Jim Stimson, Jim Stimson Fly Fishing
With three more days left in the general fishing season, trout along the eastside are collectively breathing a sigh of relief. Now, if we can only have a “normal” winter, re-juice the streams, rivers, and reservoirs, all will be well. I fished Crowley Lake and the upper and lower Owens river systems over the long weekend. Everything was getting pounded by anglers. The weather was perfect and the fishing productive in spite of the paranormal fishing frenzy. Patience, good bug choices, and a drag free drift was usually all it took to get grabs.
Thank you to my dad and all Veterans out there for your service and sacrifice.
Lower Owens River
The river has been running steady at 85 cfs, not the optimum flow, but still healthy. The high mountains in the Sierra received about a foot of snow a couple of weeks ago and the morning temperatures have dropped considerably. Use some stealth when fishing. Approach the water with light feet and watch where your shadow is falling on the water. The trout are a little edgy with the lower, clear water. That said, It is easy wading and the river is “grabby” again. There is about a two hour window, right around lunchtime, that the BWO’s start lifting off the water and the trout snouts start poking out of the water. You want some ridiculous dry fly fishing? Come on over the hill. One of my favorite mayfly patterns, the hackle stacker, works like a charm, sized 18 or 20. For indicator nymphing, tie on black zebra midges in the mornings then make a bug adjustment as the temperatures rise. The browns have been sucking down BWO’s like there’s no tomorrow. Mercer’s micro mayflies are killer along with small PT’s.
Upper Owens River
Big fish are on the move, coming out of Crowley Lake and spreading out throughout the river system. There are a lot of fish up high in the river system, above the Hot Creek Confluence and the Longyear Ranch. This part of the river is flowing steady at about 50 cfs. The water is cold and clear, as with the lower Owens, exercise some stealth. The most successful fishing is in the faster, disturbed water and the shady undercut river banks. Because the water is so transparent, these areas give you the best cover to make your drifts. Copper johns, prince nymphs as attractors with drowned trico or baetis spinners worked well in the morning. Try hucking out streamers like a black wooly bugger, below the Monument down to the lake. Use a short leader with 3 or 4x with your streamers….. when they grab, they crush. Hang on.