Your cart
Close Alternative Icon
Close Icon

Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jim Stimson Reports on 7.1.20

One of the most important tools in your summer fly fishing arsenal should be a thermometer. In these hot days of summer, I LOVE putting on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt and heading outside. However, trout don’t feel the same…. they thrive in cold conditions. When the river starts feeling tepid, take the time to use your thermometer and get some readings throughout the course of a day. You might be surprised. It is amazing how much the temperature can fluctuate in just a few hours. If your morning reading is in the mid-60’s, raise a yellow flag because by afternoon there is a good chance that the temps may climb close to 70º, which is not good for the trout or the fishery. Trout love water that is in the 50’s. Once you climb into the upper 60’s and beyond, the fish get lethargic, they don’t feed as much, and their mortality rate goes up if they get hooked. If you must fish, tie on heavier tippet material so you can land the trout quickly. Because of the reduced dissolved levels of oxygen in warm water, trout can get stressed and die — basically by suffocation. This is only a recommendation, let your conscious be your guide. I tend to pull the plug once my thermometer reaches 68º. I will give the river a break and seek out the high country or water that is cooler. 

All of the mountain passes are open including Tioga Pass but check with the Park Service for details and restrictions. These are tenuous times with the pandemic. Enjoy the Eastern Sierra but please respect the fisheries and each other. Be prepared to wear a mask if you are grocery shopping or visit a retail store. And finally, please refrain from open campfires if you are camping outside of a developed campground. Fire season is already here. Thank you.

East Walker

The East Walker in particular is vulnerable to warm water conditions. I am giving the river a break until the summer cools down……If you fish up there, again, watch the river temps. Fish in the morning with heavier tippet, then reel in, hop in your car, and head around the Sweetwater Range to try the West Walker. The flows on the East Walker are at 106 cfs.. 

West Walker

The flows are over 156 cfs with the spring runoff as a heat wave settles in over the Sierra. These flows are perfect. The West Walker has gin clear water so use some stealth while approaching the water and fishing.

San Joaquin

The road to the Postpile and the San Joaquin River are open. Because of the pandemic, the shuttle busses will not operate this season. There will be some kind of quota system for driving your own vehicle down into the canyon. Stay tuned! The flows are at 90 cfs

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. The canyon is home to not only some nice trout, but deer, osprey, and the occasional bald eagle. Enjoy!

Upper Owens River

The flows sit at about 66 cfs high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to 120 cfs. Most of the trophy trout have moved back into Crowley Lake but there are still some stragglers hanging around; nice cutthroats and rainbows. In addition to sunscreen, throw some bug spray into your fishing vest. The mosquitos are loving life now. Hoppers are still “money."

Lower Owens River

The river is cruising steady at roughly 360 cfs and is fishing well with all of the traditional patterns; PT’s, Hare’s Ears, midges, Frenchies…. If you enjoy hucking dry flies, this is the place. Around lunchtime, watch for BWO’s to start coming off the water. 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. Stay safe out there and have a great 4th of July weekend.

Continue reading

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jim Stimson Reports on 6.19.2020

Hoppers, hoppers, and more hoppers….. If you are planning on fishing the Upper Owens, stock up on those large, grotesque, and gaudy terrestrial patterns. Yellow Humpys will get their attention as well. The trout are gorging themselves on the bounty of these terrestrials. Don’t miss out.

All of the mountain passes are open including Tioga Pass but check with the Park Service for details and restrictions. These are tenuous times with the pandemic. Enjoy the Eastern Sierra but please respect the fisheries and each other. Be prepared to wear a mask if you are grocery shopping or visit a retail store. And finally, please refrain from open campfires if you are camping outside of a developed campground. Fire season is already here. Thank you.

East Walker

It is a good idea to start carrying around a thermometer. With the hot summer heat and lower flows, the East Walker in particular is vulnerable to warm water conditions. Once the temps climb into the upper 60’s, beware, the trout are getting stressed. There is an inverse proportion: warm temperatures mean less dissolved oxygen in the river. The mortality rate of the trout start rising in these conditions. 

The flows on the East Walker are at 126 cfs.. The river at this level is perfect. These flows are easy for wading as well. The fish have moved for the most part out of the deeper, still buckets and into the moving water. This is a combo of several factors; oxygen needs and the food source. Caddis and stonefly nymphs are tumbling out of the riffles into the run outs below, especially in the afternoons. That said, black zebra midges and WD-40’s work well in the morning but as the day heats up, watch for BWO’s, stoneflies, and caddis. I generally use a stonefly nymph as an attractor with a beatis dropper. The combo has been money. 

West Walker

The flows are over 289 cfs with the spring runoff as a heat wave settles in over the Sierra. if you insist on fishing here, tighten your waist belt, use a staff, and keep your wading conservative. Try using big, flashy, and bright attractor patterns in this fast, off-color water.

San Joaquin

The road to the Postpile and the San Joaquin River should be open by this weekend. Because of the pandemic, the shuttle busses will not operate this season. There will be some kind of quota system for driving your own vehicle down into the canyon. Stay tuned! The flows are at 200 cfs

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. The canyon is home to not only some nice trout, but deer, osprey, and the occasional bald eagle. Enjoy!

Upper Owens River

The flows sit at about 66 cfs high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to 120 cfs. Most of the trophy trout have moved back into Crowley Lake but there are still some stragglers hanging around; nice cutthroats and rainbows. In addition to sunscreen, throw some bug spray into your fishing vest. The mosquitos are loving life now. As for bugs, just a plain ‘ole pheasant tail works wonders sub-surface, but hoppers are the ticket now for the top water. 

Lower Owens River

The river is cruising steady at roughly 370 cfs and is fishing well with all of the traditional patterns; PT’s, Hare’s Ears, midges, Frenchies…. If you enjoy hucking dry flies, this is the place. Around lunchtime, watch for BWO’s to start coming off the water. 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.


Continue reading

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jim Stimson Reports on 5/30/2020

After months of social isolation I would like to welcome everybody back to the world of trout fishing. As I write this report, the CDFW has reopened Mono County for fishing except for Crowley Lake, though you can fish from shore, float tube, or kayak, just no motorized watercraft. And if their regulations were not confusing enough, the fishing has opened in Mono County but remains closed in Inyo County (except for the Lower Owens River — a year round stream). The rules and regulations are changing by the minute. I would expect all fishing to be open in Mono and Inyo Counties along with restrictions lifted on Crowley Lake by this weekend. Keep in mind, the motels and campgrounds are still struggling to open with the mandates set in place by the State. The private, concession based campgrounds are opening this week, at least in Inyo County. You can still disperse camp on public lands but BLM and USFS campgrounds are not expected to open until the end of June. Some of the campgrounds may not reopen at all because of issues with trash and sewage. It is disheartening to see the amount of trash, toilet paper, sewage, illegal open and often unattended campfires. Really?! 

 

If you plan on coming over anytime soon, be prepared to travel completely self-contained.  And please, when you camp and fish, honor the old adage, “Leave no trace.” Respect the fishery, the nice place you are visiting, and each other. Let’s all pitch in and leave our waters in better shape than you found them. Carry a trash bag and pick up some trash even if it is not yours. Come on over, do some fishing, practice social distancing, and be prepared to wear a mask if you are grocery shopping or visit a retail store. We are sailing on uncharted waters. A little courtesy and patience goes a long ways. We will get thru this pandemic.

Sonora and Monitor Passes are currently open, I have not heard of any rumors concerning a projected opening of Tioga…. Hang in there! Stay safe and healthy.

 

East Walker

The flows on the East Walker are at 150 cfs. Keep your eye on the USGS site as I would expect the irrigation district to start releasing more water as the snow from the high country starts making its way to the valley below. The river at this level is perfect. The trout love the extra cold water and are free to move around throughout the river system. These flows are easy for wading as well. The fish have moved for the most part out of the deeper buckets and into the moving water. This is a combo of several factors; oxygen needs and the caddis / stonefly nymphs are tumbling out of the riffles into the mouths of hungry fish. Black zebra midges and WD-40’s work well in the morning but as the day heats up, watch for BWO’s, stoneflies, and caddis. I generally use a stonefly nymph as an attractor with a beatis dropper. The combo has been money. 

West Walker

The flows are over 1000 cfs with the spring runoff as a heat wave settles in over the Sierra. if you insist on fishing here, tighten your waist belt, use a staff, and keep your wading conservative. Try using big, flashy, and bright attractor patterns in this fast, off-color water.

San Joaquin

The road to the Postpile and the San Joaquin is currently closed.

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. The canyon is home to not only some nice trout, but deer, osprey, and the occasional bald eagle. Enjoy!

Upper Owens River

The flows sit at about 66 cfs high in the river system. Once Hot Creek dumps into the mid-section the flows are closer to 120 cfs. The river is very clear so fish with some stealth. There are still some massive sized cutthroats spread throughout the caldera. Please avoid the temptation to cast onto the spawning fish. Choose where you wade carefully as you do not want to destroy their redds. Just a plain ‘ole pheasant tail works wonders. Thanks.

Lower Owens River

The river is cruising steady at roughly 200 cfs and is fishing well with all of the traditional patterns; PT’s, Hare’s Ears, midges, Frenchies…. 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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

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