Just down from the town of Mammoth Lakes, CA the banks of the Lower Owens river are still overflowing and water surges down its path at around 700cfs. This is way too much cubic feet per second of water to enter, and it is actually a sight to behold. The Lower Owens is hardly containing the water in its banks. The good news for the Trout of the Lower Owens is that this huge flow volume brings that level of food with it as well. When the river recedes to its normal level, and fly fisherman are able to enter, we will see the benefits in the mass of the fish. Lizards and small mammals are in trouble as the trout leave the river bed to roam the newly flooded areas for a real satisfying protein snack. (its a cool thought!)
The Lower Owens River has been raised to a crazy rate of 700+ cfs. This is pretty much a high flow rate that can not be fished for the moment. This can only last so long and we will be the first on the Lower Owens as soon as it drops. The good news is that this magnitude of water of water volume for the Lower Owens brings an incredible amount of food to the fish in there. When the water does come down us Fly Anglers reap the benefits!
Hopper movement is still happening on the Upper Owens within the famous Mammoth caldera just below the town of Mammoth Lakes. Flows are moderate and clear, or slightly tinted depending on where you access the river. The entire system has been turned on to the Hopper protein snacks entering the water. Rarely to they enter the water and live for more than a couple of bends without being consumed by predators below. From below the Browns Campground and up to the border fence the action has been pretty much nonstop on hoppers, nymphs, and streamers ! The only thing that could inhibit the grasshopper action too soon is if we have a few cold freezes. But those cold Autumn nights also bring in the Crowley fish. this should last a while longer as the Big Trout enter the river from the lake…
Hoppers! I really do not need to say anything else on this report! The grassy fields of the Upper Owens River near Mammoth Lakes, Ca have been full of the leaping insects and the resident Trout have been taking full advantage of the situation, no doubt putting on some serious yearly mass for the seasons ahead. All sections of the river have been fishing well. Flows are clear and cool and very manageable. Normal bug activity is also noted in seams and foam lines. Nymphing various attractor nymphs as usual is very effective. Crowds have been here and there but usually one can find a place to call their own for the time they are there.
The Lower Owens has been flowing clean and clear for the last month. Up to around 442cfs, this amazing river is still being fished by a select few who know what she has been holding. The Lower Owens has proven itself over and over again to the fact that if the water looks fishy, there is indeed a small or large amount of Trout holding there. The high flows make it more difficult yes, but the water temps are moderate, driving the fishes metabolism to consume protein in the form of aquatic invertebrates. As for flies the standby Midge patterns, Caddis Worms, Split Backs and Soft Hackles in Sizes #14-18. For dries; Elk hair Caddis, Blue Duns, Stalcups Caddis, Yellow Sallies and Terrestrials in sizes #10-18. These are only a few of the patterns we have been using to extract fish in the Lower Owens River recently. (and put them back of course)
The Upper Owens has been the recipient of the pending runoff recently. Above Hot Creek flows are lower and water has more clarity. Hot Creek appears to be dumping in around 140cfs of the total 260cfs flow. So above this confluence can be the best choice if water comes up any higher on these systems. Fish are found in the same places as before. Drop-offs, foam lines, dark bottomless holes , ect. Fish attractor patterns at these flows. Large bugs have been spotted around the Upper Owens River system so do not be afraid to go bigger on the sizes chosen. Medium Sized to Smaller Streamers tugged and passed through the right waters will prompt a strike from a fish as well. The size of the fish has returned to somewhat normal when compared to the winter population we find in the Upper Owens, but there is always some of the big ones that do not return to Crowley and give us a big summer surprise when hooked!
The Lower Owens has been fishing very well since my last report! Yellow Sallie Stoneflies, Mayflies and Caddis all have been taking fish! Although, Stoneflies have been the major player in the last couple of weeks. Conditions on the Lower Owens near Bishop are in pre-runoff. Holding Steady at 340cfs for the last couple of weeks it is poised to succumb to the melting snowpack in the near future. Look for rising fish under overhanging river willows. These wild Brown Trout are usually looking for a fallen Yellow Sallie to come up and engulf in a splashy moment of violence. Nymphing has been very effective as well, as it is always in the Lower Owens. Start light then take her deep if needed!
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…..
The unbelievable Upper Owens River courses through an meadow and cuts a paradise into the grassy fields of the Mammoth caldera. Not only is she heaven on Earth to experience, she provides a home to some truly trophy trout throughout the colder months of the year here in the Eastern side of the Sierra between Bishop and Mammoth Lakes, CA. These fish are now in post spawn mode and their diet has somewhat changed over to well presented aquatic bugs, and streamers. Flows continue to run low and the Trout have Spread throughout the entire system, it only takes the discerning angler to place his fly in a spot that will bring it by some of the aforementioned trout. Of course, some days we find the finned beasts more willing and aggressive than others… overall fishing have been great on the Upper Owens the last month! Large Tung Jig patterns, Caddis worms, and Purple lightning bugs are only a few things we have been casting out with great success! Stay tuned for more reports as this river goes off in the next month of two. Contact the shop for a guided Fly Fishing Trip to put you right on top of the Trout of a lifetime! 760-873-0010
The Lower Owens River is now seeing the impact of the massive amount of precipitation the Eastern Sierra saw over the last few months. Flows are above 500 Cfs leaving only a few areas open to the possibility of catching a wild Brown Trout on a fly. Water is clear, andnutrient rich.. This event is always good for the size and vitality of the trout on the larger scale for time to come.