School’s back in session. That’s a great thing for the kids after the fiasco of the last school year. It also means this fishing addict is locked in the ivory towers during the weekdays instead of fishing in the brilliance of Mother Nature. That’s okay, teaching is meaningful. All that’s on the line is the future of society.
With school coming back in session, we are seeing a slight change in daylight and temperatures that will no doubt affect the fishing. I believe, in a positive fashion. The morning is making a slightly later arrival now than it was a month back, and the nighttime shows up a little earlier. Shorter days means the water experiences less daylight in a 24-hour cycle which allows for a cooling trend to begin. The last few mornings in Mammoth have also felt a little on the brisk side. Yesterday, I almost put a sweatshirt on at first light to take the dogs out. I didn’t, but we are not far off. This summer was a hot one, and I think we all welcome a change from the heat. The fish no doubt will enjoy the cooling temps. Trout are cold water animals, and they do better when we are not experiencing excessive heat.
Crowley Lake seems to show the biggest change from the start of the month. The fish are no longer in the 30-feet depth range. They have moved into much more manageable depths to fly fish. The 13-feet depth range seems to be the place to find them now. They are most likely in the lake bottom river channels and stacked up near springs where the cooler, more oxygenated water is coming into the lake. This is the time of year to be creative with your midge patterns, since they have been educated now for three-and-a-half months.
The Upper Owens was a bit of a struggle the last time I was on it. Those fish in there have persevered with heat and lack of territory. It’s a challenge right now. I’ve been hearing that the Lower Owens is still pretty fun to fish now. A cooling trend in Bishop and below will make this river a really nice place to be soon! You’ll find the usual assortment of caddis and mayflies on all sections of the Owens. The hoppers never really made it to the Upper Owens this year. That’s not surprising being it is a drought year. The mosquitos are however present, so bring the bug juice.
Hot Creek is fishable. It’s definitely not at its finest, but with a proper presentation of a matching bug, you’ll get an eat. It’s pretty chalk full of weeds on the surface this time of year. Better bring your A-game!
While I haven’t been to the lakes up Line Street, the photos show that they are at remarkably low water levels. While we ideally want them full, this does better concentrate the fish, allowing for a good place to kick a float tube around. It’s a really nice time of year to be up there. After 17 years of living year round in Mammoth, I’m relocating down to Bishop in a couple months. Still gonna teach at Mammoth High, but I’m sure I’ll get to know those lakes better.
That’s your short and sweet fish report for this weekend. There are too many fisheries to list. Chris Leonard will be giving us our weekly fish report, and will mix it up every week talking about different places to get fishy. Chris Leonard guides for Kittredge Sports in Mammoth Lakes.
Have fun. Be safe. Go get ’em!
Chris Leonard is a longstanding teacher at Mammoth High School, and experienced fly fishing guide. He guides both rivers and lakes in the Eastern Sierra. His understanding of teaching and fly fishing makes him a choice guide in the region.