As most of you know I am still up here in MT finishing up some guiding, teaching other potential guides at a fly fishing guiding school http://www.flyfishguidetraining.com/ and taking advantage of the fall fishing.. I am also tying up a deal on a driftboat for guiding on the Lower Owens and have zeroed in on which one I am getting..a beautiful Stu Williams classic wooden boat like the ones I grew up with..I will be back at the end of the month and will be putting in overtime on all the eastern sierra waters to make up for lost time!! See you all soon… My fishing report will be updated as soon as I arrive and get on the water as I don’t feel good about posting reports on water I really have not fished lately…
The nights here are now really starting to cool off. Yesterday I was on the Hot Creek/ Upper O complex at 6:00 am and the temps were 30 degrees. As soon as the sun hit the coat was off and the fishing was off to a strart and going as well.. Not too much in the way of bug activity has changed too much from my last report on this water. I have been seeing less hoppers due to the freezing nights. The water level has remained about the same and is now very clear making the fish very easy to see, and easier for them to see you. The weed slots continue to test the most patient anglers with fish tucked away in any part of the weeds that provide cover. Tiny midges, small beatis and caddis cover most of what you will find. Mid morning I have noted a caddis hatch with mixed attention from the fish on the caddis surface action. Partridge and quill wing caddis in #18-20 cover that hatch nicely. Grey and brown Parachute Adams in the same sizes during a cloudy day are also a fly that could be taken out of the box while on Hot Creek these days. The darker colour WD-40s can be fished as droppers…I would put them off of a larger attractor though..Some fish are still looking up to hoppers. Scan the water before you cast.. Drift the open parts of the weeds. I might of noticed some sort of spawning action going on … I will have to check back on that to confirm though…
The Upper O continues to be the river to explore, just the fact that it is a tributary to Crowley Lake keeps the excitement level high..And we all know which favorite trout species heads up a trubutary in the fall.
Arriving at the river this moring I noticed and surge in the water that went down by the time we left some five hours later. Caddis dotted the water with random strikes here and there in all areas. The elk hair caddis, and goddard caddis patterns are doing well during the thicker parts of the hatch. Hoppers fished properly as well as popular attractor patterns will still get eaten. Sparkle pupa in a #14-16, and small mayfly imitations in smaller sizes below an attractor nymph are the underwater patterns of choice. For streamers try all presentation techniques with rabbit leaches in colours of browns and olives. Matukas, slump busters and olive zonkers are just a few of the patterns to connect into trout on. The lower morning temps are really noticable in the Long Meadow Valley slowly turing this fishery into a fall playground. Not too much has changed on the Upper O since the last report as the fishing continues strong…On the water for the next few days… stay tuned..
The small creeks draining the Eastern Sierra have dropped a small yet noticable amount in the last couple weeks. Smaller dries are called for with the cooling night temperatures. I personally have been doing best with a dry/dropper combo to sample the trout populations of these bubbling brooks. A stimulator in an medium to large size range trailed with a like sized nymph will produce fish if they are in there. Cooler night temps are also turning the lower flows here to a cooler temperature. I have seen some larger cadddis activity on a few of the streams in the shaded sections of the runs.. Small buggers will always bring up some sort of action on this water. Try pullin them down first, then going to the top and pulling them up for a different presentation.
Hot Creek hatches are coming off starting in the morning and persisting throughout the day. The creek has had a little more weed growth since the last report but the caddis are what an angler can rely on to have a great day at the moment.. The flies of choice continue to be the size #18-20 Partridge and Quill Caddis when the fish are actively taking flies off the surface. The hatch seems to be the strongest around 1-2:00 pm, then sporadic from then on while intensifying moving on into the evening.
Hoppers are still getting a sharp response when presented correctly. A dropper in the same sizes as the mentioned dries can be added off of 6x to entice numbers of fish to hand. Go short on the dropper with the current flows and amount of weeds. Streamers are very difficult to manipulate at the moment but there are certain sections where a deaddrifted or correctly retrieved bugger will bring out a beast.. One try is all you get right now.. Don’t let the wind blow you off the water here, as the bugs seem to stick tight to the water during the hatch and the hoppers get blown in to the feeding lane.. Kinda like us falling into a croc tank…
Flows are 277cfs as of today which is a 40+cfs drop from the outlet of Pleasant Valley Reservoir(which is also fishing very well) from the last few weeks of pumpin out 320cfs and over..Nights are cooling in the valley and with this current CFS level morning and evening fishing should be very comfortable.
As of now expcet early morning and evening hatches of midges and caddis. A few mayflies can be seen sporadically coming off in sections of the river. Small grey bodied elkhairs, partridge caddis, hot creek caddis, and quill winged caddis patterns continue to take fish for the caddis imitations. Once again carry sized #14-20 to cover all possibilities. BWO’s and Adams in the same sizes should also be a inhabitant of your flybox. Nymphing deep in the foam lines with various soft hackle flys in shades of green #’s 14-18 will imitate many things in the water, or fish a birds nest in the same sizes in shades of brown and green as well as the ever reliable PT nymph flashback and Robo. For streamers use a larger dumbell head of of a 9-10′ 4 x leader.. White or light coloured streamers, Swing them… Swing them down, Strip them up..Or quarter up, let it sink and pull it across towards you(my favorite)…Pick out the larger fish. Sized #4-10.
The somewhat cooler nights and shorter days will continue and the Upper Owens well continue to load up with fish. The caddis fly hatch continues to come off early morning and somewhat perstist in parts of the river throughout the day. The elk hair caddis, and goddard caddis patterns are doing well during the stronger parts of the hatch. Hoppers fished properly as well as popular attractor patterns are getting smacked. Do not let the fish see you when fishing topwater attractor patterns, remember, they utilize a 45 degree conical vision. Stay back and stay accurate.
Nymphs are getting great results all day long! A small San Juan worm or large red midle larva above a # 20 pt or dark soft hackle will score fish all day. Others to try are #18-20 robo pt’s, hares ears, z-wing and other pupas, and midge emergers to name a few. Pull some streamers off the bank while applying the same rules as the topwater attractor patterns and enjoy success! Here you will see some different fish as we see more browns willing to come up and sample the larger protein snack imitations we throw at them. And dont forget, The Tug is the Drug!
The freestone streams of the area continue to fish excellent! Water flows are staying strong and cold.. Bread out the small rods (ooowt-light 3wt’s) and try your luck with large attractor patterns, medium-large numphs, and small streamers. Fish here are still opportunistic and aggressive so remeber that when you approach and cast to each pool. You will often get the best and largest fish within the first few moments the fly hits the water when you make the first cast into a fresh piece of water. Fish any method you like here, but do it well with precision. These places require the most patience and thought out methods and actions. Have you ever spent more time untangling and fishing for leaves than time in the water? Examine each situation, angle your cast, find the casting lane, concentrate… time will pass, .. way too fast…:)
Hot creek flows are staying about the same and not two much has happened different since my last report. Hoppers are still going strong and landing in the water during the windy parts of the afternoon. Who says wind is bad for fly fishing? If you want you can still put a #18-20 dropper underneath that on 6x; small caddis pupas, small flashback pt’s, zebra midges, and #20 robo pt’s just to name a few to use depending on the time of day. The caddis hatch still comes off from the afternoon on, partridge caddis and hot creek caddis on 6x flouro does the trick as long as you have absolutely no drag that is. In mid-morning a trico hatch comes off..if you think you are doing everything right and not doing well amoung rising fish, try switching to 7x with this hatch. Keep it light and keep it accurate! have fun…
The flows as of today dropped down to 292 cfs, this is getting more fishable each day as the night temperatures cool and the days shorten. A reliable caddis hatch has been coming off in the evening bringing up hungry fish. They are smaller in size, carry along sizes#14-20’s to be safe. Small grey bodied elkhairs, partridge caddis, hot creek caddis, and quill winged caddis patterns will take fish. The fish are really stacked in the pockets and small eddies. Like I always say “foam is home” really applies here right now. Tungsten conehead buggers or your favorite big ugly streamer (slump busters, muddler minnows?) fished properly are a good choice at these curent flows as well. Fish can be spotted in the shallow water under cover in the right sunlight. Nymphing deep in the foam lines with the standard nymphs or with various soft hackles flys in shades of green #’s 14-18 will imitate many things in the water, or fish a birds nest in the same sizes in shades of brown and green as well as the ever reliable PT nymph.