The Fish Report

February 9th 2024

The Troutfitter is open 8-4, 7 days a week.


 Both Hot Creek and the Upper Owens flows are up, and the Upper is very dirty. The Lower Owens is now down to 124 cfs and the hatches and fishing are picking up nicely. 

It looks like a big improvement weatherwise going into Presidents Day weekend, By early next week Hot Creek and the Upper Owens should be mid 40's for highs and upper teens at night. Lower Owens will be low to mid 50's and upper 20's at night.

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The Fish Report - February 9th 2024

Kent's Picks

Steve Fasick - Eastern Sierra Boat Repair

Located in Sunny slopes, works on most all marine engines.



Tim Howard - Mobile RV Services. 

Will go anywhere to you up and down 395 from Aberdeen, CA to Topaz, NV.



Link and Contacts

Hot Creek - Flow Rates

Flow Rates and Water Conditions

Water Conditions: Good, showing 22 cfs as of 2/9

Click "Flows" above for up to the minute info


Remember, these are the flows just below Highway 395 on Mammoth Creek.

Hot Creek is the least affected stream by big temperature drops due to being spring fed.



Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing Conditions and Hatches: ???-Good

No update this week, the road to the Interpretive Site should be driveable soon but the canyon is closed at the end of the pavement.

The warmer temperatures should help the fishing considerably. 

Fishing has been streaky day to day with A LOT of small fish, a good sign for the future.

There's been very good dry fly action, Interpretive Site 9-11 on midges and the BWOs are starting to make their comeback. With the returning of the BWOs the fish are starting to eat bigger (16-18) mayfly patterns. The canyon is like the Interpretive but an hour or so later and a lot more subsurface on mayfly nymphs, midges and scuds. We are seeing an increase in dry fly action in the canyon, primarily upstream from the upper parking lot.

I still tell my clients that a 4 second drift is average and finish with an aggressive pickup, you will hook fish you never knew existed.



Recommended Flies

DRIES:  R.P. Emerger #22 | Mother Shucker #24 | Griffith's Gnat #20-24 | Stillborn Midge Black #20-22 | Miller's Caddis #16-18 | Spider Varient #18-20 | Brooks CDC Baetis #20-24 | Stimulators #8-10 | Hi-Vis Para BWO #16-18

NYMPHS:  T Midge #24 | Zebra Midge #18-22  | Buckskin Caddis #16-20  | Tung Stud Black #18-20 | Scuds grey #14-18 | Tailwater Sowbug Rainbow #16-18 |  Bling Midge Brown #24 | TB Millers+1LT #16-18 | B/H Pheasant Tail #16-20 | San Juan Worms #12-14 | Hogan's S&M Nymph #18-20

STREAMERS: Mini Sculpin Orange #6 | Slumpbuster Natural #10    

Guides Hint:

Upper Owens River - Flow Rates

Flow Rates and Water Conditions

Water Conditions: Poor

Flows are 107 cfs as of 2/9

Click "Flows" above for up to the minute info

The stretch of river above Benton Crossing Road is artificial, barbless, catch and release only. Below the bridge is now closed. Water temperatures are now down in the mid 40's meaning the feeding and hatching window has gotten a lot smaller. Not sure what the cold weather will do to the fishing but the odds are it will slow things down.





Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing Conditions and Hatches: Fair-Good??????

Right now you can drive up the main road but I would be very careful about the side roads to the gates. I'm not sure it makes much of a difference, the water is very dirty although it might be a lot cleaner above the confluence.

UPDATE: The spring run is in the river, Both fall and spring fish are being caught. The fall spawners are dark and scuffed up and they also tend to be bigger. The spring spawners are silvery with almost no red. 

 Even though it's slowing down I'm leaving up "Fair-Good" because even on the slow days all it takes is one or two bigger fish to change your outlook.

The holidays are over and the weather's iffy so the crowds should be down, if you're going to fish it I'd do it before the weekend or head down the hill to the Lower. The one bright spot is the migratory fish don't seem to be bothered by the lack of hatches, they're content with the attractor patterns especially eggs and worms. Having said that, the winter spawning Rainbows as well as the Browns are starting to head back to the Lake. The spring run Rainbows have started up. Water clarity coming out of Hot Creek has gotten worse, the river below is now down to 2-3 feet visibility. The up side is the fish are a lot less spooky. The hatches in late  January are midges with a steady increase in BWO hatches and caddis on the warmer days. The BWO hatches should continue to improve as we get into February.

REMEMBER: The winter spawning Rainbows and a lot of the spring spawners are strains of Rainbows no longer stocked so if you like these fishing opportunities keep the fish in the net and in the water while taking pictures/releasing the fish. Also, even though most of the fish spawn up higher in the private ranches there are fish that spawn lower down so keep an eye out for the Redds in the tailouts and try to wade in knee deep or deeper water.

 As usual the lake fish tend to hang out in the deeper holes during the day and move upstream at night. Both the migratory browns and rainbows are scattered throughout the system. Above the Hot Creek confluence they are a lot spookier so move slowly and stay away from the high banks on the outside of bends. 

It's good to remember that there aren't a lot of "resident" fish in the Upper Owens, it's basically a nursery for Crowley Lake and as they get bigger most of them will move down to the lake. The fish that haven't gone to the lake yet tend to be pickier because it's their natural environment. Not to say there aren't big resident fish but they tend to spend their entire adult life far back under the cut banks, venturing out to eat a 12 incher every once in a while.

 If you're not familiar with it, to get to the upper most branch of Hot Creek, go through the first drive through gate on the main road and immediately turn left. The confluence is between the first and second walk-thru gates.





Recommended Flies

DRIES:   Parachute Adams #18-22 | Hippie Stomper and Rubberleg Stimulator #12-16 |  Hi-Vis BWO #20-22 | Elk Hair Caddis #14-20 | Grffiths Gnat #22-24

NYMPHS:  Zebra Midge #16-22 | Copper John #14-16 | Bling Midge #22-24 | San Juan worms assorted colors | Birds Nest Natural #16-20 | Prince Nymph #12-18 | F/B Hares Ear #16-18 | Pheasant Tail #18-22 combo flash and or bead | Egg Patterns

STREAMERS: Shock Collar Leech #10 | Woolly Bugger White, Olive and Brown for the Tadpoles #6-14 | Punk Perch light or dark #10-16 | Baby Fat Minnow |

EURO Streamers: GD UV P/Jig White #12 | Kaslar M/G/S Olive #12

Guides Hint:

Lower Owens River - Flow Rate


Flow Rates and Water Conditions

Water Conditions: Good

Flows are 124 cfs as of 2/9

Flow rates dropped so maybe the late start to the winter is giving DWP hope that they can start cutting back on the flows a little bit.

There is Gorge access to the middle and upper power plants as well as the reservoir.

Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing Conditions and Hatches: Good-Very Good


February has come through! Both the hatches and the fishing have picked up, the only down side is that the BWO hatches are localized so if it's not happening by 11:30 start moving around. The hatch has been 11:00 to 2 or so. The nymphing has been very consistent and dry fly action is picking up. The mayflies are #16-18.

The subsurface is a veritable smorgasbord. Several different species each of mayfly, caddis, black fly and stonefly. Bigger flies have been working better than the smaller patterns # 10-16 Perdigons and stonefly patterns seem to be doing best. With all the bug life if we have anything close to a normal winter, fishing should be spectacular this spring.

A few things I've seen, the banks are very unstable and walking has gotten a lot better but be very careful around the high banks. Weed and brush overgrowth is spectacular.


DRIES: Stillborn Midge #20-22  | Giffith's Gnat #22-24 |CDC Transition midge #20-22 | No Mercy Midge #18-24 | Boroff F/Homie #20, 24 | Para CDC Baetis #16-22 | Para Adams #14-22 | Stimulators #10-14 | Hi-Vis Baetis #18-22

NYMPH:  Pheasant Tail #14-22 | Hares Ear #16-22 |Iron Sally #18 | Zebra Midge #18-22 |Weiss BP light or dark #18-20 | Bottom Roller Phsyco Rhyco #10-14 | Chamois caddis #16-20 | TB Millers +1 Lt #16-18  | Tungsten Sally #16-18 | HDA Fav. Variant #12 | Perdigon #10-14

STREAMERS: Wooly Bugger Olive & Black #10-12 | Mini Sculpin Olive & Black #10-12

Guides Hint: Lesson learned the hard way, don't ignore the fish rising in the shallow water on the inside of the bends. They're usually a lot bigger than you thought.

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