Today marks the end of the regular fishing season in the Eastern Sierra and California. There are a few exceptions to the season closures: the East Walker, Hot Creek, and the Upper and Lower Owens. They are open year around. For the Upper Owens, the section above the Benton Crossing is open, everything below the bridge to the reservoir are closed until April.
The weather in the Eastern Sierra is crisp, cold, and clear. There could be a weather change coming over the Thanksgiving weekend. Keep your fingers crossed, some snow would be nice.
The flows are currently at 25 cfs and 12º. This is very bony water. I am going to wait until the irrigation district bumps up the flows again, that said, expect the trout to be more lethargic and hanging in the deeper pools. They are sitting ducks now but super spooky with the low, clear water.
Hot Creek could not be any better. The creek is flowing through the canyon at 38 cfs. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the grasses and rocks. You may not see fish, but they are there. Try a dry-dropper setup with a hopper or ant pattern and mayfly or stonefly pattern below.
Upper Owens River
The flows are at 86 cfs but these are readings taken high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to about 120 cfs and off-color. The entire river system is open now, from Big Springs to the reservoir. The Upper O is fishing well. More and more trout are spreading out throughout the river system. You can catch many small rainbows and browns on the surface with elk haired caddis, stimulators, hoppers, and some bigger fish with nymphs in the deeper runs. If the surface activity is not happening, throw a juju baetis off the hook bend of your hopper and see what will happen.
Lower Owens River
The Lower Owens flows are coming down and now sits at 145 cfs. By the 17th, the river should be at about a 100. I miss fishing “down the hill” and look forward to having the river at a friendly flow.