Lower Owens River Fly Fishing Report : Bishop, CA – 11.28.22

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.

upper owens river below mammoth lakes carves though a snow covered meadow with mountians in the background.

Upper Owens River Fly Fishing Report : Mammoth Lakes, CA – 11.28.22

Just a few steps down the mountain from Mammoth Lakes, California, the Upper Owens River has reached its yearly apex as the trophy trout from Crowley Lake make their way upstream. Spending energy in order to throw a broadcast spawn to the fittest female trout around and continue their legacies. Water is low and clear at 80cfs give or take a few. Fish have been migrating into the Upper Owens since early October this year. Without any more major storms to bump up the flows the water remains clear and low. This, of course, makes it very difficult to find and effectively fish to these big bad dudes without them sensing your presence. Pressure can be good or bad on any given day, lots of people are stopping to fish around the bridge so make a decision from there. Access is limited to a snowy wonderland as some are taking snowmobiles in, some drive in a short way and then walk. Although there is some dry fly action on the Upper Owens it will usually limit you to the smaller fish in the river. Nymphs and streamers will get you down to offer something worthwhile to these jumbo sized trout. Various attractor, and more natural nymph and streamer patterns placed correctly by the cautious angler can result in the trout of the year! Stay tuned for more updated details as more storms are forecasted later in the week which could turn conditions in a different direction.

young man holds a fish above the Lower Owens water near Bishop california

Lower Owens Fly Fishing Report : Bishop, CA – 9.22.22

The wild trout waters of the Lower Owens River have seen its water levels fluctuating up and down recently. Flowing at a very fishy flow of 155cfs with cooler nights, dropping water temperatures, and lots of bug activity, the local Bishop, California stream is fishing consistently well. Caddis are noted over the water with random hatches of Baetis floating in the air above the river. Small rises can be seen throughout the river system throughout the day. These are mostly random attacks on the recently hatched bugs and no real rhyme or reason to their methods. A dry fly purist can have some success if he sticks the fly in likely spots throughout the day, and stays attentive to the trouts behavior. Euro nymphing and good old indicator nymphing methods take most of the fish right now on the Lower Owens River. Peridons, pheasant tail nymphs, caddis emergers and caddis worms, various soft hackles, frenchies, and various midge larvae imitations are taking fish right now. Fish these in sizes #14-#18. For dry flies we can fish patterns similar to; Elk Hair Caddis, Stallcup Caddis, Para Adams, Purple Haze, Beetles, Ants, and other similar atrractors can be worth a toss out. Streamers? Always worth a try! Fishing is definitely picking upon the Lower Owens River, right outside of Bishop, California.

large rainbow trout in the water headshot below mammoth lakes ca on upper owens

Upper Owens River Fly Fishing Report : Mammoth Lakes Fishing Report – 9.18.22

The Upper Owens, right below the outdoor paradise of Mammoth Lakes, CA, has had a challenging time this last summer with the low flow rate and extremely hot weather it has experienced the last few weeks. The hoppers really never happened as in years past, and not as many large fish remained in the system throughout the summer months. Only now, with the cooler temperatures arriving, with storms on the way are we looking up to the Upper Owens river to see what surprises will appear in her deepest holes on their way up from Crowley Lake. We have seen the giants of Crowely Lake arrive as soon as late September and as late as mid-November into December. Whatever the case the Upper Owens still remains one of the most unique and picturesque settings a fly angler can visit. Stay tuned for an update here as we will be on top of the Upper Owens Situation as the fall season rolls on prompting the large fish of Crowley to swim upstream.

two girls hold up a large rainbow trout on the lower owens river in summertime

Lower Owens River Fly Fishing Report : Bishop, CA – 7.2.22

The Lower Owens, running strongly just outside of Bishop, has been pumped up to a very healthy flow of around 220cfs of cool sierra water. Clarity is slightly tea colored and perfect to give the wild trout and angler a little bit of extra cover from each other. Caddis, Yellow Sallies and Mayflies can be seen on certain days making for an exciting top-water experience. Wading, is a bit more difficult but easily doable when making the proper decisions while in the water . Nymphing has been the game early with the hope of some top-water action tempting us every day. Flashy patterns under the water have been attracting the fish to our hooks in these light runoff flow rates. Fish the flies I mentioned on top in their nymph and larvae forms under the water for success here. The Lower Owens River is a wild river consisting mostly of a variety of wild and savage fish in sizes ranging from 6″ – 18″. Down below town where the river becomes a bit more silty stocked trout are dumped in. Streamers are also getting some good attention when fished correctly. Do not try a sinking line in this small river to fish streamers appropriately, we use a long leader with a weighted streamer to fish across the various currents of the Lower Owens. Peridons, Stoneflies, and Mayfly patters both wet and dry are taking fish everyday out on the Lower Owens River.

Call the STM Fly Shop in Bishop, California, for more details or to book a guided tour. 760-873-0010

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wild brown trout is held up in front of an agler on the Lower Owens River outside of Bishop, CA

Lower Owens River Fly Fishing Report : Bishop, CA – 5.12.22

The Lower Owens River, just outside of Bishop, California is flowing at a healthy rate of around 175 cubic feet a second of wadable river as of May 12. This is a much needed flow rate of water that brings vital food and life to the wild brown and bainbow coloured residents of the Lower Owens river system. Hatches of Mayflies and Caddis have been happening sporadically throughout the last month, basically following the waves of cold and hot weather the Eastern Sierras have been experiencing. Out when its warm, and down as the cooler weather hits. Right now we are coming out of a nice cold spell and looking forward to the warmer weather forecasted this weekend. Nymphs and streamers have been taking fish everyday while the hatches are held up during the colder and windy weather. Peridons, Jig flies, Midges, and the like have been taking fish consistently. Fish these patterns in sizes #14-20. Come in to the shop to see some of the patterns we tie up and use locally. As the warmer weather rolls in we expect to see topwater action with; Stoneflies, Caddis, and Mayflies.

large brown trout on crowley lake held by an angler in a float tube below mammoth lakes ca

Crowley Lake Fly Fishing Report – Mammoth Lakes, Ca – 5.10.22

Crowley lake, right below Mammoth Lakes has started off by showing us some amazing Brown, Rainbow, and Cutthroat trout right off the start. Recently it has not been necessary to be in super deep water as we have been having success at around 12-15ft. We are thankful for this as some years we are fishing a 20″ leader which does not make casting fun. Most of the well known fishing areas are producing fish of all sizes and colours. Only the North Arm has been less successful recently but can change daily. The normal offerings of different colours and types of Chironomids has been taking lots of good sized fish! Fish these in sizes around #14-18. Most people have been grouping up around McGee bay with some good fish being brought to the net. This does not mean you have to head strait there to join the boat crew. Try some other more well known spots, this will result in less but bigger fish at times. Perch have been around to give you a tug, you know when you hook them as there run is much less spectacular. Be ready for a possible personal best Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, or a spectactular Cutthroat Trout.

Call the STM Fly Shop in Bishop California for more details or to book a trip on this amazing fishery. (760)-873-0010

a beautiful winter scene with the Lower Owens River and the Sierras covered in snow in the background. Near Bishop California

Lower Owens River Fly Fishing Report : Bishop, CA – 1.11.22

The Lower Owens River flows right outside of Bishop California, just a holler and a few stones throw from the STM Fly Shop; this stream has been an absolute Jewel these past few weeks. Flows are down to around to 100cfs of clear and cool water making for some very healthy trout! The usual suspects have been taking fish for those who know how to fish the Lower Owens properly. Mayflies, Caddis, and, of course Midges have been on the menu recently. A stomach sample yesterday confirmed this. Pick your holes wisely, as well as the amount of time you spend in them, this will be key to your success. Mid-morning to early afternoon will be your hot time here to be on the water. Don’t take a break to have a big lunch, this will cut into your quality fishing time! Dry fly action? Yes! Although some days it seems to be much heavier than others. Right around noon you can possibly be in an exciting bubbly hatch and some days you might not even see a fishes head pierce the surface. But, one thing is for sure! They are eating under the water everyday. Peridon patterns, green caddis worms, and all sorts of midge patterns have been taking fish consistently. We hope for even more dry fly activity as the weather warms and the trout of the Lower Owens metabolism forces them to eat even more!

Call the STM Fly Shop in Bishop @ 760-873-0010 for more details or to book a guided fly fishing trip.

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in front of a snowy mammoth mountain a fly angler hold a very large rainbow trout over the upper owens river

Upper Owens River Fly Fishing Report : Mammoth Lakes, CA – 12.9.21

Three stones throw from Mammoth Lakes, CA, the notorious meadow stream of the Long Valley caldera, the Upper Owens is doing what it does best; supplying fly anglers will very large sized fish. Water is flowing well and very clear. The very large Crowley Lake trout have made their way up the river and can now be found throughout the entire system. Fishing the deepest and darkest places, as well as riffles and deep runs could possibly produce an unforgettable experience with a trout of a lifetime. Access has been open and traction is good. Although, right now we are getting some precipitation so we will update this in the next couple of days. The large trout of the Upper Owens like to eat many different patterns; usually something along the line of steelhead patterns, attractor nymphs, and even micro mayfly patterns. We find ourselves trying out more patterns than usual on the Upper Owens, changing out flies often. Crowds can be anywhere from nobody to slightly annoying. There really is no rhyme or reason or a way to predict how many people turn out for the day. The storm hitting today could possibly move these big guys around or even better, bring more in! Stay tuned!

fat rainbow held above the Owens River near Mammoth Lakes

Upper Owens River Fly Fishing Report : Mammoth Lakes, CA – 11.2.21

The Upper Owens river, just below Mammoth Lakes, is dumping into Crowley lake at an even flow rate of right around 120cfs. Hot Creek adds a few cubic feet/second while the East Portal adds 72cfs. These are pretty good flows for the Upper Owens and it has allowed a few large fish to make their way up the river and into our nets. At these flow rates we see the larger trout making their way up the river. These behemoths are not only found in the deeper and darker places but throughout the river system, they will also be in the riffles, foam lines, and some undercut banks. River access is still good as the dusting of snow Long Valley received did not last long. Smaller, average sized fish can be found here and there in the slower holding areas. Some dry fly action can be found with these sparky little resident fish on Baetis and Caddis patterns. But, for the big guys we have to go down under deep to place our offerings right in front of their large faces. Nymphs and streamers are the answer here. Attractors such as; Wolly Buggers, Zonkers, Pistol Petes, and any of your favorite streamer patterns have a chance here. Nymphs such as; SJ Worms of many varieties, PT and Prince nymphs, Peridons, large Midge patterns and similar ties will entice fish here. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little with any variations of these patterns. Now, we wait and see as to what nature will bring in the way of precipitation which drastically changes what happens this season on the Upper Owens River.

Call the STM Fly Shop at 760-873-0010 for more details or to book a guided trip in the Eastern Sierra. Text 661-364-6981

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