of your life!
The Upper Owens continues to harbor some big healthy fish.. A few more seem to have arrived, but, you do really have to work to get them. The monument to crowley section is not anything special at this time. The fish seem to be favoring the larger holes above the bridge. Roads are clear and access is not a problem. The usual patterns with a little flash are doing the trick when passed by the lips of big fish. Patterns such as; Robo PT’s, FB Hares Ear, Sparkle Trigger Nymph and Bubbleback emergers all in sizes #16-20 are just a few to try. San Juans added to those nymph rigs also raise the hookup ratio. Big streamers are also an option here.. Use a weighted streamer or a sinking line for this.. your favorite larger streamer will do the trick here.
Someone is always hungry in Hot Creek. It is only up to us fly anglers to fish it correctly to extract these wild trout. Water is still clear and low with mininum weeds and snags. Hatches these last couple of weeks have not been thick. Weather seems not to affect Hot Creek as one can sink down some baetis/midge imitations and catch fish in the windiest and unstable weather. Baetis Emergers are getting eaten vigoursly in #’s 18-20, T-Midges and Poly Wing Midge Emergers are also on the menu #’s 18-20. PT’s in small sizes (#20) and Red Midge Larva imitations are also flies of choice, all in sizes #18-20.
The Lower Owens had a flow drop last week down to 250 cfs to return this brown trout tailwater to a fine spring time fly fishing destination. Water is clear and water temps are nearing 57 degrees mid-day making for hungry fish. The drift boat has been back on the water! Midges, Baetis, and some Caddis are on the menu. Localized hatches can be found here and there on the river with fish still eating Baetis adults. This can be seen MOST days depending in weather, mid-morning to afternoon. Random top-water attacks on adult midges are also witnessed on the Lower Owens at this time. Nymphing is very successful with all sorts of Baetis nymphs and emerger patterns being eaten. Bubble back emergers, Sparkle triggers, Robo Pheasant Tails and Mights Baetis are just a few patterns to try. T-Midge emergers in pearl are also very successful. Tiger and Zebras are always a good try here as usual. Try the Baetis in #’s 16-18 and the Midges in #18-20. This river is in great condition as long as the flows remain.. Highly recommended… Watch the flows..