Eastern Sierra Fishing Report 12/5/22

A fisherman in a boat on a river holding a fly fishing rod with snow capped mountains in the background.


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Winter continues to push on and we got a real good blast of snow over the weekend. Snow levels were down around the 6000′ mark, with the highest of elevations coming out of this system with up to 3 feet of snow. It was a mix and alternation of snow and rain at times, so whatever snow fell at the lower elevations was gone in a hurry with the rain. Some clearing is expected over the next two days with a return of snow over the weekend. Temperatures will remain cold in the 30’s this week in Mono County with nights in the single digits. The Bishop area will see highs in the 40’s to 50’s with lows in the teens. The Upper Owens River became a sloppy mud field after the rain moved through and melted the snow. Fishing here has been ok, but you have to cover ground to find the big ones. Hot Creek has been fishing good in both sections and the canyon area has been receiving minimal fishing pressure. Look for some nice hatches in the afternoons when the weather is warmest. The Lower Owens River has really been fishing well in all areas. From the drift boat sections to the Wild Trout region, the fish have really been responding well to flies both on and below the surface. The BWO hatch is really coming alive in the afternoons and providing some excellent dry fly fishing for rainbows and browns. Please be careful when driving the roads here during the winter. Every year I see overturned, wrecked, or stuck vehicles on the side of the highway. Slow down during storm conditions, and continue to be cautious after the storms have passed as freezing temperatures can turn thin areas of water into ice in a hurry. It’s not worth the extra few minutes you’ll save driving faster than conditions allow for. We are taking bookings now for Pyramid Lake boat trips in March, April, May, and June. Give us a call, text, or email for more info.

Hot Creek’s access is still doable from an automobile in the Interpretive Site. 4WD is recommended still. Smaller nymphs and midges in the mornings have been getting takes from resident browns and rainbows. Egg patterns have also been getting looks as the fish are now in full winter mode. You will find pods of fish in the pools now, which makes the competition among them greater. The flow is slow here, so smaller indicators have been working well with nymphs in the #18 – 22 range. You can purchase our line of High and Dry floatants here. We find this brand to be some of the best we have used. Flies to use: Egg patterns, SJ worms #14 – 16, #18 Blood Midge, #18 – 20 Tungsten Zebra, #20 Bead Prince Nymph Tungsten, Broken Black and Blue Midge, #18 -20 Crystal Caddis Larva Green Black, #18 – 20 Crystal Copper Zebra Midge, #18 Flashback Hare’s Ear, #22 -24 Griffith’s Gnat, #20 Serendipity Black.

Lower Owens River flows are great for wading currently. All the burn areas of last winter have grown in with fresh growth. At last check, they were sitting around 75cfs, but the LADWP gauge is not working correctly as of report time. Look for plenty of aggressive fish that are feeding heavily right now as the cold weather has snapped them into winter mode. We have been drifting in the lower sections and targeting the deep pools along the river with good success. The Blue Wing Olive hatches have started in the early afternoons, and this is one of the best bite windows on the river. It usually lasts about an hour or so depending on the weather, but you can get high numbers of fish at this time. A lighter weight rod in the 3 and 4 size is perfect for these fish. Water is clear and the river is in great shape currently. Smaller nymphs like #18 – 20 Flashback Pheasant Tails, #20 Serendipity Black and Red, #18 – 20 Tungsten Zebra Midge, #20 – 22 Crystal Chironomid Emerger Copper, #20 Red Rib Midge Glass and Dark Head, #18 -20 Crystal Caddis Olive Dubbed Black and Crystal Caddis Olive Larva Black have been catching trout here.

Upper Owens River Take care driving in as the snow has melted from the last storm bringing some rain to the area. There are a lot of slick and muddy areas that will get you stuck. The larger rainbows are in the river currently, but covering some ground to find them is crucial. We should start to see the next run of fish start moving up river from below the bridge any day now. Some smaller resident fish are in the mix as well, so don’t be surprised when you a hook a few of them while fishing for larger rainbows. Mixing it up right now with a variety of fly patterns has been the key along with a good presentation.

Times are tough and are forecasted to get tougher, but fishing is not only fun to do but can be very therapeutic for many. We want to keep everyone fishing this holiday season. In the spirit of the holidays, we are having a “20% OFF SALE” which starts now and is available through December 31st. Take 20% off our entire product line including apparel. Just enter the coupon code: DECFLIES20 at checkout and your discount will be applied to your cart total. Click here to visit our store.

A snow covered grove of aspen trees surrounded by a white fence.

The snow keeps coming and will hopefully continue through the winter.

A smiling fisherman holding a massive rainbow trout next to a river in the snow.

Will fished with Devin and got this giant rainbow trout.

A smiling fisherman holding a massive rainbow trout next to a river in the snow.

Jay got into some nice ones on the river.

An overturned vehicle on the side of a highway in the snow.

Take some time to go slower during the storms and keep the rubber side down.

An overturned vehicle on the side of a highway in the snow.

A closer look.

A man and a woman in a boat on a river holding a pair of rainbow trout.

Rene and Daren had a great day drifting with Doug R. on the Lower Owens River catching rainbow trout like these.

A fisherman in a boat on a river holding a fly fishing rod with snow capped mountains in the background.

An afternoon view from the river looking towards the eastern sierra escarpment.

A man and a young boy holding three trout in a boat on a river.

Chad and son Hudson fished with Doug R. and put the wood to the rainbow and brown trout.

A young boy holding a rainbow trout in a boat on a river with a man behind him fishing.

Hudson with another healthy rainbow trout.

A man and a young boy holding a pair trout in a boat on a river.

The duo with another double on rainbow trout.

A rainbow trout with vibrant colors held in a pair of hands on a river.

A close look at the Lower Owens rainbow trout.

A man holding a rainbow trout on a river while wearing waders.

Seth guided Calvin to many rainbows and browns while wading the Lower Owens River.

Click here to check out our entire fly fishing trout videos collection on our YouTube Channel.

Here are our flies which are working on the Upper Owens, Lower Owens River, East Walker River and Hot Creek in addition to the above patterns listed in our report:

SD Chironomidge #16, Para Midge #20, 22, Puff O’ Smoke #16, Broken Back Copper Tiger Midge #18, 20; Assassin Light #18; Assassin Dark #18; Crystal Hi-Vis Parachute Blue Wing Olive #18; Crystal Tiger Midge Long #18, 20; Crystal Midge Pupa Copper #18, 20; Gillie Chironomid Pupa Dark and Light #18, 20, 22,Otter Eggs in all colors, Bead Head San Juan Worm Red And Brown #14, 16; Squirmy Worm Tungsten purple, pink, and red; Parallel Assassin Light #14-16, Parallel Assassin Dark #16; Loeberg Mallard Silver Badger; Spruce a Bu Dark and Light

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