The weather on the Trout Opener, Fishmas, did not disappoint. Crowley Lake was nasty with biting winds, snow, sleet, cold temperatures, and of course trout. Anglers hooked into rainbows, browns, and cutthroats. I myself stayed indoors most of the day to tie flies and kick back as I fished hard the day before on a year ‘round stream. See photo below…..
Lower Owens River
The stream flows have been fluctuating. Right now the river sits at about 300 cfs, give or take a few feet. The wading is difficult as the water is swift and cold. The fish are seeking the quiet water along seams and the deeper buckets below tail outs. For indicator nymphing, tie on black zebra midges in the mornings then make a bug adjustment as the temperatures rise. Go for something in the baetis family next. Red San Juan worms have been working well when the “normal” bug array are not eliciting grabs. And there is the odd caddis cruising around to add to the confusion. The grabs are subtle and lethargic. Yarn indicators work great this time of year. Not only will they land softly but more importantly, you can detect even the softest takes.
Upper Owens River
The river seems to roll along at a constant forty something cfs..… the odd, big rainbow can still be found here and there but a lot of fish have moved back into Crowley Lake. However, the cutthroats are moving up into the river to spawn. Please be careful where you wade. You can see their “redds" along the gravely sections of the river. These are the light colored areas on the bottom that have been cleared by the trout to lay their eggs. You can easily kill thousands of fish with klutzy wading. And, please do not cast to fish sitting on redds. The cutthroats have depleted energy reserves and are stressed from the spawn. Please be respectful of the fish and help ensure a healthy population of trout for the future.
The flows are going up again. As I write this, the river is getting close to 90 cfs — a nice healthy level for fish and anglers. The EW or “Dubyah” is a treat to fish…… I will say no more.