Sierra Bright Dot Fly Fishing Report – September 23, 2022

I know Fall is here when I have the heater on during my morning commute out to the water. The air conditioner on middle of the day. In the evening if I’m cold the heater is on. If I’m hot the air conditioner is on. This week I wet wadded on Rock Creek while wearing a sweatshirt. Wet wading season is over for me. Trico mayfly hatches are wanning. Caddis are still hatching and ovipositing which have the trout feeding on them on the surface. Fall spawning is starting on a number of waters and in particular on the tributaries to Crowley Lake. Pay attention to the regulations on Eastern Sierra waters as several creeks and rivers will close to fishing starting October 1. Traditionally this is the time of year to throw meat fly patterns. Those patterns that offer trophy trout a big mouthful of calories. I think the voluntary hoot owl is over for another hot summer season.

Fall is in the air, but the foliage has not turned yet.

Freestone Streams:
Rock Creek:

As is normal in fall, water levels have dropped and fly fishers need to approach the creek with stealth. Dry flies are still producing trout. Nymphing has been hit and miss. I need to lighten up a couple of my nymph patterns because the ones I have tied up are just too heavy for these reduced flows. I’m using Adams parachutes, elk hair caddis, and gold ribbed hare’s ears. Rock Creek is a great place to fly fish when the wind is whipping through Long Valley or the Owens Valley.

Bush whacking, boulder hopping and dabbling flies is what it takes to successfully fly fish on Rock Creek.

Bishop Creek
South Fork:

Mornings have been cold and I’ve been fly fishing here once things warm up a bit. A dry and dropper is still my preferred method of fly fishing the creek.  I’m using Adams parachutes, elk hair caddis, flash back pheasant tail nymphs and gold ribbed hare’s ears. I start out on Weir Pond and work my way down stream. I drive down canyon looking for a spot that has no angling pressure and fish that spot. Then I drive farther down canyon fly fishing spots until I run out of spots or run out of time to fly fish.

Fall colors in Bishop Canyon are just getting started and the wild brown and brook trout are feeding on properly presented dry flies.

Lower Owens River:
Wild Trout Section:

Water flows are dropping and I expect the flows to reach 100 CFS for this winter. Flows are perfect for wading the river. Mornings have been good for nymphing. I’m Euro nymphing with olive burlap caddis, stoner nymphs, gold ribbed hare’s ears, olive quilldigons, and Butano nymphs. I’m concentrating my efforts in the wild trout section of the lower Owens River. I’m carrying blue wing olive parachutes and brown caddis patterns in anticipation of these hatches which will appear end of September to middle of October.

Wild brown trout are taking nymphs in the mornings on the lower Owens River in the wild trout section.

Hot Creek:
Interpretive Site:

Morning caddis hatches have the trout feeding up on the surface. I’m using size 20 gray X-caddis, elk hair caddis, and spent wing partridge caddis. There are a few tricos mixed in with the caddis, but the trout have not been interested in them. Once the hatch is over around 11:30 try throwing terrestrial patterns like beetles and hoppers. I’m off the water by noon or 1:00 P.M. looking for a different water to fly fish.

Getting a ride on dads shoulders out to the fly fishing spot on Hot Creek Ranch.

Hot Creek:
Canyon Section:

Fly fishing here is just down right tough. The weed beds have taken over most of the stream making it hard for fly fishers to get a drag free drift. Getting a drag free drift is easier with a dry fly than a nymph. If you’re going to nymph, be prepared to get tangled up in the weeds. I would fish this in the morning with a size 20 gray caddis pattern and leave as soon as the trout quit rising to the naturals or my fly pattern.

The fall spawning trout from Crowley Lake are just starting their migration into the upper Owens River.

Upper Owens River:
Above Benton Crossing Bridge:

Trophy trout are just starting to show up in the system and are staging in the deep holes, runs and cut banks. These fish are feeding and will take bigger nymphs dead drifted on the substrate. For the trophy trout I like nymphing with my Euro rig using size 12 stoner nymphs and size 12 gold/green wire Prince nymphs. The trico hatch is waning and the juvenile trout are taking size 20 blue wing olive parachutes and size 16 and 18 Adams parachutes.

The fall spawning trout from Crowley Lake are just starting their migration into the upper Owens River.

Bishop Creek Canal:
Behind the Ford Dealer:

Cooler temperatures and the canal has settled down from Department of Water and Powers dredging project has led to an increase in the catch rate. The wild brown trout and stocked rainbows are taking stoner nymphs, green/gold Prince nymphs, olive quilldigons, Butano nymphs, bead head flash back gold ribbed hare’s ears, and bead head flash back pheasant tail nymphs. There are a few trico hatching, but this hatch is pretty much over for the year.

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

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