Pinch those barbs! I was fishing the East Walker on Sunday and watched as two fly fisherman were given citations for not having their hook barbs pinched. They simply forgot — it was an honest mistake, no maliciousness, no intent on cheating the system. They just could not wait to recast into the river for a shot at a big brown. For larger hooks sometimes hemostats or needle nose pliers are not enough. Use a file to get rid of the barb remnants, or a Dremel tool at home.
Lower Owens River
The stream flows have stabilized. Right now the river sits at about 275 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. 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 East Walker has been running at a steady 200 plus cfs for a couple of weeks now. The river 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 getting quite good and 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…… I will say no more.