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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 Fly FIshing Report 

The weather forecasters are rattling their swords…. apparently we could get a few storms beginning this weekend which may carry on through most of next week. We are still hoping for a Miracle March, crossing our fingers to get back to a “normal” seasonal snowpack. That said, 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, doughnut, NY Times, 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.

Enjoy!

East Walker

The flows on the East Walker have been raised to about 70 cfs! The river at this level is still low but now the trout can move around and spread out throughout the system. They are not just sitting ducks trapped in the deeper pools. We fished up there over the weekend, hooked some nice healthy fish, and scouted the river for the upcoming season. Word on the river is that the flows will be raised again this weekend. 

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 101 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 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. They know! There is carnage for the BWO’s as the trout and birds gorge themselves on the mayflies. The hatch doesn’t last long. Look for rises along the foam lines as snouts start poking up through the surface film. 

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 3.4.2020

The driest February on record! Ugh… and January wasn’t too much better. The 1st of March did bring a little snow to the high country but we’ve got a long ways to go before we get back to “normal." We can only hope that we get a Miracle March. That said, 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, doughnut, NY Times, 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.

Enjoy!

East Walker

The flows on the East Walker have been raised to about 70 cfs! Game On! The river at this level is still low but now the trout can move around and spread out throughout the system. They are not just sitting ducks in the deeper pools.

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 130 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 127 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. They know! The hatch doesn’t last long. Look for rises along the foam lines as snouts start poking up through the surface film. 

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

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jim Stimson Reports on 2.13.2020

Brrr…… 17º 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 41 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 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.

Continue reading

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jim Stimson Reports on 1.30.2020

It looks like the Northern California coastal rivers are coming back into shape for steelhead fishing. What does this have to do with Eastern Sierra fishing? Well…. honestly….. nothing, other than I am going to pack up the camper and head north into the redwoods, moss, and green river systems.

Not much has changed around here. There is solid fishing to be had on the Upper and Lower Owens Rivers. The upper stretch is a muddy mess but passable if you have high clearance and 4WD. Keep grinding on the deeper buckets and slots and eventually you will find some nice rainbows. They are still going for San Juans. The Lower has been good when you fish Frenchies or Perdigons.

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 about 40 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 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

The flows are dropping and sit at about 104 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 153 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.

Continue reading

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jim Stimson Reports on 1.22.20

February is barking at the door, and here it is winter, but not much snowfall so far. But as they say, “In the mountains, if you don’t like the weather today, wait another 5 minutes.” Hopefully that will be the case. We have lots of time left for the sky to start falling…..

I am Jones-ing bad to go steelhead fishing…. I may pull anchor and head north this weekend. The irony though, while we are having drought-like conditions in the Eastern Sierra, Northern California is expecting two weeks of solid rain.

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 48 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 104 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 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!

Continue reading

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 12.5.2019

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 11.27.2019

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! Winter has arrived in the Sierra. The ski area is reporting several feet of new snow! Even the Owens Valley is reporting several inches of snow. 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 33 cfs. Try patterns like zebra midges and small mayflies. Dry droppers work really well at these flows.

San Joaquin

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

Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at roughly 48 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 148 cfs and is fishing well with all of the traditional patterns; PT’s, Hare’s Ears, midges, caddis worms…. got out there!

Continue reading