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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

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Jim Stimson Reports on 12.14.2017

Cold, cold, cold with the possibility of new snow in sight…. That “persistent” high-pressure dome seems anchored out in the Pacific but with any luck we may see a White Christmas. The morning temperatures out on the Upper Owens have been hovering in the single digits, but as the sun climbs higher in the sky, the river heats up quite nicely. This is a nice time of year to fish in spite of the frigid temperatures. Make yourself a second cup of coffee and wait for the frost to clear from the stream bank before heading out. The fish are generally holding in the deeper, cold pools. The grabs are lethargic, watch your indicator carefully, and set on anything remotely suspicious.

Peace Out!

East Walker

The river has risen to about 75 cfs. We rushed up there on Saturday 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 is running at about 70 cfs.

Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at 57 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.

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 68 cfs high in the river system but as the Owens meanders towards the Benton Crossing bridge, Hot Creek dumps in a significant amount of water especially when spring runoff is involved (see above). In other words, once the Owens makes the bridge near the campground, the flows are closer to 130 cfs. Pink or red San Juans, egg patterns, black leeches, and perch fry have all been working. You can either swing the leeches and fry, or dead drift them through the deeper buckets.

Lower Owens River

The river is still flowing on the high side (350 cfs) but fishing is possible, just be careful if you wade. I walked around yesterday 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!

Jim Stimson Fly Fishing

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