November is in the books, onward we head towards a new year. I hope everybody had a nice Thanksgiving. There is not much to report here other than Mammoth Mountain reported roughly 18” of new snow on Monday morning with a new storm system due this weekend. These last few storms have been warm and wet with snowfall totals only in the higher elevations. So far, the river systems in this report have received moisture, but no snow. That said, the roads near the Upper Owens River are soft and muddy, beware.
I am really feeling the pull of Northern California and steelhead fishing….
The river has dropped to about 50 cfs. These flows are getting really boney, the fish are spooky, and are sitting ducks. Personally, I am going to wait until the flows come up later this season. The fishing is not easy now but that said, I like the higher flows when the angling is a little more “sporting.” I like to give those big browns and rainbows a fighting chance.
The creek is flowing through the canyon at 65 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 67 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
Don’t rush out quite yet and grab your fishing gear. The river is down to 400 cfs, but still on the high side for wading. This will be a new river once the flooding ends. The river is spilling its banks and there are sections between Chalk Bluff Road and the river that are wetlands and marshes. It is a muddy, goopy, mess. If you are going to wade, exercise extreme caution. With enough weight you can cast into the quiet water along the edges and perhaps raise a fish.
Jim Stimson Fly Fishing