There’s gold in them thar hills…..see photo. I made a quick trip into the backcountry for goldens. I had several grabs but only one solid hookup. There was a nice calibaetis hatch going on and I got some grabs on the surface with dries via a hackle stacker. I finally got my fish slowly stripping in a Bird’s Nest. While we fished it spit snow off and on the entire day. The point being, be prepared when you wander away from the beaten path. Most of the backcountry lakes below 11 grand are ice free. The fish are hungry though perhaps a little lethargic with the colder water temperatures. They are readily taking nymphs down deep… PT’s, midges, scuds, bird’s nests ….. as the water starts to warm, expect the fish to become more aggressive. Did I mention streamers?
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 140 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 begins on June 13th. Once this commences, 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 car 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.
Currently the river is running at about 90 cfs, not too bad. If you can hit the timing right (higher flows), you have a chance at some great fishing. Small baetis patterns are the key…. As much as I love this stream, I’ve been avoiding the East Walker until the irrigation district calls for more water and the flows increase on a steady basis. The river has been dribbling out of the dam at 22 cfs for months. Anything above 100 cfs is fair game. Fortunately the weather has been cooler and wet during the low flow periods, extending the life of this trophy fishery. I am going to fish there this week if the higher flows are maintained. Stay tuned!