The legendary Lower Owens River, just a stones throw outside of Bishop, California, is at the lowest flows of the year. Right now the LADWP gauge is screwed up, the flow is actually right around 80cfs of crystal clear flowing water. Pressure has been minimal, and the river is full of willing and wild trout that love to take well presented fly patterns. Wading is at its easiest point and the entire river is accessible to the inquisitive angler. Nothing more than finding a place to enter the riverbed and explore is required to put yourself over some amazing fishing areas. Around high noon a good hatch of mayflies comes off to put a lot of trout on the surface actively eating these bugs. Bring a different rod to be used as a dry fly rod or be ready to strip off the nymphs and change over when this event starts. Some large trout of the Lower Owens have been popping their noses up to take advantage of this floating protein. Euro nymphing, tenkara, and good old indicator nymphing have all been very successful recently. Mayfly Nymphs, and Midge larvae have been our man patterns of success recently. Peridons in #14-18 and different types of midge larvae in #16-20 have been proven to be some of the most successful patterns recently.
Last weeks weather casted some lovely weather on the Lower Owens River in the shadow of Mt. Tom, right outside of Bishop, CA. This week we see more typical seasonal style weather with the fish continuing to fill their pretty little stomachs with the local menu ; Midges, Caddis, and Mayflies. The flows are still low and river access is at an all time high. The Brown Trout are as healthy and beautiful as you can find along the 41th parallel. Dry fly action is noted when the sun is highest in the Eastern Sierra sky, although not river-wide, look to the larger and deeper pools to spot some noses piercing the surface as they consume small mayflies and midge adults.
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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!
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The long-awaited Lower Owens River dry fly fishing is beginning at a great rate. Come to the Owens and fish size #14 through #18 Baetis patterns for the fly fishing you’ve all been waiting for!
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 River has been raised to a very fast 547cfs of slightly off-color water. Fly fishing is tough at these conditons and access can be hard at best to find. On the other hand the water temps are up to a point to where the wild brown trout that reside there are very hungry. Foam lines and slower moving parts of the river are the places where you will find fish. Robo Pheasant Tails, Sparkle Trigger Nymphs, Prince Nymphs and RS2’s are getting eaten, all in sizes #16-20. Streamers on a heavy sink tip are also a method to take fish at these flows. We have been doing the best with darker coloured streamers recently.