Golden Trout Guiding Co. Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report – April 7

Hi y’all! This is Luke with your Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report. Spring is slowly starting to show its face and things are warming up. There is still limited access to the Owens River, but the good news is things are starting to open up and crews are doing there best to clear way for opening day April 29th! To clarify, as I made a mistake, current regulations state all Crowley Lake tributaires will NOT BE OPEN until the Saturday before memorial day, except for the Upper Owens. I am getting excited for this summer season. The biggest factor going into summer is how quickly our snow pack will melt dictating the flows of our small creeks and spring fed tributaries. To better gain a perspective of this issue here is an article from Friends of the Inyo. As anglers and outdoor enthusiast its easy to want to fit our activities in, sometimes blinded to the bigger picture of water issues concerning the Eastern Sierra. Big decisions will be made in the future months as we deal with the highest year ever recorded. I want to thank all of my clients who have patiently rescheduled with me as we wait for things to open up and settle down. I am excited for the plentiful water we will have all season! I am primarily booking for Crowley Lake Boating trips as of now and filling up quickly (Especially Weekends) give me a call to put a trip on the books for yourself. Happy Easter to you all I hope its time well spent for everyone!

-Luke Kinney (Owner)

Cell-(858) 750 9820 // email-[email protected]

We have a full season dock slip this year on Crowley Lake! Give us a call to line up a guided trip.

Our Spring Fly Fishing Clinic is coming up next month! We have 4 spots available. This is a two day immersive clinic from classroom to the river. We recommend this clinic for any angler looking to further advance their skillset and knowledge in Fly Fishing. Our spring and fall clinics are the highlight of my guiding season, learning and growing together as anglers is always special. All gear is provided! Give us a call to reserve your position today. Price $700/angler

Lower Owens River– The Lower Owens is currently flowing at 740 CFS coming down just slightly over the last few days. The river is too high to guide or in my opinion even fish. Water is overflowing the road and the banks and is anticipated to flow high through summer. I will keep you all posted as we go into summer. If things come down to 600CFS morning and evening dry fly potential will be available. We will have to wait and see. It is a sight to be seen! Here are some photos.

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The Lower Owens flooding over the road on the North Entrance (Pleasant Valley Campground)
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Chalk Bluff Rd. is closed dude to flooding damage and road collapses. It will take time for crews to fix the road.
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A new river forming over what once was a bank on the Lower Owens.

Central Gorge– I have heard so many mixed reports on the Central Gorge to find out that it will be opening today. I will be heading down there to check things out. I will post a report on IG and FB with current conditions. If you don’t follow me on the social pages here is a link. Instagram @goldentroutguidingco Facebook goldentroutguidingco

Upper Owens River– I have been driving up to the Upper Owens twice a week to see the status of the road and fish Hot Creek on my own. The Upper Owens road closure has been moved further down Benton Crossing Rd. to Pit Road about a mile from the bridge. Things are looking good, and hopefully access to the river will open any day now. Our snow removal crews have been working around the clock to open access and we are grateful for them! We remain patient as we wait for access to be available.

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The Road Closed Sign is creeping towards the Upper Owens, which as of 4/5/2023 was located Pit Road.

Hot Creek– Hot Creek has been fishing well this last week. It wont be long before snow melt floods the banks but right now flows and temperatures are great for Fly Fishing. It is a 1/4 mile hike into the interpretive site, and a 3 mile hike into the canyon section. I hiked it the other day without snow shoes as it is packed down from snow mobile travel. It’s a decent hike into the canyon. There is very limited parking at where the snowplows have stopped (Private Ranch) so please use caution while parking your vehicle. Leave room for the work crews or you will get a ticket. I started in the morning with a dry dropper catching most of my fish on the Mercury Midge, and Tf Midge under an Olive Foam Caddis Fly. Around 1pm the adult mayflies came in hot and heavy as the river came alive with top water feeding. I switched out to a single size 20 (BWO) and continued to catch more fish then I kept track of. The hatch lasted through the afternoon calming down around 4pm. I finished with streamers (Leeches and Wolly Buggers) and managed some 16-18 inch browns on the swing. Although it’s a hike it keeps the crowds down, it’s rare to have the canyon section with only a few people, leading to some ideal fly fishing conditions.

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Incredibly beautiful brown trout caught and released in Hot Creek Canyon.
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Hot Creek Canyon Section looking majestic. All of this snow will end up in the river very soon.
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This Rainbow gave me an arial show taking a size 20 (BWO)

Bishop Canal– The Bishop Canal is the best game in town for access and fly fishing. Ive been guiding and teaching casting lessons on the canal. The water is high enough to fish a bobber rig with two flies. Ive noticed any color other than white for your bobber will generally spook the fish. These fish see a lot of humans, dogs, cows and horses so you really need to sneak up on em. As far as flies Im fishing midges (Size 16—20) , zebra midge, mercury midge, Tf midge. Sub Surface flies with a slimmer profile are attracting more fish. Ive noticed they are going for my midges way more often then heavy tungsten Czech nymphs or perdigons. Ive also been Euro Nymphing in the faster runs with a good amount of split shot to help my flies get down and getting some nice wild browns and rainbows to the net. Top Water action picks up around 1pm with hatches of Grannom Caddis, and Blue Wing Olive Mayflies as their primary food source. It’s a lot easier to target fish on dries in the canal if you have a decent cast allowing the angler to keep a good distance to the rising fish. The canal may not be the prettiest river on the Eastern Sierra but you’re catching fish, and lately in good numbers. To be honest I’ve been impressed with the quality of fly fishing the canal has to offer. Im currently guiding on the Canal and will be until more rivers are accessible and ready to fish.

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A beautiful spring day on the Eastern Sierra with first time angler John and his brother Jake. They both landed multiple trout to the net.
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First time angler Jake learning how to maintain a tight line while Euro Nymphing some well oxygenated water on the canal.
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Plenty of fun sized fish to target on the Bishop Canal, ranging from 6-18 inches in size.

Thanks for dropping by for our Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report! I appreciate all of your support and I wish you an awesome holiday weekend. Happy Easter and God Bless!

-Luke Kinney (Orvis Endorsed Guide)


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