The Upper Owens River below Mammoth Lakes is at its prime time of the year! Water continues to flow clear and cold as the very large fish continue to inhabit the amazing holes, runs, and deep riffles of the Upper Owens this January. Small dustings of snow have been seen upon early arrival in the morning on the river which melts away as the sun rises leaving a completely changed landscape from just moments before. The fish have continued to infiltrate the river system with seemingly new members showing up on each visit. Fish the patterns that I have mentioned in my last post. Do not be afraid to try your own new patterns though, it just may be what these unbelievable fish want in that moment. Upon hooking up be ready for the possibility of a screaming run, just when you think they are done they give that last unexpected run leaving you without a fly and speechless all at the same time.
The Lower Owens remains a dreamy fly fishing destination for the special few who enter her waters. Flows are still typical, low winter flows. This allows for good wading access to most parts of this fertile stream with a very casual approach when the water is read correctly. The usual suspects ; Caddis, Midges, and Mayflies are all still taking the most beautiful brown trout a fly angler can find. Look for the river to give you clues to which one of those they are eating while you are on the water. The entire river from the dam face down as far as you want to explore seems to hold fish. On the Lower Owens, if the water looks fishy, it holds them as fish population here is still very high. Don’t let that fool you though! The fish are highly selective and the reward they provide is great!
The Lower Owens River Fly Fishing near Bishop is within reach as the river hits 345cfs! The river held steady at a rate of around 380cfs for a few days and recently has fallen down to its recent flows. Cooler nights will drop temps and drive the wild brown trout to continue feed into this upcoming season. Once the river hits the 280cfs and below mark, it will be time to to start thinking about visiting California’s premiere wild brown trout fishery, the Lower Owens.
Hoppers! Do I really need to say anything else on this report!? The grassy fields of the Upper Owens River near Mammoth Lakes, California have been full of the leaping insects, and the resident Trout have been taking full advantage of the situation. No doubt putting on some serious yearly mass for the seasons ahead. Windy days? Yes! We love them! In this case many hoppers are blown into the water this making themselves available to feeding trout. All sections of the river have been fishing well. Flows are clear and cool and very manageable at around 65cfs. Normal bug activity is also noted in seams and foam lines. Nymphing various attractor nymphs as usual is very effective. Crowds have been here and there but usually one can find a place to call their own for the time they are on the edge of the unique Upper Owens River just down from Mammoth Lakes.
The Lower Owens extremely low Flows have come to an end as the flows spiked to a healthy 300cfs since our last report. This did’nt change the bug activity! The same flies are still taking the amazingly beautiful wild Brown and Rainbow Trout that the Lower Owens yields. Large Czech Nymph patterns, Jig Pheasant Tails, Deep sinking Caddis Worms and Midges, and various other patterns that imitate Baetis Nymphs, Rock Worms and Midge Larvae. On my you tube channel you can see these things in real life! Click below to see– >
Hatches are still going off between 12:00 – 2:00pm in larger holes where the flies collect on the water and the trout have a concentrated amount of protein to consume. Be ready for some great fish to come out of the Lower Owens this year.
Storms has given the Owens Valley a good amount of precipitation the last couple of days. Upon arriving at the river today we were delighted to find it flowing low and clear with very happy fish. Click the link below for a sample recorded tonight of the rivers condition. Low flows with great clarity and a great Mayfly hatch around 1:00pm today.
The Lower Owens has been nothing but good to us this January of 2019! Nymphing has been very steady nearly all days on the same usual winter patterns: (Tung Jig PT soft Hackle, Green Caddis, Midge Larvae..ect.) The flows continue to be around 100cfs give or take a dozen cfs. This, of course, leaves the entire river open to wading and access is at its best. The Baetis (BWO’S) are starting to make an appearance! In the last week we have had the pleasure off fishing dries for a good part of the day! This, as I have said before, only happens in certain parts of the river. One must find a slow moving foam line in deep enough water with adequate cover nearby. That is where you will find the risers at the moment. Soon, very soon this even should be river-wide… stay tuned!
Some snow has arrived on the banks of the Upper Owens River making it even more of an amazing place to visit. The Big Trout are still there with newer prospects arriving and moving. Flow rates are at their usual winter levels with great to good visibility, depending on where you fish. The Big and small flies have been tricking the large trout in 2019. Lots of attractors of various types: Hot Head leaches, Pistol petes, Sammy Juan worms, Copper Bobs and Jons, and other similar patterns, Midge patterns, Soft hackles, and some small Beadheads are flies to attach to you tippet. The snow is there but we are still able to drive in, those with a 2-wheel drive vehicles can park at the bridge and take an easy walk in. Streamers! Yes! A sinking tip or longer weighted leader on a standers floating line presented properly on some days seems to be the way to get one of these unforgettable fish into your net!
The Upper Owens has been a consistent Big Trout Factory for the last couple of months! Awesomely wild and perfectly finned Rainbows, Cutt Bows, and Brown Trout will continue to be roaming the waters of the Upper Owens River for the next few months. The snow level has pretty much vanished at this point and needs no further attention. Of course upon arriving in the morning hours it is well below freezing on most days, this, of course adds to the experience as you take in the surroundings and realize what are special place you are able to visit to sample her amazing Trout. The same techniques and strategies hold as in my December post. Deep holes and riffly water erase the view from the surface which keeps these oversized beasts of the river hidden, feeling comfortable and safe, and ready to eat! All sorts of Tubifex worm patterns, Tung Jigs, and various attractor patterns in larger sizes will give you a shot at these unforgettable fish. Streamers are always an option here as well. This will keep you casting and strategizing all day on how to get one of these trophy Trout into your hands for just a moment….
The Lower Owens got turned way up to a high flow of 525 CFS. There are a few places on the river with some decent foam lines that the fly angler can nymph deep and extract some nice brown trout. We have been throwing streamers to the opposite bank and tugging them back with some great results in very certain areas. The last couple hours of the day the caddis hatch comes off with good action in the deeper pools. We will have to see how long the department of water and power keeps us at these very high water levels, there’s not enough water up there to maintain them very long that is for sure.. Flies are : larger and heavier Streamers #4-8, Bubble Back Emergers # 16-20, Sparkle Trigger Nymphs #14-20, Robo PT’s #16-20, and at night Elk Hair Caddis and other Caddis patterns # 16-20 will take fish.