The dreaded early season green slime weed migration is going on

The Trout Fitter Staff

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Flow Rates and Water Conditions

Water Conditions:  Fair

Flows are 51 cfs as of 5/20

The stretch of river above Benton Crossing Road is artificial, barbless, catch and release only.

The reason why the flows on the Owens don't go up and down much is that it is common for Deadman Creek to go underground up above 395 during drought years.

Fishing Conditions and Hatches: Fair

The dreaded early season green slime weed migration out of lower Hot Creek is still going on but if you're willing to put up with it the fishing is improving and the crowds are all upstream. This means that especially below Benton Crossing you'll be cleaning off your hooks every couple of casts. There are some nice fish down there but they are spread out with some big spawners heading back to the lake. The best flies are attractor patterns, not much in the way of hatches going on.

Up above Hot Creek there is no water coming through the pipe and the ranchers are irrigating so the water is real skinny and the fish are spooky. Fishing is very hit or miss with the midge emergence in the morning followed by BWO's emerging late morning along with scattered caddis. I don't know about evenings but mid-afternoons have been slow with very small (#24-28) spent midges being the main food source. Might be that the drop in flows has pushed the fish up into the ranches or made them extremely spooky but fishing has been tough. ATTENTION The good news is the smaller fish ( 6"-13") are getting active so if you just want to have some fun and stay away from the crowds things are picking up.

Yes, the Cutthroats are up spawning and yes you can tell where they are spawning, just look for the masses of cars, but here's some friendly advice. Unlike the Rainbows the Cutthroats spawn anywhere from the bridge up into the lower private ranches making them far more vulnerable to fishing pressure. We suggest that if you are going to fish near the spawning fish make sure to cast below the fish in the shallow tailouts (that's where they spawn) and work the fish  in the deeper holes right below the drop-offs. The fish that haven't started spawning yet will sit at the head of the pools picking off food from the safety of deeper water.

It's good to remember that there aren't a lot of "resident" fish in the Upper Owens, it's basically a nursery for Crowley Lake and as they get bigger most of them will move down to the lake. The fish that haven't gone to the lake yet tend to be pickier because it's their natural environment. Right now they are getting more active as their metabolism picks up with the water warming so look for insect activity, especially the Baetis and some caddis. Mayflies are the more dominate #16-20.  As the water warms up the resident fish are getting more active, they will not be as interested in the attractor flies and they definitely require better presentations than the migratory fish do.

So much for the temperature gage, it lost its funding and has been shut down. Scratch that, it may be shut down but it's still functional. There was a temperature gage on Hot Creek right above the Owens River Road bridge. You can tell winter is here because instead of 97-112 temperature range of summer it's all the way down to 94-107 degrees.  If you're not familiar with it, to get to the upper most branch of Hot Creek, go through the first drive through gate on the main road and immediately turn left. The confluence is between the first and second walk-thru gates.

Recommended Flies

DRIES: Griffiths Gnat #20-24 | Para Adams #20-24 | CDC Transition Midge #20-24

NYMPHS:  Zebra Midge #16-22 | B/H Prince Nymph #12-16 | Copper John #14-16 | Tungsten Jig Baetis #18-20 | B/H Pheasant tail #14-18 |  Mop Fly assorted colors #10-16 | Bling Midge #22-24 | Tungsten Olive Mic Drop #16-18 | San Juan worms assorted colors | Egg Patterns assorted colors | Western Coachman #12-16 | Hogan's S & M Nymph #18-22

STREAMERS: Shock Collar Leech #10 | Woolly Bugger White or Olive #6-14 | Punk Perch light or dark #10-16

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