Welcome to my Eastern Sierra Fly Fishing report for the beginning of July. We are currently dealing with some extremely high spring melt and run-off. Most of our rivers near bishop are too high and dirty to fly fish. Flows are predicted to stabilize going into July and August. I am currently booking trips for the Upper Owens, Mcgee Creek, and Crooked Creek. We are all crossing our fingers to get back on E Walker in late summer and will keep you all posted. Right now flows are way too high on the mighty E Walker to fly fish. Stay patient my river enthusiast, we are looking at some epic conditions just around the corner. Right now still water is the best option. I have been guiding on Crowley Lake and having a blast getting into some beautiful big trout. The midge bite continues to improve by the day. I have limited availability in June, and am currently booking into August. To line up a guided fly fishing trip give me a call or email. Nows the time to start planning your summer fly fishing adventure on the Eastern Sierra.
Lower Owens River– The Lower Owens is flowing high between 750-1,000+ CFS. DWP has re-directed certain areas of the Lower Owens to prevent further flowing. The Lower O is maxed out, and I will not be fishing or guiding on the Lower Owens until flows drop below 500 CFS which will most likely be in fall. If you wish to try your luck on the Lower Owens use extreme caution as falling in can be potentially deadly. Best to give it a rest until fall.
Bishop Canal– The Bishop Canal that runs behind town has slowed down to a crawl as these high flows have discolored the water and make getting flies presentable very rough. Trout are still being caught with some patience lots of good drag free drifts. Euro Nymphing the Canal where there is solid flow is a great option. Using a strike indicator (Bobber) with a couple heavy flies will help you land some fish. The heavier the better, adding weight to your line is recommended. Id try using Czech Nymphs, Perdigon’s, Flash Back Pheasant Tail’s, or Prince Nymph’s anything with an oversized tungsten head. Mornings are best on the canal sunrise to 11am. Things are starting to get warm in the valley so the middle of the day the bite is slowing down substantially. There is little happening in terms of top water, you might be able to pick one off with a small BWO or parachute adam’s. With this amount of water flowing fish feeding on top water adults will be sparse at least for now.
Bishop Creek– Bishop Creek is flowing between 150-300+ CFS which is dangerously high. We have already seen tragedy with an unfortunate death and a few dogs lost to the stream. Bishop Creek is too high and wild to even attempt to fly fish. The water is cold and swift and not worth risking falling in. We have a TON of snow in the high country and flows are predicted to be raging well into July. It’s a beautiful sight to see from a distance.
Central Gorge– The Central Gorge will be closed from June 6th-25th for Riparian Flows which will help improve the fishery and wildlife habitat. Please respect the closure, flows will be dangerously high and you will be cited if caught fishing in the gorge.
Crowley Lake– Crowley Lake has been on and off but fish are being caught everyday. Some days you might average more perch than trout or vise versa. DWP continues to release water into the gorge in preparation for runoff. The lake will be going through some changes over the next month as water levels increase. Trout are being targeted at deeper depths where they can stay in cold water and ambush forage fish into the shallow water. I have been fishing deep, between 12-20ft at certain locations. We are getting into the best time of year on Crowley Lake as the midges are hatching in massive numbers. The Sacramento Perch will start their spawn soon and fishing the weed beds with imitation perch fry will start a feeding frenzy for trout. When float tubing target areas with a substantial drop off or inlet. Recommended flies, Albino Wino (Size 16-18), Assassin (Size 14-18), Zebra Midge (Size 16-18), Copper Tiger (Size 16-18). Trout are still keying in on small leeches but are definitely more interested in a well presented midge. I love taking new and experienced anglers out on the Lake, its an absolute blast hooking into 20+ inch fish with the snow capped mountains looming in the background. I can guide 1-2 anglers in my boat. Give me a call or email to line up a trip on Crowley.
McGee Creek– McGee Creek is flowing around 97 CFS and is high but fishable. Browns, rainbows, and spawning cutthroat are all options. To be clear I do not target fish in the act of spawning, if you see cutthroats paired up in shallow water on on their beds please do not cast to them as tempting as it might be. Stick to deep runs and bends as the Cutthroat make their way upstream. Mcgee Creek is one of Crowley Lakes finest tributaires and will be fishing well all summer with the amount of cold water flowing from the mountain. Wade with extreme caution while fishing McGee Creek as it is MOVING! Don’t let the shallow water fool you, it can easily take you out while trying to cross the stream. I am Euro Nymphing McGee Creek with some heavy flies and looking for pocket water, deep bends, and cut banks. Euro Nymphing allows you to work the whole stream methodically in total control of where your flies are presented with the proper amount of weight. You can also fish under an indicator or dry dropper but getting those flies where they need to be will be more challenging. I like tight-lining my 9ft 5w with a large prince nymph as my point fly and a smaller perdigon or midge 12-14 inches above. McGee is a technical creek especially with these high flows, trout have a lot of opportunities to break you off. Having a guide on this water is beneficial and can help lead you into success. Reach out to set up a guided trip on McGee Creek!
Upper Owens– The Upper Owens is flowing high and fairly dirty in particular below the hot creek confluence. The best area to fish is as high up as possible, or throwing streamers closer to Crowley Lake. The Cutthroats have slowly started making their way up stream but not in large numbers, that could change at any point. Juvenile browns and rainbows are taking a well presented nymph. There are a few left over trophy fish in the Upper Owens but few and far between. Fly Fishing is tough on the Upper Owens but do-able. I am fishing two nymphs under an indicator on the Upper Owens, getting them down deep. They Key to success on the Upper Owens is covering a lot of water moving between bends and cut-banks. The water is staying cold and the best time to fly fish is early morning to around 11am and then again in the evening. I have a feeling the Upper will be excellent come July/August and Im already seeing hoppers. The last massive hopper hatch we had was 2018 after a big snow year. Crossing fingers for another hopper year! Recommended flies, Perdigon’s, Squirmy Worm, Prince Nymph, Flashback Pheasant Tail, Zebra Midge, Rainbow Warrior (Sizes 14-18). If your fishing lighter flies add some split shot to get those flies down deep. There’s very little topwater action going on but I am seeing rising fish here and there, especially in the big eddy’s on the larger bends. Small BWO, Caddis, and Hoppers will fool rising trout when presented well. Cast and you shall receive! The Upper Owens is notoriously challenging and having an experienced guide will help you tremendously. I know the Upper Owens very well and would love to show you around!
East Walker-The East Walker is flowing over 1,000 CFS and is un fishable. I have a close eye on the E Walker which is my favorite river in CA. If the conditions allow we will be running overnight trips ASAP. Stay tuned!