The mandated closure affects several moving water fisheries: Bishop Creek, Hot Creek, the San Joaquin River, Rock Creek, Rush Creek, etc. This is an incomplete list of places that you cannot fish for these next two weeks. To be totally honest, these creeks and rivers are so low right now, that you aren’t going to miss much. It also includes several lakes. The Golden Trout Wilderness, for example, was set to open up a few more fisheries this last week as the Cottonwood Lakes opening was adjusted by DFW for a new legal fishing start date of September 1, moved from July 1. Clearly, those lakes are not legally accessible until the current mandate has been lifted. It also unfortunately includes lakes up West Line Street, the Mammoth Lakes Basin, and the June Lake Loop. There’s not a lot open right now.
The Lower Owens River is flowing at 226 cubic feet per second. That’s a pretty sweet flow for this river. I’d look for bug hatches during the day. Fly fishers will observe caddis fly and mayfly activity. Small Elk Hair Caddis and PMD’s fly patterns should land fish. It’s also a great place to euro-nymph with a long stick. Dredging the bottom with tungsten beadhead flies, and a small Pheasant Tail second fly should result in takes. It’s a narrow river, so high-sticking is always a viable option on this river. Bait anglers working down by Warm Springs should hook fish with Powerbait or lures. If it’s stinky, fish will probably eat it. The Gorge is going to be flushed out with high flows from September 7 – 13. In short, stay away. It will not be fishable, and the high flows are dangerous.
The Upper Owens is holding on by a thread. I honestly don’t believe it’s worth fishing right now. The flows are so low and the fish so sparse that it’s not worth fishing. If you’re feeling desperate, you’ll hook one or two, but you are mostly just practicing casting.
There’s a silver lining to the mandated forest closure… a lot of fish get a well-earned rest for a couple of weeks. It’s not the news that we wanted to hear, but two weeks passes quickly. Knock on wood we avoid fires in the region, and we have a glorious change-of-colors season at the end of this month!
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.