Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report
I am still on an extended road trip. This report is being filed from Santa Fe, New Mexico. It was so nice being with my family back in Vermont. Good times!
This fishing report is dated, from a couple of weeks ago, but not much has changed. The weather is crisp, cold, and clear. Expect the trout to be more lethargic and hanging in the deeper pools.
The flows are currently at 68 cfs. On my last trip to the north I tried everything from midges to balanced leeches, hare’s ears to prince nymphs — they all worked if presented well. And that is the key…… get a good drift and you will get a grab. The air temps have been cold. Expect the trout to be hanging in the deeper pools.
The West Walker is flowing at about 28. This is a wonderful place to fish with gin clear conditions and pocket water. Attractor patterns work well. The river is quite bony now…. look for the trout in the deeper buckets.
Hot Creek could not be any better. The creek is flowing through the canyon at 40 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 88 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 130 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 is running high again with flows at 551 cfs. At this level, the river crossings can be entertaining so err on the side of caution when wading and make sure your waist belt is snug in case you go for a swim. It appears that these flows will be the norm until the beginning of December, then they will drop to about 150.
Keep your eyes peeled for a noon time hatch of bwo’s. There is a narrow window of opportunity for hucking dry flies, usually for about an hour or so. Watch for the appearance of birds feeding along the river. They can spot a hatch well before we can. If all goes well, snouts begin appearing along the foam lines in the river. Then, cast away…. usually something sized 18-20, blue-gray in color, in the mayfly family will get some nice splashy grabs. Have fun! With the big brush fire we had a couple of weeks ago, access is much easier. A lot of the tules are gone and the willow have been thinned. The river corridor has an apocalyptic look and feel, but the river itself is running clear and fishy. New grass growth is already appearing, the river should recover quickly.
San Joaquin River
The road to Devil’s Postpile is open. If you drive in before 7 am and exit after 7 pm you can avoid the mandatory shuttle buses. The Lion Fire is history now, so there is no smoke. The trout will hammer stimulators and elk haired caddis. The flows are about 10 cfs, which is bony, skinny, emaciated water - but the trout are healthy and hungry. There are lots of fish hanging out in the pocket water.
Jim Stimson Fly Fishing142 Larkspur LaneCrowley Lake, CA 93546760.209.4300 (cell)