Upper Owens River Fishing Report

Owens River - Gorge - Bishop, CA (Inyo County)

Veteran client Kevin Oberon displaying some typical “Crowley Steel” on his recent trip.
Photo Credit: Sierra Drifters

by Tom Loe

Access is ok with all wheel drive vehicles; but there are some ruts that might get a low ground clearance car stuck. There are some big Crowley Steelhead, but most of the browns are headed back to the lake. It is very similar to steelhead fishing currently. You must cover some ground to find the fish here. The big rainbows are relocating almost daily in some areas of the river, but once you find them they are willing to bite a proper presentation. Long casts are required at times to avoid spooking them, especially in the clear water areas above the confluence of Hot Creek. The numbers of migratory rainbows have thinned out, but we should begin to see a new push of fish once Crowley Lake begins its freeze. Single digit air temps will keep ice in the rod guides until 10/11am for an extended period. You can fish year around above the Benton Bridge with special angling restrictions. The sections below Hot Creeks inlets have some aquatic weed that makes nymphing difficult. The fish are spread out, & spooky. Make your stream side approaches quietly, & on their tails. Keeping a low profile is necessary to avoid spooking them. Flows have dropped considerably; with current levels being 50cfs. Attractor patterns, & streamers are good calls for migratory trout. Drifters Crawlers, crystal eggs, San Juan Worms, crystal leeches, & Assassins are my go to nymphs below an Under-Cator.

The section upstream from the Benton Bridge is open year around with special regulations. Seasonal closures, and angling restrictions apply downstream from the bridge, check regulations before fishing in this section.

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