The Fish Report

January 20th 2022

The Troutfitter is open from 8 am to 4 pm daily, wind and weather permitting.

Still no storms on the horizon.  It will be cool weather in Mammoth Lakes but temperatures in Bishop remain in the upper 50's to lower 60's.  Starting to see some mud along with the snow on the Upper Owens and Hot Creek.  Don't forget about a 2022 Fishing License!

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The Fish Report - January 20th 2022

Link and Contacts

Hot Creek - Flow Rates

Flow Rates and Water Conditions

Water Conditions: Good, showing 8 cfs as of 1/20

Click "Flows" above for up to the minute info

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



Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing Conditions and Hatches: Good     

I guess I took my cautionary tale about the spawning fish down to early. There are still lots of fish on the Redd's and people are hammering them. I'm seeing more and more pictures on the internet, rainbows in full spawning colors being held in a death grip and away from the bank. There's a term for this but I'm not sure the age of the people reading this report, so I'll stick with Ego or Glory Shot.

We may be seeing a change in hatches, besides the midges we're seeing a few BWOs and with warmer days providing dirtier water means adding scuds and steamers to the mix.  Right now the Interpretive is fishing well with the primary hatch being the midges but they will eat BWO imitations as well. The canyon has the same hatches and is also fishing well, all the way until dusk. If you're looking for dry fly action the Interpretive is a lot better. One benefit of spring fed besides being a reliable water source, the water temperature stays fairly consistent throughout the winter.

A bit of advice, now that access is getting a lot more limited if you go to the Interpretive Site and find more than a few cars head on downstream into the canyon, on to the Owens or call it a day. 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 | Parachute Adams # 18-20  | Mother Shucker #24 | CDC Baetis Dun #18-24 | Griffith's Gnat #20-24 | Stillborn Midge Black #20-22

NYMPHS:  T Midge #24 | Zebra Midge #18-22  |Juju Baetis #16-20  | Medallion Midge #18-24 |  Buckskin #16-20  |  Barr's Emerger #16-22 | RS-2 Gray #16-22 | CDC Transition Midge #18-22 | Scuds grey or olive/grey #14-18

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

Guides Hint:

Upper Owens River - Flow Rates

Flow Rates and Water Conditions

Water Conditions:  Good

Flows are 97 cfs as of 12/20

Click "Flows" above for up to the minute info

The stretch of river below Benton Crossing Road to Crowley Lake is closed to fishing until next season.

The stretch of river above Benton Crossing Road is artificial, barbless, catch and release only.


Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing Conditions and Hatches: Fair-Very Good

Access by car is now limited to right above the bridge but the snow is getting firm making it much easier to venture upstream. With the weather warming up water clarity down by the bridge is poor but as you move upstream it improves every branch Hot Creek that you move above. Fishing pressure has increased significantly with more and more snowmobiles in use as well as easier for people to snowshoe or ski in. We are reaching the end of the fall run so the fish you might catch will be darker, especially down towards the bridge. It looks like the spring spawn is starting to show up, generally a little smaller than the fall run and very silvery. Still the same flies such as eggs, worms, and other attractor patterns. Not a bad idea to trail them with a #20-24 midge pattern. If you're venturing upstream on a snowmobile and you're thinking it might be nice to get closer to the stream... the ranchers are not real happy and would love to find out who it is that's cutting fences.

The fall spawning rainbows are no longer being planted so what you see is what you get. This fishery is entirely up to natural spawning so be on your best behavior or this fishery will cease to exist. There are some fish spawning in the public water so avoid wading in the tailouts/shallower than knee deep.

Luckily as temperatures drop Hot Creek water is becoming beneficial. The difference between above and below Hot Creek is at least 10 degrees so if you get out there early it might be better to start out closer to the bridge. This helps trigger the fish in Crowley to move up into colder, cleaner water of the river. There is a temperature gauge on Hot Creek right above the Owens River Road bridge. You can tell fall is here because instead of 97-112 temperature range of summer it's all the way down to 94-107 degrees.  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: Griffiths Gnat #20-24 | Para Adams #20-24 

NYMPHS:  Zebra Midge #16-22 | B/H Prince Nymph #12-16 | Copper John #14-16 | Tungsten Jig Baetis #18-20 | Tungsten Peacock #16-18 |  S&M Nymph #18-22 | Medalion Midge #20-24 |Bling Midge #22-24 | Tungsten Olive Mic Drop #16-18 | San Juan worms assorted colors | Egg Patterns assorted colors | Western Coachman #12-16

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: Fair-Good

Flows are at 99.6 cfs as of 1/20


Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing Conditions and Hatches: Fair-Good

The flows have been stable for a few weeks and if the water temperatures level off, or perhaps warm up a little, things could pick up. It's not just the water temperature that dictates fish activity. Stability of the water temperatures is critical, once the water temperature stabilizes for a week or so the fish will become active again even if it's only for an hour or two.

Well we got the warming, the flows are up a little and things appear to be picking up. Midges are around all day and the BWO hatch appears to be picking back up, starting between 12 and 1. Timing of the hatches is still inconsistent and it can vary quite a bit, not only day to day but also a couple of bends away. Surface activity has been very inconsistent but look for backwaters and current seams, nymphing has been steady. For whatever reason the fish seem to be moving around so do not spend to much time on a given spot and key on the riffles and drop offs. Those nice deep holes are pretty much empty.

So far the water has remained clear but keep in mind that after rain or snow melt the river can be dirty below the Petroglyph parking (#9) from Horton Creek. If you're down below and it's dirty just move upstream until you find clean water. The old winter rule applies again, the colder the night before the further upstream you should start.


Recommended Flies

DRIES: Extended Body BWO #18-22 | Hi-Vis BWO #18-22 | Stillborn Midge #20-22  | Giffith's Gnat #22-24 |CDC Transition midge #20-22

NYMPH:  Pheasant Tail #14-18 | Hares Ear #14-18 | Zebra Midge #18-22 | Olive Hot Spot Jig #18 |  Chamois Caddis #14-18 | Bottom Roller Phsyco Rhyco #10-14 | Juju Baetis #18-22 | Pearl & Orange #16 | Tungsten Olive Mic Drop #16-18 | TB Millers +1 Lt #16-18  | Gold Bead Epoxy Stone #8-10

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

Guides Hint:

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