Sierra Bright Dot Fly Fishing Report – September 2, 2022

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The heat wave continues to assault the Eastern Sierra this week. A hoot owl is a voluntary stopping of catch and release fly fishing when water temperature exceed 70 degrees. A hoot howl refers to fishing early and late in the day when anglers can hear the owls hooting. The Owens River Gorge is closed due to a flushing flow regiment. This will impact the gorge and the lower Owens River from August 29 to September 6, 2022. Trico mayflies and caddis hatches continue to provide action for fly fishers. Midging on the lakes is improving.

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The Owens River gorge is closed from August 29, to September 6 for flushing flows.

Freestone Streams:
Rock Creek:

Labor Day weekend is the last hoorah for campers to end out the summer. It will be crowed this weekend. The dry and dropper technique continues to produce trout on the creek. The slow pools and runs require lots of stealth to be successful. Riffles and pocket water in the steeper reaches offer easier fly fishing for trout that are not as wary. I’m fishing with Adams parachutes, elk hair caddis, and Royal Wulff’s for the dry fly. These are my favorites and I fish them with lots of confidence. I use bead head flash back gold ribbed hare’s ears, bead head flash back pheasant tail nymphs, and bead head prince nymphs for the nymphs.

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A wild brown trout took a size 16 bed head flash back gold ribbed hare’s ear nymph under a size 16 Adams parachute.

Bishop Creek
Middle Fork:

There will be lots of campers and tourist in Bishop Canyon on Labor Day weekend. It’s the last hoorah for a lot outdoor recreationists. Finding spots that are not crowded with anglers will be the key to success for the weekend. Fly fish the pocket water and pools that require you to bush whack your way into and you will find you have the creek to yourself. Using your favorite dry fly is the best way to fish this creek. You will fish it with more confidence than any other pattern. An Adams parachute and a gold ribbed hare’s ear is my confidence rig.

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Fishing the riffles and pocket water in the steeper areas allows fly fishers to get closer to the trout without spooking them.

Lower Owens River:
Wild Trout Section:

This section of the river is blown out due to the flushing flows in the Owens River gorge and will be closed through September 6, 2022. Flushing flows emulate the spring runoff. The technical term for what happens to the river bed is fluffing. It’s like fluffing a comforter on your bed. It creates lots of air pockets in the substrate. This creates habitat for insects and increases spawning habitat. It moves silt around and creates deeper pools which are need for bigger trout to survive. Trout over 12 inches need a carnivorous diet. Trout eat their prey by ambushing them from below the prey. Flushing flows also help distribute vegetation along the riparian zone. I hope it decreases the stinging nettle patches.

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The lower Owens River has gone from 150 CFS in this photo and is expected to peak at over 500 CFS.

Hot Creek:
Interpretive Site:

Trico mayflies, blue wing olive mayflies and gray bodied caddis continue to hatch offering fly fishers three to five hours of good surface fly fishing in the mornings. The trico hatch can be tricky to fish. There are three stages of the trico to imitate. The female trico dun has a greenish olive body and a black thorax. There is an all-black trico dun. Generally the best fly fishing in a trico hatch is during the spinner fall. This is when the tricos die on the water and the trout gorge themselves on the helpless trico spinners.

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Fully mature weed beds in Hot Creek Canyon make it hard for fly fishers to get drag free drift which is needed to catch trout.

Hot Creek:
Canyon Section:

Weed beds continue to make fly fishing tough for all fly fishers. If you can get a drag free drift with a dry fly you will catch fish. It’s tough to get a good drift with the weed beds at full maturity. Trico mayflies, blue wing olive mayflies, and gray bodied caddis are hatching and bring trout to the surface. Nymphing will produce trout but it will take an expert cast to properly present the nymphs to the trout.

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Cows are allowed to graze a small amount of grass inside the riparian zone of the upper Owens River.

Upper Owens River:
Above Benton Crossing Bridge:

The upper Owens River is under a voluntary hoot owl restriction. If you do not have a thermometer to monitor the water temperatures then be sure to fly fish early in the morning and late in the day. The times you might hear an owl hoot while you’re on the water. I’m off the water by 10:00 A.M. and back on the water around 6:00 P.M if I’m not monitoring the temperature. There has been a consistent trico hatch on the water that lasts tell about 10:00 A.M. It’s followed by a caddis hatch. I’m using size 22 and 24 trico spinners with success during the trico hatch. After the hatch I switch to a size 16 Adams parachute or a size 18 gray caddis pattern like an elk hair caddis, X-caddis, or parachute caddis.

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With the heat wave that is creating air temperatures of over 100 degrees fly fishers practicing catch and release fly fishing need to be off Bishop Creek Canal by 10:00 A.M. or when the water temperature exceeds 70 degrees.

Bishop Creek Canal:
Behind the Ford Dealer:

Bishop Creek Canal is under a voluntary hoot owl restriction. Fly fishers practicing catch and release fly fishing should be off the water when temperature exceed 70 degrees. If you do not have a thermometer fly fishers should be off the water by 10:00 A.M. and can return to the water after 6:00 P.M. Fishing in the early morning with tricos has been good. I’m using size 24 trico spinners during the spinner fall. The spinner fall has been over by 9:00 A.M. Fishing with green/gold Prince nymphs, and stoner nymphs has been producing hatchery rainbows and wild brown trout.

(From Fred Rowe at Sierra Bright Dot Fly Fishing Guide Service)

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