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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

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Jim Stimson Reports on 10.26.2017

Here we are, just days away from November and the onset of winter, my down jacket sits on the coat rack collecting dust, we are sleeping with the windows open at night to cool down the house. These warm, Indian Summer days are amazing. Scary warm, but very pleasant outside. After such a big winter as we had last season, I guess we deserve a break from the long, cold nights and snow that blanketed the Sierra.

Depending on where you go, fishing is good. Without specifics, I will drop some bread crumbs as clues: trout are moving out of Crowley and into the local streams that add cold, fresh water to the lake. There are some well fed, dare I say, obese rainbows that have eating disorders. They love to feed…. a well presented fly will elicit a grab and the water will explode with a leaping trout. Enjoy!

Use caution if you are driving at night. The deer are flushing out of the backcountry in droves, the migration is happening.

Let’s be careful out there….

East Walker

The river has dropped to about 134 cfs. These flows are good and trout are on the move, but spooky. The water clarity is good so you need to fish the river with stealth. A longer rod is helpful to reach over the boulders in the pocket water. Try the upper section of the Miracle Mile. The pocket water is very productive with caddis worms, brown Fox pupae, stoneflies, damselfly nymphs, Copper Johns, Prince Nymphs, and red midges. The water temperatures are holding well in the low-60’s and as the day time temps begin to drop, the river will have made it through a hot summer with no ill effects. The trout are thriving!

West Walker

If the East Walker weren’t so close, convenient, and a Blue Ribbon fishery, I would fish the West Walker more. It is a fun place to explore with lots of nice trout, primarily rainbows. The flows are about 65 cfs, which is tenuous for river crossings but that said, fishing is good. In the shallows, try some stimmy’s or elk haired caddis. The deeper buckets you can usually find fish with attractor patterns like prince nymphs.

San Joaquin

If you like to fish in a wilderness setting, try the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin. The river is cruising along at nearly 15 cfs as it winds through the canyon past Devil’s Postpile and Rainbow Falls. A dry dropper setup with a elk haired caddis, stimulator, or hopper along with any type of emerger pattern suspended off the hook bend will work; midges, juju baetis, pheasant tails, etc… these trout are ravenous.

Hot Creek

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 dry dropper setup. Dave’s Hoppers are working well, very well. Streamers have also fooled some nice trout.

Upper Owens River

The flows are roughly 78 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 140 cfs. Caddis are still buzzing around and anglers are scarce. Hoppers continue to get grabs on top. Target your casts as close to the grassy banks as possible. Hoppers tumble into the river, falling from the overhanging grasses. The trout have been leaping into the air to grab these insects. Also, black leeches have been working either swung through the buckets or presented with a dead drift. Enjoy!

Lower Owens River

Don’t rush out and grab your fishing gear. The river went back up to 500 cfs. 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.

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