Golden Trout Guiding Co. Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report – March 10

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Golden Trout Guiding Co. LLC

Welcome to our Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report. We hope everyone is staying safe, warm, and dry during these amazing storms we are experiencing in CA. Fly Fishing has been hit and miss over the last 3 weeks, with road closures, high flows, and flooding. Although our current situation has been tough on our favorite activity, all of this water will provide for healthy and long spring and summer for our rivers, lakes and small streams. When spring rolls around we will see very high flows from all of our high sierra tributaries potentially lasting through July. Hard to actually predict when bulk of the melt will happen but it’s coming. Get ready to fish deeper water this spring and summer, and get excited about lake fishing as the still water game is going to be excellent. Our 2023 Spring Fly Fishing Clinic is booked up and around the corner. We are looking forward to working with our new group of anglers, and increasing our knowledge, and skills together. For those of you who missed the opportunity to sign up for our spring clinic, we will be hosting a fall clinic in October 2023. Stay tuned for more info on that as we move out of our summer season. Wishing you all the best and many bent rods! I am currently booking for Now-May please call or email to chat about lining up a guided fly fishing trip.

Phone- (858) 750-9829

Email- [email protected]

Lower Owens River– The Lower Owens River is steadily increasing flows up to potentially 500 CFS. We are currently experience heavy rains, and another atmospheric river moving through the state and the Owens Valley. Once things settle down the Lower Owens will be limited on where you can fish. Wading the river is not an option, and not recommended, fishing from the bank is the best call. Hopefully flows will decrease back down to the 300 CFS range going into spring but it’s hard to know for sure. Fishing with multiple flies and weight under a bobber is the best way to target trout on the Lower Owens right now. Heavy tungsten headed nymphs, and midges are a good option to get your flies down deep. Once things warm up and we start seeing our usual hatches of Caddis and Mayflies, dry flies will also be a great option. We have heavy rain predicted through this weekend and things are looking better going into the end of the month. If you decide to come up, check the weather first, and be prepared for some slower days on the Lower. Although flows are up, it is still possible to get fish to the net with the right rigging and some patience. I am holding off on guiding the Lower Owens until things clean up.

Angler John Lavelle working a big bend on the Lower Owens, prior to the flows coming up over 300 CFS. This small beach is now covered with fast moving water.

Bishop Canal– The canal that runs behind bishop has actually been one of the more consistent places to hook up with some wild browns and rainbows. You can access the canal behind the Vons in bishop or off of E. Line street. Flows have come up substantially making it possible to hunt for trout with a bobber rig without spooking the fish. Im using a small white airlock indicator to match the foam color, and getting two nymphs down deep. My go-to nymphs for the canal have been the classic Copper John size 16-18, Prince Nymph size 16, Black or Olive Zebra Midge size 16-20, Pheasant Tail size 16-18, or Perdigon’s sizes 16-20. Hatches of BWO and midges are popping off mid day and lasting into the evening when the conditions are right so top water is an option as well! The canal holds bigger and better fish than most assume and you can have a fun day out there. This current storm is going to raise flows on the canal, so it might be a week or more for it to be fishing decent again.

Bishop Canal, a great option for easy accessibility and some nice wild trout.

Central Gorge (Canyon Section) – The Central Gorge has been fishing fairly well when given a chance between the storms. I have been guiding and fly fishing the central gorge primarily during this wet month as flows have been stable enough and nice browns and rainbows are holding in pocket water and pools if you know where to look. The trout have been spookier then usual down there as the water cleared up before this last storm so being stealthy and getting some longer cast’s upstream is key. Right now with this current rain, the canyon section will need some time to clean up before its fishing good again. Hopefully it wont take long. Please be extra careful going down there after this storm! Loose rock from the top of the canyon frequently falls with the release of snow and mud. The canyon section is not to be taken lightly when it comes to safety, not to mention there is no cell service down there. I would recommend being patient as of now and giving this area some time to clear up before going down there. I will keep you all updated as we move into spring.

The Central Gorge brown trout are beautiful and range in size from 8-18 inches.

Upper Owens– Benton Crossing Rd. has been closed due to severe weather. We are waiting patiently for the road to open back up, they are hoping by the end of next week. Good news is the spawning rainbows are getting a solid break from fly fishers, and we will have high and healthy flows all spring and summer on the Upper Owens. We are getting to the point of where the big rainbows will start moving back into the lake and the big cutthroat will start making their way up for spawn. To be clear, we are not targeting fish while in the act of spawning on their beds (Redds) . When you see two fish paired up in shallow water, they are in the act of spawning, please do not cast to them. Stick to the deep bends and banks where they are staging to move or resting. This is the time of year to be aware of the spawning activities, so keep a keen eye out while working the stream in the future. Hang tight for an update on the Upper Owens, and look forward to an awesome summer up there! Crossing fingers for a massive hopper hatch this year, nothing beats watching a trout smash a big foam hopper.

Benton Crossing Rd.

Hot Creek– Both the canyon and the interpretive site are a hefty hike through the snow right now. With this rain it will become mixed snow/Ice. It is possible to get into the canyon but caution. Hiking to the interpretive site would be easier but still a trek. Right now it is hard to say what it’s actually going to look like after this current storm. If you are dying to get out to hot creek, wait a few days after this storm and go with a buddy. Small baetis nymphs, and midges under an indicator will produce at hot creek. I am looking forward to fishing Hot Creek this year for the first time in a while, as flows will be high and mighty this year! Its been a while…

Thanks for stopping by for our Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report! I am looking forward to a break from the weather and at the same time feeling grateful for all the water. Hang in there, my fishy friends, the sun will shine and the fish will rise once again. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions on the current fishing, or feedback. I love our Eastern Sierra community of anglers, wishing you all the best.

-Luke Kinney (Owner)

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(From Golden Trout Guiding Co.)
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