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Fishing Report

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.

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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 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.

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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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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jim Stimson Reports on 10.17.18

Mid-October! The autumn colors are in their prime. Once we get a hard frost and some wind, fall will be over. The temperatures are cold now with morning lows in the 20’s. The fish seem to be edgy and charged up for autumn. The fishing is good with large rainbows and browns cruising up the Owens River from the Crowley Reservoir. Stripping leeches and perch fry will get you some major grabs and porkulent trout. Have fun out there!

East Walker

The East Walker is cruising along at 140 cfs and the water temps are dropping with the frigid nights. Game on! There are a potpourri of bugs cruising around but they seem to prefer small mayflies, like sized 22. The river fishes really well at these current flows. 

West Walker

The river has dropped considerably thru the canyon and is at 67 cfs. Try patterns like San Juans or Prince Nymphs, big attractors, and fish the margins. Dry droppers work really well at these flows.

San Joaquin

The road is open and the flows are 38. The shuttle busses are no longer running so you are allowed to drive your own vehicle down into the canyon. You still need to pay an entrance fee for access. I fished down there a couple of weeks ago and the river is really “boney” with crystal clear water. There are lots of nice little browns and rainbows if you scout around. 

Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at 51 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.

Upper Owens River

The flows are 114 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 165 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.

Lower Owens River

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is doing a flushing / scouring purge of the Gorge and the lower river, mandated by Fish and Wildlife. The Lower Owens flows have been bumped up to almost 703 cfs. I would avoid these sections of the river until normal flows are reestablished. These high flows will be good for the health of the river down the line as it cleans out years of sediment and debris.

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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jim Stimson Reports on 10.3.2019

October…. scheesh! Where does the time go? We received a dusting of snow over the weekend. Sonora and Tioga Passes have were closed temporarily but have reopened. The temperatures are cold now with morning lows in the 20’s. The fish seem to be edgy and charged up for autumn. I fished yesterday on the Upper Owens and it was ridiculous good. I had one of my best days of trout fishing ever, anywhere. It was crazy fun. The rainbows especially were on the “chew.” They are keying in on perch fry…… 

East Walker

The East Walker is cruising along at 222 cfs and the water temps are dropping with the frigid nights. Game on! There are a potpourri of bugs cruising around but they seem to prefer small mayflies, like sized 22. The river fishes really well at these current flows. 

West Walker

The river has dropped considerably thru the canyon and is at 67 cfs. Try patterns like San Juans or Prince Nymphs, big attractors, and fish the margins. Dry droppers work really well at these flows.

San Joaquin

The road is open and the flows are 20. The shuttle busses are no longer running so you are allowed to drive your own vehicle down into the canyon. You still need to pay an entrance fee for access. I fished down there a couple of weeks ago and the river is really “boney” with crystal clear water. There are lots of nice little browns and rainbows if you scout around. 

Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at 57 cfs. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the weeds and rocks, plus the overhanging grasses along the margins. There are some nice fish lying in ambush for hoppers falling into the creek. You may not see fish, but they are there. Try a dry-dropper setup with a hopper above and midges or caddis below.

Upper Owens River

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 170 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 hoppers and Chernobyl ants. The grasshopper infestation is still happening but as the mornings temps are in the 30’s, I cannot imagine the hoppers to be around much longer.

Lower Owens River

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is doing a flushing / scouring purge of the Gorge and the lower river, mandated by Fish and Wildlife. The Lower Owens flows have been bumped up to almost 700 cfs. I would avoid these sections of the river until normal flows are reestablished. These high flows will be good for the health of the river down the line as it cleans out years of sediment and debris.

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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jim Stimson reports on 9.26.2019
Enjoy these last days of summer for the weather is about to take a turn, at least temporarily. Expect some precipitation, wind, and temperatures dipping into the teens this weekend. Make sure you bring extra clothing, a Jet Boil to make some hot beverages, or a bottle of Schnapps. 

East Walker 

The East Walker is cruising along at 224 cfs and the water temps are dropping with the frigid nights. Game on! There are a potpourri of bugs cruising around but they seem to prefer small mayflies. The river fishes really well at these current flows.

West Walker

The river has dropped considerably thru the canyon and is at 74 cfs. Try patterns like San Juans or Prince Nymphs, big attractors, and fish the margins. Dry droppers work really well at these flows.

San Joaquin River

The road is open and the flows are 17. The shuttle busses are no longer running so you are allowed to drive your own vehicle down into the canyon. You still need to pay an entrance fee for access. I fished down there a couple of weeks ago and the river is really “boney” with crystal clear water. There are lots of nice little browns and rainbows if you scout around. 


Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at 54 cfs. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the weeds and rocks, plus the overhanging grasses along the margins. There are some nice fish lying in ambush for hoppers falling into the creek. You may not see fish, but they are there. Try a dry-dropper setup with a hopper above and midges or caddis below.

Upper Owens River

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 170 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 hoppers and Chernobyl ants. The grasshopper infestation is still happening but as the mornings temps are in the 30’s, I cannot imagine the hoppers to be around much longer.

Lower Owens River

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is doing a flushing / scouring purge of the Gorge and the lower river, mandated by Fish and Wildlife. The Lower Owens flows have been bumped up to almost 700 cfs. I would avoid these sections of the river until normal flows are reestablished. These high flows will be good for the health of the river down the line as it cleans out years of sediment and debris.

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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report
September…… the sun is getting lower in the sky, the nights are chilling down, and the grasses are starting to pick up that autumn hue. With the blink of an eye, the morning temperatures are in in the mid-30’s and there has been frost on the windshield and along the river corridors. It is quite beautiful. 
The hopper hatch is slowing down but in the afternoons, the fish are still looking up and will readily wolf down a hopper or large terrestrial pattern. If you are not getting grabs on your hopper pattern, try switching over to something like a Chernobyl ant. Sometimes seeing a different profile float by on the surface can get these trout to crush something a little different than a grasshopper.

 

East Walker

The East Walker is cruising along at 265 cfs and the water temps are dropping with the frigid nights. Game on!

West Walker

The river has dropped considerably thru the canyon and is at 90 cfs. Try patterns like San Juans or Prince Nymphs, big attractors, and fish the margins. Dry droppers work really well at these flows.

 

San Joaquin

The road is open and the flows are 33. If you poke around, you can find lots of soft water stacked with trout. Bring your waders as the water temperatures are frigid. The shuttle busses are no longer running so you are allowed to drive your own vehicle down into the canyon.

 

Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at 60 cfs. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the weeds and rocks, plus the overhanging grasses along the margins. There are some nice fish lying in ambush for hoppers falling into the creek. You may not see fish, but they are there. Try a dry-dropper setup with a hopper above and midges or caddis below.

Upper Owens River

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 170 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 hoppers and Chernobyl ants. The grasshopper infestation is still happening but as the mornings temps are in the 30’s, I cannot imagine the hoppers to be around much longer.

Lower Owens River

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is doing a flushing / scouring purge of the Gorge and the lower river, mandated by Fish and Wildlife. The Lower Owens flows have been bumped up to above 650 cfs. I would avoid these sections of the river until normal flows are reestablished. These high flows will be good for the health of the river down the line as it cleans out years of sediment and debris.

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Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jim Stimson reports on 8.29.2019

Here it is, the Dog Days of Summer…… September is just around the corner. Most of the families | tourists visiting the area have gone home for the summer. Normally crowded water such as the Upper Owens River or Hot Creek has thinned out. There is plenty of breathing room AND, fishing is pretty good. Speaking of Hot Creek and the Upper O, if you like hucking large dry flies like hoppers, now is the time. The afternoons are particularly rewarding with the rainbows and browns gorging themselves on the bounty. The hoppers have been almost Biblical in numbers….. it is REALLY fun.

it is that time of year to carry an important and often overlooked piece of equipment to the river, a thermometer. The tailwater fisheries, in particular the East Walker, are getting on the warm side. I tend to draw the line at 68º F….. anything warmer is putting too much stress on the trout. The mortality rates start sky rocketing when the water is too warm as they cannot get as much oxygen as they need to recover. Even though a trout seems to swim away fine, it does not mean that they don’t “belly up” sometime after their release.

East Walker

The temps are starting to get too high, even in the morning, so err on the side of respect for the fishery and trout. Give the fish a break for a few weeks until the water cools off. Thanks.

West Walker

The river has dropped considerably thru the canyon and is at 122 cfs. Try patterns like San Juans or Prince Nymphs, big attractors, and fish the margins. Dry droppers work really well at these flows.

San Joaquin

The road is open and the flows are 86. If you poke around, you can find lots of soft water stacked with trout. Bring your waders as the water temperatures are frigid. The San Joaquin has been a great place to fish during the hot days.

Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at 68 cfs. Target your casts to the feeding lanes between the weeds and rocks, plus the overhanging grasses along the margins. There are some nice fish lying in ambush for hoppers falling into the creek. You may not see fish, but they are there. Try a dry-dropper setup with a hopper above and midges or caddis below.

Upper Owens River

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 180 cfs. The better fishing has been above the confluence where the water has better clarity. More and more trout are spreading out throughout the river system. You may see the odd cutthroat here and there leftover form their spawn but for the most part, the trout have left to head downstream to the reservoir, leaving rainbows and browns for the summer months. Hoppers are invading the river system and the trout are loving them. Hoppers, hoppers, and more hoppers….

Lower Owens River

The Lower Owens flows have been bumped up to above 542 cfs. This is on the high side for this section of the river so exercise some caution when you fish. You can easily go for am impromptu swim and end up flushed downstream if you are not careful. 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. You can find nice dry fly action along the foam lines and quiet water in the morning and evenings. Midges, tricos, mayflies and caddis are all working.

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