What a beautiful weekend and week awaits us here in the Eastern Sierra! After a much needed snowstorm, we are looking at warming conditions again which will bring out the very best of what October fishing is all about. Last week was stunning with fresh white snow painted alongside the yellows and golds of the aspen trees. The snow came, and in the lower elevations quickly went, and brought enough precip to give the rivers in the higher elevations a bump in flows. Any increase in flows is welcomed as it cleans up the water just a bit.
I guided Hot Creek last weekend, and we had a really fun time getting into some surface action with dry flies during the middle of the day. Trout were munching off smaller sized caddis patterns. Anything tan with a bit of green in size-18 was getting takes. It was a lot of good fun. The air is cool and crisp down there in the canyon this time of year. It’s a glorious place to spend a few hours in the middle of the day. While there were other anglers present, there was plenty of room on the water. I saw more deer than people. October at Hot Creek is a special place.
Flows on the Upper Owens River are running around 124 cubic feet per second. There were several cars and anglers there last weekend, but reports coming in sounded like it was a bit on the thinner side of fish being caught. This isn’t surprising considering there weren’t many fish in there this summer, and flows have increased thus further thinning out the concentration of fish. Those fish can move around in increased flows so they do. This means you gotta move around a bit to find them. I’d fish a big red worm fly pattern if I was chasing them. You might see some surface excitement this weekend and week with the warming temps. If they are feeding off the surface, fish the appropriate caddis and mayfly patterns.
Flows on the Lower Owens River have dropped to 224 cubic feet per second. This makes for very good fishing conditions. The fish in the Lower Owens are now concentrating in higher density since it’s the exact opposite of what happened on the Upper Owens. When water volume decreases, fish stack up in great numbers. Your standard, traditional fly patterns will work just fine: Pheasant Tails, Elk Hair Caddis, Zug Bugs, etc. Bait anglers and spin anglers would do well fishing with Powerbait and Thomas Bouyants down by Warm Springs. Air temps are as comfortable as it gets during the middle of the day on the Lower Owens in October.
We are coming down to the last month of fishing Crowley. I understand that the midge fishing was a slightly tougher bite last weekend. Your most productive way of fishing Crowley is gonna be kicking around a float tube with an intermediate sink tip, and a Woolly Bugger. Trolling the lake in shallower waters will also result in strikes. Crowley Lake Fish Camp is only open for two more weeks, so if you want to get a boat on the lake now is the time.
Convict Lake is a majestic place to fish this time of year. It is a beautiful location with the aspen groves lining the far side, and the snow covered mountain peaks looming overhead. I haven’t heard any reports of what they are striking. Checking in the shop there might be the best place to data mine for how the fish there are being caught. I usually tend to think that soaking worms on the southern side of the lake works just fine. I’d also like to suggest that Lower Twin Lake just outside Bridgeport is a strikingly beautiful place to fish this time of year. Probably not a bad idea to troll this time of year. Stop in the tackle shop at the marina to ask how many colors of lead core line (this will determine your appropriate depth) and what lure to troll.
That’s your short and sweet fish report for this week. 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.