Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report
Jim Stimson Reports on 9.3.2015
the aspens are starting to turn color, the alpine grasses, huckleberry
and willow are looking very fall-like as they get cloaked in ambers,
reds, and purples. Autumn is just around the corner. If we get through
Labor Day weekend without a local fire, we can breathe a sigh of relief.
A smokey haze continues to hang over the Eastern Sierra from the Rough
Fire burning on the other side of the mountains in Sequoia. Fishing is
Be careful out there!
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.
Upper Owens River
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
Lower Owens River
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!
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.
DO NOT FISH THE EAST WALKER. Even though there has been a steady
release of water from Bridgeport Reservoir at over 27 cfs, the water
coming out of the lake is like bath tub water. Even first thing in the
morning, the water temperatures in the river have been averaging in the
upper 60’s. By noon,
the thermometer is in the low 70’s. I am afraid these fish are barely
clinging onto life, don’t make matters worse by fishing. Here’s another
option, drive around the corner of the Sweetwater Range and fish the
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 attitude. Hang on!
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