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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

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Jim Stimson Reports on 1.18.2018

David Byrne of the Talking Heads from Crosseyed and Painless, “Still Waiting, I’m Still Waiting, I’m Still Waiting….”

We’re still waiting for winter, perhaps a storm system by weeks end, though it seems like it is getting pushed to the north? Gawd we need the precipitation. If this high pressure weather pattern does not break soon, I am afraid it will be another drought year. After such a great winter last season and watching first hand how quickly the fisheries can bounce back, the proposition of another drought is depressing. But I am still holding out hope. Weather can change overnight, anything can happen, right?

I had some time off over the long weekend, my wife headed to the desert to play some tennis and see the play Hamilton, so I was able to take advantage of the opportunity and fished everyday; the East Walker, Upper and the Lower Owens. It was great fun and I cannot wait to get back at it this coming weekend, weather system or not. The Lower O was on fire…. the East Walker and Upper O were much slower but nice fish were brought to hand. Sometimes quality is more important, not necessarily quantity.

Peace Out!

East Walker

The river is holding steady at 140 cfs, damned near perfect! There are nice fish holding in the deeper buckets and the grabs are super subtle. Set on anything that looks suspicious. The fishing in general was slow to get started but around mid-morning a midge hatch begins and the “bite” is on. You can use just about any bug, as long as it is small and black. Zebra midges in the size 20-22 worked well, though I did get a nice rainbow on a red copper John. Go figure.

West Walker

This is the “other” Walker River and a great fishery that I would visit more if the East Walker were not closer. This is a blue ribbon fishery and a fun place to explore. Generally the river runs gin clear as this is a freestone creek, so some stealth is needed. If you like pocket water and technical angling, this is your place….The river is running at about 70 cfs,

Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at 54 cfs. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the grasses and rocks. You may not see fish, but they are in 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 and making the grabs but every once in awhile, you can fool one of the old, wily browns. Keep grinding away.

Upper Owens River

The river is open year around from the Benton Crossing bridge northward (upstream) to the private property boundary. The section below the bridge to Crowley Lake is closed until April.

The flows have been bumped up to 108 cfs in the river system with a release of water from the Grant Lake Reservoir. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is moving water around, kind of like a shell game. Ultimately though, they are transporting the resource down the valley to LA. The water clarity is slightly off color which bodes well for the angler. The big rainbows like the security of the opaque water. Pink or red San Juans, egg patterns, and red/black leeches, have all been working. You can either swing the leeches or dead drift them through the deeper buckets.

Lower Owens River

The river just dropped to 98 cfs! This is the lowest it has been in months. The stream channel has been scoured with high flows for the better part of a year. With news of the lower, fishable, user friendly flows, the wild trout section was packed with anglers, fishing clubs, and classes. But fear not, the trout too are in abundance. They survived the flooding and are thriving. I had the best success fishing olive colored Mercer’s Micro Mayflies, small. Enjoy!

Jim Stimson Fly Fishing

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