Both the Upper Owens and the Lower Owens are at their "best" right now. Check out some of the fish

Owens River - CA

by Tom Loe

Every season is a little different but the fall of 2011 will be one I shall remember for a while. Typically fishing begins to slow down on both the Upper and Lower O, however this fall it has done exactly the opposite. Both sections are fishing at their best right now and if you do not mind cold morning air temperatures, the fishing will warm you up as soon as you get into some of the trophy fish we have been seeing on a regular basis recently.

Flows have dropped to very low releases on the Lower O (105cfs) as of this report. Click here for a link to the LADWP flows. Wading is gravy combined with the pleasant weather the Owens Valley has been experiencing. I see a fair amount of BWO mayfly adults and midges emerging daily so don't put that dry shake or desiccant away just yet. Nymphing with smaller birds nest or pheasant tail patterns are good choices, as well as some #16-22 crystal midge patterns, or broken back flies like the dark zebra or tiger.

The guided drift trips have been excellent and a most pleasant surprise with consistent bigs showing on most drifts since the flows crashed in early December. Moderately weighted sinking tip lines used in conjunction with the "dip and strip" technique have been producing good numbers and the large rainbows shown on this report. I have been using my Spruce-A- Bu pattern for most of the day, with a change late afternoon at times to a Loeberg. Both flies are taking the bigs consistently in the deeper secluded pools.

The Upper Owens despite some very cold morning temps is still kicking out some great rainbows in the year around section above the Benton Bridge all the way to Longyears. Access to the area is very good and the roads are clear as of 12-7-11. We have been primarily nymphing this area using my Assassin birds nest, FB PT's, floating orange egg imitations, and broken back midges.

You can get into these trophies by fishing streamers as well using a light sinking tip and positioning well upstream of your target water. Some fish are holding in the tail outs of the deeper runs and hiding under the cut banks and in the shadows. Approach like you are "hunting Whabbits" and you will get a better shot at hooking one of these behemoths.

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

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