The East Walker is now up to a more fishable flow of 44 cfs. The fishing remains strong, the only catch in arriving there. Since the last dumping of snow a few days ago the trip over the mountains to the East Walker takes a little while longer. The majority of the fish are holding in the slower water due to a slower metabolism from the colder winter water temperatures. One other thing; you will also be much more likely to have the river to yourself this time of year. For bug to toss at them try the usual small midges in different colours and configurations in sizes #18-22… Silver and Gold on Black TigerZebra is a good place to start. Disco and Biot Midges are also a good choice. WD-40’s and PT’s in the same sizes will also get you fish in the middle of this winter wonderland.
As I was arriving last Friday I was the first one to be shut out as the Forest Service was there locking the gate at lower end of the ranch property. Lots of snow has fallen since then making access even harder.. For the serious fisherman the work to get there is well worth it! Mid morning the water boils with fish taking very small #20 Baetis.. Going on into the afternoon they switch over to the Amiocentrus caddis for their afternoon meals. Use #20 baetis imitations or just the good old P. Adams… For the Caddis try a Partridge, Hemmingway or Hot Creek Caddis, once again in a size #20. Under the water voracious bug eating also occures. Very small midges fished properly here will yield lots of trout with some big guys coming out of the creek!
The Upper Owens is up to 121 cfs as this report is being written. Snow covers the banks of the Upper O keeping the fairweather fisherman away for the season. Water temps are obviously down, but the fish really are not. Fish are coming up to midges here and there throughout the day.. Nothing consistent though. Large Crowley Lake fish can still be sighted, fished to, and caught by the patient anger. Use 4×4 or chains to get around here. My Xterra in 4-wheel driver had no problem getting around. Zebra and Tigers are still getting attention here in #’s 18-20.. Try them in red/silver or black/silver. Small baetis imitations and your basic PT in similar sizes will also get you fish here.
Since my last post the Lower Owens has dropped to a perfect flow of 126cfs. The drift boat has been out and roaming the waters of the Lower O. Fish have been more than responsive with many holes holding incredible numbers of fish and some holes having a few.. Overall the fishing has been great! Small baetis and midges are bringing fish up to the surface for some dry fly action. Nymphing small PT’s, Tiger and Zebra Midges and small Soft Hackles will get you into fish all day long #’s 16-20.!! Streamers are also on the menu.. Fish your favorite streamer pattern here to feel many 30+ft handshakes…Also getting many good reports from anglers coming in the shop off the water here… A++ winter trout river!
The East Walker remains at a very cool 19cfs…. The water temps waiver around mid to high forties making it a safe temp for any trout.. The spawning action I have been witnessing has seemed to stop with no spawning action spotted as of 11/20..The nests are not clean looking anymore, although I would not step anywhere near these until the river has filled them in. Very light nymphing is what is needed to be successful here. No lead needed!.. . All small Midge patterns, PT’s and Robos in #18-20 are working well….Lots of midge and small mayfly surface activity for decent sized fish as well. The fish are also obviously eating perch (streamers are getting more attention now)as you can see in the photo of the much over eager brown I came across below. He really makes the phrase “biting off more than you can chew” come to mind…
The East Walker is down to a low flow of 19 cfs.. When you first walk up on the river you say “wow” when you realize how little water is in there. In spite of this the water remains at a great fishing temp and condition. Risers are everywhere eating midges and the fish are competetive and hungry! Few spots will now require you to use lead on your nymphing rigs. Just a handful of Large fish can be seen spawning in very certain areas of the river. (not M-Mile section) PLEASE DONT FISH TO THESE GUYS and let them do their thing.
Fish small Griffaths Gnats for the rising fish and watch for some Baetis emergence as well.. for underwater your favorite midge larva, PT,or WD-40 all is sizes #16-20 will work fine. Try a SJ if you are inclined. Your favorite streamers big and small will also cause big browns to move on your offerings.. I prefer a streamer with some white or lighter colours in it…
ALMOST TIME TO FLOAT!!
The Lower Owens still produces fish to the die hard Lower Owens angler.. As of today the flow is 269 cfs, which is way down from last week and actually very fishable… Wait another week or so for the flows to drop below 200 cfs and it will be on even more!!. Fish midges, Hares Ears and caddis in #16 -#20..Streamers always get attention here.
The Upper Owens is flowing at a steady 58 cfs and has for some time… The BIG Crowley fish are still in and can be found in any pool or foam seam that has substantial depth to it. Though not every hole holds a trophy fish, one must move around from hole to hole to seek out these trophys fishing it correctly. Streamer action can still be found but the colder water has slowed the streamer bite down recently. Nymphing is the way to go with small black and red Poxy or Tigetr and Zebra midges #18 or so, and some SJ worms, hares ears and Small Pheasant Tail type stuff in midge sizes.
Flows at Hot Creek are around 40-45cfs with the Spring and Mammoth Creek combined. The caddis have not been around as much with the colder weather moving in on us the last couple of weeks. The fish will still come up to take a well placed Elk Hair Caddis though! Midges and Baetis are now making more of an appearance than the Amiocentrus caddis we saw most of the Summer.. Nymphing #18-22 PT’s, AP’s, Furmiskys Poxy Midges, Small Tiger and Zebras and properly places WD-40 will still get you into fish under the water all in #18-22’s.. The weeds are still hanging on but are dying off and collecting on any rock they can. These collected weeds are FULL of #12 green scuds which can be fished above a smaller fly I have mentioned above for some decent success. I look for this to get better as the crowds diminish and weeds go away!
Upper Owens is coming along nicely with some nice trout coming out of this caldera spring creek. The entire river has fish of some sort or another.. Stockers can be found below the bridge.. Further on down toward Crowley Lake, some large lake fish can be found seeking refuge from the algae of Crowley in the oxygen rich waters on the Upper Owens… On above the bridge, my clients have been getting into some great crimson striped wild pointy tailed rainbows.. The river is getting better as the fall temps roll on in.. One can land fish on Hoppers and Beetles #10’s and 12’s. Caddis dries (EHC) in #14-18….Streamers in a couple of sizes larger, try #6 -12 in your favorite streamer pattern..Twin lakes specials are a good place to start or go straight to the double bunny depending on your mood. Nymphing deep with Red Copper Johns #12-16, Red Soft Hackles #14-18, Hares ears and PT’s #16-18 and small San Juans will get you fish all day. Also try small Zebra and Tiger midges in pearl and red..