First off, we wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving! I want to give thanks to my wonderful family, friends, and for the great fishing and adventures we shared this summer. What a great backyard we live in! Yesterday I fished on the Upper Owens, today I went cross-country skiing in the Lakes Basin above Mammoth Lakes. Tomorrow we hop in the car for grandma’s house in Southern California for a big family Thanksgiving gathering, tennis, and the beach.
This world is wacky and crazy, get outside and enjoy your friends and family. Life is fleeting, make the most of it.
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 60 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 lower section of the Upper Owens (from the bridge down to the lake) is closed for the season. However, the river above the bridge is open year around.
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