Flows fluctuating with Mammoth Creek and still a great place for a fly fishing destination! As with the Upper Owens the snow has been melting quickly the last few days making soft and wet terrain in places. Driving to the locked gate is not recommended, walk from the Ranch entrance to be sure you are going to fish and not spend your time calling AAA. There is always somebody eating at Hot Creek so be prepared with the usuals I have suggested before: Nymphing is successful with just a hint of weight needed to fish Hot Creek correctly. Try #18-20 copper bobs, Robo Pheastant Tails, Tung PT’s, and various small myfly imitations (WD-40’s) with #18-22 Midge imitations dropped off of that… red biot and disco midges, zebras and tigers and t and z midges all in #18-22’s just to name a few bugs that will find you success when fished correctly on Hot Creek.
The East Walker flows have finally been bumped! Up to 114cfs the East Walker is at a perfect fishing level! Just arriving back from there last night I am excited for the big fish I can see this will produce this year (and did yesterday!)… Water is slighty off colour (it always is) and 42 degrees. Some dry fly action has been happening there on baetis and midges in certain areas. Nymphing and streamer fishing continue to take nice fish out of the EW. A light nymph rig with the correct bugs will get you into fish here with every strike being the possibility of a 20″+ fish. Try moving around and fishing different areas than just a mile under the dam. For fishy flies try; Various colours of Tiger and Zebra midges in #18-20, WD-40’s in greys and blacks #18, PT’s in a number #18-20 and we also got some fish in the slower deeper pools with a #16 prince nymph. Disco midges in pearl and grey in similar sizes also scores fish on the East Walker. For streamers pick your favorite one (rabbit) and get it to the fish. Not much of a sinking line is required here as the weight of a heavy streamer is more than enough for most of the river. A+ on this one!
The Upper Owens has been losing its snow fast the last couple of days.. Walking in from the bridge is still recommended as there is a lot of soft snow and now deep mud and water. Not much has changed here but I imagine with this warmer weater and melting snow that things will start to happen very soon. One can still find large fish lurking in the bottom of most of the slower and deeper fishy holding water. Put Big Streamers and SJ/midge combos on their head to catch a quality fish! This will start to heat up from here on!! Stay tuned on this one..
Hot Creek is still fishing HOT! Low weedless flows make it a true pleasure to fish! A long snowy walk is all that stands between you and this fine fishery at this time (.75-1.5 miles depending). BWO’w come off more or less around noon with fish being very responsive to this for the time they are out! Take off the nymphs and put that BWO dry right on the 6x for some fine top water action. Midges can also be seen getting eaten on top throughout the day, but nothing too steady. Nymphing is on fire with just a hint of weight needed to fish Hot Creek correctly. Try #18-20 copper bobs, Robo Pheastant Tails, Tung PT’s, and various small myfly imitations with #18-22 Midge imitations dropped off of that… red biot and disco midges, zebras and tigers and t and z midges just to name a few that will find you success when fished correctly.
The EW is fishing well even with low flows! Little weight is needed and the fish are responsive. Big fish have been landed by employees here in the shop in the last few days. Snow is still there making the experience even more special. Fish your favorite streamer to see what comes out of the shadows after it to have a look or an eat! Nymphs are still working here with Pearl Disco Midges, Red Disco Midges, Tigers and Zebras, and various colours of WD-40’s all in #’s 16-20.. You can also put a SJ above that for some great success. Fish are spread out throughout the river and the low flows make them very spooky.. When you approach like the fish are not there you will see V-shaped wakes heading away from you and then they are NOT there… Going to get even hotter with March warming this area and a little more water squeezed out of the Dam…
Access is to Benton Crossing with a nice walk upstream to find some big fish that reside here…Flows are up to 158 which is higher than we usually see it in the summer so more weight is necessary to get down to the beasts. Most of the fish are in certain larger oxbow, slow holes. Fish streamers slowly on the bottom looking for that line to tighten.. Nymph slow and deep and make each cast your best knowing it could result in a 20″+ fish.. Fish San Juans here in #6 with PT’s, Zebras and Tigers, Hares Ears and disco midges all in #16-20 dropped off the larger SJ worm. Spend time where the pigs would hang out is the key here.. (slower deeper pools) Dont go here right now to catch lots of fish..go here to hunt yourself a big fish!
The river has been moved up to around 300 cfs as of today. Blue Winged Olives and Midges are still coming off setting off some topwater action in select spots around 12:00pm to more or less around 2:00pm, depending on weather and day. The grannom caddis cases are sealed and they will all pop soon for another round of dry fly action. Some of these small caddis are already starting to make an appearance. The nymph fishing is what takes a downside turn with this suprise spike in flows. However, fish can still be caught; get away from the fast riffles and find the slower moving sections with a slower moving foam line to tell you fish are holding under there for food and sanctuary from the faster water. Brighter patterns such as Robo PT’s #16-20’s, prince nymphs and bubble back emergers #16-18 can be easier for fish to find under water. San juan worms in sizes #6-10 also will bag fish with these higher levels moving new life around in the water. Streamers definitely shine at these higher flows. Yellow and white or dark and white combinations have been taking fish. Put on your sink tip (Airflo depthfinder 22′ sink tip 190gr)at these flows for streamer success.
Made it out for another couple of hours on Friday the 12th to see if it was as good as the day before and we were not let down! The BWO hatch sustained itself until pretty much sunset, with parts of the river producing more emerging insects than others. The hatch has now stretched down the river past Hwy. 6 bridge and beyond. Small groups of risers can be seen as far down as E. Line Street Bridge and down. In the morning hours we noted more midge activity as the fish were feeding on the surface midges until the BWO’s come out mid-morning as the day gets going. As before the midge emerger (T-Midges and other emerging midge patterns) are getting hammered under the surface as well. RS2’s and Loop-Wing emergers in #16-20’s are also good patterns to go with during the baetis emergence. The usual Pheasant Tail and Midge Zebra patterns are also getting business done. Some very satisfying fishing! Walk it Wade it or Float it!
Tip: Move around to new water if what you are standing over is not producting and think outside the box!
Fishing is Excellent with many anglers reports some of their best days (dry fly) on the Lower O!! Fishing continues to be good for most anglers and excellent for more experienced anglers on the Lower Owens.. Blue Winged Olives continue to come off throughout the day in various places in sizes #16-20.. Midges continue to be on the menu as well and are what the trout are eating on the surface when you can not see the the sailboat silhouettes on the water. Some samples to include in your collection are #18-20 Pheasant Tails and Copper Johns #16-20 Tigers and Zebra Midges in varous colours, Palomino midges # 18-20 and other similar patterns are being eaten under the water. One good tip to remember is when you can see adult dry flies on the surface that are not being eaten such as Midges or BWO’s, is to try an emerging pattern such as a RS2 for mayflies or a t-midge for emerging midges. The fish are usually capitalizing on these emerging insects in the water column.
These photos all taken a couple of hours ago 1/24/2010
The Lower Owens has been fishing great all through the storm and today it was on fire! I made it out of the shop to the river without clients this morning to some unbelievable dry fly action on the river! Around 10am a good cloud of midges come off to bring the trout to the surface for a few hours.. A #20-24 Hi Vis midge is one pattern that was working great! After the hatch died down the fish kept on eating below the surface with baetis imitations and emerging midge patters getting hammered! #18-20 PT’s or WD-40 getting eaten.. T-midges (emerging midge patterns)in light colours #18-22 for the dropper worked like a charm…