Do you like fishing with hoppers? Who doesn’t like hurling out large dry flies, plopping them onto the water’s surface with not a care in the world for delicate presentations, and then actually being able to see the fly bobbing high along the river’s edge? And the grabs?! Hang on! There is no sippy-slurpy subtleties…. there is chaos as the water explodes when Mr.Trout meets the piercing of hook steel. Fun, fun…. not for the faint of heart. Hucking out damsel fly dries is another rush that is happening now. Come on over the hill, the fishing is outstanding.
Tioga and Sonora Passes are open, AND, the road down to Devils’s Postpile and the San Joaquin River is clear. We are in the midst of a monsoonal cycle with afternoon buildup complete with showers and lightning. Remember, those expensive graphite rods you are raising to the heavens on your overhead casts also conduct electricity. If you have any doubts, break down the rod, head to the car, and crack open a beer while watching the cattle get nuked in the pastures.
The creek is flowing through the canyon at 63 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.
Lower Owens River
The flows are finally dropping, but don’t rush out and grab your fishing gear. The river is still running strong at 440 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.
Upper Owens River
The flows are roughly 70 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. I have been wet wading (above the confluence) but I wear long pants and a long sleeved shirt for protection from the bugs. That said, the fishing isn’t bad. Caddis are buzzing around and anglers are scarce. Hoppers and damsel flies have been working well. 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 damsel flies hovering above the river or clinging to the weeds. It is WAY fun!
The river is getting very juicy as it is running at 400 cfs. I think the ideal level lies between 200-300 cfs, but it is very fishable now. With the river dropping and trout on the move, try the upper section of the Miracle Mile. The pocket water is very productive with caddis nymphs, stoneflies, damselfly nymphs, Copper Johns, Prince Nymphs, and red midges.
Enjoy yourselves and be safe out there!