Sierra Bright Dot Fly Fishing Report – December 3, 2022
Our warm mid-day weather is about to turn into much needed winter weather as the Eastern Sierra are expecting storms over the weekend. There will be new snow at upper elevations and hopefully a little rain in the Owens Valley. The trout’s winter feeding hours will be from 11:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M to coincide with winter insect activity. Fish can be caught before and after these hours, but prime trout fishing will be in the middle of the day. Midges and mayflies will be providing the bulk of the insect activity until we get to February when stoneflies and caddis will be hatching.
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.
I’m getting out to the wild trout section by 11:00 A.M. just in time to catch the blue wing olive hatch that starts mid-day. While some sections have enough trout rising to the surface for dry fly action, I prefer to fish nymphs on my Euro rig. Size 18 blue wing olive patterns like blue wing olive parachutes and olive sparkle duns are fooling the surface feeding wild trout. On the Euro rig I’m fishing with an olive quilldigon, stoner nymph, and hot spot pheasant tail nymph. I’ve been catching fish on all three flies. I’m wading into sections that are heavily lined with willows and tulles. These are spots that a lot of fly fishers don’t fish.
Hot Creek: Near Mammoth Lakes, CA
Interpretive Site:Four wheel vehicles can access the interpretive site parking area. Access before the storms was easy as multiple vehicles had packed down the snow on the road to the Interpretive site and in the parking area. Access after the storms will depend on the accumulated snow fall. Fishing mid-day has been good with midges and blue wing olives. I’m using size 20 blue wing olive parachutes, size 20 sparkle duns, and size 22 midge emergers.
The Canyon Section: Access into the canyon is slippery going up and down the hill and fly fishers need to be cautious. If there is enough accumulated snow from this series of storms it’s highly probable that the road will not be accessible by vehicles. Nymphing with mayfly nymphs and midge nymphs has been the most productive method of fly fishing the canyon prior to the storms. Dry fly activity, if it happens, will be middle of the day. The primary winter hatch will be midges with the occasional blue wing olive hatch.
Upper Owens River: Near Mammoth Lakes, CA
Above Benton Crossing Bridge: Access to the upper Owens River will be tough right after the storms. It will take a few days for the snowmobiles and walking in fly fishers to pack down the trail. Fishing on the upper Owens has been tough as there are few trophy trout in the system. Successful fly fishers are covering lots of water looking for the few trophy trout that are resting and feeding in the deep holes, runs and cutbanks. I like fishing with larger nymphs dredged on the bottom of the deep water sections. I’m Euro nymphing with size 12 stoner nymphs, and size 12 green/gold Prince nymphs.
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. Few fly fishers are taking advantage of the canal being open to catch and release barbless lures and flies for the winter season. The trout are feeding on nymphs and I’m fishing under an indicator or with the Euro rig. I’m fishing with bead head flash back pheasant tail nymphs, hot spot pheasant tail nymphs, stoner nymphs, and olive quilldigons. There are a few pods of stocked trout roaming around in the canal offering fly fishers a chance to catch a few rainbows.