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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

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Jim Stimson Reports on 9.9.2015


The dust is starting to settle along the Eastern Sierra. With Labor Day behind us, we will ease into the shoulder season for tourism. This is a great time of year to fish. The mornings are cool, the afternoon temperatures feel nice, and the trout are becoming more active. If you enjoy the warm colors of autumn, bring your fly fishing enthusiasm and camera gear, you won’t be disappointed. September and October are easily my favorite time of year.
Be careful out there!

Lower Owens River

The DWP has been pumping out water from Pleasant Valley Reservoir at a steady rate of about 96 cfs. The lower Owens has been fishing particularly well, mornings to afternoons. The air temperatures have been in the mid-90’s so wet wading is the ticket and refreshing even in the hot climate. The river is easy to wade at these flows, just make sure every foot placement is solid. Nymphing has been very productive using midges, tricos, loop winged emergers, Barr emergers, PT’s, green caddis worms, etc…. just about anything buggy will work if presented well. There have been stoneflies and caddis cruising through as well. Try using a golden stone as an attractor then drop a caddis worm off the hook bend. Huck this combo into the shallower, faster moving water and watch what happens. Some dry fly action is happening as well. When you see the swallows converge over the river to feed, start looking for a hatch, usually BWO’s. The dry fly window is short but sweet. Keep your eyes peeled and be prepared to make the change. If you arrive in the early mornings, look for snouts sipping down the trico hatch. Voilàl! Enjoy.

Upper Owens River

The flows have stabilized on the Upper Owens (42 cfs) and fishing is fair. As the water temperatures begin to climb, you can find nice rainbows, browns, and the odd cutthroat in the riffles and 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 21 cfs, this river has cold, gin clear water (65 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.

Crowley Lake

Nice fish can be pinned from shore with dries! In some of the weedy, mossy areas look for the rises of large fish. They are feeding on damsel flies. These are not subtle grabs. Use at least 4x tippet. These are big rainbows and browns with some serious attitude. Hang on!

San Joaquin

The road to Devil’s Postpile is open. If you enjoy fishing in a pristine wilderness setting, then the San Joaquin area is for you. Though the flows on the San Joaquin River are a trickle at 6 cfs, try lubing up with sunscreen, throw on a daypack, and head into the backcountry to explore some of the high lakes and scenery. There are some nice fish up high. Really nice.

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