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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

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Jim Stimson reports on 6.14.18

Sierra Nevada 

Even though Tioga and Sonora Passes have been open for weeks, we are still awaiting word on the opening of the road down into the Devil’s Postpile area and the San Joaquin River. Hopefully this month?

Fishing, in general, has been up and down the scales. Keep checking the flows as they change in a heartbeat. The Upper Owens has been fun with a plethora of fish rising to caddis in the slower water and eddies. Granted, these are merely uninitiated browns and rainbows new to the river, but they are fun. And there are bigger fish holding in the deeper buckets that can be caught on nymphs. The fishing is best above the main Hot Creek confluence as there is a lot of moss being flushed into the river system from the spring runoff.

Watch for deer on the highway especially in the mornings and evenings. The World Cup begins this week! Being a rabid fútbol fan, I cannot wait.

East Walker

The flows on the East Walker have been up and down. Keep checking on-line for the latest information if you are planning a trip to the east side. The higher the flows, the less water will be available to fish. With spring runoff getting underway and agricultural demands downstream, expect the flows to fluctuate in the coming weeks. I believe the river fishes best in the 200-300 cfs range; the fish feel secure and from an angling perspective, there is still a challenge. The fishing isn’t a “gimme.” The flows this morning are about 285.
The trout are grabbing black zebra midges (small) in the morning, then as the temperatures warm up look for PMD’s to make an appearance. Rainbow Warriors and Lightning Bugs work well in the faster water. If this isn’t confusing enough, there is the odd caddis and golden stonefly cruising around. With higher flows I like to use attractor patterns like copper johns or prince nymphs for my upper fly, then dangle the bug-du-jour as the point fly. The presentation is everything — if you are not getting a drag free drift you will get rejected. A lot of Sacramento perch get washed into the river from the reservoir above so try hucking some big, light-colored streamers into the “toilet bowl.” There can be some mega-sized browns lurking in that turbulent water waiting for stunned perch to get washed into the river.
West Walker
This river flows have been fluctuating with the rain, snow, and now warm temperatures from the last couple of weeks. The readings are at 928 cfs. These flows are very high…. I would give the river some time to settle back down.

Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at 80 cfs and I would expect this to rise as the warm temperatures start melting the snowpack. 

Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the grasses and rocks. You may not see fish, but they are there. If you are nymphing, try a San Juan or a Hot Creek caddis. Streamers have also fooled some nice trout. There are lots of hatchery fish cruising around making the grabs, but every once in awhile, you can fool one of the old, wily browns. Keep grinding away.

Upper Owens River

The flows are gradually moving up and sit at 112 cfs but these are readings that are taken high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to about 190 cfs and off color. The entire river system is open now, from Big Springs to the reservoir. The Upper O is fishing okay especially above the Hot Creek confluence. Hot Creek has been dumping lots of moss into the river from the spring runoff. I have been wet wading with pants (mosquitos) and other than that first immersion, the water feels great.

Lower Owens River

The Lower Owens is still running on the high side. The flows are nearly 370 cfs which makes for “interesting” river crossings. Err on the side of caution when wading and make sure your waist belt is snug in case you go for a swim.

Jim Stimson Fly Fishing

142 Larkspur Lane Crowley Lake, CA 93546

760.209.4300 (cell)


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