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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

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Jim Stimson reports on 4.13.2016

The countdown to the official season opener begins, April 30th is right around the corner. I am looking forward to fishing “new” water. The Lower Owens is raging, some of the best runs have blown out and wading down there is tenuous. However, there are fish to be had and because of the high river levels, there isn’t that much angling traffic down there.

Get out there and have a great weekend!

Lower Owens River

The stream flows have been fluctuating. Right now the river is inching up towards 350 cfs. Just a couple of weeks ago it was 85. The wading is difficult as the water is deep, 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. There has been the odd lunchtime hatch with bwo’s and skwalas.

Upper Owens River

The river seems to roll along at a constant forty something cfs..… the odd rainbow can still be found here and there but a lot of fish have moved back into Crowley Lake.

The water is pretty clear, so you need to fish with some stealth. Walk quietly along the river banks, watch where your shadow casts upon the water, and keep a lower profile. The fish are spooky with the low, clear water. You are not going to get high numbers of fish but the trout you hook into are healthy and nice sized. The water temperatures are cold, so you can expect to find the nice rainbows in the tail outs. Look for deep buckets. Try copper johns, san juans, and pheasant tails. Vary the color, some days pink is the ticket, other times it is red. They like the bright colors. Make sure you are getting your nymph rigs deep enough. A combination of enough split shot and setting your indicator deep enough is the trick. The key is patience. Keep grinding away on a run. Keep the faith. Again, they’re in there. Make sure you are covering a tail out thoroughly, start your drifts near and end far. The fish are lethargic. Putting your bugs right in front of their faces is the key to success. Good luck out there, stay warm, and beware of bottomless muck along the dirt roads if there has been a recent storm.

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