Spring has sprung, the temperatures are climbing, the days are getting longer, life is good. In general, we are in the ’tweener season…. in between rainbows and before cutthroat. With the warmer days the creeks and rivers are definitely on the rise and we are getting nice hatches of midges, mayflies, and caddis. The fishing has been on the slow side but getting better. It is possible to catch rainbows, browns, and cutthroat on the Owens River so it is always exciting when you get a grab because you never know for sure what you are hooked into.
Enjoy the weather and be respectful to the trout. The cutthroat will be spawning soon. Watch out for their redds when you wade and let spawning fish do their “thing.”
The creek is on the rise at almost 75 cfs, as runoff from the high country is beginning. There is a nice lunch time hatch of BWO’s, size 18’s. Zebra midges, Barr emerges, juju baetis, and scuds will usually elicit a bump. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the grasses and rocks. You may not see fish, but they are in there.
Lower Owens River
The flows are still cranking above the 700 cfs mark, so don’t rush out and grab your fishing gear. The river is spilling its banks and there are sections between Chalk Bluff Road and the river that are wetlands and marshes. It is a muddy, goopy, mess. If you are going to wade, exercise extreme caution. With enough weight you can cast into the quiet water along the edges and perhaps raise a fish.
Upper Owens River
The flows read about 90 cfs but these are taken well above the Hot Creek confluences, so the actual data is a little higher. The river system below the confluence can be muddy, off color, and full of debris if you wander out there just after a wet storm or as runoff from snowmelt begins. It usually takes a couple of days for the river to clear up (as long as another storm does not roll in). Copper Johns, San Juans, egg patterns, and soft hackles work well. You need to make sure you cover the water thoroughly. The trout will grab if you put it on their snouts. There are fewer fish now in the upper section of the river as the fish are heading back towards the lake. The fishing is on the slow side but they are definitely in the river. As the days get longer and warmer, the fishing will only get better. I think we will have a good spring.
The flows have been bumped up to 525 cfs, which makes the upper part of the river, the Miracle Mile, still within the possibility for fishing. You can fish at these levels but beware. If you get dunked, you might be swimming for awhile. Anything below the bridge will be ripping fast as the river narrows and has a steeper gradient. I would stick to the section below the dam. Look for the quiet water along the edges. Watch the flows, they will be fluctuating all spring. Size up on your tippet material, use 3x at the minimum. San Juans, zebra midges, small baetis patterns….