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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

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Jim Stimson Reports on 6/16/2015

Here’s a prudent tip: add a thermometer to your fishing gear, and use it. During the summer months as the sun bakes the water, the temps start climbing. As the water warms, there is less dissolved oxygen in the river system. Have you ever wondered why more fish can be found in the riffles on a hot day? They are starving for oxygen and can find it in the agitated, turbulent water. When the temperatures start climbing into the upper 60’s - low 70’s, trout are stressing, just eating and hanging out is a workout. If you get a hookup, the strain of fighting an angler combined with a lack of oxygen to recover, can put them over the edge. In other words, even though you are seemingly practicing good catch and release tactics, the mortality rates increase considerably. Usually a fish revives rather quickly in cool water. In tepid conditions notice how slow the recovery rate is and how long the fish lays still with their mouths agape. Drop your thermometer into the river, take a reading… if the temperatures crest that 70 degree mark, give the fish a break.

San Joaquin

The road to Devil’s Postpile is open which means that there is a nice, new, and different stretch of water available in a wilderness setting. The flows are currently at about 80 cfs, which is perfect. 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 will be stellar. There were lots of brown trout 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

The flows have stabilized on the Upper Owens and fishing has picked up again. Nice rainbows, browns and cutthroats can be found in the deeper pools throughout the river system. If you see pods of trout (the cutthroats) on their redds, please don’t cast to them and be careful where you wade. 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. A simple elk haired caddis will do the trick.


Lower Owens River

The DWP has been ramping up the flows lately. The river is cruising right along at 100 cfs. The lower Owens has been fishing particularly well, mornings to afternoons. It is easy to navigate around in your waders. The river is forgiving, 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, 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. Voilàl!  Enjoy. 


East Walker

Currently the river is running at about 100 cfs, not too bad. If you can hit the timing right (higher flows), you have a chance at some great fishing. Stoneflies and small baetis patterns are the key…. The water temperatures are already on the rise, even with the cooler and rainy May we experienced. Even in the morning, the thermometer read in the upper 60’s. By lunchtime, the water temps rose above 70 degrees. That’s when it is time to pull the plug. Pack up the fishing gear, fold out some chairs, and crack open some brews. Enjoy the afternoon and give the trout a break.


Jim Stimson Fly Fishing

142 Larkspur Lane

Crowley Lake, CA 93546

760.935.4264 (home)

760.209.4300 (cell)

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