Upper Owens River Report

The Trout Fitter Staff

Report Date:


Flow Rates and Water Conditions

Water Conditions: Dirty but fishable

Flows are 91 cfs as of 5/27

The stretch of river above Benton Crossing Road is artificial, barbless, catch and release only. Below the bridge is now open. Flows are down a little and clearing up..

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

The good news is the Cutthroat spawn is winding down, the bad news is the eggs/Redds are very vulnerable and hard to see so the best advice is DON'T WADE ANYWHERE NEAR WHERE THEY WERE SPAWNING. Midges and Tricos emerge first thing. Trico spinner fall mid-morning. BWOs hatch midday and caddis are scattered in the afternoon. Lots of 6-16 inch fish to play with. They also stocked heavily for this weekend down below the bridge so go have some fun.

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. With the higher and dirtier conditions the hatches have become more scattered. This is early for the runoff so it may come and go with the weather changes.

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. 

 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

More Reports

The Trout Fitter Reports
for Monday, May 27th
The Trout Fitter Reports
for Saturday, May 18th
Hot Creek: Flows are up another 20 cfs
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley):  Water clarity coming out of Hot Creek has gotten worse
Owens River - Lower: Lower Owens River Fishing Report
East Walker River (CA): East Walker River


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