Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report
I just spent the last two hours shoveling and blowing snow. Winter is still alive and well but could we be over the hump? The Sierra, in general, is running about 150% of normal for the season. I look forward to summer and a plentitude of water and healthy fisheries. In the meantime, with most of the Northern California rivers flooded and blown out, I am shelving steelhead temporarily and opting for Pyramid Lake. Wish me luck.
If you are intent on fishing the Upper Owens, plan on parking out on the paved road near the bridge and walking in. There are some snowmobile tracks out there that you can walk on, otherwise plan on either skiing, snowshoeing, or post-holing your way to the river.
The flows are currently at about 18 cfs but with a deep base of snow and the reservoir filling up, I would expect the irrigation district to start increasing the outflows. i am looking forward to fishing the East Walker again.
The creek is flowing through the canyon at 45 cfs. Access is the issue. You will have to park your vehicle near Hot Creek Ranch then walk, ski, or snowshoe in. 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 caddis or mayfly pattern above and a midge or scud below.
Upper Owens River
With all of this snow along the river corridor, the trout will earn a well deserved break from the angling pressure. The flows are at 97 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 140 cfs. More and more trout are spreading out throughout the river system. If you get a hookup, the fish is usually in the 18-22” range, and fat. Try red san juans with egg patterns dropped from the hook bend.
Lower Owens River
The Lower Owens flows are bumping up again and now sit at 323 cfs. At these flows, the river is deep and swift, so exercise some caution when wading. The fishing is solid and fun. Most trout are in that 10-12” range but if you poke around and get lucky, you can hook into some browns in the 15-16” category. There are some healthy midge and mayfly hatches throughout the day. I had my best success with red midges or perdigons.
Jim Stimson Fly Fishing142 Larkspur LaneCrowley Lake, CA 93546760.209.4300 (cell)