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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

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Jim Stimson reports on 5.11.17

We had a little weather system move through the Sierra over the weekend, bringing cool and breezy conditions. The fishing was stellar a week ago and slowed to a crawl as Sunday approached. It has been a curious spring so far with 50 feet of snow sitting in the mountains, awaiting warm temperatures and runoff. Once the weather stabilizes and heating begins, I anticipate the creeks to blow out and get off color. Hot Creek is still a good option once the flooding begins. Keep in mind that trout still need to eat. Huck out big, gawdy, visible patterns like San Juans, Prince Nymphs, etc… You are targeting the soft water along the margins. Enjoy the weather and be respectful to the trout. The cutthroat will be spawning soon. Watch out for their redds when you wade and let spawning fish do their “thing.”

Hot Creek The creek is on the rise at almost 80 cfs, as runoff from the high country is beginning. 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 still cranking above the 750 cfs mark, so don’t rush out and grab your fishing gear. 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. I fished out there yesterday (Wednesday)… the river below the confluence is slightly off color, very similar to tea. I haven’t seen the river look so healthy in years. I spotted some nice fish darting about as I plodded up the river banks looking for trout. Caddis are buzzing around and anglers are scarce. Long story short, fishing was good. 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. I think we will have a good spring.

East Walker The flows have been bumped up to 840 cfs, which makes even the upper part of the river, the Miracle Mile, sketchy. You can fish at these levels but beware. If you get dunked, you might be swimming for awhile. Anything below the bridge will be ripping fast as the river narrows and has a steeper gradient. I would stick to the section below the dam. Look for the quiet water along the edges. Watch the flows, they will be fluctuating all spring. Size up on your tippet material, use 3x at the minimum. San Juans, zebra midges, small beatis patterns….

Jim Stimson Fly Fishing
Crowley Lake, CA
760.935.4264 (home)

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