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Eastern Sierra Fishing Report

SNOW? Sierra storm doesn’t chill winter bite

BY ERNIE COWAN/Special to Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Feb 20, 2012

East Walker bite on midges for brown trout among options

walker river gold

WALKER RIVER GOLD — Mark Allen had what he called a day of fishing that was “off the chart” with nearly 20 brown caught and released on the East Walker River last week. The light snow did not chill the bite.

BRIDGEPORT — It seems a bit odd that a Sierra snowstorm would be news in mid-winter, but trout anglers have been spoiled by the mild season and were only briefly inconvenienced by last week's dusting. Weather in the high country quickly returned to bluebird and the fishing didn't skip a beat.

“The storm has kept a lot of people off the water, but it sure did not affect the fishing,” said Rick Gieser at Ken’s Sporting Goods in Bridgeport.

He said the East Walker River continues to be a fishing bonanza with plenty of 14- to 17-inch browns feeding along with a few reports of hawgs up to 22 inches.
“What’s a little different is that the big fish are being caught in thin water, rather than in the pools,” Gieser said. “I have no idea why, but it might be because of better access to food.”

The light winter crowds and excellent fishing has many of the locals really spoiled.

“I know the local guys are kind of spoiled right now because the fishing is about as good as it ever gets and there is no competition on the water,” Gieser said.
Little midges seem to be the offering that’s working, but there is some dry fly action starting about 10 a.m.

Not much reported from the Upper Owens this week, however some of the bigger trout that move up from Crowley are still on the prowl and looking for food. Jim Elias at the Troutfitter in Mammoth Lakes said he has had Hot Creek nearly all to himself and the fishing has been outstanding.

“There hasn’t been any real hatch, so the best action has been all midges. This is quality fishing right now and nobody is there,” Elias said. He suggests working the canyon section and subsurface only with WD-40’s and red colors.

No reports this week from Pleasant Valley Reservoir, but the Owens River Gorge has been fishing well on both dries and nymphs. Flows have been low, but Elias said that should change soon as more water is released into the river.

The flow gauge on the Lower Owens has been down recently, but flows have been below 200 cubic feet per second, which makes for ideal wading and drift boat fishing.

Guide Pat Jaeger at Eastern Sierra Guide Service said the Lower O is in excellent shape and water temperatures have gone up providing a “blanket hatch of midge and the first generation of Blue Winged Olive Mayflies.

“Believe it or not, we’ve been seeing caddis for weeks now,” Jaeger, said.
He said the Mayfly hatch's are still on the weak side but getting better every day. “From a 1-10, I would give the Lower Owens a seven...pretty darn good,” Jaeger said.

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