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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

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Jim Stimson Reports on 7.13.2017

Wow! We have almost turned the corner on July…. hard to believe. The summer is flying by.

Tioga and Sonora Passes are open, however, the road down to Devils’s Postpone and the San Joaquin River remains closed and I have not heard of a projected date of opening. Apparently, there is some major damage to the road which is going to delay access. Hopefully we can get down there soon. I cannot wait to see Rainbow Falls!

It seems like we are over the hump with runoff from the high country. The streams and rivers are still running at full capacity, but we are beyond the peak in flows. It will be weeks however before the dust settles and the water is flowing at a “normal” rate. That said, fishing is decent, not great, but steady.

Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at 200 cfs. There is a nice lunch time hatch of BWO’s, sized 18’s. Zebra midges, Barr emerges, juju baetis, and scuds will usually elicit a bump. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the grasses and rocks. You may not see fish, but they are in there.

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 550 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 100 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 300 cfs. The river is chugging along level with the banks. 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. I tried a variety of bugs and got grabs on just about anything that was presented well: San Juans, Prince Nymphs, soft hackles, etc…. and, there are some VERY healthy fish in the river. As the days get longer and warmer, the fishing will only get better.

East Walker

I would wait on the East Walker….. the river crested above 1500 cfs a couple of weeks ago but it seems the flows have stabilized at 11300. The reservoirs at Twin Lakes are dumping water towards Bridgeport which is part of the reason the flows are so high below. The Bridgeport Reservoir is brimming with water so they need to send water thru the East Walker River system. These are extremely high flows for this river and it hasn’t had this volume of water for over 15 years. Most of the river is not fishable or safe. If you decide to venture out, exercise some common sense and evaluate the objective dangers. Always have an “escape route” if you are swept into the current. Remember, it is only fishing….. be safe out there.

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