Jim Stimson, Jim Stimson Fly Fishing
Wishing everyone out there a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Be safe in your travels.
The days are getting longer, ever so slowly. The fishing on the eastside is good, especially the Upper Owens. There are some porkers cruising through. Look for the deep pools with slow water and keep the faith, they’re in there. Start your casting near and work across the run. Make a half dozen casts in the same spot, then move your drift over a few inches. Keep casting. You have to put it right in front of their snouts sometimes to get a grab. Did I mention, “Keep the faith?” Change your depth, usually the drifts are too shallow. You want to be strafing the bottom. And finally, look for subtle grabs. Set on anything that looks suspicious. If you see your indicator slow down for an instant, sweep your rod low and downstream and, “Hit it!” If you get a hookup, hang on and enjoy the tug. These are big, heavy, and feisty rainbows. They fight hard.
Lower Owens River
The river has been fishing well lately, mornings to afternoons. Nymphing has been very productive using midges, loop winged emergers, Barr emergers, PT’s, drowned spinners, etc…. just about anything baetis will work if presented well. Before you wander back to your car for lunch, you might want to stick around and check out the BWO hatch. It occurs around noon, you can almost set your watch to it. First the flurry of mayflies, then the rise forms. The trout start looking up and getting in on the surface action. If you enjoy fishing with dries, the time is now. The hatch lasts approximately an hour. Postpone your lunch….. you will be glad you did. Small baetis patterns work well (#18-20) such as an Adams, hackle stackers, etc. And keep your eyes peeled for trico hatches. Griffiths Gnats work well for these tiny little guys. Nice fish are coming up to enjoy the feast. Enjoy.
Upper Owens River
The river is low and clear but big fish are lurking throughout the system. They move out of Crowley Lake to winter in the waters of the upper Owens River watershed. Most of the fish are hanging out in the slow, deep, dark pools. With the low water, 50 cfs, use a little caution approaching the water. If you clomp up to river’s edge, the trout will feel those vibrations and dive for cover. Use some stealth and walk with light feet. Nymphing tends to be the best and most consistent tactic. With the cooler water the fish tend to be a little more lethargic. So, it may take many casts and the perfect drift to get a fish to make a commitment. Keep at it, they’re in there. Small baetis and midge patterns work well, plus San Juans, roe, and attractor patterns. Make sure you’re getting your bugs deep enough.