Lower Owens River - fly fishing update 10/14/2012

Tom Loe

Report Date:


Flows are dropping steadily below the dam at Pleasant Valley in the wild trout section. 200 cfs or less is ideal here & it will not be long before you see this release. Water clarity is very good and the fish have long since adjusted to the higher releases that have seemingly never ended this year. You will encounter strong morning caddis activity along with a great Trico mayfly emergence late morning. Trico's are tiny- #20 and less, the fall caddis are fun to fish, use #16 with a light brown to olive body. Very light colored wings on the caddis. Heavily weighted tandem nymph rigs using flashback PT's, Assassin bird's nest, olive crystal caddis, and tiger midges #16-20 are good choices. The LO also has an abundance of small chubs, suckers, & mosquito fish holding in the slack and dead water along the tulle's. These small baitfish are the reason we do so well fishing streamers this time of year with a sinking tip line and using a technique called the "dip & strip". Fishing this method from a drift boat is the best way to access the LO, however one can also position at the top of a run or pool while wading & accomplish the same thing under the right conditions and flows. The water temps have cooled a bunch and the fish are getting more active. I have had some great floats recently with big numbers of rainbows and browns - a few trophy sized fish on the chew daily. Hot flies this week are Agent Orange, Crystal Leeches, & Spruce-A-Bu's #8-12. Pleasant Valley Reservoir is also dropping and power generation is becoming less frequent. There can be some awesome fishing in the inlet section this time of year with this condition. I like a dry dropper bead head combo using Assassin bird's nest or tiger midges as the nymph, a high vis mayfly, stimulator, or caddis adult is a good choice for the dry fly/indicator.

Main Photo Above:Drift boat fly fishing on the Lower Owens River is great this fall as Ben Kaufmann & Kelsey Morgan display a trophy rainbow Ben caught with Sierra Drifters Guide Service on a Spruce-A-Bu streamer pattern.
Photo #1:All the way from Durham NC., Ed Cvelich had his own method of getting into big fish in the Sierra. Ed calls it the "dip and CHIP". His low key approach munching on Chip's Ahoy cookies really worked, and you can see the results! This hook jaw hit an Agent Orange.
Photo #2:Russ Cattley from Auburn AL., landed over 100 to net with help from Ed C., in three days fishing the Lower Owens and Crowley Lake
Photo #3:Russ with a beautiful fall brownie caught on a crystal leech
Photo #4:Ed "dip & chip" Cvelich did very well for his initial trip to the Sierra with a fly rod
Photo #5:First time Drifter Kelsy Morgan did great using streamers on the Lower Owens
Photo #6:And from the UK, Stephen Lobb found the Owens to be excellent this fall using streamers. This Britt can really fly fish, and has the best stories around!
Photo #7:Jon Conrad showing that the rainbows on the Lower Owens get big air!
Photo #8:Brother Phil Conrad lifting one of his many to net on a recent drift down the Owens. The Conrad boys whacked em'!

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Fish'N Conditions September 16th 2012

Tom Loe

Report Date:

The Sierra continues to bask in summer like weather conditions with warm days and no precipitation in the immediate forecast.......

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