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!
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…..
Storms has given the Owens Valley a good amount of precipitation the last couple of days. Upon arriving at the river today we were delighted to find it flowing low and clear with very happy fish. Click the link below for a sample recorded tonight of the rivers condition. Low flows with great clarity and a great Mayfly hatch around 1:00pm today.
Some snow has arrived on the banks of the Upper Owens River making it even more of an amazing place to visit. The Big Trout are still there with newer prospects arriving and moving. Flow rates are at their usual winter levels with great to good visibility, depending on where you fish. The Big and small flies have been tricking the large trout in 2019. Lots of attractors of various types: Hot Head leaches, Pistol petes, Sammy Juan worms, Copper Bobs and Jons, and other similar patterns, Midge patterns, Soft hackles, and some small Beadheads are flies to attach to you tippet. The snow is there but we are still able to drive in, those with a 2-wheel drive vehicles can park at the bridge and take an easy walk in. Streamers! Yes! A sinking tip or longer weighted leader on a standers floating line presented properly on some days seems to be the way to get one of these unforgettable fish into your net!
Temps have dropped yet a little more on the grassy banks of the Upper Owens River with the addition of more precipitation in the Mammoth Lakes area after some threatening storms. Some runoff flowed down Hot Creek making the water below the confluence cloudy for a couple of days. The water above the confluence area took on a tea stained red hue while remaining clear. This has now subsided and clearer flows have resumed. The river is now in perfect condition with flows as clear as any angler would desire. This, of course give the fish the advantage as they can see us coming a mile away on the treeless banks of the Upper Owens. The BIG Trout are indeed moving in! They have moved up and are peppered throughout the system. A Fly Angler only needs to take some time explore the deeper parts of the Upper O too find these world class Trout. Right now we are seeing mostly Rainbows as normal, but there is are more Brown Trout and we can see some Rainbows with Cutthroat trout genes as well. Fish the normal suggested flies; Large attractor Nymphs, Small Midges , Eggs, Worms ect.. Streamers always will take fish here but need to be fished in a proper manner in this spring creek type stream . Stay tuned for much more to come from the awesome waters of the Upper Owens River while Fly Fishing this winter.
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.
The upper Owens is down to a low flow of 64 CFS. Hoppers and Caddis are being eaten on the surface throughout the day. We are not seeing the big fish that swim in upper Owens River from Crowley Lake recently but we are getting some very nice standard size Trout consistently. Attractor patterns such as Robo PT’s, Green Rock Worms and Prince Nymphs and red Copper Johns are just a few of the patterns that will take fish, all in sizes # 16-20. Various leggy hopper patterns in # 12-14, And Elk Hair Caddis patterns and similar patterns to the rising pods of smaller fish #18-20.