Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report
Fall is in the air! The morning and evening temperatures are brisk as the sun angle gets lower in the sky. I am afraid the days of wet wading are about over. I will be packing my waders, boots, and extra clothing from now on. Fishing continues to get better and better as the water cools off. On one of the Crowley Lake tributary streams, I had a nice “slam” the other afternoon, landing a brown, rainbow, and a cutthroat. Life is good….
I have not been able to fish the East Walker since the weather has cooled off. I am Jones-ing bad. The flows are about 160 now which is great. The trout can move around and spread out through the river system. If you make the drive, try using small midges to start, then as the sun creeps higher, dig into the mayfly section of your fly box.
The West Walker is flowing at about 50, however, 395 remains closed through the canyon until fire department crews can contain a fire in the area.
Hot Creek could not be any better. The creek is flowing through the canyon at 40 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 130 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 170 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 getting back to normal with flows at 198 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 19 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 Fishing
142 Larkspur LaneCrowley Lake, CA 93546