!! 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!
The East Walker Fly Fishing is still showing us signs of its absolute amazing potential as a trophy trout stream! Flows are a perfect 220 cfs at the writing of this report. Some days are warmer, some days are cooler, and as usual, some days are better than others. The Upper section can be crowded during high tourist periods. Arriving on a weekday and starting early definitely pays off. Stoneflies are out and making a presence here as well so some bigger fly patterns are in the quiver as well as the usual small Midges, Baetis and some Caddis. Streamers you ask? You dont need to ask. Streamers are always a great option here on the East Walker, big or small. For patterns fish SJ worms, Stonefly nymphs and dries, Baetis nymphs and Emergers, and, of course, Midge larvae and Pupae in colours ranging from Black to Cream.
Over the last couple of months the Lower Owens River has been very good to us Fly Fisherman! Flows went up to around 500 cfs and held for a moment, but like the price of Bitcoin, the numbers have tumbled back down to a very nice summer flow of 285 cfs around the time of writing this report. Fish are evenly dispersed and active throughout the entire river system. Stoneflies have been making their presence known, so this allows us fly anglers to fish larger patterns this time of year. #12-18 patterns have been fished regularly with good success under and on top the water. Tungsten Soft Hackle PT’s #12-16 , Hot Head PT’s #14-16 and the like … Midge larvae and midge larvae emergers #18-20 in creams and blacks work well throughout the day as well. Stimulators of various sizes are working well on the waters surface when stoneflies are out and about. You can spot this by the violent strikes the trout give when the take one off the surface. In the morning some small Mayfly eating goes on in some of the beautiful riffles, runs, and foam lines, that the Lower Owens is abundant with …this makes for a great start to the day! .. throughout the day we gravitate towards the larger stimulators on top , and then dropping under the waters surface with the nymphs as the sun rolls higher.
forgive us for the lack of fishing reports as we have been on the river relentlessly these last couple months with great results..
The Upper Owens River is flowing up at around 111 cfs making a nice pathway for the incoming fish from Crowley lake. We have Cutthroat, Rainbow and Brown Trout in the system. And as most of you already know… some of them are extremely large! Of course I am sure you have heard people saying “dont fish to the fish obviously on reds ” this is easy to tell as they are paired up with two or more and in very shallow water. These fish are making more fish for us. Fish the deep pools where the fish are hot and eating…This will allow you to catch a fish that is on fire and ready to fight as they don’t necessarily have trout sex on their mind, and have not been eating because of the pursuit of the female Trout! There is a lot of river to explore with a lot of Trout to find. This is a world class fishery as many people have come through the shop claiming to have caught the biggest trout of their lives on the Upper Owens in the last couple of weeks! Flies are large and usually attractor patterns. Lots of SJ worms, Copper Jons, Tungsten Jigs and even some small midge larvae and caddis can be the choice bugs certain days. Streamers!
The once was and once will be fabulous again East Walker River is flowing at a great rate of 150cfs… Not too awful low! Big fish are being extracted once again from this biomass rich river system. The miracle mile can be packed at times and etiquette can go out the window… but the big fish are there and available to a select few who are willing to put in the time! Small Baetis and Midge larvae #16-22 as usually are always on the menu. SJ worms, Stone Fly Nymphs, and the like are good choices for the top fly. Streamers = Yes! if you wanna put in some time with a streamer its possible to catch the trout of a lifetime in these waters.
The Lower has gone up and down and been cloudy to somewhat clear in a matter of a few days. That being said it is still the place to go for classic wild Brown and Rainbow trout fly fishing! Flows are healthy at 297 cfs… Yes, this is runoff time and it is high. Yet very walk and wadeable if one only throws some caution before stepping in. The same flies are still happening with an rising amout of Caddis being seen, of course there are Mayflies and some Midge activity. Most of the Trouts stomachs of the Lower Owens when pumped are full of Rockworms, with an occasional Yellow Sallie Stone Fly nymph, some Baetis, and a few Midge Larvae scattered in the mix. This could be the time when the Trout of the Lower Owens start to look up and realize there is food indeed on top! Consistently!
The fire did not affect the fishing on the Lower River at all. With that out of the way let’s talk about the fish we have been getting! Like the crew at the Shop has been seeing, many Fly anglers are coming in the shop are reporting respectively larger sized trout when compared to recent years past. It’s been a great start to the year on the Lower Owens. Also, fish have started responding to the Baetis hatch that happens somewhere around 12 to 2 p.m. Which can lead to an amazing day when your there for it. The best thing happening right now though is the amazing size of fish we have been seeing in the Lower. Not your stocked Rainbow trout below the bridges. I’m talking about very nice wild Brown Trout… Lots of free living rock worms, Baetis, stoneflies and Midge larvae can be seen under almost any rock. Fish have been keying in mostly on the Caddis and Baetis with an occasional stonefly and Midge. This can change quickly though! Stay tuned for much more to come!
The Upper Owens River meanders through a field just south of Mammoth Lakes CA… Big spotted and aggressive creatures roam these waters this time of year and will continue for a couple months more! Beautiful Lahonton Cutts, Browns and Rainbows can be caught and released in this amazing Sierra stream. Flowing at 69.0 cfs once again the entire system has fish. You the Fly angler must read the appropriate water and choose where to spend your precious time on the water. Flies remain the same as in previous reports; Lightning bugs, SJ variations, Frenchies, Tickets and the like… Streamers have also been getting more attention recently! Call the shop for more info on this amazing stream! 760-873-0010
The Lower Owens Continues to flow as it always has during the end of the winter season. One thing recently different is that it now flows through a some what moon like landscape after a fire swept across the wild trout section and made it just past five rivers bridge. Fishing remains untouched and hatches and bug life is healthy. The entire river from PV campground to South of Bishop is fishing very well. Right around noon we have been cutting off the lead and putting the nymph rigs away for a healthy, and usually river wide, BWO dry fly session. Coming off in #16 -#18 these are a pleasure to fish, easily seen afloat on the water they make a great mark for the Fly Angler and Trout alike. The Trouts bellies have been packed full of Baetis nymphs, free Living Rock worms, and the occasional Midge. The rock worms are up to a size #14, and are everywhere! Check the top of the STM site for constant flow updates and stay tuned as spring spreads herself on the Owens valley and its water ways.
The Lower Owens has has some major events recently! A wind driven fire jumped around and burned about 70% of the river bottom from the dam area to below Five bridges last week. Chalk Bluff road is now open and fishing has resumed as normal! The river looks excellent and we were the first ones on the water after the fire and were very pleased with the great results. In other words, not many fish were killed, at all. Flows continue to stay low with clear to semi clear water depending on your location. As the fire was burning we were forced to fish down lower on the river than our usual guiding spots. We were very happy with the results as fish have been relocated throughout the system after the amazing high water experienced a few months ago. The same seasonal flies mentioned in my last report are still enticing the wild brown trout of the Lower Owens. (Caddis Worms, PT variations, Midge larvae and emergers, BWO nymphs and emergers) fish these bugs in sizes #14-#18. Mayflies still come off around noon throughout the river system … Fish rising to these Baetis can be spotty but have been noted recently. Stay tuned for more as this amazing system prepares itself for springtime fishing!