awoke this morning with a fresh dusting of snow on the high peaks! The
weather forecast seems to change by the hour but it looks like we’re in
for a period of unsettled conditions for the next week or so. The fall
colors are still great along the floor of the Owens Valley but the upper
canyons are past their prime as autumn comes to a close and winter
begins knocking at the door. Throw in some extra clothing for the drop
in temperatures and watch for weather alerts if you have come over one
the passes: Tioga, Sonora, etc… they can close on a whim. Carry
chains. Again, ad naseum…. this is my favorite time of year. The light
is low in the sky, the colors are warm and glowing, and the fishing is
really fun. The summer crowds have gone home.
Lower Owens River
flows have been lowered to less than 100 cfs. It is easy wading and the
river is “grabby” again. The trout are transitioning from summer to
winter modes. The water temperatures are dropping so the fish are
seeking the quiet water along seams and tail outs. There are a potpourri
of aquatic bugs cruising around. For indicator nymphing, tie on black
zebra midges in the mornings then make a bug adjustment as the
temperatures rise. The browns have been sucking down BWO’s like there’s
Mercer’s micro mayflies are killer along with small PT’s. A great
pattern is a soft hackled PT with the collar tied with dun colored cdc.
Those soft feathers are very seductive, to a trout.
Upper Owens River
flows have stabilized on the Upper Owens (42 cfs) and fishing is
picking up. As the water temperatures begin to fall, you can find nice
rainbows, browns, and the odd cutthroat in the tail outs. Try small
pheasant tails, about a sized 18. Make sure you are getting your nymph
rigs deep enough. A combination of enough split shot and setting your
indicator deep enough will do the trick. In the mid to late afternoons
look for a caddis hatch. Once this begins, look upstream into the foam
lines…. look for snouts to start breaking the surface and anticipate
the feed. Nothing fancy here, just a simple elk haired caddis will do
flowing at about 34 cfs, this river has cold, gin clear water (63
degrees) which is really fun to fish. With miles of great pocket water
you cannot go wrong as the river cascades and drops through the canyon.
This is the time to brush up on your high sticking and tight line
techniques. Expect to catch rainbow and brown trout. We pinned some nice
fish with caddis pupae in the afternoon, baetis nymphs in the morning.