The Upper Owens River near Mammoth Lakes happens to have some Large fish swimming about its waters. For Fly Fisherman this is always great news and a much awaited time of year has arrived. The spring creek formation of the Upper Owens in the Long Valley Meadow created a perfect, yet unique fly fishing destination. No trees, only surrounded by a wall of mountains consisting of the Sierra range, the Whites, and the Glass mountains to the East and the Upper Owens below Mammoth Lakes runs through it all. The road is still open and snow machines are not necessary as of now. Snow has melted and walking in is a bit easier now. As far as the fishing goes the fish have now moved up from the Lake and spread throughout the system. This is great news currently its about choosing the correct water to fish once your arrive at your beat of river, since the fish have spread throughout the system you don’t need to worry about being in the correct section only to read the water correctly and appropriating your time accordingly. Have your drag set and let these fish run! Otherwise you’ll look around after he breaks you off, hoping your fishing partners did not see you make that rookie mistake and lose your trophy Trout! Attractor patterns are on the menu; SJ worm variants, PT variants, Soft Hackles, Robo PT’s, Coppers and the like are all on the menu. Of course, us guides here at the shop have some of our favorite patterns we tend to lean towards for constant success. Give the shop a call to get on the water with us or for more information. STM Fly Shop – 760.873.0010
The Lower Owens extremely low Flows have come to an end as the flows spiked to a healthy 300cfs since our last report. This did’nt change the bug activity! The same flies are still taking the amazingly beautiful wild Brown and Rainbow Trout that the Lower Owens yields. Large Czech Nymph patterns, Jig Pheasant Tails, Deep sinking Caddis Worms and Midges, and various other patterns that imitate Baetis Nymphs, Rock Worms and Midge Larvae. On my you tube channel you can see these things in real life! Click below to see– >
Hatches are still going off between 12:00 – 2:00pm in larger holes where the flies collect on the water and the trout have a concentrated amount of protein to consume. Be ready for some great fish to come out of the Lower Owens this year.
The Fly Fishing the Upper Owens down from Mammoth Lakes remains a seasonal and somewhat mythical fly fishing destination…. why you ask? BIG FISH! of many species… Although we have not had a fish driving hard storm yet we do have a good showing of over sized fish heading up the river in decent numbers. Flows are low and clear which is typical during the fall/winter fly fishing season on the Owens river system. Fish the places you would hide if you were a big aggressive fish looking to pass your genes on to the next generation! The fish have infiltrated the entire system so read the water correctly and appropriate your time in the fishiest spots. Fish the same flies as in my last report. SJ Worms of various styles, Coppers, PT’s, Hot Heads ect… Don’t be afraid to experiment with some similar patterns as well.
Crowley Lake near Mammoth Lakes Fly Fishing is nearing the end of the season… But not without a bang! The North end of the lake has been a steady producer of Big Trout these past weeks! From Alligator north to Green Banks and the inlet of the Upper Owens the fishing has been on fire. That is if you like Big fish on the end of your line! Search for these Big Trout in anywhere from 8-12 ft of water using the standard Crowley Buzzer Chironomids in #12-16 in various colours that we carry at the Shop.
The Lower Owens river fly fishing has been intriguing! The river is flowing at a good flow of 300+ as the top of the site says here. Water is perfect colour and temperatures are hovering around 44-50 degrees. Some dry fly activity is seen in the foamy areas throughout the day. Usually after mid morning the dry fly action can be seen if any. Of course, under the water a whole different story is happening. Caddis Worms, Midge Larvae, and May Fly nymphs are on the Trout of the Lower Owens diet right now! Some voracious eating of aquatic insects is seriously happening under the surface! Even though water is high with some beginner water reading skills the Fly Angler can pick out the right pieces of river to fish. It seems after months of record flows the fish on the Lower Owens are coming back to show us what that volume of river allows them to become……
The fly fishing below Mammoth Lakes CA on the Upper Owens river in winter is a special place for any serious fly angler. Mainly because it becomes large trout hunters dream with the stream of over-sized trout swimming up from Crowley lake! Flows are low and water varies between very clear and slightly murky, both presenting different presentation situations. As forecasted the Trout are throughout the Upper Owens system, holding in the deepest pools and darkest runs, corners, and banks. Most part of the mighty Upper O’ are fishing well. It is up to each angler to choose the correct water to fish and take into account how much time to spend in each piece he chooses. All sorts of semi salmon/steelhead reminiscent flies are taking fish. Various midge variations, and Pheasant tails/ soft hackles are other ideas to sink down in the Upper. Streamers patterns fished deep ? of course! Fish these whenever you want in any size. Just get them deep!
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.
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.
Just received this awesome video of STM guide Seth C. helping a young angler land a Trout of a lifetime. Copy and paste the Dropbox link below!
The Upper Owens River continues to flow at a tea stained flow of 78cfs at the writing of this report. This is the same flow rate as previous reports and not much has changed flow wise other than a slightly stronger tint to the water. What has changed is the snow levels… although you can not drive in yet, its getting close to the time we can. Standing water is collecting on the fields of the Upper Owens and snow is soft when the sun gets high and warms the area. Arriving up river is easy in the morning while the snow is frozen solid from the night before, as the sun rises it tends to get a little more difficult as it becomes more like a slushee hike around high noon. Fishing remains around the same as my last report as you can see if you’ve been following my videos. Attractor patterns with SJ worms and sometimes eggs on hook sizes #8-18. Some underwater Midge and Baetis eating has been going on by the big Trout of the Uppers system… Try the smaller midge/baetis patterns under a larger one on slower days in the clearer water sections. Streamers as usual, when fished correctly will take large trout. Fish them hard and stick with them to have success!