Thanks to a special effort by the LADWP the irrigation ditches that had become de-watered are once again flowing. This will give the many trout fry that had become stranded a second chance to make it back into the Upper Owens before winter sets in. Due to highly unusual circumstances this summer; the high flows allowed the myriad of irrigation ditches to become easily accessible to the spring hatch of wild rainbow trout. Traditional fish screens failed, or were not in place at key locations allowing this disaster to occur. The water rights to this area are complicated and have many "grandfather" clauses written in to the lease arrangements with ranchers. In addition there are private riparian privileges that further complicate the situation here. Bottom line, we need to keep the fry out of these irrigation canals by placing and maintaining fish screens at the sources of inlet and outflow.
Special thanks to Tim Bartley conservation chair for the SWFFF group for his help & to Mike Caltagirone who is on the board of the Sagebrush Chapter of TU for his assistance.
The outpour of positive support from regional fly fishing clubs that responded to this was amazing and I hope we can work with the Cal DFG and LADWP together next spring to insure that this tragedy is avoided. I believe this to be a milestone and a turning point as to how the LADWP addressed a situation that they were not legally bound to do. The fact that they accommodated the saving of wild trout should not be taken lightly.
Craig Smith and I also enjoyed a great day on the UO early November. These fall run wild rainbows are the best in the west and deserve special consideration to insure their existence. Nymphing with Bird's nest, broken back midges, flashback Pt's, San Juan Worms #14-20 will all get grabs. Streamer fishing has also been very good during the low light periods. The Light Spruce-a-bu is a killer pattern for browns, The dark punk perch and Loebergs will get aggressive takes used in conjunction with a light to moderate sinking tip line.
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