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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

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Jim Stimson, Jim Stimson Fly Fishing

First and foremost, my thoughts go out to friends in Baja reeling from hurricane Odile and to all those affected by the devastating fires in Northern California. Let’s be careful out there….

Lower Owens River
The flows have been holding steady at 350 cfs, which for a lot of rivers in the West, doesn’t seem like much water, but keep in mind the Owens River flows down a fairly narrow river channel. 350 cfs is rippin’ fast when it is squeezed between the river banks. When the water is rippin’ try fishing the margins. Trout don’t like to “tread” water all day, it’s too tiring. They like to hunker down in the quiet water along the banks. Just beware, the river is very swift now and not for the faint of heart. If you must make a crossing, choose your route carefully. Always have an “exit” in mind in case you get swept away. The trout are in there, but they are a lot of work. Make sure you add plenty of split shot, a couple of BB’s, to get down to the fish. Attractor patterns like copper johns or prince nymphs with a green caddis worm dropper was working well. 
Upper Owens River
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 with many fish having made the migration out of the Crowley Reservoir seeking cooler water. 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 spinners worked well in the morning. And don’t ignore the tried and true, almost redundant pheasant tails. What a great bug, still.
The Backcountry
Last week I hiked far and high into a canyon behind the house in search of golden trout. Boom! Success! Goldens can be one of the most finicky fish out there but on this afternoon the lake was “grabby” from the get-go. We missed many takes but were able to land several nice trout in that 10-12" size range. If you have never seen a golden trout, do yourself a favor. Get out there. They are like catching a tropical fish.
East Walker
I’ve been avoiding my favorite fishery…. boney water and high water temperatures.
Hot Creek
With the low weedy water, try fishing with dries. Get there early for the trico hatch, hike out, get some lunch, then go back for the evening glass off with the Western Gray Sedge. There are lots of does and fawns grazing in the river. Enjoy the scenery.

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