The Fish Report

September 28th 2023

The Troutfitter is open Friday-Sunday from 7 am to 7 pm and Monday-Thursday 7 am to 6 pm. 


Finally starting to see more normal summer/fall fishing conditions so the hatches and their timing have become much more consistent. AND PLEASANT VALLEY DAM ROAD IS OPEN AGAIN as well as Chalk Bluff Road.

The smaller streams like Bishop, Rock and Lee Vining creeks are becoming  more and more accessible and the fishing has improved but Rush Creek still seems barren. FINALLY, the Green Drake hatches midday until evening. MOSQUITOS are starting to fade, the weather this weekend might help. Flows were dropping steadily and the water was clearing up on most streams. The Gorge has reopened, the flows are still high but the fishing is good, just be prepared for Rattlesnakes and LOTS of Stinging Nettle. Deadman Creek is still flowing through to Big Springs but the water has cleared up. The East Walker has dropped back down closer to 300 cfs, hopefully for longer this time. The river's clarity continues to improve, depending on the algae bloom coming out of the lake.  PVR road is now open to the dam and Chalk Bluff Road is open through to the cement plant If you do venture down there be careful, the rain has made a mess of the road. DWP is still actively dumping water out onto the valley floor in many areas. 

Weather is going to be cold and unsettled over the weekend with the snow level between 8,000 and 9,000 and windy. A warming starts on Monday but it looks like unsettled weather will return the following weekend. Evenings are definitely cooling off.

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The Fish Report - September 28th 2023

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Link and Contacts

Hot Creek - Flow Rates

Flow Rates and Water Conditions

Water Conditions: Good, showing 24 cfs as of 9/28

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: Fair-Good

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

With the water dropping and warming up the fish are starting to move out of the deep holes and into shallower holding spots.  We're starting to see the midsummer consistency in hatches. These include caddis, Tiny BWO and Tricos, which had all ready started very early. Midges in the morning plus the new foods. The Tricos are emerging fairly heavily between 8 and 9:30 with the spinner fall around an hour later.The Tricos are much more prevalent at the Interpretive Site. The best fishing seems to be 7-10 but now with the hoppers becoming more available the midday wind is giving us another reason to stick around. The surface action has definitely picked up, especially with the midday Caddis activity. Generally the midges will be hatching until early afternoon and then egg laying and spent adults in the afternoon.  Scuds and San Juan Worms will work all day.  With the decrease in flows and the increase in usage the streamer fishing has gotten tougher . It's important to key in on any slack water. Really study the water, a slick spot (flat water behind invisible rock) as small as a dinner plate might be the key to your day.

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 || Hi-Vis PMD #16-18 | Tent Wing Caddis #16-20 | Miller's Caddis #16-18 | Spider Varient #18-20 | Brooks CDC Baetis #20-24

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

STREAMERS: Mini Sculpin Orange #6 | Slumpbuster Natural #10 | Hornburg #10-14  

Guides Hint:

San Joaquin River - Flow Rates

Flow Rates And Water Condition:

Flows are at  29 cfs as of 9/28

Good news-bad news: the river is in perfect condition but it's now only open on the weekends due to road construction.


Fishing conditions and Hatches:

Fishing conditions and Hatches: Good and getting better

See the water condition report!

Things are picking up, still better midday on when the water warms up. If you click on the flows you will also see temperature readings. We are now seeing a mixture of smaller mayflies, Green Drakes #12-14 and the beginnings of the Little Yellow Sallies emergence. As in the smaller Freestone streams of the area the fish don't seem to eat the Green Drake nymphs much, prefering to wait until the adults start to fly away.


Recommended Flies

Dries: Elk Hair Caddis #12-18 | Para Caddis #14-20 | Sparkle Flag PMD #16-18 | Lawsons Thorax PMD #16-18 | CDC Mahogany Dun #12-16 | Tan Stimulators #14-16 Para Light Cahill #18-22

Nymphs:  | Tungsten Black Beauty #20-22 | B/H Prince #10-20 | Juju Baetis #18-22 | Iron Sally #14-16 

Guides Hint:

Crowley Lake - Surface Elevation

Water Conditions

Water Conditions:  Poor

Lake Elevation is at 6779.3, about a foot below full as of  9/18

It's back up 20 feet with 1' to full, But it's starting to drop about an inch every couple of days. Algae is everywhere but dying off, hopefully it will be mostly gone in a week or two.

Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing Conditions and Hatches: Fair or Poor, a day to day situation

Still no real signs of improving, just a few moments if you do find one of the cleaner spots.......until it gets clogged up again.

It's a mess, the algae is everywhere except the Owens River channel which is relatively clean and packed with schools of...........perch and chub. The good news is that the algae appears to be dying off and conditions should improve greatly in the next week or so. We can dream can't we? Sadly when the algae dies it sinks so it's harder to tell if the water is clean or not. To add to the fun we're now catching fish from a couple of feet of water all the way out to 40'+.

Those small Browns they've been stocking ( 8-13") are now all the way from Crooked Creek to McGee Bay. You can now add REALLY small cutthroat to the stocking carousel and they seem to be pushing the browns away from the launch ramp.

Recommended Flies


Nymphs: Balanced Hares Ear Tan or Olive #12-16 | Janssen's Emerging Callibaetis #14-16 | Albino Baron | Gold Bead Optimidge Flash Back #16-18 | Copper Clown | Copper Tiger | Tungsten F/B Black Beauty #16-18 | Double Bead Zebra #16-18 | Optimidge Black or Olive/Dun #16-18


Streamers: Marabou Leech Burgundy or Brown #12 | Hornberg #8-14 | Punk Perch #14-16 | Cheech Leech #1 

Guides Hint:

Upper Owens River - Flow Rates

Flow Rates and Water Conditions

Water Conditions: Good

Flows are 75 cfs as of 9/28

Click "Flows" above for up to the minute info

The flows above Hot Creek have dropped and cleaned up, not as much debris now. Except that they are putting cattle back inside the fences which is getting the water dirty again. There is a valid ecosystem reason for doing this and it is done for short stints in staggered sections.

Deadman and Glass creeks run over very porous ground so even in normal years by late fall large stretches above Big Springs are dry. 

The stretch of river above Benton Crossing Road is artificial, barbless, catch and release only. Below the bridge is now artificial but not barbless ( I have to much respect for my body and clothes to fish with a barbed hook ) 2 fish limit 18" minimum.

Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing Conditions and Hatches: Fair-Good

Hatches and the fishing are starting to improve. You will probably notice that we are finally into the summer mode with fewer variations in hatches and water conditions. Something new is the fall spawning rainbows (Coleman strain) have started moving up, with the algae in Crowley I'm surprised it's taken this long.

Outside of the Mosquito population exploding things are definitely picking up. Water temperatures are coming up, the magic number of 58 degress is being reached by midday. Hatches are good throughout the river with the addition of Calibaetis to the mixture of Trico, midge, caddis, tiny BWO, cranefly and damsels. Caddis migration until around 9-female Trico emergence starting around 7 with mating and spinner fall 9 to11- Midges all morning-Callibaetis and Damsels late morning. TheTiny BWO have started up, The fish pay the most attention to them in the afternoon when they are egg laying. This mayfly used to be considered a PMD but has been reclassified as a Baetis. Very small (#22-26), the easiest way to spot them is their egg laying tactics. They dive from 5'-10' above the water, slam into the water and then fly right back up. With the reduction in flows the Tadpoles are being forced out of the swampy water and in to the main river, much to the trout's delight. It also means that the Grasshoppers now have access to the riverbanks, another plus for the fish. They have stopped stocking below the bridge but the planters continue to spread out. 

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: Spent Partridge Caddis #16-20 | Upright Organza Trico Spinner #18-20 | Parachute Adams #18-22 | Hippie Stomper and Rubberleg Stimulator #12-16 | Panty Dropper Hopper #10-14 | Morningwood Hopper #10-14

NYMPHS:  Zebra Midge #16-22 | Copper John #14-16 | Nori's Caddis #18-22 | Bling Midge #22-24 | San Juan worms assorted colors | Birds Nest Natural #16-20 | Prince Nymph #12-18 | F/B Hares Ear #16-18 | Tungsten Drowned Ant #16-18 | Pheasant Tail #18-22 combo flash and or bead | CDC Spring Creek Hopper Yellow or Tan #10-16

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: Fair-Good

Flows are 401cfs as of 10/1

   There is Gorge access to the middle and upper power plants as well as the reservoir. Pleasant Valley Dam Road and Chalk Bluff Road are now open but below the campground is a mess after all the rain. LADWP is releasing water out onto the Owens Valley floor which in the future will be very beneficial but for right now be very careful where you drive.




Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing Conditions and Hatches: Fair-Good


Flows are back up from 300 to 400, doesn't really affect the fishing except for the access. The Trico emergence and spinner fall has gotten later. Instead of between 7 and 10 it's more like 8-12. 9 the craneflies start hatching and the mayfly emergence starts around 10 and goes until dark. The mayflies are several types, light colored and between #18-24. Right after the Trico spinner fall there's another spinner fall, probably a BWO that's a #20-22. One of the mayflies coming off from 10-dusk is the Tiny BWOs. These guys are pale in color and live up to their name, #22-24. The evening also includes caddis and male Tricos.

A few things I've seen, the fish are on the surface eating caddis in the evenings, the banks are very unstable, walking has gotten a lot better but be very careful around the high banks.



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 |Caddis Cased #12 | Zebra Midge #18-22 |Weiss BP light or dark #18-20 | Bottom Roller Phsyco Rhyco #10-14 | Pearl & Orange #16 |Chamois caddis #16-20 | TB Millers +1 Lt #16-18  | Lexi Girdle Bug Tan/Black #6 | HDA Fav. Variant #12-16

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.

East Walker River - Flow Rates

Flow Rates and Water Conditions

Water Conditions:  Good

Flows are at 324 cfs as of 9/28

Click "Flows" above for up to the minute info


Flows have dropped to around 300 cfs and the water temperatures are staying low all day.


Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing conditions and Hatches: Good-Very Good


The fish are there and with the flows dropping the presentations are getting easier. The predominate fish being caught are the 12"-15" holdover planters being sucked down out of the lake. The hatches are improving, the Trico spinner fall midmorning being the best but for the most part the fish aren't real picky and you do have a shot at some truly large fish. Food out of the reservoir dominates the action while below the bridge you see mostly stream insects and bait fish. Above the bridge larger midges, Callibaetis midday, Daphnia and perch fry. the fish have seen enough of the perch if you're dead drifting them start imparting life into them by mending, twitching or swinging them. Below the bridge the main food groups are Tricos early and Baetis midday, midges (as the fish get pickier try downsizing midge patterns) all day and terrestrials such as grasshoppers, ants, beetles and caterpillars.We are also seeing some success with large rubberlegs, kind of late for the Stoneflies but then who knows what to expect this year. Water temperature has been staying in the low 60's all day which is great news. The crowds are starting to grow so be aware of that and remain on your best behavior. If the spot your in gets crowded don't be afraid to make the move, it seems to be the pack syndrome with one section being packed while taking a 5-10 minute walk and you might end up all by yourself. 


Recommended Flies

DRIES:   Caddis Adult Tan #14-16 | Chernobyl Ant #12-14 | Chernobyl  org/grz  #6-8 | Parachute Adams #16-22 | Elk Hair Caddis #12-14 | Mini Mouse #10 | Miller's Caddis #14-16

NYMPHS: Prince Nymph #12-16| Bottom Roller Psycho #10-12 | Copper Zebra #16-22 | Zebra black/silver #20-24  Zac Attack Damsel #14  | Split Case PMD #14-18 | S&M Nymph #18-22  | Tungsten Jig Baetis #18-20 | TTS Opal B/L #14-18 |  JuJu Baetis # 18-24 | V-Rib midge Claret #14-16 | Joe's Mini Crayfish #10 | Dead Drift crayfish | Pat's Rubberlegs #6-10

STREAMERS: Meat Whistle | Baby fat Minnow #8 | Belly Scratcher Minnow Chub #2 | Bank Robber Sculpin #2 | Punk Perch Light #10-14
| Rio's Brown Town Tan #4 | Hornberg #6-12

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


Guides Hint:

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