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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

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Jim Stimson Reports on 6.9.2016

June is for elections and spring runoff. I won’t dive into politics too much other than this is the most bizarre scenario for a Presidential election I can ever recall. November will be interesting….. 

The high country is melting out and the rivers and creeks are swelling with runoff. Don’t be too discouraged if your favorite stream is off color, and the color of hot chocolate. I’ve caught some of my biggest trout ever in murky, fast water. Fish the margins with something like a San Juan worm. Though not pretty, they do work. Trout still need to eat. Increase your tippet size a click, and huck out a worm. You might be surprised.

Lower Owens River

The stream flows have stabilized. Right now the river sits at about 225 cfs, give or take a few feet. The wading is difficult as the water is swift, deep 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. And there is the odd caddis and golden stone cruising around to add to the confusion. Those bright green caddis worms work like a charm once the morning chill wears off.

Upper Owens River

The Upper O is finally starting to see some higher levels. The flows have finally moved out of the stagnant 40 somethings and is flowing along at close to 60 cfs. The cutthroat spawn thankfully is over. Those poor fish have been getting pounded by the masses. It is distressing to watch anglers cast to fish lying on their redds. Though not illegal, it certainly lacks ethics and integrity. I think most people are well intentioned but clueless. Fish the deeper buckets and avoid the fish hanging out in the shallows. Please be careful where you wade. You can see their “redds" along the gravely sections of the river. These are the light colored depressions on the bottom that have been cleared by the trout to lay their eggs. You can easily kill thousands of fish with klutzy wading. 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.

East Walker

The East Walker keeps creeping up, surging higher and higher. The flows sit at 230 cfs, which I think is a great level. I’ve always liked the East Walker between 200-300 cfs, the trout have much more habitat and hideaways. The river has been fluctuating a little for several weeks now and the system hasn’t seen water levels like this in a few years. The higher levels are going to flush out a lot of the grass and algae that has built up during the low flow, hot summers. The water clarity is quite good but I don’t expect the levels to remain this high for too long. There just isn’t the water in the reservoir or high in the backcountry for runoff,  but that said, it is perfect — a nice healthy level for fish and anglers. The fish are spreading out through the river so the densities of fish are less. If you are not getting grabs, keep moving. The EW or “Dubyah” is a treat to fish…… with the fish spread out, the grabs are few and far between, but they are in there. Nice fish too! Enjoy.

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