Eastern Sierra

Eastern Sierra: Consistent flows and dry weather pace Eastern Sierra trout scene

BY MIKE STEVENS/WON Staff WriterPublished: Feb 19, 2020

BISHOP — The lack of snow this winter is starting to cause a little concern for those familiar with how a healthy snowpack powers the summer season, but at the very least, it’s resulted in continued wide-open access to the year-round Eastern Sierra trout waters, and consistent fishing.

patrickjenkinsonPATRICK JENKINSON OF San Marcosstuck this Upper Owens River rainbow while fishing with Sierra Drifters Guide Service. PHOTO COURTESY SIERRA DRIFTERS

There are big fish still lurking in the Upper Owens,” said Doug Rodricks of Sierra Drifters Guide Service.Egg Patterns are still working, but now some buggy presentations are working better depending on the day. Sometimes the fish are in spawn mode, while other times, some are actually feeding. Working the deep sections has been the best way to score some fat rainbows, and there are some smaller fis” that have made their way up river as well.”

Up at Hot Creek, the midge hatch that has been intensifying over recent weeks is now a dependable event going on throughout the day according to Rodricks. “The lack of snow has made driving in very easy,” he said. “Size 22 Paramidges are good flies for this hatch, and switching to size 16 to 18 Blue-Winged Olives in the afternoons is a good call when you see mayflies drifting down the creek.”

The same flies Sierra Drifters guides employ for their clients are available at SierraDrifters.com, so it’s wise to check that site out before heading up.

THE UPPER OWENS RIVER is loaded with bigger rainbows like this looker nabbed by Huntington Beach angler, Luke Negro. PHOTO COURTESY SIERRA DRIFTERS

At Pleasant Valley Reservoir, the water level is gradually dropping, and the fishing has been slow with the occasional fair day mixed in. The good news is, a lot of the biters are quality brown trout.

Down in the Lower Owens, flows are holding at around 150 cfs which is good for fishing from Bishop all the way down to Lone Pine, but action has been up and down through this stretch. Some quality fish are being caught by bug slingers stripping streamers through some of the lightly-pressured spots, so, pulling up some waders is the way to go if you’re not on a drift boat.

At the moment, spin fishermen are getting the better of it in the Lower O where the weather has been pretty much ideal aside from some gusty winds here and there.

“The fishing has been fantastic,” said Andre Nersesian of Country Kitchen in Big Pine. “The 168 Bridge and Bartell down to Steward has been great. Below Tinemaha, there’s steady action on trot and a couple bass, and lures are outfishing bait.”

He went on to tell WON there are “a ton of browns out there,” and it’s almost a 2 to 1 ration of browns to ‘bows on most days. Nersesian said he heard a report of a 19 incher caught in the area.

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