Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report
We have definitely turned the corner on summer. Fall is in the air! The morning temperatures in Crowley have been in the lower 30’s. I even had to scrape frost off the windshield before venturing north towards the East Walker. At least for me, the days of wet wading are history. I have been suiting up with long johns, waders, boots, and warmer clothing. The shadows are getting longer and the fish bite is getting better. Autumn does not suck!
I finally made the drive to the north county and fished the East Walker. I plopped my thermometer into the river first thing and got a reading of 62º F. Sweet! Game on. Even at the end of the day, the water temperatures never got above 66º. The fishing was solid though I never found any bug in particular that worked the best. I tried everything from midges to balanced leeches, hare’s ears to prince nymphs — they all worked if presented well. And that is the key…… get a good drift and you will get a grab.
The West Walker is flowing at about 38. This is a wonderful place to fish with gin clear conditions and pocket water. Attractor patterns work well.
Hot Creek could not be any better. The creek is flowing through the canyon at 38 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 hopper or ant pattern and mayfly or stonefly pattern below.
Upper Owens River
The flows are at 105 cfs but these are readings taken high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to about 145 cfs and off color. The entire river system is open now, from Big Springs to the reservoir. The Upper O is fishing well. More and more trout are spreading out throughout the river system. You can catch many small rainbows and browns on the surface with elk haired caddis, stimulators, hoppers, and some bigger fish with nymphs in the deeper runs. If the surface activity is not happening, throw a juju baetis off the hook bend of your hopper and see what will happen.
Lower Owens River
The Lower Owens is running high again with flows at 480 cfs. At this level, the river crossings can be entertaining so err on the side of caution when wading and make sure your waist belt is snug in case you go for a swim.
Keep your eyes peeled for a noon time hatch of bwo’s. There is a narrow window of opportunity for hucking dry flies, usually for about an hour or so. Watch for the appearance of birds feeding along the river. They can spot a hatch well before we can. If all goes well, snouts begin appearing along the foam lines in the river. Then, cast away…. usually something sized 18-20, blue-gray in color, in the mayfly family will get some nice splashy grabs. Have fun! With the big brush fire we had a couple of weeks ago, access is much easier. A lot of the tules are gone and the willow have been thinned. The river corridor has an apocalyptic look and feel, but the river itself is running clear and fishy. New grass growth is already appearing, the river should recover quickly.
San Joaquin River
The road to Devil’s Postpile is open. If you drive in before 7 am and exit after 7 pm you can avoid the mandatory shuttle buses. The Lion Fire is history now, so there is no smoke. The trout will hammer stimulators and elk haired caddis. The flows are about 13 cfs, which is bony, skinny, emaciated water - but the trout are healthy and hungry. There are lots of fish hanging out in the pocket water.
Jim Stimson Fly Fishing142 Larkspur LaneCrowley Lake, CA 93546760.209.4300 (cell)