Sierra Bright Dot Fly Fishing Report – January 14, 2022
Weather impacts the fly fishing in the Eastern Sierra. We are in for a week of sunny days with no big weather fronts anticipated. The increased daylight is helping to warm up the streams so the insects and trout are more active. Best fishing will be in the middle of the day from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. when the insects are most active. We are in the middle of winter and it is midge time. This is the trout’s stable food source when other aquatic insects are inactive. Midges in size 16 to 20 cover the range of midges found in the streams and rivers of the Eastern Sierra.
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.
Lower Owens River: Near Bishop, CA
Wild Trout Section:
The wild trout section of the lower Owens River is offering consistent mid-day fly fishing with nymphs for wild brown trout. Fly fishers can expect to hook up using mayfly nymphs and midges. Euro nymphing and fishing under an indicator is the most productive way to fish the lower Owens River. There are a few fish rising in the middle of the day if you are in the right spot to emerging midges. Pheasant tail nymphs, peeking caddis, tiger midges, zebra midges, and blood midges are fooling the brown trout. Key to success is having the right amount of weight on the rig to get a drag free drift of the nymphs on the substrate.
The Owens River Gorge: Stay tuned!
Hot Creek: Near Mammoth Lakes, CA
Interpretive Site: Fly fishers have been accessing the interpretive site by walking in from Hot Creek Hatchery Road. Enough fly fishers, along with warmer weather, have packed down the snow to make for easier access into Hot Creek. Fishing has been slow with nymphing under an indicator or under a dry fly producing a few wild brown trout. Conditions remind me of the dog days of summer. What we have now are the frozen days of winter. Fly fishers willing to work hard are landing a few wild brown and rainbow trout in the middle of the day.
The Canyon Section: To fly fish the canyon section of Hot Creek fly fishers have to put in extra effort to access the three parking lots. Walking, snowshoeing, or cross country skiing in from Hot Creek Hatchery Road where they stop plowing is required to get to the canyon. Fly fishing has been tough as there is not much insect activity going on for the trout to feed on. The primary insect in the canyon has been midges. Black and red bodied midges are your best patterns right now. I fish with tiger midges, zebra midges, blood midges, two tone brassies, and Manhattan midges in sizes 16 to 20.
Upper Owens River: Near Mammoth Lakes, CA
Above Benton Crossing Bridge: Mornings have been cold with temperatures in the negative range. Fly fishers heading a mile or two upstream from Benton Crossing Bridge need to be prepared for the adverse conditions. The trophy trout are on the bite and can be found feeding in the deeper holes and runs. Stoner nymphs, green/gold wire Prince nymphs, gold ribbed hare’s ears, and copper John’s are the fly patterns that I have the best luck with. These flies need to be fished down deep in the pools and runs. Don’t be afraid to add additional weight to get the flies down on the substrate where the trophy trout are feeding.
Below Benton Crossing Bridge: Crowley Lake and the upper Owens River from Crowley Lake to Benton Bridge are closed to fishing. They will open on the last Saturday in April, 2022.
A dead drifted nymph next to a cut bank can produce trophy browns like this one in the upper Owens River.
Bishop Creek Canal Behind the Ford Dealer: In Bishop, CA
With the new regulations in play the canal is open to catch and release fly fishing from November 16 to the Friday preceding the last Saturday in April.
This area continues to be under-utilized by fly fishers and offers good mid-day fly fishing nymphing under an indicator, using the dry and dropper method, or Euro nymphing. The wild brown trout are taking midge nymphs, midge pupae, and mayfly nymphs. For the dry fly in the dry and dropper rig I’m using a size 16 Adams parachute. For the nymphs under an indicator or the dry fly I’m fishing with size 18 bead head pheasant tail nymphs, size 20 tiger midges, zebra midges, blood midges, two tone brassies, and Manhattan midges. On the Euro rig I’m fishing with a size 16 or 18 olive quilldigon, size 12 stoner nymph, size 16 Butano nymph, size 16 thread Frenchie, and a size 16 hot spot pheasant tail nymph.
Sierra Bright Dot Fly Fishing Guide Service is hosting Tuesday Talks with Fred at Mahogany Smoked Meats every Tuesday from 9:00 A.M. to 10:00 A.M. This is an opportunity to chat with Fred Rowe of Sierra Bright Dot about any Eastern Sierra fly fishing opportunities, fly fishing techniques, or fly tying patterns.