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Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report

Jim Stimson Reports on 6.18.20

Hopper season is here. If you are planning on fishing the Upper Owens, stock up on those large, grotesque, and gaudy terrestrial patterns. They work! And don’t agonize over making perfect, delicate presentations with long 7X tippet. Hoppers are made to hit the water coming in hot. Don’t be tentative, plop them down along the river’s edge like that kid at the local swimming pool desperately trying to splash the lifeguard with endless cannonballs. Cast like you mean it and enjoy the excitement!

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 flows on the East Walker are at 120 cfs. Keep your eye on the USGS website 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 throughout the river system. 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 300 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 is currently closed.


Hot Creek

The creek is flowing through the canyon at roughly 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. 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 64 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 276 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.



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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.

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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.

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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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