The Upper Owens is still giving anglers a fly fishing experience very similar to steelheading on smaller meadow creeks. From the bridge up and being concentrated in certain areas, anglers searching hard and fishing correctly will usually hook up on one of these 20"-25" fish. Very hard to land, one needs to be creative in your fighting style with these fish as they will run hard down to stuff themselves under the closest undercut. Attractor numphs are the ticket here. SJ Worms #12-14, Egg patterns, Purple Princes #14-18, Robo PT's #16-18 and other various Pheasant Tail patterns with a little additional ribbing or sparkle all in #16-18. The Ticket Czech Nymph and the Frenchy Czech Nymph have all been getting big fish attention as well, fish these is sizes #14-16...Some days we have been seeing nobody else on the water in most areas. Enjoy this winter fishery while it lasts!
The Lower Owens is flowing at an incredible fishy flow of 199cfs- increased dry fly activity is noted in some areas. Nymphing is getting most of the numbers also with Baetis and Midge larvae patterns. Find the spots where the fish are is the best advice I could give most anglers that I see having trouble fishing the Lower Owens. All the river has fish in it, especially in the wild trout section, take each bend apart piece by piece to fish it correctly. Good old Pheasant Tails #16-20, Sparkle Trigger and CDC emerger BWO nymphs #18-20 and Split Case patterns in the same sizes are some choices to present to brown trout. Midge patterns to be fished in the Lower Owens range from light to dark in color, recently we have been finding success with our lighter color midges in larvae and emerger form. When fish are on the top they will be eating a #16-20 Blue Winged Olive (BWO). Go for the more exact representations of the insect. Anatomically correct split tails and tapered bodies will fool more of the larger spookier trout concealed in the Lower Owens river. Look for a healthy BWO hatch to start here any day. Once these hatches start they usually come off at near the exact time each day. Stay tuned for some great fishing on the LO!
The East Walker flows low and slow and fishes well throughout the winter. At 26 cfs the water is its normal color which conceals the fish from the anglers and river predators allowing them to roam more freely. Small midges and various mayfly patterns have been taking fish in the winter. Tiger and Zebra Midges in non classic colors #18-20, Biot Midges Grey #18, Miracle Nymphs #18, Thorax Biot Baetis #18-20 and T-Midge emergers and Flashbang Midges in 18's are just a few patterns to take fish.. Don't forget to put a good attractor nymph up top or run a Baetis-Midge rig. Look for the golden yellow browns in your net here!
Hot Creek is flowing slow and low. Dead weed patches dot the river here and there but generally don't bother a well placed fly. Dry fly action is a little less predictable but one can find fish eating dry flies on the surface. The same fly patterns still apply: BWO emerger and Baetis nymph patterns is sizes #18-22: Split Case Caddis, Bubble Back BWO, PT's, WD-40's, Soft Hackles in green and orange, and small caddis worms. Poly wing Midge Emergers are a must #18-22. For Dries try: Ext Body BWO's #18-22, CDC BWO's #18-20, #22 griffiths gnats, Henry's Fork Caddis #18-20 and other variations of these suggested patterns will get you fish on Hot Creek when fished correctly.. Usually only accessible by foot this time of year, snow has not fallen and vehicle access is still available.