trout in hand

Sierra Bright Dot Fly Fishing Report 01-21-2021
Sierra Bright Dot Fly Fishing Guide Service

Winter solace is behind us. The days are slowly getting more sunlight, the temperature is warming and the insects are starting to get more active. Midges and may flies represent the most common aquatic insects for the trout to feed on. Blue wing olive mayflies have not started hatching in quantities that will bring the trout to the surface. Upper elevation waters are accessible with not as much effort as when the snow first dumped on the Eastern Sierra. Some waters can be accessed by walking in with your waders and wading boots. Cross country skis, snow shoes, and snowmobiles still offer the easiest access on the snow to the waters. If you can make it up to the Eastern Sierra in the next month or two you will find good winter fly fishing opportunities.

Lower Owens River:
Wild Trout Section:
Marin Luther King weekend saw lots of fly fishing pressure on the lower Owens River wild trout section. Fly fishing is not wide open, but there are lots of wild brown trout and a few rainbows in the river feeding on midges, midge pupae, and mayfly nymphs. I’ve been fishing with size 18 bead head flash back pheasant tail nymphs, size 16 olive quilldigons, size 20 and 22 tiger midges, zebra midges, and blood midges. If an area your fly fishing is not producing move around. A lot of trout got caught last weekend. These trout take time to recover from the stress of being caught. The number of available trout to take your fly is diminished until the trout caught on the week end recover and start feeding again.

Midges and mayfly nymphs under an indicator produced wild brown trout for Shawn Diamond of Santa Ana on the catch and release section of the lower Owens River.

Hot Creek:
Interpretive Site:
The snow pack is hard and much easier to access the interpretive site of Hot Creek. Most fly fishers are walking in on the hard pack trail made by the numerous fly fishers that have accessed the creek since the last snow fall. A prolific midge hatch has the trout coming to the surface. I fish with Griffiths gnats and biot midge emergers in black. The mid-day midge hatch has the fish rising for an hour or two. This section is offering some of the best dry fly fishing in the Eastern Sierra right now.

Hot Creek:
Canyon Section:
Access to the parking lots of Hot Creek Canyon is pretty easy as fly fishers and snowmobilers have packed the snow down. Getting in and out of the canyon on the steep trails is tricky in spots. Some fly fishers are finding it easier to use snow shoes on the steep trail in and out of the canyon. Midges are providing the bulk of the activity for fly fishers. These tiny flies are hatching mid-day and nymphs and dry flies are producing trout. Midge patterns and midge pupae patterns like tiger midges, zebra midges, Manhattan midges, and two tone brassies in size 20 are fooling the wild trout. At the peak of the hatch the trout are feeding on midges off of the surface. The biot midge emerger and the Griffiths gnats are fooling the finicky trout rising to the surface of Hot Creek in the Canyon.

Upper Owens River:
Above Benton Crossing Bridge:
Trophy trout are providing action for fly fishers willing to put in the effort to access the upper Owens River in the middle of winter. Days are cold with morning temperatures in the negatives. The farther up-stream you can access the river the less fly fishing pressure on the trout and the easier they are to fool with nymphs. Fly fishers are walking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and snowmobiling into the upper Owens River over the two to three feet of snow blanketing the upper river. The trophy trout are in the deeper holes and pools resting on their migration up river. The fish in these spots are actively feeding. Larger nymphs like size 12 stoner nymphs, size 12 green/gold wire Prince nymphs, and size 12 gold ribbed hare’s ears offer the trophy trout a mouth full of calories.

Bishop Creek Canal is a great place for young anglers like Hudson Carpenter from Aliso Viejo to learn fly fishing techniques.

Bishop Creek Canal Behind the Ford Dealer:
Just north of town and warm temperatures makes fishing the canal a fun place to fly fish for an hour or two. There is very little fly fishing pressure on the canal as most fly fishers are not aware of the changes in the regulations opening up moving waters in the Easter Sierra to catch and release fishing with barbless lures and flies. There are a few fish rising to midges, but the bulk of the action has been on nymphs. Blue wing olive nymph imitations, midge nymphs, and midge pupae are fooling the wild brown trout and the rare wild or hold over rainbow trout. I’m fishing under an indicator, on a Euro rig, and with a dry and dropper rig. Tiger midges in size 20, olive quilldigons in size 16, and bead head flash back pheasant tail nymphs in size 18 are fooling the trout.


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