The Upper Owens is a beautiful river to fish is these late days of July. Grass is green, flowers remain, and the river is down to a very nice fishable level! The huge fish the make their way up river in the colder months have returned to Crowley and the resident fish of the river remain. With the water levels abundant grasshoppers abound everywhere and when presented correctly can provide some reasonably violent eats against the opposite deep banks. Attractor nymphs and larger offerings are getting eaten. Fish are not giving themselves away here. The Fly Angler must cover water to have success in the Upper Owens right now. Above the Hot Creek confluence the water is a bit lower and different colour, you might also find less people. Below Hot Creek water is higher and stained a reddish tea colour. Both are fishable and we have had equal success below and above.
Crowley has good days and so-so days. Mostly good days if the correct patterns and locations are being used. This time of year its all about McGee, this is somewhat obvious by the amount of watercraft packed into a certain area. Fish anywhere in between 10-21 feet of water for success. Earlier in the day more fish seem to be landed in shallower and typically moving out to the depths as the sun rises. The chironomid patterns I have suggested before are still our main go to bugs; Crowley Buzzers in #12-14 of all sorts of colours. Fish 4x and 5x to hold the big fish and be ready to let those Rainbows run!
The Wild Brown Trout rich waters of the Lower Owens River are slowly lowering their fierce runoff levels to a rate that is at least fishable. Fluctuating between 400-450 cfs the system is in Amazing condition! Feeding on larger patterns is typical for this time of year and the Browns of the Lower O are fully proving that by eating ; #14-18 Pheasant tail variations, Soft Hackles, Hot Heads, and Yellow Sally imitations. Of Course, look for holding areas away from the strong main current with cover and depth nearby. On the surface some fish can be enticed to feed up top with larger attractor patterns, smaller Stone fly patterns, and Foam Buggies of your choice. Fish these in various colours in #10-16. If you do plan on fishing the river watch each step you take in or near the river. Things are not the same as they were before the high flows. We are absolutely anticipating this river to continue on with its legendary dry fly fishing, producig beautiful Trout of pure quality. Quite possibly better than before after this record flushing the Lower Owens received these last few months.
Crowley Lake is of course sticking by its reputation by being a trout factory!!.. particularly large Trout of three varieties; The amazingly beautiful Lahonton Cutthroat, The wise Brown and the ever fighting, reel burning strain of Rainbow Trout. We have been fishing the North Arm, Leighton Springs, Sandy and Six Bays just to name a few places. As usual the Crowley Buzzers here in the shop work as well if not better than their competition. One of the reasons is the hook gap. They are tied on scud hooks with a aggressive hook gap, not a long thin stimiulator hook with a tiny gap that does not sink in like wider gap hooks. They also have a much more realistic gill on top. Fish these is different color varieties from 12-22 ft. We all hope to fish shallow but sometimes we find them hanging out in 20+ feet of water. Stay tuned for a lot of great action to come out of Crowley Lake!
Hot Creek is delivering over 250 cfs of fast flowing sierra water to the lower and mid sections of the Upper Owens River! Above the confluences (remember Hot Creek enters in four different areas) the river is much more manageable at around 150 cfs. There is standing water in many areas on the way out to the river that you have probably never experienced before. This can lead to some serious mosquito action in the right conditions. A mixture of late spawners and resident trout remain in the Upper. Water is highe and fast so use larger attractive nymphs and streamers ... and sink them deep!!
The Lower Owens continues its onward path south at over 700 cfs! This is a magical water year that will for sure echo for years to come. Some crazy anglers have been targeting trout and other species in the newly formed backwater parts of the river where fish have moved up and in for the purpose of getting out of the torrent of a current and to find some new food. This is done with extreme caution and only by crazy anglers with the extreme withdrawls for a Lower Owens tug!
The Eastern Sierra Creek Fishing since opener has been great! Flows are high yet clear. The cooler night temps are freezing the upper elevation snowpacks and ice at night, therefore letting the runoff continue slowly, instead of a fast dirty and dangerously high runoff.... Not many terrestrial patterns are being fished yet, as once again the cool nights are keeping the terrestrial bug population at bay. Under the water is an entirely different story as the fish are warming up to the spring days sun and making up for lost time not eating while under the last winters snow. Nymphs of all sorts and varieties are taking fish, mostly of the attractor type. A few examples are; Prince Nymphs #12-18, Pheasant Tail variations (Robo, Soft Hackles, ect) #12-18, Soft Hackles #12-18, Egg Patterns #14-18, San Juan Worms of all sorts #8-14. Streamers passed on front of an aggressive Trouts face stands a good chance of getting violently eaten. The Marvel Spinner Bugger is one effective pattern over here right now in the Eastern Sierra Creeks. Check back for more updates as water levels can change frequently.
The Upper Owens River Fly Fishing continues to impress even the most worldly fly angler... currently its running high and clear as it meanders through its high elevation course, cutting a high meadow in two. Some mud can be found in certain areas so be aware of this. The fish are there and they are still BIG! And yes, the ones we have been waiting for are starting to show up .. Big deep red sided ones.... the same techniques and flies still apply here... Flashy Steelhead type patters sunk deep. Streamers pulled through the deep holes, and high sticking (czech nymphing) will all lead to success when executed correctly. This should see an influx of more fish as the runoff rolls on....
The Lower Owens Fly Fishing is pretty non existent as it is still receiving an amazing flushing flow of water... very few souls attempt to fish the River at the current level of around 700+cfs... There has been Bass and Carp taken out of the river to the East and South of Bishop. Fish the back eddies to find these fish. Even though water is high, it is relatively clear. Stay tuned for this amazing fishery to finish run-off and show us what its capable of with new runs, riffles, and holes once this historical run off comes to an end.