Upper Owens River fly fishing near Mammoth Lakes CA is a great winter fly fishing experience ...even though we just are not seeing the amount of large and prefect catchable fish heading up the river. Flows are still down to the same levels associated with my last Upper Owens Report. Use the same flies and techniques. As weather gets cooler and cooler we should see more trout move on up and in the deep water.
Hot Creek Fly Fishing in Mammoth Lakes has been decent as the newly released citizens are continually getting more accustomed to their new homes in the flowing voclanic aquas of Hot Creek. Fishing can be actually quite fun here using a light nymphing technique with some standard Hot Creek nymphs. Pheasant tails, Midges and Midge Emergers, Small Caddis and Coppers will do the trick. Try these nymph patterns and their Dry counterparts in small sizes for success on Hot Creek. Some Hot Creek surface activity is noted throughout the system, but nothing constant. We look forward to seeing what Hot Creek has in store with its recent re-stocking and instant trout population.
The upper Owens continues to produce a great number of 12 to 15 inch fish. Most of the fish are being caught on streamers and nymphs, with pods of rising trout here and there in certain holes of the river. A small caddis hatch comes off throughout the day with heavy responses from the trout near some of the nice foamy holes. These are usually the smaller trout of the river system. Midge Emergers are ever present and fishing a midge emerger pattern # 18-20 on some days will give you great success on the upper Owens. Other flies to try are; Thin SJ worm patterns # 10-14, Robo and Pheasant tails # 16-20, Hares Ears in similar sizes, and various Midge larvae patterns. Hoppers and Beetles #12-16 and EHC patters are also good to have in the Upper Owens collection lately.
High water hit Hot Creek via Mammoth Creek and it pretty much remains. One thing has changed though - water is still high yet clear, leaving many more seams, lines, runs and riffles to fish in Hot Creek. The fish have adjusted well to the new food being pushed into the water and the stream has been flushed and looks great! Fishing has been HOT! The caddis hatch is starting to come off and the fish are taking advantage of this as they make their ascent from the rocks below. Caddis Pupa of many different kinds have been taking fish all day long. #14-18 sparke pupas in tan and greens, ascending caddis and electric sparkle pupa all in sizes 14-18 are on the menu. On some days olive scuds and SJ worms are devoured, on other days they fish seem to ignore them and focus on the caddis. Small BWO emergers and various Baetis patters are still producing as well #'s 16-20. I hope these flows sustain for Hot Creek for a while as it is a pleasure to fish and no doubt good for the Hot Creek System.
High water has finally hit the Eastern Sierra and that allows fish in certain places where they otherwise do not go. This usually means large lake fish go up flowing streams and creeks to seek out new food sources and spawn the next generation of beautiful fish. We happened to catch some of these waters on the way up and found some of the fish that had recently moved in. Healthy with pointy fins and white tips on all sides these fish are on fire once hooked with 4 and 5wt fly rods! This should only get better as fish use the added water flow rate to make their move upstream. Three species of trout are known to make this run. Flashy Bright nymphs and such as larger Trigger Nymphs #16-18, Robo Pt's #16-18 and tubifex worm patterns are aggressively being eaten. ..
Hot Creek is in rare condition as Mammoth Creek pours in shortly downstream of where Hot Creek flows from the Earth. Currently flowing at 228cfs Hot Creek is in full runoff for the moment and water his high and off color. But, at 11,000-14,000 fish per mile one can still hook fish! This runoff is no doubt good for the system, and when it is all said and done it will be interesting see the effects on the fish after experiencing all the new food getting flushed down the them. Streamers and bugs of the larger variety will still actually take fish here. Stayed tuned for another update in a few days.
The Upper Owens lies about 35 minutes north of Bishop just short of Mammoth. As stated before a few fish seem to be arriving every day, some are very big fish! Some anglers are doing well and some come back with fishermans tales of the big one that got away. With this weather the flows have increased some 30% in the past two days possibly allowing for some numbers of trout to roll up the Upper Owens from the famous trout infested Crowley lake. For bugs try; Prince Nymphs, Robo Pheasant Tails, Pheastant Tails, and Copper Johns in #'s 16-18 Ice Cream Cone Midges and Chironocones in red, olive and black and in #'s 18-20 are also prime bug choices. Large streamers fished correctly by undercut banks can also bring out the meat! Fish your favorite streamer and get it down to them! I will be on the Upper Owens in the next couple of days and I will update here if things drastically change.