Jim Stimson, Jim Stimson Fly Fishing
I’ve been fishing the Upper Owens a fair amount for no other reason than there are still some big bruisers swimming around in the river system and it’s fun to hook into some big rainbows for a change. AND, it’s only about 15 minutes from my house. I can sit down to the tying vice in the morning, slurping coffee, and experiment with new patterns or try out some new material, then zip out to the river to see if they work.
Upper Owens River
The river is low and clear but big fish are lurking throughout the system. They move out of Crowley Lake to winter in the waters of the upper Owens River watershed. Most of the fish are hanging out in the slow, deep, dark pools. With the low water, 50 cfs, use a little caution approaching the water. If you clomp up to river’s edge, the trout will feel those vibrations and dive for cover. Use some stealth and walk with light feet. Nymphing tends to be the best and most consistent tactic. With the cooler water the fish tend to be a little more lethargic. So, it may take many casts and the perfect drift to get a fish to make a commitment. Keep at it, they’re in there. Pink San Juans, Copper Johns, PT’s and roe patterns have been working well.
Lower Owens River
The river has been fishing well, mornings to afternoons. Nymphing has been very productive using midges, loop winged emergers, Barr emergers, PT’s, drowned spinners, etc…. just about anything baetis will work if presented well. Before you wander back to your car for lunch, you might want to stick around and check out the BWO hatch. It occurs around noon, you can almost set your watch to it. First the flurry of mayflies, then the rise forms. The trout start looking up and getting in on the surface action. If you enjoy fishing with dries, the time is now. The hatch lasts approximately an hour. Postpone your lunch….. you will be glad you did. Small baetis patterns work well (#18-20) such as an Adams, hackle stackers, etc. And keep your eyes peeled for trico hatches. Griffiths Gnats work well for these tiny little guys. Nice fish are coming up to enjoy the feast. Enjoy.