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Golden Trout Guiding Co. Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report – October 2

Welcome to my Eastern Sierra fly fishing report. I do my best to give the most accurate and honest fly fishing reports possible. I learn something new about our area and fisheries every time I go out. Ive been getting some amazing feedback from subscribers and friends letting me know these reports have been helpful. That makes me really happy, and Im always glad to hear that as a guide. Fall Fly fishing on the Eastern Sierra is hard to beat as far as beauty, productivity, and bigger fish. Fall is in full swing and we have been having a blast getting into some amazing fly fishing, learning new techniques, and covering water from Bishop to Bridgeport, CA. After a long winter and a blown out spring we are now reaping the rewards from all the water! We still have open positions left for our 2023 Fall Fly Fishing Clinic and would love to have you join us. We will be spending 2 full days together from classroom to river with our goal of building a solid foundation to your fly fishing. Learn how to approach the river with confidence and be able to rig and read the stream appropriately to have the best success wherever your fly fishing adventures take you! Reach out to line up a guided trip or reserve a position for the Fall Clinic. I wish you all bent rods and big smiles, enjoy the report.

-Luke Kinney, Orvis Endorsed Fly FIshing Guide.

Call me for more info or to line up a trip- (858) 750 9820

Email- [email protected]

golden trout co eastern sierra fly fishing report
Our 2023 Fall Fly Fishing Clinic is just around the corner Oct 28th, 29th!

Fly Fishing Report

Lower Owens– The Lower Owens is holding firm around 400 CFS and is fishable but not recommended for wading or trying to cross the river. At these flows finding some good accessible holes or banks to cast from is the best option. With the amount of water we received this spring DWP might be holding flows higher than usual and longer than usual. The downside of higher flows is having way less accessibility but I still enjoy fly fishing the Lower at higher flows. Being able to adapt to the ever changing conditions of our local rivers only makes us better anglers in the long run. One thing Ive grown to love and that the East Walker has taught me this season in particular is the use of streamers in faster moving water. Although its not as productive as nymphing the allure of swinging flies through a deep hole or bend and getting blasted on a retrieve is worth all the time and patience. Streamer fishing is always engaging and similar to Euro Nymphing where maintaining a tight line during your drift is key. With the current conditions I will be focusing on teaching anglers on how to streamer fish as well as using a strike indicator from the banks. There have been some excellent hatches of Caddis and BWO’s throughout the day. Look for the slower pools or the edge of the seam for rising trout, mostly a mid morning and evening game. I’m back to the old faithful Prince Nymph Size (14-18) as my favorite fly right now on the Lower. Flashback pheasant tail (Size 14-18), CDC bead head soft hackle (Size 16-18), Olive or Tan Duracell (Size 16-18), and Peridgons (Size 16-18) are all good nymph options for the Lower. For streamers I recommend gold/copper bead head Wolly Bugger (Size 6-10) in black or olive. Black or olive Leech Patterns (Size 6-12) work great for streamer fishing as well. For dry flies It’s hard to beat a (Size 18 or 20) Blue Wing Olive or Caddis (Size 16-18). Use extreme caution while fly fishing the Lower Owens as the banks collapse frequently with the ever changing flow rates. Reach out if you would like to a guided fly fishing trip learning how to streamer fish in higher flows and target the bigger fish in the river with larger flies.

A beautiful 10 inch wild brown trout caught on the Lower Owens, nice bright red dots and yellow belly.

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A well fed rainbow trout caught while streamer fishing a fast run on the Lower Owens.

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New fly angler Patricia learned how to Euro Nymph on the Lower Owens. She managed about 10 fish standing in that same position. Having the right flies is one thing but being at the right depth is key to more hook ups.

Bishop Creek/Rock Creek– Over the last few days we have had some weather move in with a small dusting of snow above 9,000ft and a little rain. Although things have cooled off as of now its looks like the next few weeks will warm up once again and continue to provide some great fly fishing for the higher elevations creeks and streams. This time of year always gives us little cold snaps and then gets nice again, we still got time before winter rolls in. The higher elevation streams are fishing well with trout rising for a well presented dry fly or nymph. I like to wait till the mid morning to get out on the higher elevation streams as I find it more productive around 10-2pm when the canyon is in full sun. With the days getting shorter and the temps getting colder make sure you layer up if you decide to head out. Im already wearing smart wool layers on Bishop Creek especially if I find myself wading through the water. Small hatches of midges and mosquitos are the main food source for trout so Im using (Size 18-22) Dry Fly patterns to get trout to take an adult. Even though I haven’t been seeing as many mayflies and caddis higher up there are still a few around and those patterns always do well on these creeks. Recommended dry flies, BWO (Size 18-20), Parachute Adams (Size 18-20), Trico (Size 20-22), Deer Hair Caddis (Size 16-18). For nymphs I recommend anything small simple, Zebra Midge (Size 18-20) or the Flashback Baetis Nymph (Size 16-22). Running a dry dropper is a great option for the creeks or even fishing smaller streamers to get into difficult sections of the water. Flows have stabilized well and allow for great accessibility and wading options, still use caution especially if going by yourself. Hopefully fall gives us a few more solid weeks/month of good fishing up there! Have fun and enjoy the changing colors. That alone is worth the drive up the hill.

Bishop Creek is turning colors quickly. There is nothing better than fly fishing in the fall colors.

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Teaching my Mom how to present a dry fly on Weir Pond. It was a beautiful day fly fishing with the family.

Central Gorge (Canyon Section)– Yep its almost that time of year again, and Im getting excited for some epic days exploring the canyon and casting dry flies and Euro Nymphing all fall and winter. Having 20-40 fish days is not uncommon in the Central Gorge. Standby for updates on flows and fishing conditions. Please head over to my IG page @goldentroutguidingco to follow day by day updates.

Crowley Lake– Crowley Lake is coming towards the end of our season and it has been a great year! It was my first full season guiding on the Lake with my boat and Im already fired up for next year. Looking back I cant believe some of the incredible days I had, from the beautiful scenery to all the new faces, clients and friends I made Im extremely grateful. We managed to catch fish on almost every trip with a few days chasing the white rabbit haha. That being said we still got time to get out, and the fishing has been getting better over the last few weeks. The perch bite in the shallows has really picked up and slow stripping flies near the weed beds is the ticket right now. I had one of my best days of the year out on my boat at 6 ft, streamer fishing with a size 10 olive perch fry pattern. The trout are really liking the movement as of now, but they are still taking a well presented midge off the bottom when the hatch picks up. I have a feeling with this warmer weather coming that Crowley is going to get awesome once again, and then its gonna end haha. Recommended flies for Crowley Lake, Punk Perch (Size 8-12), Albino Barron (Size 16-18), Small Baetis Nymphs (Size 16-18) Assassin Nymph (Size 16-18) I plan on spending as much time as I can on the lake until October 27th when I will be pulling my boat out for the season. Right now is the time to catch the biggest trout in the lake as they have been feeding all summer, it just takes one and if you know you know! Reach out to line up a guided trip on Crowley Lake before the end of the month.

Upper Owens– The Upper Owens is flowing around 76CFS above the Hot Creek confluence and around 103CFS below. Those flows are actually amazing for this time of year when usually during fall it can be just a trickle, especially during the drought. Water is staying cold and relatively clear so having a stealthy approach is recommended. There are a lot fo anglers on the water this time of year trying their luck for a trophy brown or rainbow trout so needless to say weekends have been a zoo. Unfortunately with the current amount of pressure this river sees and the lack of trophy trout (as of now) makes hooking up on the big ones a real challenge. Covering a lot of water is the best way to increase your chances in finding some nice fish. Solid hatches of Caddis are mixed in with weaker hatches of Trico and BWO mayflies. Plenty of juvenile fish are willing to take a well placed dry fly and hatches seem to be happening mid morning and well into the evening. Lots of healthy bug life on the Upper this year, unfortunately the anticipated hopper hatch never arrived. I personally love fishing the Trico hatch that can last well into December, its technical and challenging but also extremely rewarding. Look for the slower pools and back eddies for rising heads. I like to work on roll casting my dry flies as the presentation is typically much softer when the fly lands on the water. Getting the bigger ones to rise is not impossible but don’t be disappointed if you have a rough day up there, I have a lot of clients who have had one too many skunked days up there and end up hiring me out of pure frustration haha. This river has a life force as cheesy as it sounds and it takes time to master and learn, just ask anyone who has spent time on the Upper and they’ll tell ya! Let me help you find success on the Upper Owens and show you how I like to work the water. My goal as a guide is to educate first and foremost so that when you return on your own you have the confidence and knowledge to fish well. I truly believe the BEST time to fish the Upper Owens is in the middle of winter (Jan/Feb/March) when the trophy rainbows migrate upstream. The road becomes inaccessible due to weather and you have to snowshoe/snowmobile/or ski in. Way less people, amazing fishing, and incredible scenery! I am currently booking for snowshoeing trophy trout hunts for winter. It is my second busiest time of year and an experience unlike any other. Reach out to reserve a date for you or a small group today. All gear is provided including snow shoes and trekking pole.

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The prettiest brown trout Ive had the pleasure of seeing this year caught and released by Angler Rick, who was fly fishing for his first time on the Eastern Sierra. What a first time experience!

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Hard to beat the beauty of fall fly fishing on the Upper Owens.

East Walker– The East Walker river is currently flowing stable around 280-300CFS which is perfect for fly fishing. Use caution while crossing the river as these flows are still high enough to take you down and the EW is notoriously slippery. We are getting towards the tail end of the EW season and this is the BEST time of year to fly fish this river. The EW will close on Nov 15th so if you plan on coming up to fly fish I would start planning your trip ASAP. Most of my guide trips the last few months have been on the East Walker and it has be by far the best season yet on this river and unless we get another big winter it might be a long time even years before we see these conditions again. The word is out on the EW and the weekends are busy, Ive seen people every 20 yards on the miracle mile so if you come up for the weekend be prepared for crowds. There is plenty of river to work if you know where to look and having a guide with knowledge of that fishery will help you find success. We have been fishing dry flies during hatches (mostly caddis) streamers in the bigger pools and runs, and a combination of Euro Nymphing and Indicator Nymphing depending on zones. There are still hoppers on the banks and around the river so running a dry dropper in the middle of the day, especially when the wind is mellow is a great call. Im loving an large Prince Nymph (Size 8-10) or Hares Ear (Size 10-14) right now on while nymphing. Red Rainbow Warrior Nymph (Size 14-16) has been really productive as well and keeps a flashy profile in the faster moving water. As far as streamers anything thats olive or black with a leech style is going to work, keep your retrieve slow when brining your flies back. Those bigger trout are use to slow moving forage fish and want an easy target. Elk or Deer Hair Caddis (Size 14-18), Parachute Adams (Size 16-18), Hoppers (Size 8-10), Stimulaters (Size 8-12), and the Sierra Bright Dot (Size 12-16) are all great dry fly options as of now. If your motivated carry two rods as hatches can be quick and by the time you change out your leader its usually over. Please be nice to each other out there if its busy, and allow room for anglers already established in a zone. I still have availability left for the EW and would love to get out on the water with you. Shoot me an email or call! Good luck out there.

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A beautiful trophy brown trout resting well before a safe release.

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Meat Eater, caught while streamer fishing the EW.

Thanks for stopping by to read my Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing Report for the beginning of October! I love guiding and teaching new and experienced anglers. I believe that fly fishing should be an inclusive and open environment as we all have the privilege of enjoying the water together. If you have any questions on the report or would like to add anything you are seeing, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Hope everyone has a wonderful fall and gets their lines wet!

Luke Kinney, Owner and Head Guide.

Phone; (858) 750 9820

Email; [email protected]

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Wonderful photo of myself by artist, film maker, photographer Kevin Jansen @robotsfrom
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