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Wind has been relentless this last week. Mornings have been fishable before the winds pick up in the afternoon. So far this has been a very windy spring. Insects are hatching and fishing has been good when you can get a cast and a drag free drift.

Lower Owens River Wild Trout Section:

As of March 1, 2021 the catch and release section was expanded to include the Owens River from the walking bridge at the lower end of Pleasant Valley Reservoir (PVR) Campground to Five Bridges Road. Euro nymphing has been good with heavily weighted nymphs even with the flows up at 275 CFS.

Wading is tough at 275 CFS. Euro nymphing has been productive with Butano nymphs, stoners, and rainbow warriors with 3.5 to 4.0 mm beads. Fishing under an indicator with bead head flash back flash back pheasant tail nymphs, bead head flash back gold ribbed hare’s ears, and tiger midges with at least two BB split shot to get you down on the bottom where the fish are feeding. Evening caddis hatches will be starting soon on the lower Owens. Evening caddis hatches are a great way to end a hot day in the Owens Valley.

Hot Creek:

Interpretive Site: An early morning spinner fall is providing great action for about two hours between 8:00 A.M. to 10:00 A.M. Trico spinners, midge emergers, and gray sparkle duns in sizes 16 to 20. Mid-day to afternoon winds blow fly fishers off the river. An early morning mayfly spinner fall provides action for fly fishers fishing the interpretive site.

The Canyon Section: The canyon is very crowded with fly fishers fishing all three sections of the canyon. A dry and dropper has been productive in the canyon. Two types of dries work for the dry fly in the dry and dropper. First off is imitating the hatching insects. A size 18 olive parachute or a size 16 elk hair caddis. Second is to fish with a large dry fly that is easy to detect the hits from the fish. Chernobyl ants and foam hoppers are great patterns for the dry. For the nymph use size 18 bead head flash back pheasant tail nymphs, size 12 scuds, and size 12 olive burlap caddis nymphs.

Upper Owens River:

Below Benton Crossing Bridge: The water below Benton Crossing Bridge is stained brown with tannins and cow poop. It’s hard to see fish in this water. The fish are moving through this section, but not offering much opportunity to catch them. Work nymphs or streamers in this section

Above Benton Crossing Bridge: Cutthroat trout are in the Owens River system and spread out from Benton Crossing Road to the ranches above Longyears. The cutthroats are not in the river in big numbers. Finding them is the battle right now. I target the trophy trout in the deep holes and runs. I leave the actively spawning fish alone. Size 12 stoner nymphs and size 12 gold/green wire prince nymphs have been fooling the few cutthroat we have been able to cast to. Fishing with bead head flash back pheasant tails and bead head flash back gold ribbed hare’s ears have been fooling the resident browns and rainbows.

Owens River Gorge:

Skittering a caddis with a nymph under it has been a very productive method for fishing in the Owens River gorge. Size 16 brown or olive elk hair caddis work great. Bead head flash back gold ribbed hare’s ears, copper Johns, and midges work great for the nymph. The flushing flows have increased the size of the trout to 14 to 16 inch browns being common now in the gorge.

Bishop Creek Canal:

Nymphing in Bishop Creek Canal is producing lots of wild brown trout and the occasional holdover rainbow. Nymphing with a Euro set up, dry and a dropper, or under an indicator has been producing with perdigons, stoners, Butano nymphs, hare’s ears, green/gold wire Prince nymphs, and bead head flash back pheasant tail nymphs.


Sarah Scrivano from Camarillo with a wild brown trout that took a perdigon nymph fished under a dry fly in Bishop Creek Canal.

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