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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

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Jim Stimson Reports on 1.11.2018


Mammoth Mountain received anywhere from a foot to a foot and a half of new snow on Monday-Tuesday, depending on whether they measured the depth or if they measured a patch of snow lengthwise. Regardless, we did get some new snow, the peaks look nice with the fresh dusting. The snow line was high so all of the road access to fishing is still okay, though perhaps a little soggy on the Upper Owens in places. Be aware of the goop out there.

I fished the East Walker on Tuesday as the flows have been increased to 140 cfs. The fishing was dead early in the morning but just before 10 am, a midge hatch got the “chomp” going. This was your classic match the hatch — small, black zebra midges were the ticket. Great fun until the trout decided enough was enough and hunkered down into their bunkers. I could not get a bump in the afternoon no matter what I threw at them….

Peace Out!

East Walker

The river has risen to about 140 cfs. There are nice fish holding in the deeper buckets. The grabs are super subtle. Set on anything that looks suspicious. 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 are roughly 67 cfs high in the river system. The fishing in general has been better below the highest Hot Creek confluence as the river becomes a little off color. 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. I have not had the time, nor desire to fish the lower Owens, but with the lower flows I am excited to get reacquainted. I am really curious to see how the river has changed and how the fish population has faired. The stream channel has been pounded with high flows for the better part of a year. This will be fun!


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