Jim Stimson Fly FIshing Report
The weather forecasters are rattling their swords…. apparently we could get a few storms beginning this weekend which may carry on through most of next week. We are still hoping for a Miracle March, crossing our fingers to get back to a “normal” seasonal snowpack. 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! 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 trapped in the deeper pools. We fished up there over the weekend, hooked some nice healthy fish, and scouted the river for the upcoming season. Word on the river is that the flows will be raised again this weekend.
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 101 cfs high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to 140 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 126 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! There is carnage for the BWO’s as the trout and birds gorge themselves on the mayflies. 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.