The Lower Owens River just down the hill from Mammoth Lakes and right outside of Bishop, California has been great fishing! Willing wild fish, both Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout, have been very healthy and hungry this early winter season. The river is down to a beautiful flow rate of around 150 cfs of fishable and wadable water. The entire river seems to want to show us the amazing trout she holds, from the dam, to down below Bishop the successful angler will find all the Trout one desires. Nymphing has been the go-to successful technique although streamers and dries has been playing a part of the fishing action as well. Just around noon a small Mayfly hatch starts to form and some trout put their noses above the water to have a taste. This have been escalating the last few days and we expect some full blown dry-fly action any time now. The amazing thing about the Lower Owens is that if the water looks like it holds Rainbow and Brown Trout, they are in there. It is up to the knowledgeable Fly Angler to figure out how to extract these amazing wild fish. Flies to try are; Soft Hackles, Midges, Caddis Worms, PTail patterns, Attractor Nymphs and some Micro Mayfly imitations are all a good bet. On top, a traditional Adams, Baetis Dunns, and Parachute Adams are a few suggestions for patterns on the surface. Overall the fishing has been beyond satisfying and we look forward to this winter fishing on the Lower Owens River right here in Bishop, California.
The Upper Owens River seasonal large Trout continue to haunt its darkest areas is full post spawn mode. Making them back in to aquatic bug eaters! The river remains in about the same condition as my last report although, either good or bad, we have seen clearer water conditions due to the lack of precipitation these last couple of weeks. Fish continue to haunt the deepest and darkest portions of the Upper. Cast out similar patterns as mentioned in my previous few reports. With Mammoth in the distance and the snow almost gone on Long Valley Floor, you could say the Upper Owens is pretty close to paradise for most of us. It will be interesting to see what is going to occur in the next few weeks as it warms up and cool water flows heavier from up high…..
Opening at the end of the month the Legendary Crowley Lake will show us what it has in mind for us this year… After the water years recently we can all imagine what large and aggressive Trout roams the chironomid infested waters; Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Lahonton Cutthroat and some feisty Cuttbows. If they were as big as humans, we would fear them….. I will include a few pictures of the recent past just to jog your memories of what is to come in a matter of weeks. Call the shop for more questions or to book on trip on our special Crowley Boat! 760-873-0010
The Lower Owens has been nothing but good to us this January of 2019! Nymphing has been very steady nearly all days on the same usual winter patterns: (Tung Jig PT soft Hackle, Green Caddis, Midge Larvae..ect.) The flows continue to be around 100cfs give or take a dozen cfs. This, of course, leaves the entire river open to wading and access is at its best. The Baetis (BWO’S) are starting to make an appearance! In the last week we have had the pleasure off fishing dries for a good part of the day! This, as I have said before, only happens in certain parts of the river. One must find a slow moving foam line in deep enough water with adequate cover nearby. That is where you will find the risers at the moment. Soon, very soon this even should be river-wide… stay tuned!
The Upper Owens has been a consistent Big Trout Factory for the last couple of months! Awesomely wild and perfectly finned Rainbows, Cutt Bows, and Brown Trout will continue to be roaming the waters of the Upper Owens River for the next few months. The snow level has pretty much vanished at this point and needs no further attention. Of course upon arriving in the morning hours it is well below freezing on most days, this, of course adds to the experience as you take in the surroundings and realize what are special place you are able to visit to sample her amazing Trout. The same techniques and strategies hold as in my December post. Deep holes and riffly water erase the view from the surface which keeps these oversized beasts of the river hidden, feeling comfortable and safe, and ready to eat! All sorts of Tubifex worm patterns, Tung Jigs, and various attractor patterns in larger sizes will give you a shot at these unforgettable fish. Streamers are always an option here as well. This will keep you casting and strategizing all day on how to get one of these trophy Trout into your hands for just a moment….
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. ..