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Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

 

Jim Stimson Reports on 3.19.20

It is remarkable how that in over a course of a week our world as we know it has plunged into dark times. There is no way to sugar coat this: the Mammoth Lakes Tourism Board is recommending that non-residents need to stay away because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Town of Mammoth Lakes and Mono County have yet to have any confirmed case(s) of the virus but it seems like the clock is ticking, it is inevitable. The ski area has shut down, along with all of the bars, restaurants, coffee shops, that cannot provide take-out service. Yes, you can still fish and practice social distancing, but you better arrive completely self-contained. You can still get gas and shop at the grocery stores, but prepare yourselves for empty shelves. The self-serving, me-first hoarders have decimated the inventories for everything from TP (I still don’t understand), hand sanitizers, Lysol, wipes, pastas, can goods, etc…. it is like arma-friggin-geddon! 

And, on a lighter note, we did get a nice blast of snow over the weekend. It is not the Miracle March that we were hoping for, but there is still time. If you are heading out to the Upper Owens, beware of the new snow. The lateral roads heading out to the river will be soupy and goopy. A tow truck extrication is super expensive, don’t tempt fate. The mornings have been in the upper teens, low twenties, so the trout are slow to get rolling. You have plenty of time to greet the day, and the fish. If the cold temps are something you don’t care for, drive down the hill and fish the Lower Owens. It is a “banana belt” down there and the fishing for brown trout is fabulous.

Stay healthy and safe!

 

East Walker

The flows on the East Walker have been lowered to about 50 cfs! The river at this level is low but now at least the trout can move around and spread out through the system. They are not just sitting ducks trapped in the deeper pools. We fished up there when the river was about 70 cfs and we hooked some nice healthy fish, and scouted the river for the upcoming season. Black zebra midges worked great but get ready for the stoneflies…. copper johns, prince nymphs, and pats rubber legs will be a staple.

Hot Creek

I believe the creek is flowing through the canyon at roughly 42 cfs, but the gauge is not working so this is a guess. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the weeds and rocks, plus the overhanging grasses along the margins. You may not see fish, but they are there. Try a dry-dropper setup with a caddis above and a midge or small mayfly below. Hot Creek is always a fun place to fish especially now that the crowds have gone home. 

Upper Owens River

The flows are dropping and sit at about 105 cfs high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to 140 cfs. There seems to be a couple of pushes of rainbow trout that come up the river system from Crowley Lake; a late fall-early winter surge, then the mid-winter fish. Most of these spawners have headed back down to the reservoir. Yet, there are still some really nice fish to be had with SJ worms, small baetis, and balanced leeches. Work the deeper buckets relentlessly…. they are in there. Exercise some caution on the driving approaches to the river.

Lower Owens River

The river is cruising steady at roughly 126 cfs and is fishing well with all of the traditional patterns; PT’s, Hare’s Ears, midges, Frenchies…. Thank God for Bishop. It is a nice break from winter when you need to see some dirt again and feel some warmth. If you enjoy hucking dry flies, this is the place. Around lunchtime, watch for BWO’s to start coming off the water and be ready. The first thing you will notice is the bird activity along the river. You will see swallows, fly catchers, and sparrows flitting around the surrounding brush and diving at the river surface. Look for rises along the foam lines as fish snouts start poking up through the surface film. This BWO carnage only lasts about an hour. If you get finicky trout snubbing your dry flies, change your bug. Usually a sized 16-18 adams will get grabs, but often the trout are looking for a mayfly that is sitting lower in the surface film. An adams rides high so try a comparadun or a hackle stacker, they sit more within the film. Sometimes that is all you need to get back into the game.

Get out there! You cannot catch fish if your line isn’t in the water.

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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jim Stimson Reports on 2.27.20

The Upper Owens is still kicking out some nice fish but the “bite” does not happen until close to lunch time. So relax, enjoy that extra cup of coffee and doughnut and wait until the water warms up a little. You can get some nice rainbows or browns throwing streamers or nymphing with PT’s or balanced leeches. If the cold temps are something you don’t care for, drive down the hill and fish the Lower Owens. It is a “banana belt” down there and the fishing for brown trout is fabulous.

East Walker

The East Walker is still flat lining with low flows of about 22 cfs. Until the river flows pick up, I recommend giving this fishery a rest….. 

Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at roughly 45 cfs. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the weeds and rocks, plus the overhanging grasses along the margins. You may not see fish, but they are there. Try a dry-dropper setup with a caddis above and a midge or small mayfly below. Hot Creek is always a fun place to fish especially now that the crowds have gone home. 

Upper Owens River

The flows are dropping and sit at about 94 cfs high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to 140 cfs. More and more trout are pushing up into the river system from the reservoir. There are some really nice fish to be had with SJ worms, small baetis, and balanced leeches. Work the deeper buckets relentlessly…. they are in there. Currently, the driving approaches to the river are no problem but beware of any new snow or precipitation.

Lower Owens River

The river is cruising steady at roughly 150 cfs and is fishing well with all of the traditional patterns; PT’s, Hare’s Ears, midges, Frenchies…. Thank God for Bishop. It is a nice break from winter when you need to see some dirt again and feel some warmth.

Get out there! You cannot catch fish if your line isn’t in the water.

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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jim Stimson Reports on 2.20.20

We continue to live under a dome of high pressure which is nice if you like endless days of blue skies and mild temperatures. The remainder of February looks to continue along the current path, drought mode. Hopefully we will have a Miracle March that will blanket the Sierra with snowfall. We could use some moisture for the summer not only for the health of the fisheries but also to mitigate fire danger. Keep your fingers crossed.

Fishing continues to be good with nice fish being caught along our open fisheries; the Upper, Lower Owens and Hot Creek. It is fun skiing on the Mountain in the mornings then dashing down to the river and hooking into some nice trout. If the cold temps are something you don’t care for, drive down the hill and fish the Lower Owens. It is a “banana belt” down there and the fishing for brown trout is fabulous.

Enjoy!

East Walker

The East Walker is still flat lining and dribbling below 21 cfs. Until the river flows pick up, I recommend giving this fishery a rest….. 

Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at roughly 42 cfs. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the weeds and rocks, plus the overhanging grasses along the margins. You may not see fish, but they are there. Try a dry-dropper setup with a caddis above and a midge or small mayfly below. Hot Creek is always a fun place to fish especially now that the crowds have gone home. 

Upper Owens River

The flows are dropping and sit at about 94 cfs high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to 150 cfs. More and more trout are pushing up into the river system from the reservoir. There are some really nice fish to be had with SJ worms, small baetis, and balanced leeches. Work the deeper buckets relentlessly…. they are in there. Currently, the driving approaches to the river are no problem but beware of any new snow or precipitation.

Lower Owens River

The river is cruising steady at roughly 150 cfs and is fishing well with all of the traditional patterns; PT’s, Hare’s Ears, midges, Frenchies…. Thank God for Bishop. It is a nice break from winter when you need to see some dirt again and feel some warmth.

Get out there! You cannot catch fish if your line isn’t in the water.

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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jim Stinson Reports on 2.6.2020

Brrr…… 2º on the thermometer this morning! This will make driving out to the Upper Owens considerably easier with the frozen ground BUT, beware of the afternoons. That deep muck will eventually thaw. I would recommend at the minimum using a high clearance truck, preferably with 4WD. With these frigid temps, make sure your fishing line has been cleaned with one of the many line cleaning solutions from Loon, Rio, Umpqua. A clean, slick line not only makes casting and mending easier, but also helps with the buildup of ice on your fly line. Also, you should put a smear of Loon ice off paste on your guides. Then as always, check and clear your guides of ice buildup with your fingers. It may be cold, but the trout are still in the stream waiting to eat. Be persistent, keep casting, and exercise some patience. They are there but sometimes it takes a drift that lands right in their face before they commit to a grab.

If the cold temps are something you don’t care for, drive down the hill and fish the Lower Owens. It is the “banana belt” down there and the fishing for brown trout is fabulous.

Enjoy!

East Walker

The East Walker is still flat lining and dribbling below 20 cfs. Until the river flows pick up, I recommend giving this fishery a rest….. 

Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at roughly 43 cfs. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the weeds and rocks, plus the overhanging grasses along the margins. You may not see fish, but they are there. Try a dry-dropper setup with a caddis above and a midge or small mayfly below. Hot Creek is always a fun place to fish especially now that the crowds have gone home. 

Upper Owens River

The flows are dropping and sit at about 102 cfs high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to 150 cfs. More and more trout are pushing up into the river system from the reservoir. There are some really nice fish to be had with SJ worms, small baetis, and balanced leeches. Work the deeper buckets relentlessly…. they are in there. Currently, the driving approaches to the river are doable, though muddy, with only a few icy puddles to worry about. Beware of any new snow or precipitation.

Lower Owens River

The river is cruising steady at roughly 148 cfs and is fishing well with all of the traditional patterns; PT’s, Hare’s Ears, midges, Frenchies…. Thank God for Bishop. It is a nice break from winter when you need to see some dirt again and feel some warmth.

Get out there! You cannot catch fish if your line isn’t in the water.

 

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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

 

We have some welcome, hopefully wet weather rolling in Thursday. The forecasters are hoping for 1-2 feet on the Mountain. It has been weeks since we have had any significant precipitation. We have had lots of wind but no moisture. We can use some new snow for the ski area and the spring runoff. The fishing is solid on the Upper Owens, not great numbers of trout, but the fish that are actively feeding are large and fat. The Lower O has been great. It is nice to be able to fish down in the valley again. 

 And finally, I recently ordered some new waders and a jacket from Patagonia. As a guide and rabid angler, I spend a lot of time in and around water and the elements, therefore I need equipment and clothing that can stand up to the toils of time and abuse. If you are in the market for a comfortable, warm jacket, take a look at their Tough Puff Hoody. Then the waders…. I am now sporting the brand new, off the shelf, Swiftcurrent Expedition waders. They are a work of art. They are simple in design, fit well, and are super durable. I look forward to many years of use whether it be on my home waters or steelhead fishing to the north.

Enjoy!

East Walker

The East Walker is still flat lining and dribbling below 20 cfs. Until the river flows pick up, I recommend giving this fishery a rest….. 

West Walker

The river has dropped considerably thru the canyon and is at perhaps 31 cfs. The river is looking very boney up high but as you drive down the canyon, there is more water as side streams add to the flow. Try patterns like zebra midges and small mayflies. Dry droppers work really well at these flows. May stealth be your guide as the river is not only low, but gin clear. Keep a low profile… if you can spot fish in the river, they can certainly see your movements.

San Joaquin

The road to Devil’s Postpone is closed for the season.

Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at roughly 44 cfs. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the weeds and rocks, plus the overhanging grasses along the margins. You may not see fish, but they are there. Try a dry-dropper setup with a caddis above and a midge or small mayfly below. Hot Creek is always a fun place to fish especially now that the crowds have gone home. 

Upper Owens River

The flows are dropping and sit at about 73 cfs high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to 120 cfs. More and more trout are pushing up into the river system from the reservoir. There are some really nice fish to be had with SJ worms, small baetis, and balanced leeches. Work the deeper buckets relentlessly…. they are in there. Currently, the driving approaches to the river are fine with only a few icy puddles to worry about but beware of any new snow. 

Lower Owens River

The river is cruising steady at roughly 150 cfs and is fishing well with all of the traditional patterns; PT’s, Hare’s Ears, midges, caddis worms…. Thank God for Bishop. It is a nice break from winter when you need to see some dirt again and feel some warmth.

Get out there!

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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jim Stimson Reports on 1.7.2020

We have some welcome, hopefully wet weather rolling in this morning. It has been weeks since we have had any significant precipitation. We can use some new snow for the ski area and the spring runoff. The fishing is solid on the Upper Owens, not great numbers of trout, but the fish that are actively feeding are large and fat. The Lower O has been great. It is nice to be able to fish down in the valley again. Enjoy!

East Walker

The East Walker is still flat lining and dribbling along at 20 cfs. Until the river flows pick up, I recommend giving this fishery a rest….. 

West Walker

The river has dropped considerably thru the canyon and is at perhaps 30-40 cfs? The USGS gauge is not working now so this is merely a guesstimate. The river is looking very boney up high but as you drive down the canyon, there is more water as side streams add to the flow. Try patterns like zebra midges and small mayflies. Dry droppers work really well at these flows. May stealth be your guide as the river is not only low, but gin clear. Keep a low profile… if you can spot fish in the river, they can certainly see your movements.

San Joaquin

The road to Devil’s Postpone is closed for the season.

Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at roughly 44 cfs. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the weeds and rocks, plus the overhanging grasses along the margins. You may not see fish, but they are there. Try a dry-dropper setup with a caddis above and a midge or small mayfly below. Hot Creek is always a fun place to fish especially now that the crowds have gone home. 

Upper Owens River

Just a reminder, the Upper Owens is closed for the season BELOW the bridge to the reservoir. The flows are 94 cfs but these are readings taken high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to over 140 cfs. More and more trout are pushing up into the river system from the reservoir. There are some really nice fish to be had with SJ worms, small baetis, and balanced leeches. Work the deeper buckets relentlessly…. they are in there. And beware of any new snow as it will impact the driving approach.

Lower Owens River

The river is cruising steady at roughly 150 cfs and is fishing well with all of the traditional patterns; PT’s, Hare’s Ears, midges, caddis worms…. Thank God for Bishop. It is a nice break from winter when you need to see some dirt again and feel some warmth.

 

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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jim Stimson Reports on 1.2.2020

Happy New Year! Not much has changed since we turned over the page on the calendar. What snow we have received in the valley has settled and has been packed in with vehicles out on the river. That said, do be careful where you drive, stay to the main roads that have been driven on and you should be good to go. And finally, this is all assuming you have a high clearance vehicle with 4WD. Just exercise some caution…..

The fishing is solid, not great numbers of trout, but the fish that are actively feeding are large and fat. Enjoy!

East Walker

The East Walker is flat lining and dribbling along at 20 cfs. Until the river flows pick up, I recommend giving this fishery a rest….. 

West Walker

The river has dropped considerably thru the canyon and is at 45 cfs. Try patterns like zebra midges and small mayflies. Dry droppers work really well at these flows. May stealth be your guide as the river is not only low, but gin clear. Keep a low profile… if you can spot fish in the river, they can certainly see your movements.

San Joaquin

The road to Devil’s Postpone is closed for the season.

Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at roughly 46 cfs. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the weeds and rocks, plus the overhanging grasses along the margins. You may not see fish, but they are there. Try a dry-dropper setup with a caddis above and a midge or small mayfly below. Hot Creek is always a fun place to fish especially now that the crowds have gone home. 

Upper Owens River

Just a reminder, the Upper Owens is closed for the season BELOW the bridge to the reservoir. The flows are 112 cfs but these are readings taken high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to over 160 cfs. More and more trout are pushing up into the river system from the reservoir. There are some really nice fish to be had with SJ worms, small baetis, and balanced leeches. Work the deeper buckets relentlessly…. they are in there. And beware of any new snow as it will impact the driving approach.

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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jim Stimson Reports on 12.12.2019

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Winter keeps pushing with regularity into the Sierra with more snow expected this weekend. I am glad to have the precipitation and look forward to the bounty of cold, clear, and clean water for the Spring runoff. 

 Be careful driving up the Upper Owens road for fishing. If you have any doubts, park just off the main north-south road and walk to the river on the lateral roads. The main road is usually firm and solid but the side roads get really goopy and bottomless. The fishing is solid, not great numbers of trout, but the fish that are actively feeding are large and fat. Enjoy!

 East Walker

The East Walker is flat lining and dribbling along at 20 cfs. Until the river flows pick up, I recommend giving this fishery a rest….. 

West Walker

The river has dropped considerably thru the canyon and is at 47 cfs. Try patterns like zebra midges and small mayflies. Dry droppers work really well at these flows. May stealth be your guide as the river is not only low, but gin clear. Keep a low profile… if you can spot fish in the river, they can certainly see your movements.

San Joaquin

The road to Devil’s Postpone is closed for the season.

Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at roughly 53 cfs. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the weeds and rocks, plus the overhanging grasses along the margins. You may not see fish, but they are there. Try a dry-dropper setup with a caddis above and a midge or small mayfly below. Hot Creek is always a fun place to fish especially now that the crowds have gone home. 

Upper Owens River

Just a reminder, the Upper Owens is closed for the season BELOW the bridge to the reservoir. The flows are 112 cfs but these are readings taken high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to over 160 cfs. More and more trout are pushing up into the river system from the reservoir. There are some really nice fish to be had with SJ worms, small baetis, and balanced leeches. Work the deeper buckets relentlessly…. they are in there. And beware of the new snow as it will impact the driving approach (see above).

Lower Owens River

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has finally lowered their flushing flows through the Gorge and below Pleasant Valley Reservoir. The river is running steady at roughly 146 cfs and is fishing well with all of the traditional patterns; PT’s, Hare’s Ears, midges, caddis worms…. Thank God for Bishop. It is a nice break from winter when you need to see some dirt again. 

Get out there!

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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jim Stimson Reports on 12.5.2019

I made a quick overnight trip to Pyramid Lake which was a fun change of pace. And, the fish Gods were kind….

Winter has arrived in the Sierra with more snow expected this weekend. I would avoid the temptation to drive up the Upper Owens road for fishing once the storm systems exit the area. Park near the bridge and slog up the road to gain access to the river. Unless of course you enjoy getting buried in deep snow and mud. Just sayin’….The fishing is solid, not great numbers of trout, but the fish that are actively feeding are large and fat. Enjoy!

 

East Walker

The East Walker is dribbling along at 20 cfs. Until the river flows pick up, I recommend giving this fishery a rest….. 

West Walker

The river has dropped considerably thru the canyon and is at 40 cfs. Try patterns like zebra midges and small mayflies. Dry droppers work really well at these flows. May stealth be your guide as the river is not only low, but gin clear. Keep a low profile… if you can spot fish in the river, they can certainly see your movements.

San Joaquin

The road to Devil’s Postpone is closed for the season.

Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at roughly 50 cfs. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the weeds and rocks, plus the overhanging grasses along the margins. You may not see fish, but they are there. Try a dry-dropper setup with a caddis above and a midge or small mayfly below. Hot Creek is always a fun place to fish especially now that the crowds have gone home. 

Upper Owens River

Just a reminder, the Upper Owens is closed for the season BELOW the bridge to the reservoir. The flows are 111 cfs but these are readings taken high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to over 160 cfs. More and more trout are pushing up into the river system from the reservoir. There are some really nice fish to be had with SJ worms, small baetis, and balanced leeches. Work the deeper buckets relentlessly…. they are in there. And beware of the new snow as it will impact the driving approach (see above).

Lower Owens River

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has finally lowered their flushing flows through the Gorge and below Pleasant Valley Reservoir. The river is running steady at roughly 152 cfs and is fishing well with all of the traditional patterns; PT’s, Hare’s Ears, midges, caddis worms…. got out there!

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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jim Stimson Reports on 10.7.2019

The general trout season will be closing soon, November 15th, to be exact. Make sure you are aware of the local regulations, as some streams stay open year around but others close in a week. In general the fishing has slowed down. Just get yourself into the mindset of grinding away on good runs, being patient, expect less trout, and enjoy your surroundings. 

East Walker

The East Walker is dribbling along at 21 cfs. Until the river flows pick up, I recommend giving this fishery a rest. Some of the browns are stranded by the boney water not to mention their spawning redds are in jeopardy from the low river flows. 

West Walker

The river has dropped considerably thru the canyon and is at 40 cfs. Try patterns like zebra midges and small mayflies. Dry droppers work really well at these flows.

San Joaquin

There is not much more time to catch the San Joaquin…. the river is super boney now, 9 cfs, but if you scout around, you can find fish in the deeper buckets. Personally, I am scratching the San Joaquin off my list of places to go for this season. Come springtime though…..

Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at 52 cfs. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the weeds and rocks, plus the overhanging grasses along the margins. You may not see fish, but they are there. Try a dry-dropper setup with a caddis above and a midge or small mayfly below. Hot Creek is always a fun place to fish especially now that the crowds have gone home. 

Upper Owens River

The flows are 125 cfs but these are readings taken high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to over 175 cfs. More and more trout are pushing up into the river system from the reservoir. There are some really nice fish to be had with balanced leeches and punk perch. Work the deeper buckets relentlessly…. they are in there.

Lower Owens River

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has finally lowered their flushing flows through the Gorge and below Pleasant Valley Reservoir. The river is running steady at roughly 368 cfs, a tad on the high side yet for wading, but doable. I am looking forward to fishing down there again. Stay tuned…..

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