Sierra Bright Dot Fly Fishing Report – January 27, 2023
Wind has given way to warm days in the Owens Valley. Upper elevation waters are full of snow and fly fishers are snowmobiling, skiing, or snowshoeing to access the waters. Only the most diehard fly fishers are putting in the effort to fish upper elevation waters. Day light is getting longer by a little bit each day. Water temps are in the mid 40’s and the trout are not feeding aggressively. Working nymphs and thoroughly covering trout holding water is the most productive way of fly fishing right now.
As always be sure to consult with California Fish and Wildlife regulations for the water you plan on fly fishing. https://wildlife.ca.gov/Regulations.
Tuesday Talks with Fred:
Fred Rowe has been meeting clients, locals, and social media followers every Tuesday from 9:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. at Mahogany Smoked Meats on 2345 N. Sierra HWY. They just hang out with everyone talking about fly fishing in the Eastern Sierra and munching on a burrito. The only time he’s not there is when he’s off guiding. All levels of anglers are welcome.
Lower Owens River: Near Bishop, CA
Wild Trout Section: I would check the DWP site at https://wsoweb.ladwp.com/Aqueduct/realtime/norealtime.htm for up to the minute flows. As of November 16th the wild trout section of the lower Owens River is now catch and release with barbless lures and flies.
The last couple of days have been nice to be out on the water. Mid 50’s air temps and no winds have made it enjoyable to be on the river. Fly fishing has been tough as there is very little to no insect activity to get the trout feeding. I’ve seen a few mayflies hatching and lots of midges in the air in the afternoon. Fly fishing has been tough with nymphs. I’m thoroughly covering all of the section of river I’m Euro nymphing. I know if the flies are off by a couple of inches the trout will not move to take my nymphs. The river is up to 140 cfs and I’m finding the trout have moved up into the flats. I’m fishing with olive quilldigons, stoner nymphs, hot spot pheasant tail nymphs on the Euro rig. Under an indicator I’m fishing with tiger midges, zebra midges, and bead head flash back pheasant tail nymph.
Hot Creek: Near Mammoth Lakes, CA
Interpretive Site: For the hardy fly fisher willing to snowshoe in there are wild brown trout and rainbows willing to take midge and mayfly nymph patterns. The snow is deep and fluffy keeping most fly fishers off the water. This is definitely a mid-morning 11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. fishery.
The Canyon Section: There is little to no fly fishing pressure in the canyon as few fly fishers are willing to put the effort in to get down to the creek. For those few fly fishers willing to put in the effort the trout are feeding on midges and mayfly nymphs. With the decrease in fly fishing pressure this is a good time to throw streamers looking for a trophy trout from Hot Creek.
Upper Owens River: Near Mammoth Lakes, CA
Above Benton Crossing Bridge: Lots of snow and little parking off of Benton Crossing Road is limiting access to the river. It’s tough to walk in right now. Snowmobiles, or snowshoes is the only way to access the river. The river suffered from anchor ice during the cold spell end of last weekend into the beginning of this week. The anchor ice forms ice dams that when they break loose scouring the bottom. This action caused lots of ice to come through the river and turn the river muddy. The trophy trout are just starting to show up in the river.
Below Benton Crossing Bridge: This section is closed to fishing as of Wednesday November 16, 2022.
Bishop Creek Canal Behind the Ford Dealer: In Bishop, CA
If you’re looking for a spot to fly fish all by yourself the canal is that spot. The river is clearing up and the level is dropping. I’ve been Euro nymphing in here with the olive quilldigon, stoner nymphs and hot spot pheasant tail nymph. The trout are taking all three fish. When the flows get back to a low level fly fishing well be tough here again as the trout become spooky again.