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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jim Stimson Reports on 1.30.2020

It looks like the Northern California coastal rivers are coming back into shape for steelhead fishing. What does this have to do with Eastern Sierra fishing? Well…. honestly….. nothing, other than I am going to pack up the camper and head north into the redwoods, moss, and green river systems.

Not much has changed around here. There is solid fishing to be had on the Upper and Lower Owens Rivers. The upper stretch is a muddy mess but passable if you have high clearance and 4WD. Keep grinding on the deeper buckets and slots and eventually you will find some nice rainbows. They are still going for San Juans. The Lower has been good when you fish Frenchies or Perdigons.


East Walker

The East Walker is still flat lining and dribbling below 20 cfs. Until the river flows pick up, I recommend giving this fishery a rest….. 

West Walker

The river has dropped considerably thru the canyon and is at about 40 cfs. The river is looking very boney up high but as you drive down the canyon, there is more water as side streams add to the flow. Try patterns like zebra midges and small mayflies. Dry droppers work really well at these flows. May stealth be your guide as the river is not only low, but gin clear. Keep a low profile… if you can spot fish in the river, they can certainly see your movements.

San Joaquin

The road to Devil’s Postpone is closed for the season.

Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at roughly 50 cfs. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the weeds and rocks, plus the overhanging grasses along the margins. You may not see fish, but they are there. Try a dry-dropper setup with a caddis above and a midge or small mayfly below. Hot Creek is always a fun place to fish especially now that the crowds have gone home. 

Upper Owens River

The flows are dropping and sit at about 104 cfs high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to 150 cfs. More and more trout are pushing up into the river system from the reservoir. There are some really nice fish to be had with SJ worms, small baetis, and balanced leeches. Work the deeper buckets relentlessly…. they are in there. Currently, the driving approaches to the river are doable, though muddy, with only a few icy puddles to worry about. Beware of any new snow or precipitation.

Lower Owens River

The river is cruising steady at roughly 153 cfs and is fishing well with all of the traditional patterns; PT’s, Hare’s Ears, midges, Frenchies…. Thank God for Bishop. It is a nice break from winter when you need to see some dirt again and feel some warmth.

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