The Lower Owens is more than heating up, we are now seeing some amazing Fly Fishing here in Bishop with dry fly action on the surface as well as great nymphing and streamer fishing. A long time awaited, this weekend we saw the trout of the Lower looking up and keying in on insects on top of the water for a good part of the mid-day hatch. If you are not in the section of the Lower Owens where they are looking up your nymphs will give you success when dropped in appropriate parts of the river. Squallas! Squallas, an inch long emergent bug, the first big meat hatch of the spring were spotted this weekend. All these factors combined with the warmer weather is all adding up for some great fly fishing, now and this entire year.
The Lower Owens has been fishing very well since my last report! Yellow Sallie Stoneflies, Mayflies and Caddis all have been taking fish! Although, Stoneflies have been the major player in the last couple of weeks. Conditions on the Lower Owens near Bishop are in pre-runoff. Holding Steady at 340cfs for the last couple of weeks it is poised to succumb to the melting snowpack in the near future. Look for rising fish under overhanging river willows. These wild Brown Trout are usually looking for a fallen Yellow Sallie to come up and engulf in a splashy moment of violence. Nymphing has been very effective as well, as it is always in the Lower Owens. Start light then take her deep if needed!
BWO hatch is on!! The event that many of us have been waiting for! A little past high noon a thick Baetis hatch comes off in a rather large size of #16. The fish have recently started responding and looking up to these top-water protein snacks. Blue Duns #16-18, Hendricksons #16-18, and Baetis Zingers in similar sizes are a few of the patterns popular with the fish we cast to them. Before this day changing event the nymphing has also been very successful, making for an amazing day. Use the same bugs as listed in previous reports; Caddis, Mafly, and Midges tied in nymph stages. Soft Hackles, PT’s, Bubbleback Emergers, Caddis Worms, and various Midge Emergers will get you fish when placed in the troutiest water such as; foam lines, large deep pools with evident seams, well defined drop offs and deep riffles.
The Upper Owens has been continuing its legacy of giving us BIG Trout all winter long! Recently some rather handsome fish have been coming out of her deepest and darkest runs and holes. By the picture you can see the amount of snow is not at a level where it inhibits driving to the river from the pavement at Benton Crossing Bridge. However, we did fire up the snowmobiles up the other day to be ready for the big snow that could possibly blanket the banks of the Upper Owens in the near future. At this point nobody can really predict if we will actually really need them this year. The 4×4 vehicle may be sufficient. Streamers and Attractor style nymphs are still on the menu as the big fish must eat! SJ worms variations, Copper Bobs and Jons, PT’s and Princes are just a few of the patterns lost on the bottom of the Upper Owens while trying to seduce an oversized trout. Flows continue to be low are very fishable. Its time to come and fish the Upper Owens River 2019.. You’ll regret it if you don’t!
The Lower Owens, once again, has been very good to the persistent Fly Fisherman. Flows are down at their usual levels for this time of year of around 100cfs give or take 10cfs depending on where you are. Spotty dry fly hatches have been happening for some anglers in the bend right above their buddies! These have been larger Baetis Mayflies and can be replicated with a #16 or #18 BWO pattern (Blue Winged Olive). Some midges can be seen above the water but with limited response from the Trout. They seem to be liking Midges much more below the water recently. Green Caddis worms, or some types of Midge larvae fished under the waters surface have been a fish producer for most of the day. Tung Jig PT’s with a nicely tied Soft Hackle have been absolutely reliable for us fishing guides at STM on the Lower Owens River recently. The entire system has something to offer this time of year. You have to come up and try it for yourself to see exactly what I am talking about. Call the shop for more info. 760-873-0010
Lower Owens River fly fishing continues to be a very rewarding fly fishing experience for some of the most beautiful, and wild Brown Trout you will ever see. Flows are low and clear and wading is very easy to figure out. Mayflies make their appearance in the warmer parts of the day throughout the river system. If your lucky you will be in an are where the fish deem it worthy to rise to the surface and pluck the unsuspecting, sexually mature bugs from the surface. For bugs concentrate on, of course, Midges, Baetis, and Caddis .. in that order as well.. for now. Trace has been tying up some great Midge Larvae and Midge Emergers with a little shuck that have been downright fooling the fish. Green Caddis Worms, Emerging Caddis, and larger PT variations fish well above a small Midge or Baetis Emerger. RS2’s have also been a choice out of the box recently.
The Lower Owens River Fly Fishing continues to make us local Fly anglers very happy. We are seeing a definite larger average size of fish over the last few months. It appears the lower and somewhat harsher water conditions of the last few years possibly weeded out some of the weaker & smaller fish. Then this summer we saw actual runoff, the flows pumped to 500cfs, this sheer volume of water provided more protein in the form of insects and bait fish passing by for the carnivorous trout to consume. We are starting to see dry Fly action more regularly from around 10:30-1:00pm in popular fish holes throughout the river. Fish the appropriate patterns mentioned in my last reports. Lots of Midge and Baetis Emergers…
Good news! It looks as if us Lower Owens wild brown trout fans are going to get one more go around on the Lower Owens River here in Bishop this summer. I have received word that the Lower Owens is on its way down to 300cfs because of the additional runoff flowing into the Lower Owens river bed south of Bishop. Most of you know this is a great flow to fish the LO. Fish are out and moving around as well as the bugs. Czech nymphing works very well at these flows as you can get up on the fish more without being noticed. Also these flows are perfect for taking out my driftboat which I will be doing in the next few days. Be ready for more reports on this river as it is 340 cfs as I type this and should be around 300 in the next couple of days. For those of you who have had the opportunity to fish the Lower Owens in June at these flows, you know how great the fishing can be as the temps reach a perfect trout temperature of 50-57 degrees which turns on their metabolism converting them into bug eating machines. Water is clear and ready to fish with the very limited pressure the Lower O has received as of late due to the recent high flows. Stay Tuned….
The Lower Owens has stabilized at around 300 cfs of very fishy river. Water temps are in the prime zone to turn up a trouts metabolism = they have to eat a lot. Lots of holding water can be found at these flows, clarity is 90%. The drift boat is back out and I am loving it! Small baetis hatches come out early morning – afternoon but are not found on the entire river. you can find different holes and riffles where dries are being eaten during these times. Nymphing has been excellent! – Trigger nymphs, Sparkle Triggers (here at shop), Robo Pheasant Tails, PT’s, Hot wire princes, princes, and Ice Cream cone style midges are taking fish. All is sizes #16-18. I did see some Yellow Sallies out the other day so some #14’s in the PT styles have been working nicely. If these flows sustain these levels at this time of year the Lower Owens will continue to be a very dependable fly fishing destination. A+