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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

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Jim Stimson reports on 10.22.2015

We actually had a wet weekend, with rain, thunder, and lightning. It was nice and soggy in the mountains. The aspen colors up high are hanging in there along the canyon walls of Rock Creek and Bishop Creeks. The cottonwoods in the Owens Valley will most likely peak in color in about a week. This is a great time of year to be fishing the Lower Owens River. The mornings are chilly but as the sun rises over the White Mountains, the valley floor warms up quickly. Autumn, without a doubt is the best time of year to visit the Sierra. Come on over the hill and wet a line.

Lower Owens River

The flows have been bumped up slightly and are stable at 200 cfs, which is doable. It is fairly 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 fair. 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 56 cfs, this river has cold, gin clear water (63 degrees) which is really fun to fish. The weekend moisture has elevated the river level. I may camp out this weekend in the canyon and look for trout. 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.

Crowley Lake

I’ve been utilizing a switch rod to carefully hurl out my nymph rigs, aka “spey-cator” fishing. This works great if you don’t have a lot of room for a back cast but your need to get your bugs out to those deeper channels where the fish are cruising with a simple roll cast. Good ‘ole fashioned bugs with no bells or whistles are crushing it. Try a hare’s ear or bird’s nest, sized 14 or 16. There are some big trout out there. Did I mention BIG?
Jim Stimson Fly Fishing 760.209.4300 (cell)

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