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Golden Trout Guiding Co. Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report – February 5

Welcome to our Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report. We do our best at Golden Trout Guiding Co. to offer the most detailed and accurate fly fishing report out there. We are currently booking for Now-April, with availability left! To book a guided trip please email us [email protected] or call us (858) 750 9820. We have a few spots left for our Spring Fly Fishing Clinic taking place March 25th and 26th. Our clinics our two full immersive days covering a multitude of disciplines and a whole lot of fun. We encourage any angler looking to take their skills and knowledge to the next level to sign up for our clinic. Hope everyone is having a great winter and staying warm out there.

-Luke Kinney (Owner)


Lower Owens River; The Lower Owens is flowing around 180 CFS, wading is still accessible but with caution. Crossing the river can be dangerous so be careful when fishing alone. I personally like it between 140-200 CFS. At those flows there is plenty of room for the fish to move around and more water to work. Right now the bite is the slowest it has been all year, this is most likely due to the cold temperatures of winter, mixed with the re-setting of heavy storms passing through this season. The water itself has cleared up and back to its normal state, and the fishing will be picking up as we head into spring. Now is the time to be patient as we work through the winter doldrums. The shoulder seasons are always the best on the Lower Owens, and this fall was spectacular. We are all hoping this spring will produce some excellent fly fishing as things warm up. There is very little top water action going on right now. I have seen some sporadic midge hatches mid-day, with few trout rising to the surface. Right now the indicator rig is the best way to target wild browns and rainbows. Euro Nymphing is also producing takes but with higher flows finding the right water to work while Euro Fishing is key. The indicator set up allows me to cast further, and work bends that would be very challenging to maintain a tight line. Now is a great time to fish streamers for those meat eaters hiding deep in the bends or on the tail waters of the larger runs. I like to use the Orvis 7ft Intermediate sinking trout poly leader while fishing streamers. This allows my streamers to sink at a quick rate without using split shot. Streamer fishing is usually slower, but attracts bigger fish, and allows you to work various currents that nymphing wont. When streamer fishing I recommend spending the whole day committed to it, as it takes time to hook up with trout on a bigger bait fish pattern on the Lower Owens. I find that when the fishing is slow casting streamers keeps my head in the game, as watching a bobber can be tedious when targeting trout. To get good at any technique it takes time! Cover water, work the wider runs and tail waters, channels and you’ll find success. Recommended flies for the Lower Owens (Prince Nymph Size 16) (Flash Back Pheasant Tail Size 16-18) (Zebra Midge, Olive or Black Size 16-20) (Small Baetis Nymphs in Olive size 16-20) (Frenchie Size 16-18) (Perdigon’s in various colors Size 16-20) (Wolly Bugger in Olive or Black Size 10-14) (Small Black Leech Size 12-14).

Angler Andy, Learning how to create a (D Loop) and roll cast 20 fit into a feeding lane on the Lower Owens.

Central Gorge (Canyon Section) – The Central Gorge is recovering from the snow melt and is slightly discolored but starting to clean up nicely. Like the Lower these colder temps have really slowed down feeding in the central gorge. Covering all the pocket water and working pools Euro Nymphing or with a dry dropper are the best options for fishing down there right now. We had a few nice days of sun last week and I saw some rising trout to small BWO’s. The canyon section turns on mid day, especially when the sun is out and lights up the river. Ive had the best luck dredging the deeper pools down there as the trout are holding close to the bottom with this cold weather. Im using two flies on my Euro Rod, usually running a small (Prince Nymph size 16) to a smaller baetis nymph or zebra midge (Size 18-20) I really love fishing a black zebra midge with a copper wire wrap and a copper bead head down there, very hard to beat! Right now we are having more short period storms rolling through with more sunshine predicted in the forecast going into next week. I have a strong feeling once we turn the corner into March the central gorge will be fishing strong with lots of potential dry fly action. Ive been taking more clients down into the canyon lately and I would love to guid you or a small group down there. Its an awesome place to explore.

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Angler Billy Taylor had to work hard to earn a few wild brown trout while Euro Nymphing the Central Gorge.

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Pocket Water Heaven

Hot Creek– Im going to add Hot Creek to the fishing report as I have heard worthy reports lately of some solid fishing happening down in the canyon and at the Interpretive site. Right now you have to hike in and if you decide to go into the canyon move with caution as it is ICY. A good thing to all of this snow this year is less pressure! You might find yourself down in the canyon with just a few anglers, which is rare in hot creek and why I usually don’t find myself down there. Tight lining a single nymph or midge is a good tactic while fishing Hot Creek. There are some trophy trout to be had at Hot Creek, and plenty of fun sized fish while nymphing. If you run a bobber rig I would use a yarn indicator/small airlock to a single fly as flows are still low and getting stuck on the bottom/in the grass will most likely happen. For the few deeper holes, you can try out a streamer and have some luck with some consistent casting. Good luck down there!

Upper Owens River– The Upper Owens has been fishing well for trophy season, and I have spent pretty much the last two weeks up there exclusively guiding anglers. We just had another storm that passed through so there should be some nice soft snow to snowshoe through vs. the Ice sheets I have been seeing last week. Parking and access is still limited and you must park at the bridge and hike in, unless you have a snowmobile.. I have been hooking up with fish from about a mile in and onwards up to 3 miles. These are big days and Im averaging around 3-5 fish per trip. Seems to be more trophy trout in the system, but being the Upper Owens be willing to put in the hard work to getting hooked up. It has been beyond cold, with record lows this year in the morning meaning two things, be careful of hypothermia/frost bite, and be careful of the grip and grin. If you decide to take a photo don’t fool around and get it done quick. If you’re going to hike in far be prepared with the right layers, covering as much skin as possible, extra water, some food, and even more importantly a way to connect to someone if you are by yourself. By 11am things start to warm up and is a little less painful, being the coldest time of year we just have to stick it out a little longer as things will warm up soon enough. Trout are holding in the deep bends and drop offs, and at times under the cut banks at the tail end of the runs. Cast more than your use to, and set on everything. Ive noticed our takes being very subtle and at times almost look like nothing. It can get exhausting having to set 50 times but I promise you that 51st time will be a fish. Ive seen it time and time again haha. Two recommended flies on the Upper for y’all, (Prince Nymph Size 12-16) or the (Squirmy Gummy Worm in Pink). Most of my fish have been primarily on those two flies all season so far. Spring is going to be absolutely magical on the Upper this year, and I’m very much looking forward to it. Im having a blast getting on some of the best fish the Eastern Sierra as far as Im concerned, and would love to guide you or a small group on the Upper Owens. Having local knowledge of this river and knowing where and how to fish this river will help you land some beautiful trout. Give us a call!

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Angler Bill Mayberry had an insane day towards the end of our trip last week, going back to back with both a perfect male and female rainbow trout. The strength and fight on these trout never cease to amaze me.

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Angler Bill Mayberry with one of the most beautiful Bucks Ive seen caught this year.

Angler Billy Taylor had a banner day by hiking close to 9 miles and landing 4 beautiful fish.

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Angler Billy Taylor with a 24’ female. As good as it gets

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Angler Billy Lewis got out with our head guide Rob Hrabik and landed 4 trophy trout.

Thanks for stopping by for our Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing report of the Owens River. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or would like to chat about the fishing report. We are a community of anglers and I encourage good conversation and the sharing of ideas! Good luck out there, be safe, and have fun.

-Luke Kinney (Owner)

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