October…. scheesh! Where does the time go? We received a dusting of snow over the weekend. Sonora and Tioga Passes have were closed temporarily but have reopened. The temperatures are cold now with morning lows in the 20’s. The fish seem to be edgy and charged up for autumn. I fished yesterday on the Upper Owens and it was ridiculous good. I had one of my best days of trout fishing ever, anywhere. It was crazy fun. The rainbows especially were on the “chew.” They are keying in on perch fry……
The East Walker is cruising along at 222 cfs and the water temps are dropping with the frigid nights. Game on! There are a potpourri of bugs cruising around but they seem to prefer small mayflies, like sized 22. The river fishes really well at these current flows.
The river has dropped considerably thru the canyon and is at 67 cfs. Try patterns like San Juans or Prince Nymphs, big attractors, and fish the margins. Dry droppers work really well at these flows.
The road is open and the flows are 20. The shuttle busses are no longer running so you are allowed to drive your own vehicle down into the canyon. You still need to pay an entrance fee for access. I fished down there a couple of weeks ago and the river is really “boney” with crystal clear water. There are lots of nice little browns and rainbows if you scout around.
The creek is flowing through the canyon at 57 cfs. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the weeds and rocks, plus the overhanging grasses along the margins. There are some nice fish lying in ambush for hoppers falling into the creek. You may not see fish, but they are there. Try a dry-dropper setup with a hopper above and midges or caddis below.
Upper Owens River
The flows are 111 cfs but these are readings taken high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to over 170 cfs. More and more trout are pushing up into the river system from the reservoir. There are some really nice fish to be had with hoppers and Chernobyl ants. The grasshopper infestation is still happening but as the mornings temps are in the 30’s, I cannot imagine the hoppers to be around much longer.
Lower Owens River
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is doing a flushing / scouring purge of the Gorge and the lower river, mandated by Fish and Wildlife. The Lower Owens flows have been bumped up to almost 700 cfs. I would avoid these sections of the river until normal flows are reestablished. These high flows will be good for the health of the river down the line as it cleans out years of sediment and debris.