Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report
Runoff…… spring weather……….. and lots of water coming out of the mountains. The weather has finally turned warm. We’ve had some great afternoon buildup and thunder showers. The lighting has been spectacular and the fishing has not been too bad either. Keep your eyes on the USGS water gauges; it is fun watching the fluctuation of the freestone rivers this time of year. Most of the rivers are swelling with runoff from the high country. There is a massive amount of water yet to come out of the mountains. Sonora Pass just opened for the season and I would expect that Tioga Pass thru Yosemite to open any day now.
After a week of perfect river conditions, the irrigation district is beginning to bump up the flows. Unless we get a cold snap again, I am guessing the water levels will only keep going up before they drop down again. The flows are at about 360 cfs. The trout are moving around and settling into their new habitats. Fishing is decent now. There are a lot of hogs in all the good places. Try stonefly patterns in the buckets below the riffles, along with BWO’s and caddis. There are a potpourri of bugs out there now. With the higher water I tend to fish a lot of attractor patterns. With the swift water the trout only have an instant to see and commit to your bugs floating by, make it as obvious as possible for them.
The creek is flowing through the canyon at 102 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 caddis or mayfly pattern above and a midge or scud below.
Upper Owens River
Hmmm…. interesting. The flows have been bumped up to 114 cfs but these are readings taken high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to over 200 cfs. More and more trout are spreading out throughout the river system. The cutthroats are in the river now for their spawn so be careful where you wade and fish. If you see spawning beds AND more importantly trout sitting on their redds, please avoid the temptation of hooking into spawning fish. Leave the spawning trout alone, they are stressed out enough and can die easily during this important time of the year. Cast into the deeper buckets… there are a lot of fish following the spawn feeding on eggs being washed downstream from the cutthroats.
Lower Owens River
The Lower Owens flows have dropped (finally) to 380 cfs. This is still on the high side for this section of the river so exercise some caution when you fish. You can easily go for am impromptu swim and end up flushed downstream if you are not careful. Most trout are in that 10-12” range but if you poke around and get lucky, you can hook into some browns in the 15-16” category. There are some healthy midge and mayfly hatches throughout the day. I caught fish on everything from green caddis worms to black midges.
Leave a comment