The Jewel of the Eastern Sierra the Lower Owens River remains high for us fly fishing addicts down in Bishop. At current flows of high 500’s she is a real fast mover but there are places where she shows us the beautiful Trout she possesses. Slow moving foam lines and dropoffs can hold a lot of fish. Deep nymphing attractor patterns are what are taking Trout here. Robo and T-Jig Pt’s, Midge emergers, and Green Caddis Worms are on the menu! When these flows subside the fish in are there… waiting to show us what they are made of after two years of high water volume and more food coming at them than they are usually accustomed to.
The Upper Owens River fly fishing has been a delight to fish this late Summer! Even though we are seeing cooler temps during the nights there are still some grasshoppers around keeping the fish tuned in. Flows are low and clear all the way to Crowley with minimal weeds. A few fish have been making their way up from the lake, nothing huge… yet… Fish Caddis and Mayfly nymphs and dries. Streamers and hoppers are definitely worth throwing out there depending on conditions. Wind can blow hoppers and terrestrials in the water! Make sure and check the regulations as they change around this time of year.. It is always barbless above the Bridge.
Lower Owens fly fishing is always satisfying, yet recently has been cranked up and down by the LADWP and now sits at 490cfs a second. Although this is a very high flow for this time of year it is going to be very short-lived. These high flows during hot parts of the year retains the low cool temperatures of the running water making for a very healthy system. And in turn, larger and healthier trout! We have been seeing some amazing Brown Trout coming out of the Lower Owens recently. Caddis are still on the water and need to be in an anglers box. Midge Larvae, and Baetis patterns, in very small – medium sizes are also what the trout are seeing and eating in the Lower O. These high flows should not continue long as the reservoirs are getting very low at the moment…
Crowley Lake fly fishing has been good – slow – great. The Algae bloom has come and had now subsided a bit in some parts of the lake. It was a green soup for a while but yesterday water was much more its usual colour. The North Arm along Green Banks and across the arm has been the place to be as of late. Weather systems, mostly composed of wind, has been touching the eastern sierra recently making the fishing on Crowley a combination slow and very exciting fishing. The Sacramento Perch fry seem to be arriving late this year. This gives fly anglers the possibility and likelihood of an amazing Fall fly fishing on Crowley Lake! Tie on the usual Chironomid style fly offerings and don’t forget to carry a few different sized Perch patterns from about #14 up!
Within the last couple of days the Lower Owens River has dropped to a lower flow of around 33o cfs!! This opens up an amazing amount of fly fishing river to give access to some amazing sections that hold some hyper strong wild Brown Trout. Water temps are upper 50’s due to the cooler nights and lower overall day temps we have been experiencing. The river is full of bug life with midges and Caddis with an occasional Stone fly skittering over the water…running a gauntlet of Trout. The fish are definitely looking up to the well placed Stimulator, Terrestrial, and Caddis patterns. The size of the bugs out will tell you what size to use. Stoneflies are big, Caddis are medium-sized, and Midges are small….. It is wise to start light on the nymph and less deep than normal right now as fish are active and don’t need to see their meals hugging bottom to eat. This is the time for this river as summer turns fall and all around temperatures drop.
Crowley lake has been a steady fish producer throughout the season. As usual for this time of year there is a lot of fish in most popular areas, pretty much all of Mcgee bay is roamed by Rainbows, Browns and Cutthroat Trout. From aroud 7′ to 20′ of water fish can be found. It is now Perch Fry time of year. We usually will always have a Perch imitation of some type while fishing Crowley this time of year. They will still always hit the midge but there is a great chance to find a pod of Trout keyed in on Perch Fry. Crooked Creek now has some smaller fish that are willing and can be a day saver when the wind comes up or you just want to find something that makes your indicator move. Fish various Perch Fry patterns with the standard Crowley Midges beneath them in anywhere from 7′ to 20′ of water… Its a lot easier to cast the shallower water setup, but the payoff for going deep can be awesome on Crowley!
The Lower Owens continues to drain the Eastern Sierra at a high and healthy flow of around 500cfs. Even though this makes for tough fishing the high flow rates maintain a lower temperature, even through August. The outcome of all this water is always good! Fishing conditions pretty much remain the same as my last report.. Large Stimulator type patterns, and smaller types of Mayflies fished on top, while imitations of these aquatic insects in their nymph and larvae form are fished underneath the water. Fish are looking for a break from the strong main current … So read the water carefully to find some healthy wild Brown Trout putting themselves in places they can rest and eat!
The Upper Owens river is in perfect condition!! At around 114cfs water is clear and weeds are not bad. Below the bridge or anywhere on the Upper Owens system the majority of fish are being caught on Hoppers (yes hoppers) and attractor style nymphs. While walking to the river anglers who look down will see a ton of hoppers flying before their feet. Common sense tells us that maybe we should fish Hoppers in this case! Wind is even better! Small amounts of Caddis and Mayflies can be spotted in certain areas of the river with a varied response from fish. Fish appropriate patterns in this case then re-tie on your Hopper pattern as you continue on. #10-14
Recently the Lower Owens has become the main recipient of all the precipitation being dumped on the Eastern Sierra this past month! This did bring the flows up to above 500cfs at the time of writing this report which makes getting around the river a little harder, but, the fish are still there and active! Fishing here is only recommended with an experienced STM guide or an angler who knows exactly where to go and how to fish in this runoff situation. Caution is advised when entering the water on the Lower Owens at current levels. Stoneflies, Yellow Sallies, some Hoppers and Baetis are a few things fish have been eating on the surface. Underwater the nymphs are doing very well as usual. Lots of PT variations, Midges and Green Caddis are being eaten under the waters surface. Check in with the shop before attempting this river if you have any questions.
!! For the local creeks and streams the weather did not turn out to be as hot as forecasted and the local rivers responded very well. Flows are slowly descending yet water remains very clear and cool. Trout and most fish are in a hungry stage as there is a lot of food present while their summertime metabolism tells them its time to eat and gain some weight. Dry flies have been super productive the last few days with the nymph box only being opened a few times. We have been fishing a variety of flies from larger Hopper attractor patterns down to #18 Midge and Beatis. All depending on where you are, and the time of day .. the fish have been looking up!