The Fish Report

September 23rd 2021

The Troutfitter is open from 7 am to 7 pm daily

YES, Inyo National Forest is OPEN!  Smoke conditions vary depending on wind direction. LADWP has closed access to the Owens River Gorge until September 30th.  Cooling temperatures over the next week with a chance of showers next Tuesday in the forecast. Hopefully the warm water problems are a thing of the past.  Mask mandates are back in Mono County for all indoor businesses.  

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The Fish Report - September 23rd 2021

Link and Contacts

Hot Creek - Flow Rates

Flow Rates and Water Conditions

Water Conditions: Fair, showing 1 cfs as of 9/23

Click "Flows" above for up to the minute info

Remember these are the flows just below 395 on Mammoth Creek

Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing Conditions and Hatches: Fair to Good     

 

Seriously, please show respect to other anglers and don't overcrowd. Best to drive by and if there aren't more than a few cars head on down, lots of cars, head on down....to the Owens. The dry fly fishing has picked up, especially after 10 am. The fish are eating an emerging small black caddis, they will also take pupa patterns but why not have fun with the dries. There are still a few Tricos around first thing and the Baetis are starting to emerge late morning. This time of year there are few new wrinkles but that should change in the next month with Tricos and caddis fading and BWOs, Craneflies and October Caddis showing up. With the colder water the weeds are starting to die off but 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  | Sparkle Flag Black #20-22 | Yellow Stimulator #8-16 | Mother Shucker #24 | CDC Baetis Dun #18-24 | Para Caddis #18-22 | E/C Caddis #16-20

NYMPHS:  T Midge #24 | Zebra Midge #18-22  | S&M nymph #16-18 | Little Brown Bug #16-18 | Medallion Midge #18-24 |  Buckskin #16-20  |  Barr's Emerger #16-22 | Deep Six Pupa #18 | RS-2 Gray #18-22 | Olive #20-22 | CDC Transition Midge #18-22

STREAMERS: BH Bopp SlumpBuster | Perfection Perch #4-8 | Punk Perch #10-16 | Hornburg #10-14   Mice

Guides Hint:

Crowley Lake - Surface Elevation

Water Conditions

Water Conditions:  Good

Lake Elevation at 6760.0 on 9/23

Update:

The algae came in with a vengeance. The algae moves around with the wind and current so nothing is written in stone. . For example last week the Hiltons were good and the next day much tougher and the growth was carpet like. Also be aware of the old adage that when the growth is bad you need to clean your flies frequently.

Think about this for a moment. 1) If the flies are getting mucked on the way down go home it's hopeless. 2) The algae only goes down a few feet so the cleanest place is on the bottom. CONCLUSION, the flies get mucked up as you raise them and the algae slides down the line and piles up. If you sit long enough your leader will look like a bright green rope. These are the conditions where it's best to fish compact flies without gills and dubbing.

Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing Conditions and Hatches: Fair-Good

EXPLORE, EXPLORE. EXPLORE.

 Fishing has improved (depending on the wind) but the fish are still not keying on just one food. Try mixing and matching fry and midge patterns and maybe some damsels midday. Once you've found the food of choice for that spot you can start zeroing in, just don't rest on your laurels because the preferred food could change at any moment.

If you have a fish finder and you see fish suspended don't spend much time on that spot, they're probably eating Daphnia. Also if you see what looks like a Christmas tree standing on the bottom it's a school of big Chub. You still want to think about incoming flows for colder water but most of the stream mouths are so weeded in they're really hard to access. Keep moving and as soon as the action slows down continue the search. Another part of the puzzle is that the trout are eating at different times at different places. The fish are really scattered now. The north end has become the most consistent, not only with the fish but also the boats that chase them. The north end has been fishing the best despite the algae but both the fish and the algae have been on the move so be ready to move about. West side fish the mouth of the Owens channel down to the chalk bluffs and the east side anywhere off the weed beds in 10'-15'. If you're trying to hide the rest of the lake is pretty empty with random flashes of good days, mainly around McGee which has lots of fish, mainly on the smaller size. If you're looking for a little solitude there are fish out in deeper water (18'-25') but don't be patient, if you're catching chub or perch keep moving.

I've been hearing people say that this is going to be a great year because the lake is going to get really low. Unfortunately, a really low lake is great for next year but not necessarily this year. The further the lake drops the less defined the inlet channels are but the more they'll be scoured out for next year. It doesn't mean this year will end poorly, just that the fish will be less concentrated. Be aware that the currents are usually stronger than you would ever guess, without sufficient weight, in 25' of water you might actually be fishing 4' down 20' away.

Recommended Flies

Dries:

Nymphs: Shaft Emerger #14-16 | Albino Baron #14-16 | G/B Opti Tiger #16-18 | Optimidge Olive/Dun #16-18 | Double Bead Zebra slvr/blk small |  Copper Clown | Damsel Nymphs #14-18 | G/B Zebra Tan #16-18 | Palamino Midge Gray #20-22

Streamers: Marabou Leech Burgundy or Brown #12 | Perfection Perch #8 | Hornberg #8-14 | Baby Fat Minnow | Punk Perch #14-16 | Olive Matuka #12-14

Guides Hint:

Upper Owens River - Flow Rates

Flow Rates and Water Conditions

Water Conditions:  Good

Flows are  59 cfs as of 9/23

Click "Flows" above for up to the minute info

 

Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing Conditions and Hatches: Fair-Good

Luckily as temperatures drop Hot Creek water is becoming beneficial. We are now seeing the water temperatures in the low to mid 60's all the way down to the lake. This helps trigger the fish in Crowley to move up into colder, cleaner water of the river. We're already seeing some lake fish all the way up into the private ranches with more to follow. There is a temperature gauge on Hot Creek right above the Owens River Road bridge. 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.

The Tricos are starting to fade but the BWO hatch has just started back up and the fish are getting interested. The Trico emergence is still around 6-8 for the female emergence and 9-10 for the spinner fall. Don't forget that the fish will eat drowned Trico spinners well after the egg laying. As they drift downstream they will hold their attention long after the spinner fall ends. A few BWO have started hatching, even though there aren't a lot the nymph patterns are starting to work midday. The caddis are fading but the midges are around forever. Midday the Hoppers are almost done, the fish are seriously wise to them and won't eat them unless it's windy. Stop using them as a fly and think of them as an indicator. That way when you do get a take you'll be pleasantly surprised. The Lake fish are a little skittish when they first enter the river and also completely ignorant to the food sources so don't be afraid to throw perch fry and #14-18 midge imitations, their comfort food. The most effective technique is nymphing with an attractor pattern with a small midge or mayfly nymph trailing.

That 1/2 moth 1/2 caddis white insect you see zig zagging close to the water is an aquatic moth. Not much is known about their life cycle, but you may have run across the larval form and not even known it. If you get hung up on the bottom and what you bring up looks like a small, ragged leaf, turn it over. If there's a line of organic matter down the middle that's the moth larva.

DF&G calls it the 4th of July run. With the temperatures getting warmer in Crowley and the algae growing the 12" - 20" browns have moved into the river and are throughout the system. Once in the system they will stay until spawning late fall to early winter.

 

Recommended Flies

DRIES: Griffiths Gnat #20-24 | Para Adams #20-24 | Hi-Vis Baetis #22-24 | Foam Back Dun BWO #16-18 | Parachute Frankenhopper #6-8

NYMPHS:  Zebra Midge #16-22 | B/H Prince Nymph #12-16 | Copper John #14-16 |Tungsten Jig Baetis #18-20 | Black Beauty #22 |  | Chamois Caddis #14-18 |  S&M Nymph #18-22 | Medalion Midge #20-24 |Bling Midge #22-24 | Tungsten Olive Mic Drop #16-18

STREAMERS: Shock Collar Leech #10 | Woolly Bugger White or Olive #6-14 | Punk Perch light or dark #10-16

Guides Hint:

Lower Owens River - Flow Rate

Flow Rates and Water Conditions

Water Conditions:

Flows are at 376 cfs as of 9/23

Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing Conditions and Hatches:  Fair-Good

Sorry but no reports lately, water is still high and the further down you go the dirtier it gets. I got a report last week that the water was pretty warm but that should be over soon. DWP has reported that the flows will stay high until the middle of next month, there have been all sorts of rumors why, but I'll leave that alone. I should be able to check it out this weekend so hopefully by Monday......

Recommended Flies

DRIES: Extended Body BWO #18-22 | Hi-Vis BWO #18-22 | Large dry with #22-26 midge emergers and adults | Stimulator #8-12 | Para Caddis #16-22 | Spider Variant #20-22

NYMPH:  Pheasant Tail #12-18 | Hares Ear #14-18 | Zebra Midge #18-22 | Olive Hot Spot Jig #18 | B/H Prince #10-14 | Chamois Caddis #14-18 | Bottom Roller Phsyco Rhyco #10-14 | Uncased Caddis Green #14-16 | Juju Baetis #18-20 | Glass Bead Micro May Olive # 20-24 | Caddistrophic Pupa #16-18 | Gold Bead Epoxy Stone #8-10 | Drowned Trico Spinner #20-22

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

Guides Hint:

East Walker River - Flow Rates

Flow Rates and Water Conditions

Water Conditions:  Fair

Flows is at 69 cfs as of 9/23

Click "Flows" above for up to the minute info

We may have seen the last of the high temperatures

Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing conditions and Hatches:Fair-Good

UPDATE: Saturday's water temperatures went from 57 at 9am to 59 at 11am to 66 at 2pm. All these readings are from below the Miracle Mile. Fishing was good, mostly smaller fish but we did get 2 in the mid teens and 2 around 20". Not much in the way of hatches below the bridge except a few Baetis midday, above the bridge you can add good midge hatches to the mix.  We got fish on a whole variety of patterns from small baetis to big Pheasant Tails, Stonefly nymphs and crayfish patterns. As far as the surface goes we got a few looks on a big Chernobyl early but nothing midday, no rises either. The water is very off color, not green but brownish.

Recommended Flies

DRIES:   Caddis Adult Tan #14-16 | Chernobyl Ant #12-14 | Chernobyl  org/grz  #6-8 |

NYMPHS: Prince Nymph #12-16| Dead Drift Crayfish #8 | Bottom Roller Psycho #10-12 | Copper Zebra #16-22 | T's Stone Drummond Light #8-10 | Tung Stud Black #18-20 |  Glass Bead Micro May Olive #22-24 | S&M Nymph #20-22  | Tungsten Jig Baetis #18-20 | TTS Opal B/L #14-18 | F/B B/H Pheasant Tail #14-18

STREAMERS: Meat Whistle | Sculpzilla | Hornberg #10-14 | Belly Scratcher Minnow Chub #2 | Bank Robber Sculpin #2 | Punk Perch Light #10-14

 

Guides Hint:

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