The spring run is in the river, Both fall and spring fish are being caught

The Trout Fitter Staff

Report Date:

Flow Rates and Water Conditions

Water Conditions: Improving

Flows are 73 cfs as of 3/17


The stretch of river above Benton Crossing Road is artificial, barbless, catch and release only. Below the bridge is now closed. Water temperatures are now down in the mid 40's meaning the feeding and hatching window has gotten a lot smaller. Not sure what the cold weather will do to the fishing but the odds are it will slow things down.


Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing Conditions and Hatches: Fair to Good??????

Right now you can drive up the main road but I would be very careful about the side roads to the gates. I'm not sure it makes much of a difference, the water is very dirty although it might be a lot cleaner above the confluence.

UPDATE: The spring run is in the river, Both fall and spring fish are being caught. The fall spawners are dark and scuffed up and they also tend to be bigger. The spring spawners are silvery with almost no red. 

 Even though it's slowing down I'm leaving up "Fair-Good" because even on the slow days all it takes is one or two bigger fish to change your outlook.

The holidays are over and the weather's iffy so the crowds should be down, if you're going to fish it I'd do it before the weekend or head down the hill to the Lower. The one bright spot is the migratory fish don't seem to be bothered by the lack of hatches, they're content with the attractor patterns especially eggs and worms. Having said that, the winter spawning Rainbows as well as the Browns are starting to head back to the Lake. The spring run Rainbows have started up. Water clarity coming out of Hot Creek has gotten worse, the river below is now down to 2-3 feet visibility. The up side is the fish are a lot less spooky. The hatches in late  January are midges with a steady increase in BWO hatches and caddis on the warmer days. The BWO hatches should continue to improve as we get into February.

REMEMBER: The winter spawning Rainbows and a lot of the spring spawners are strains of Rainbows no longer stocked so if you like these fishing opportunities keep the fish in the net and in the water while taking pictures/releasing the fish. Also, even though most of the fish spawn up higher in the private ranches there are fish that spawn lower down so keep an eye out for the Redds in the tailouts and try to wade in knee deep or deeper water.

 As usual the lake fish tend to hang out in the deeper holes during the day and move upstream at night. Both the migratory browns and rainbows are scattered throughout the system. Above the Hot Creek confluence they are a lot spookier so move slowly and stay away from the high banks on the outside of bends. 

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. Not to say there aren't big resident fish but they tend to spend their entire adult life far back under the cut banks, venturing out to eat a 12 incher every once in a while.

 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:   Parachute Adams #18-22 | Hippie Stomper and Rubberleg Stimulator #12-16 |  Hi-Vis BWO #20-22 | Elk Hair Caddis #14-20 | Grffiths Gnat #22-24

NYMPHS:  Zebra Midge #16-22 | Copper John #14-16 | Bling Midge #22-24 | San Juan worms assorted colors | Birds Nest Natural #16-20 | Prince Nymph #12-18 | F/B Hares Ear #16-18 | Pheasant Tail #18-22 combo flash and or bead | Egg Patterns

STREAMERS: Shock Collar Leech #10 | Woolly Bugger White, Olive and Brown for the Tadpoles #6-14 | Punk Perch light or dark #10-16 | Baby Fat Minnow |

EURO Streamers: GD UV P/Jig White #12 | Kaslar M/G/S Olive #12

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