The Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing report is brought to you by Fred Rowe, owner of the Sierra Bright Dot Fly Fishing Guide Service. Fred has been guiding the Eastern Sierra since 1982.
Here is this week’s fly fishing report:
The weather is a major function of fly fishing in the Eastern Sierra. Autumn weather is finally here and is bringing a change to the eastern waters of the Sierra. With cool daytime temperatures and a decrease in daylighting, the streams cool and the trout become more energetic for food. This is my favorite time of year for fly fishing in the Eastern Sierra. Trophy trout are caught in lakes and streams as brown trout and rainbow trout begin their annual spawning migration.
On the wild trout section of the lower Owens River, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Electricity sends water south at a rate of 375 CFS into the lower Owens River. This is too high a flow to safely wade through the river. Less than 300 CFS is a wadable stream. For the few hardy anglers who fly-fish from the shores, the nymph produces wild brown trout up to 16 inches. Euro nymph techniques are currently the most productive method on the lower Owens River. Fluorocarbon leaders and the right fly weight will get you into the fish. Size 12 to 16 stoner nymphs, olive burlap caddis, golden ribbed hare ears, butano nymphs, quilldigons and partridges trick trout.
At the Hot Creek Interpretive Site, early morning outbreaks of trico may flies, caddis, and olive blue-winged flies provide surface action for fly fishermen. The trico hatch comes off first before 9:00 am, followed by the caddis hatch and ends at the end of the morning with the olive hatch of the blue wing. Size 24 trico fishing spinners, size 20 gray partridges and size 20 blue-winged olive parachutes deceive selective trout. Fly selection is only half the story on this section of Hot Creek. Proper presentation with 6X or 7X light tips attached to 12 foot conical leaders is needed to fool the wary brown and rainbow trout at the Hot Creek Interpretive Site.
Below Hot Creek Ranch is the canyon section of Hot Creek which is open to the public. The mayfly hatch is difficult to fish in the faster water sections of Hot Creek Canyon. The slower sections just below Hot Creek Ranch offer good morning fishing. Blue-winged olive caddis and mayflies provide constant fly fishing action all morning. The size 20 gray caddis patterns like the partridge past caddis, parachute caddis and X-caddis deceive the trout. At 10:00 a.m., the blue-winged olive mayfly is hatching in full swing and floating a size 20 blue-winged olive parachute on a non-drag drift will produce lots of wild trout. I use a dry and dry method in the canyon when using small dry flies sizes 20 to 24. I use an Adams size 16 parachute as a flag fly and tie the tiny dry fly on three point feet. 6X attached to the Adams elbow. This allows the fly fisherman to find the smallest fly on the surface of the streams. When I lose sight of the small dry fly, I put the hook on any height within three feet of my indicator fly.
Fly fishing on the headwaters of the Owens River above Benton Crossing Bridge is just starting to bear fruit
Trophy trout migrating into the upper Owens River from Crowley Lake. Nymphing and pulling streamers through the deep pools and tracks produces some trophy trout. Successful fly fishermen scour a lot of ground to find the pockets of trophy trout that are currently in the river. I use stoner nymphs and green / gold Prince nymphs on size 12 hooks on my Euro nymph rig to trick trophy trout. This run of trophy trout will peak in the middle of winter.
The headwaters of the Owens River empties into Crowley Lake where floating tubers and nymphing boaters with balanced midges and leeches connect with trophy trout. Trout are found in 9 to 12 feet of water from North Landing – Layton Springs to the mouth of the Owens River. To mold trout every day, you need to carry a variety of gnat colors in your fly box. Zebra midges, tiger midges, albino Barron midges and blood midges are the proven models. Sometimes trout are looking for something other than the standard models. Try out all of your midges models to find one that looks like trout. The balanced punk pole works and should be placed over a pair of midges on your leader.
Bishop Creek Canal located behind the Ford dealership off Hwy 6 is a city water fit for fly fishing. It is a great place for beginners and advanced fly fishermen. The first mornings are cold on the canal and heat up quickly once the sun comes out. The trico hatch begins to fade. There is still a short window of opportunity where the trout grab the drop of the trico spinner. By mid-morning, the fish feed on a size 16 Adams parachute and take a size 16 pearl head, golden-ribbed hare’s ear three feet below the Adams on a 5X tip. Midday is warm and it’s a good time to climb up to altitude in search of a cooler place to fish. For determined fly fishermen, throwing a hopper mid-afternoon will produce a few trout.
This fly fishing report was brought to you by Fred Rowe of Sierra Bright Dot Fly Fishing Guide Service. Sierra Bright Dot is on Facebook and Instagram.