Upper Owens River rainbow trout on a fly rod

The Upper Owens River, just below the town of Mammoth Lakes, CA has received a small blanket of snow which has drifted in a few lower areas but not made a significant impact on accessibility. Patches of grass and sagebrush remain, showing above the recent snowfall. In the morning the landscape is frozen solid and entry is relatively easy as most vehicles with ground clearance will have no problems. It looks like we have some above freezing temps on the way during the day which will make for slippery and gooey conditions as anglers advance on their afternoon departure from the banks of the Upper Owens.

The trout appear to be advancing up the river in better numbers recently. We have been finding a thriving and healthy population of very large trout this early February. They appear to be spread throughout the river system nicely. Appropriate your fishing time in the correct holding water, which will usually be the deepest and darkest parts of the river. This can also be a narrow section of the river where the banks tighten up to a darker slot of running water.

Flies can be a variety of spawning patterns or larger and smaller sized attractor nymphs in sizes #10-18. These can include; various San Juan Worm patterns, Pheasant Tail variations, Soft Hackles, Peridons and Midge patterns just to name a few. Most of the fish we see rising are very small trout trying to sneak in a quick bite, this is not why we come to the Upper Owens River. Streamers can also be a good choice to have along on a second rod. Fish the long seams and undercut banks to create a response. In a river this size this can be done with a sinking or floating fly line setup.

Overall the river is in great condition; with a very healthy big fish population and enough of a cloudy tint to hide us from the fish in this wide open area above and below the main Hot Creek confluence.

Call or text the STM Fly Shop at 760-873-0010 for more details on this dynamic fishery or to book a guided tour for a worthy fish!


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