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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

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Jim Stimson Reports 1.4.2018


Well, heh there! I would like to welcome me back to the United States. My family spent the Christmas week visiting some of the many islands in the Galápagos Archipelago off the coast of Ecuador. What a great place to see wildlife up close and observe the many endemic species of plants and animals.

We’re still waiting for winter to arrive, at least the precipitation. This is a nice time of year to fish in spite of the frigid temperatures. Make yourself a second cup of coffee, eat another pancake, and wait for the frost to clear from the stream bank before heading out. The fish are generally holding in the deeper, quiet pools. The grabs are lethargic, watch your indicator carefully, and set on anything remotely suspicious.

Do not forget to buy a California fishing license for 2018! I went into town yesterday and bought a new license with a steelhead tag. Hopefully this month I can make the journey to the north.

Peace Out!

East Walker

The river has risen to about 132 cfs. We rushed up there before Christmas and spot fished a few choice locations then dashed out into the Nevada section. 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.

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 was last running at about 70 cfs, but their gauge has not been working for a couple of weeks so I am taking a guess at the actual flow.

Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at 48 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 66 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 has dropped to 221 cfs. This is the lowest it has been in months, still a smidge on the high side but very fishable, just be careful where you wade. I walked around the other day to check out some of my favorite places and like always, during the lunch hour, there were snouts appearing in the slower water especially along the foam lines. There are a potpourri of insects: mayflies, midges, and caddis. There is no angler pressure now…. nobody is fishing. The only tracks out there are from the cattle. Enjoy!

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