Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report
Although the snow is melting quickly, it is still very winter-like with chilly morning temperatures, frost, and occasional snow showers. Crowley Lake is still frozen but there is open water along the margins and some pressure ridges running through the lake. With a big wind storm, I am sure the lake will be ice free for the general trout opener in a couple of weeks. You can always count on midges and BWO’s to hatch no matter what, with an occasional caddis and skwala cruising through. Once the weather turns warm, the trout will be gorging themselves on a long overdue bounty of bugs. The Sierra in general is running about 160% of normal for the season. I look forward to summer and a plethora of water and healthy fisheries.
If you are intent on fishing the Upper Owens, just be careful where you drive and park. Don’t get too frisky driving around especially if you do not own a high clearance vehicle, The main north-south road is fine although there are a couple of intimidating looking puddles (lagoons?) that you cannot avoid. It is when you leave the main road that the fun begins. I’ve been parking out near the main road and walking in…. it only adds a few minutes onto the commute.
The Reservoir is brimming with water and the irrigation district is starting to bleed off the surplus into the river system. The flows have been steadily going up and currently sit at 250. The trout are moving around and settling into their new habitats. Fishing is on the slower side with cold water being released from the dam, but do not despair. There are a lot of hogs in all the good places. Try skwala and baetis patterns.
The creek is flowing through the canyon at 45 cfs. Access is the issue. You will have to park your vehicle near Hot Creek Ranch then walk, ski, or snowshoe in. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the grasses and rocks. You may not see fish, but they are there. Try a dry-dropper setup with a caddis or mayfly pattern above and a midge or scud below.
Upper Owens River
The flows are at 66 cfs but these are readings taken high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to about 110 cfs. More and more trout are spreading out throughout the river system. If you get a hookup, the fish are usually in the 18-22” range, and fat. Try red san juans with egg patterns dropped from the hook bend.
Lower Owens River
The Lower Owens flows are hovering at 655 cfs. Be careful out there at these readings. You can easily go for am impromptu swim and end up in the San Fernando Valley if you are not careful. Most trout are in that 10-12” range but if you poke around and get lucky, you can hook into some browns in the 15-16” category. There are some healthy midge and mayfly hatches throughout the day. I caught fish on everything from green caddis worms to black midges.
Jim Stimson Fly Fishing142 Larkspur LaneCrowley Lake, CA 93546760.209.4300 (cell)