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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

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Jim Stimston reports on 10.29.2015:

We 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

The 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 no tomorrow. 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

The 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 the trick.

West Walker

Currently 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.

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