The Lower Owens is the place to be for good fishing

Tom Loe

Report Date:

Fishing conditions are perfect on the Lower Owens. Flows have been steady at 205 cfs for a while, and the Bishop Creek has lowered to winter release rates. The BWO hatch has been the hot ticket this week with a huge emergence of the #18 mayflies coming off in force at 1pm & continuing through 3ish. The fish seem to kick back for the morning, then begin a steady feeding cycle starting on the nymphs & continuing until the sun hits the Sierra crest. Birds nest, flash back pheasant tails, and broken back midges will all get grabs for nymphing, while most dun to olive colored adult mayfly imitations in the 16/18 range will get smacked on the surface. Streamer fishing has also been very good using moderate sinking tip lines. Crystal leeches, Agent Orange, and Spruce-a-Bu's work well this time of year using the "dip & strip" technique in the deeper pools. One change I have noted since the cooler weather has become the norm is that the fish have migrated into the deeper pools for the most part. They will head to the tail outs when the BWO's come off, however look for more consistent action in the larger holes and softer water.

Trout are cold blooded and their metabolic rates are proportional to the water temp. As the sun gets higher and the gravel beds warm, you will see the fish become more active this time of year. This is the opposite of what we observed during the warmer weather earlier this fall.

GUIDE TIP: Can't tell you how many double hernias I have seen over the last fifteen years as clients struggle to put on frozen boots and waders after leaving the gear over night in their vehicles. One should keep your wading gear and boots in your motel room or RV for the evening or deal with frozen items in the morning. Use a heavy trash bag or wet gear bag to keep the mud from messing up the rooms please. A good way to kill invasive species like the New Zealand Mud Snail is to leave the gear outside in freezing conditions the night before you leave if you aren't planning on fishing of course!


Main Photo Above:
The Lower Owens River is in prime fly fishing shape with excellent dry fly and streamer opportunities. "The Mongoose" Michael Pouliot shows off a beautifully colored rainbow caught on a drift trip.
Photo #1Bako Boys-Justin & Jon Barnes with a father and son double, nice brown Justin!
Photo #2Another father & son double! Larry and Mike Jackson are long time Drifters and did very well on a recent float
Photo #3The "beef" Jake B and Mark F with yet another double. Numbers have been good while streamer fishing on the Lower Owens this fall
Photo #4Craig Weismann did very well on his first drift trip down the Owens landing a bunch of these colored up rainbows
Photo #5Craig also did some Under-Cator nymphing while on his drift. Mayfly patterns are best for nymphing, use birds nest or flashback PT's
Photo #6I am still laughing after a fun day on the river with this group. Eric B (fish on), Timmy H & Geoff D "arrested" a bunch of trout on their float
Photo #7Amana Nova with her first trout on the fly. Dr. Zail doing the net honors on a gorgeous day floating the Owens
Photo #8Justin Barnes with a jump'n bow Bruce B and father Jon trying to keep pace with the kid!
Photo #9The "beef" bendo on a nice bow
Photo #10Spawning colors on this hook jawed male rainbow


Fly Fishing Reports is the newest member of the SportfishingReportsTM Network of fish reports, boats, landings, guides, locations and more. We open our doors to the Fly Fishing outdoor enthusiasts who have a passion for the sport.