Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report
January, in like a lion, out like a lamb….. but, a new series of storms are piling up in the Pacific and will be rolling into the Eastern Sierra this weekend. The Upper Owens is really snowy, gooey, and wet. Be careful where you drive. Err on the side of caution. The main north-south road is firm even when there are standing puddles, however, the lateral roads can be bottomless quicksand and mud. Use caution and common sense. I have been parking out on the main north-south dirt road and walking in to the river.
The flows are currently at about 20 cfs. This is pretty bony water and will continue at these levels throughout the winter. Personally, I am going to wait until the irrigation district bumps up the flows again before I fish in the North County. That said, expect the trout to be more lethargic and hanging out in the deeper pools and runs. They are sitting ducks now and super spooky with the low, clear water.
The creek is flowing through the canyon at 41 cfs. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the grasses and rocks. You may not see fish, but they are there. Try a dry-dropper setup with a caddis or mayfly pattern above and a midge or scud below.
Upper Owens River
The Upper O is fishing on the slow-ish side without any rhyme or reason. One day you feel like a fishing genius, then the next you cannot buy a grab. The flows are at 86 cfs but these are readings taken high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to about 120 cfs. More and more trout are spreading out throughout the river system. If you get a hookup, the fish is usually in the 18-22” range, and fat. Try red san juans with egg patterns dropped from the hook bend.
Lower Owens River
The Lower Owens flows have come down and now sits at 86 cfs. The fishing is solid and fun. Most trout are in that 10-12” range but if you poke around and get lucky, you can hook into some browns in the 15-16” category. There are some healthy midge and mayfly hatches throughout the day. I had my best success with red midges or perdigons.