It is almost August now. The nights are starting to cool off and we have had a fairly wet summer with an abundance of thunderstorms and welcome rain. Nothing to offset the four years of drought mind you, but any moisture is a relief. The backcountry has exploded with wildflowers and the lower streams in the valleys are maintaining healthy ecosystems with the cool, pulses of moisture. If we can luck out and have a cool month ahead, some of the rivers such as the East Walker may escape the trout apocalypse.
fishing has slowed a little as it usually does in the summer but it is
still good. What is that expression, the early bird gets the worm? Brew
up some coffee before the sun hits the Sierra and get on the water
early. You can pin some nice fish using those annoyingly tiny tricos on
6x or 7x. Tie on a little piece of colored and greased yarn with a slip
knot a couple of feet above your dry fly. Use this as an indicator. If
you see any rise forms near your floating yarn, do a hook set. Have fun
road to Devil’s Postpile is open. If you enjoy fishing in a pristine
wilderness setting, then the San Joaquin is for you. There will be
clusters of visitors heading to Rainbow Falls or Devil’s Postpile,
however, once you walk off the trail and head to the river, you will
generally have the place to yourself (read last week’s blog for a funny
story while fishing the San Joaquin). The flows are currently at about
20 cfs and dropping. This water comes out of the high, backcountry so it
was chilly, but doable for wet wading if the weather is warm. Expect
the flows to start decreasing as the snow and the runoff start to
deplete. The month of June has been stellar. There were lots of brown
and rainbows eager to gulp down small baetis and stonefly patterns. The
shuttle service has begun which means that unless you have a reserved
campground below, you will have to ride the bus into the Postpile during
the hours of 7 am to 7 pm. You can take your personal vehicle down there outside of those times….
Upper Owens River
flows have stabilized on the Upper Owens and fishing is good. 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.
Lower Owens River
DWP has been pumping out water from Pleasant Valley Reservoir at a
steady rate of about 90 cfs. The lower Owens has been fishing
particularly well, mornings to afternoons. The air temperatures have
been in the mid-100’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, 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 40 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 30 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