Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report
Jim Stimson Reports on 3.4.2020
The driest February on record! Ugh… and January wasn’t too much better. The 1st of March did bring a little snow to the high country but we’ve got a long ways to go before we get back to “normal." We can only hope that we get a Miracle March. That said, the Upper Owens is still kicking out some nice fish but the “bite” does not happen until close to lunch time. So relax, enjoy that extra cup of coffee, doughnut, NY Times, and wait until the water warms up a little. You can get some nice rainbows or browns throwing streamers or nymphing with PT’s or balanced leeches. If the cold temps are something you don’t care for, drive down the hill and fish the Lower Owens. It is a “banana belt” down there and the fishing for brown trout is fabulous.
The flows on the East Walker have been raised to about 70 cfs! Game On! The river at this level is still low but now the trout can move around and spread out throughout the system. They are not just sitting ducks in the deeper pools.
The creek is flowing through the canyon at roughly 42 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 94 cfs high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to 130 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 no problem but beware of any new snow or precipitation.
Lower Owens River
The river is cruising steady at roughly 127 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. If you enjoy hucking dry flies, this is the place. Around lunchtime, watch for BWO’s to start coming off the water and be ready. The first thing you will notice is the bird activity along the river. They know! The hatch doesn’t last long. Look for rises along the foam lines as snouts start poking up through the surface film.
Get out there! You cannot catch fish if your line isn’t in the water.
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