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Golden Trout Guiding Co. Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report – August 22, 2023

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Golden Trout Guiding Co LLC

Welcome to my Eastern Sierra fly fishing report for the end of August. Summer is winding down and we are headed into my favorite time of year to go fly fishing. Most of our rivers have stabilized and Crowley Lake continues to provide some exceptional trophy trout fishing. I have been guiding all over the Eastern Sierra all the way up to the East Walker and its been one of the best late summers Ive witnessed. The season for Crowley Lake is winding down and will end October 30th. Now is the time to get some of the biggest fish in the lake as they have been feeding all summer and fattening up for this coming winter.

We are excited to announce our 2023 fall fly fishing clinic is happening Oct. 28/29 and we have a few positions left. Our fall clinic will be hosted by myself and our head guide Rob Hrabik. Our clinics our the highlight of my guiding season, and this fall is shaping up with phenomenal conditions. Join us for two full days of immersive learning in an encouraging group environment. If you are looking to build a solid foundation for your fly fishing and want to approach the river with confidence this is a great opportunity! Call or email us to reserve a position today.

Book Now

email- [email protected]

phone- (858) 750 9820


Fishing Report

Lower Owens River– The Lower Owens River has come up to around 400 CFS over the last few days, making it difficult to wade and move across the stream. Access is still limited as chalk bluff rd. remains closed. There is some run-off from the recent storm that passed through the Owens Valley which has discolored the water but should clean up quickly over the next week. I will start guiding the Lower Owens as we move into fall and I am excited to be back on the local stream! There have been some decent hatches of Caddis and Mayflies with few fish rising to take an adult. October is usually a great month to fish dry flies on the Lower Owens so we’ll have to see what this season will bring. Best option right now is to fish under an indicator or Euro Nymph in the appropriate water. For the deeper bends that require a longer cast I prefer to fish under a bobber with two flies. I recommend the airlock indicator as it is adjustable when you are working different depths and sections of the river. Recommended nymphs for the Lower Owens, Olive Prince Nymph (Size 16-18), Flash Back Pheasant Tail (Size 16-18), Duracell (Size 16-18), Olive Perdigon w/ Orange Hot Spot (Size 16-18), Blue Perdigon w/ orange hot spot (Size 16-18). For Dry Flies I recommend Olive Foam Caddis (Size 16-18), Parachute Adams (Size 16-18), Blue Wing Olive (Size 16-20), Pale Morning Dun (Size 16-20). Use caution while working the bank as flows are more powerful than they look and the muddy banks are fragile and break often. Once flows get back down towards 300 CFS it is game time!

Bishop Creek/ Rock Creek– The higher elevation streams are fishing great! Flows have stabilized yet still on the higher side so use caution while working the river. Trout are rising for a well presented adult (Dry Fly). Look for the slower pools and do your best to be stealthy as the water is gin clear. Allow your flies to hang out longer than your use to, even allowing the fly to skate at the and of your drift as some trout will strike at the opportunity. Thinner tippet will help present the fly and give you more opportunities. Im using 5x or 6x in the higher elevation to help fool trout. When the top water isn’t producing, especially as temps start to drop going into fall fishing a dry dropper is a good call. I like running a larger Caddis (Size 14) to a Black or Olive Midge (Size 18-20). Make sure when fishing a dry dropper that you have a big enough top fly to help float your nymph or midge underneath. When fishing the alpine lakes you can try fishing a few flies under an Indicator. I like using small baetis flies (Size 20-22) or the tried and true Copper John (Size 18-20). For dry flies you can get away with most patterns, Parachute Adams (Size 16-20) is hard to beat. If you find yourself even higher in elevation try using a Black Ant (Size 16-20). Ive been fishing streamers in the high country which are always a killer option. Olive, Brown, or Black Wolly Bugger (Size 10-14), Black or Olive Leeches are my personal favorite (Size 10-14). Take advantage of the higher elevation water as we head into fall/winter!

I had the pleasure of fishing with local legend Jim King somewhere in the high country.

Weir Pond (Above) is a fantastic place to wade in beautiful alpine water and perfect your dry fly presentation.

Crowley Lake– Crowley Lake has been a blast the last couple weeks as fish have moved into shallower water targeting perch fry in the weed beds, midges, and baetis nymphs. I’ve been catching a majority of fish on the Sierra Drifters (Punk Perch Size 12-14) in Olive. Small leech patterns are also producing some nice bites. McGee Bay is the main spot right now with fish holding anywhere from 6-15ft. Midges like the Albino Barron (Size 16-18), Tiger Midge (Size 16-18), Assassin Midge (Size 16-20) are all great options. With shorter leaders and in shallower depths I prefer using a strike slip indicator as it is easy to adjust and lightweight making even the most subtle strikes visible. Now is the time to catch trophy rainbows, browns and cutthroat trout as they have been feeding all season getting ready for the fall and winter season. This last week alone I have caught multiple fish over 20’ and a few over 23’. There is no better feeling the setting the hook on a 24’ rainbow and watching is sail through the air! If you haven’t tried still water fly fishing Crowley Lake is the perfect place to learn and fun for all levels of experience. I will be guiding on Crowley until the end of October and would love to get on the water with you! The season flew by in a flash but we still have some time left. Reach out to get out!

Book for Crowley Lake Now

Angler Matt Weaver (Above) wanted to learn how to still water fly fish after purchasing a boat this year and it was a pleasure showing him how to get it done! Here he is hooked up on a trophy Cutthroat Trout. Matt and his wife Denise managed a Crowley Slam landing all three species, Brown, Rainbow, and Cutthroat Trout.

Angler Denise Weaver landed this beautiful rainbow trout at the end of the day, nice job!
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Angler Joey Maylas caught this trophy 23’ rainbow on a small perch fly. Absolute perfect fish!

Local angler Mark Williams attended our fall clinic in 2022 and has become a close friend. He we are enjoying the rainbow ride out to our fishing spot. Its not just catching fish that makes the adventure special…..

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Had the pleasure of getting out with my best friend Lance Sherwood and his family on Crowley this summer. He landed this gorgeous cutthroat on an Albino Barron Midge.

Upper Owens– The Upper Owens continues to fish well and these cooler temps have only improved the fly fishing throughout the day. The current CFS below the hot creek confluence is around 140, and above around 82. Flows are perfect for fly fishing right now with top water and sub-surface feeding going on throughout the day. Ive been teaching Euro Nymphing on the Upper Owens and teaching anglers how to maximize their time on the water. Solid hatches of Caddis are happening throughout the mid morning and evening. Plenty of juvenile trout willing to rise for a well presented dry fly. There is also hatches of Trico Mayflies and Pale Morning Dun throughout the day. For dry flies I prefer fishing an Olive Foam Caddis Fly (Size 16-18) or a Parachute Adams (Size 16-20). Ill start playing around with smaller dries like Trico’s (Size 18-20) as we go into fall and temps continue to cool. Nymphing seems to be the most effective for hooking up with the bigger trout hanging in the deeper water or seeking shelter under the cut banks. This has been one of the best late summers Ive seen on the Upper Owens with plenty of fish over 16 inches being caught daily. Covering water is key to hooking up on the Upper Owens, having the right depth and flies is also crucial. For nymphs I recommend, Perdigon (Size 16-18), Prince Nymph (Size 14-18), Tungsten Soft Hackle Pheasant Tail (Size 14-18), Hares Ear (Size 16-18), Squirmy Worm (Size 12-16), and Duracell (Size 16-18). The Upper Owens gets busy this time of year so do your best to allow space between anglers, at least two to three bends! This is one of the most popular fisheries in CA for good reason but that means Crowds, especially going into fall. If you are looking to learn how to Euro Nymph this season I would love to show you! Reach out to line up a trip today.

Book the Upper Owens Now

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First time fly Angler Skip Mccormick had a banner day after learning how to Euro Nymph on the Upper Owens netting 10 beautiful fish including this 18’ Brown.

9 year old first time fly angler Tyler landed his first two trout on the fly on a dry dropper set up. Here he is learning how to cast and mend his line, a total natural. Big things for Tyler in the future!

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Fly fishing is fun for the whole family!

East Walker River– The East Walker River continues to provide quality fly fishing. Flows are still on the higher side (540 CFS) but with the right knowledge and presentation there are plenty of fish to be had. The EW is one of the most technical and challenging rivers on the Eastern Sierra and can be very humbling. Having a guide with knowledge of this river is very beneficial. Ive been having a blast guiding on the EW this year teaching anglers how to Euro Nymph with heavy flies and cast larger streamers across big flowing runs. Use extra caution while wading at these higher flows as this river gets DEEP in certain areas and you can easily fall in. The water temps are staying nice and cold, allowing productive fishing throughout the entire day. There has been a solid hatch of grass hopers on the East Walker but getting a trout to rise to one is a whole different story haha. Fishing a dry dropper in the big slow pools or back eddies can lead to a good take but the most productive method by far is nymphing. Fishing under an Indicator is a great way to work the water, especially when you have to cast further than 10ft. Don’t hesitate to use thicker tippet or fluorocarbon, when nymphing or streamer fishing I’m running 6lb as you never know what you might hook up with on this river. There are some bigger stone flies on the EW so fishing patterns like Large Prince Nymph (Size 10-14) or Pats Rubber Legs (Size 10-14) are both great options especially when nymphing with multiple flies. Squirmy Worms (Size 10-14) can also lead you into some nice fish! I have a very specific Euro Set Up for this river right now that is a mixture of streamer fishing and tight lining. Its been a blast dialing it in ands teaching anglers the method! If flows continue to drop going into fall we will be looking at PRIMO conditions on one of CA’s best trophy trout streams. Id love to show you around!

Book East Walker Now

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Angler Scott Vogelsong on his first fish of the day with a personal best rainbow trout caught while Euro Nymphing right next to a submerged boulder. Trout hold position in unique places on the EW
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There are some quality brown trout on the EW that can get well into the 20+ inch range. You’ll know if you have one on getting it to the net is a whole other challenge and what makes the hunt that much more exciting.
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Tight Lining near some submerged boulder where trout like to hold! Beautiful evening session on the EW
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Another healthy rainbow caught while dead drifting a larger Wolly Bugger. This fished just exploded on the swing.

Thanks for stopping by me Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report! I hope everyone has had a great summer and is getting excited for fall. If you have any questions on the report or would like to add anything you are seeing please feel free to reach out. We are all apart of the angling community so be kind to each other and lend a hand if someone needs help! Tight Lines.

-Luke Kinney, Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide.

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