Big and beautiful trophy trout are reason ambitious anglers travel across the globe. We are fortunate enough to have this opportunity right here in the Eastern Sierra while Fly Fishing on the Upper Owens River! Each missed strike could be a lost opportunity to latch onto the trout of a lifetime. The moment you hook into one of these bruisers they instantly demonstrate the weight and power they possess sending your senses crazy and a feeling overwhelms you that you cannot forget and you want more! The Upper Owens River is flowing at a clear and steady rate of 111 cfs below the confluence of Hot Creek. Above Hot Creek the Fly Angler can expect to find gin-clear flows around 100cfs give or take a few. The Mountains around the Upper Owens have been dusted by a touch of snow last night showing us Winter is on her way. For those of us that know we have been anxiously awaiting this time of year to see what this years infamous run of jumbo sized trout consists of. So far it has not let us down! For patterns to offer to these large trophies one can fish Streamers, SJ worm variations, Jig Flies, PT variations, and other attractor patterns can be successful. Smaller yet great fish are rising to small mayflies in the warmer parts of the day. These rising fish are up to 15″. We have seen, on rare occasions, the larger trout rise to dry flies.
The Upper Owens has undergone a few changes since my last report. Weather has changed in the direction of winter, dropping the temperatures around the Mammoth Lakes area extending down to the grassy plains of the Upper Owens River. Hoppers can still be seen, but numbers are diminishing during the coldness of the nights. However, after eating the leggy creatures for a solid few months it seems that they still hold some residual memory of the big insects. The Upper Owens trout will still come up and eat a hopper for the time being, during the warmer parts of the day. Some of the anticipated big boys coming out of the lake have been spotted in the deeper holes of the river. We will have to see what this year holds as these this spectacular run of fish swims up the Upper Owens from Crowley Lake from now and forward. Stay tuned!
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.
Crowley Lake has been giving us fly anglers something unforgettable this year. Big Trout of three different varieties! Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, and the infamous Lahonton Cutthroat, are all growing big and plentiful in Crowley lake this summer of 2019. Our brand new red Mako 19′ CPX has been nothing short of perfect for fishing Crowley Lake delivering us quickly and comfortably with style to our favorite locations . From 10′ to 22′ we have been finding fish and bringing them to the Mako. Always moving around when necessary, the Lake will let you know when it is time to pull up anchor and present your slim offerings at another location. The North Arm, Mcgee, and the other named bays around these areas have been very productive for the STM crew. Nymphs of Damsel and Dragonflies have taken fish recently, of course Chironomids have been the staple overall. Sizes range from #12-16 and in colours from Black to White. Weather is warm and water is prime. Some bays are showing some green algae in the middle of the day near the warmer parts of the shore but not affecting the areas anywhere near where the fish are. Its time to call the shop and see what Crowley has to offer and see how quick you are on the strike!
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 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
Big fish still here? YES! The Upper Owens River near Mammoth lakes California is still steadily producing some of the largest fish a Fly Fisherman can find in small running water. Flows are up a little after some of the precipitation we received over the last couple of weeks, and we are preparing to receive more possibly over the next couple of days. The fishing has remained consistent and unchanged since my last report with some snow melt making for slightly better access. Right now you need to have a snowmobile, snow shoes, or just walk up the river until you find a place in the Upper Owens that could possibly hold the trout of a lifetime!
The Upper Owens has been continuing its legacy of giving us BIG Trout all winter long! Recently some rather handsome fish have been coming out of her deepest and darkest runs and holes. By the picture you can see the amount of snow is not at a level where it inhibits driving to the river from the pavement at Benton Crossing Bridge. However, we did fire up the snowmobiles up the other day to be ready for the big snow that could possibly blanket the banks of the Upper Owens in the near future. At this point nobody can really predict if we will actually really need them this year. The 4×4 vehicle may be sufficient. Streamers and Attractor style nymphs are still on the menu as the big fish must eat! SJ worms variations, Copper Bobs and Jons, PT’s and Princes are just a few of the patterns lost on the bottom of the Upper Owens while trying to seduce an oversized trout. Flows continue to be low are very fishable. Its time to come and fish the Upper Owens River 2019.. You’ll regret it if you don’t!