Upper Owens River Fish Report

Owens River - CA

by Tom Loe

Please exercise caution if you decide to drive on any of the two track roads that lead to the river. There are some substantial snow drifts currently, and others may develop quickly with any amount of wind making the roads impassable as you will become "high centered" when you hit them. Four wheel drives just take you further in to get stuck!

I have been fishing this area a bunch this winter and have been rewarded with some of the best trophy sized rainbow trout the area has to offer. The scenery is spectacular, the solitude is wonderful; however, it is not for everyone and you should be prepared for some brutal cold and ice in your guides, (and on your guide) most of the day.

The flows have gone up here and are currently running over 125cfs leaving the UO off color and over the banks. This has made getting down to the fish much more difficult. There are some treacherous ice shelves that have formed along many sections of the bank. They are nearly impossible to walk on safely with boot chains or large cleats. If you have felt soles, you WILL fall!

Numbers are down from last winter at this time, but the fish we're seeing for the most part are trophy sized and fight like pit bulls! I wish I had skis for a few of the bigs hooked. They ripped line downstream and it would have been better to ski after them instead of plodding after them at the speed of a glacier! Indicator nymphing with broken back patterns #16-18, flashback PT's #16-20, and copper tiger midges have been working well. It is not so much the fly, as it is the guy and how he or she gets the bugs down to the hogs holding in the deeper pools. The high flows have the fish out of the tailouts and streamer fishing has not been as effective under these conditions as nymphing along the bottom.

If you would like to go fly fishing with Sierra Drifters give them a call at (760) 935 4250 and for more information visit their website www.sierradriters.com.