Summer has arrived. Overnight the daytime temperatures have risen into the 80’s in the Long Valley area. The creeks are swollen with high country runoff and there is so much more snow left to melt. Be careful out there! Get yourself a wading staff and cinch up that belt around your waist. River hydraulics are powerful. Err on the side of caution while fishing and wading during this time of year. All off
After a week of perfect river conditions, the irrigation district has bumped 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 760 cfs. The trout are moving around and settling into their new habitats. With the high amount of water coming out of the reservoir, the angling options get reduced. Most of the best fishing will be in the Miracle Mile. You will find most of the trout stacked along the river margins, hanging in the softer water. Fishing is decent now. 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. I often pull out my trout spey rod for these conditions. I like being able to stand in the safe water along the edges and cast down and across, swinging my bugs into the juicy looking areas under the willows and cottonwoods. It is fun but be careful out there.
The creek is flowing through the canyon at 160 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 140 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 300 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 330 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.