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 Lower Owens extremely low Flows have come to an end as the flows spiked to a healthy 300cfs since our last report. This did’nt change the bug activity! The same flies are still taking the amazingly beautiful wild Brown and Rainbow Trout that the Lower Owens yields. Large Czech Nymph patterns, Jig Pheasant Tails, Deep sinking Caddis Worms and Midges, and various other patterns that imitate Baetis Nymphs, Rock Worms and Midge Larvae. On my you tube channel you can see these things in real life! Click below to see– >
Hatches are still going off between 12:00 – 2:00pm in larger holes where the flies collect on the water and the trout have a concentrated amount of protein to consume. Be ready for some great fish to come out of the Lower Owens this year.
(click report link for video)
The long-awaited Lower Owens River dry fly fishing is beginning at a great rate. Come to the Owens and fish size #14 through #18 Baetis patterns for the fly fishing you’ve all been waiting for!
BWO hatch is on!! The event that many of us have been waiting for! A little past high noon a thick Baetis hatch comes off in a rather large size of #16. The fish have recently started responding and looking up to these top-water protein snacks. Blue Duns #16-18, Hendricksons #16-18, and Baetis Zingers in similar sizes are a few of the patterns popular with the fish we cast to them. Before this day changing event the nymphing has also been very successful, making for an amazing day. Use the same bugs as listed in previous reports; Caddis, Mafly, and Midges tied in nymph stages. Soft Hackles, PT’s, Bubbleback Emergers, Caddis Worms, and various Midge Emergers will get you fish when placed in the troutiest water such as; foam lines, large deep pools with evident seams, well defined drop offs and deep riffles.
The Lower Owens, once again, has been very good to the persistent Fly Fisherman. Flows are down at their usual levels for this time of year of around 100cfs give or take 10cfs depending on where you are. Spotty dry fly hatches have been happening for some anglers in the bend right above their buddies! These have been larger Baetis Mayflies and can be replicated with a #16 or #18 BWO pattern (Blue Winged Olive). Some midges can be seen above the water but with limited response from the Trout. They seem to be liking Midges much more below the water recently. Green Caddis worms, or some types of Midge larvae fished under the waters surface have been a fish producer for most of the day. Tung Jig PT’s with a nicely tied Soft Hackle have been absolutely reliable for us fishing guides at STM on the Lower Owens River recently. The entire system has something to offer this time of year. You have to come up and try it for yourself to see exactly what I am talking about. Call the shop for more info. 760-873-0010
Lower Owens River fly fishing continues to be a very rewarding fly fishing experience for some of the most beautiful, and wild Brown Trout you will ever see. Flows are low and clear and wading is very easy to figure out. Mayflies make their appearance in the warmer parts of the day throughout the river system. If your lucky you will be in an are where the fish deem it worthy to rise to the surface and pluck the unsuspecting, sexually mature bugs from the surface. For bugs concentrate on, of course, Midges, Baetis, and Caddis .. in that order as well.. for now. Trace has been tying up some great Midge Larvae and Midge Emergers with a little shuck that have been downright fooling the fish. Green Caddis Worms, Emerging Caddis, and larger PT variations fish well above a small Midge or Baetis Emerger. RS2’s have also been a choice out of the box recently.
Good news! It looks as if us Lower Owens wild brown trout fans are going to get one more go around on the Lower Owens River here in Bishop this summer. I have received word that the Lower Owens is on its way down to 300cfs because of the additional runoff flowing into the Lower Owens river bed south of Bishop. Most of you know this is a great flow to fish the LO. Fish are out and moving around as well as the bugs. Czech nymphing works very well at these flows as you can get up on the fish more without being noticed. Also these flows are perfect for taking out my driftboat which I will be doing in the next few days. Be ready for more reports on this river as it is 340 cfs as I type this and should be around 300 in the next couple of days. For those of you who have had the opportunity to fish the Lower Owens in June at these flows, you know how great the fishing can be as the temps reach a perfect trout temperature of 50-57 degrees which turns on their metabolism converting them into bug eating machines. Water is clear and ready to fish with the very limited pressure the Lower O has received as of late due to the recent high flows. Stay Tuned….
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 Lower Owens River has been raised to a very fast 547cfs of slightly off-color water. Fly fishing is tough at these conditons and access can be hard at best to find. On the other hand the water temps are up to a point to where the wild brown trout that reside there are very hungry. Foam lines and slower moving parts of the river are the places where you will find fish. Robo Pheasant Tails, Sparkle Trigger Nymphs, Prince Nymphs and RS2’s are getting eaten, all in sizes #16-20. Streamers on a heavy sink tip are also a method to take fish at these flows. We have been doing the best with darker coloured streamers recently.
The Lower Owens has stabilized at around 300 cfs of very fishy river. Water temps are in the prime zone to turn up a trouts metabolism = they have to eat a lot. Lots of holding water can be found at these flows, clarity is 90%. The drift boat is back out and I am loving it! Small baetis hatches come out early morning – afternoon but are not found on the entire river. you can find different holes and riffles where dries are being eaten during these times. Nymphing has been excellent! – Trigger nymphs, Sparkle Triggers (here at shop), Robo Pheasant Tails, PT’s, Hot wire princes, princes, and Ice Cream cone style midges are taking fish. All is sizes #16-18. I did see some Yellow Sallies out the other day so some #14’s in the PT styles have been working nicely. If these flows sustain these levels at this time of year the Lower Owens will continue to be a very dependable fly fishing destination. A+