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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jim Stimson reports on 8.29.2019

Here it is, the Dog Days of Summer…… September is just around the corner. Most of the families | tourists visiting the area have gone home for the summer. Normally crowded water such as the Upper Owens River or Hot Creek has thinned out. There is plenty of breathing room AND, fishing is pretty good. Speaking of Hot Creek and the Upper O, if you like hucking large dry flies like hoppers, now is the time. The afternoons are particularly rewarding with the rainbows and browns gorging themselves on the bounty. The hoppers have been almost Biblical in numbers….. it is REALLY fun.

it is that time of year to carry an important and often overlooked piece of equipment to the river, a thermometer. The tailwater fisheries, in particular the East Walker, are getting on the warm side. I tend to draw the line at 68º F….. anything warmer is putting too much stress on the trout. The mortality rates start sky rocketing when the water is too warm as they cannot get as much oxygen as they need to recover. Even though a trout seems to swim away fine, it does not mean that they don’t “belly up” sometime after their release.

East Walker

The temps are starting to get too high, even in the morning, so err on the side of respect for the fishery and trout. Give the fish a break for a few weeks until the water cools off. Thanks.

West Walker

The river has dropped considerably thru the canyon and is at 122 cfs. Try patterns like San Juans or Prince Nymphs, big attractors, and fish the margins. Dry droppers work really well at these flows.

San Joaquin

The road is open and the flows are 86. If you poke around, you can find lots of soft water stacked with trout. Bring your waders as the water temperatures are frigid. The San Joaquin has been a great place to fish during the hot days.

Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at 68 cfs. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the weeds and rocks, plus the overhanging grasses along the margins. There are some nice fish lying in ambush for hoppers falling into the creek. You may not see fish, but they are there. Try a dry-dropper setup with a hopper above and midges or caddis below.

Upper Owens River

The flows are 111 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 180 cfs. The better fishing has been above the confluence where the water has better clarity. More and more trout are spreading out throughout the river system. You may see the odd cutthroat here and there leftover form their spawn but for the most part, the trout have left to head downstream to the reservoir, leaving rainbows and browns for the summer months. Hoppers are invading the river system and the trout are loving them. Hoppers, hoppers, and more hoppers….

Lower Owens River

The Lower Owens flows have been bumped up to above 542 cfs. This is 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. You can find nice dry fly action along the foam lines and quiet water in the morning and evenings. Midges, tricos, mayflies and caddis are all working.

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