Sierra Bright Dot Fly Fishing Guide Service
Wind is the bane of fly fishers and road bike riders of which I enjoy both. Cooler temperatures and wind has made it unpleasant to be out on the water fly fishing in the Eastern Sierra. When the wind lies down hatches of caddis, mayflies, and midges have the trout feeding under and on top of the surface. Nymphing in the morning and fishing dries mid-day when the hatches are strong enough to bring the trout to the surface has been the daily grind on the Eastern Sierra streams. Day light savings goes into effect this weekend and will give fly fishers more light to fish longer in the evening.
Sierra Bright Dot Instagram 2,000 Followers Give Away grand prize winner Nick Zambetti from Los Angeles with a brown trout that took a size 18 blue wind olive parachute during the hatch on the wild trout section of the lower Owens River.
Lower Owens River:
Wild Trout Section:
The caddis hatch has showed up in big numbers in the early afternoon bringing lots of trout to the surface. Midges in the morning, blue wing olive mayflies mid-day and then caddis are offering fly fishers a diversity of fly patterns they can offer the trout. I start of nymphing with midge nymphs, and midge pupae in the morning. Around 11:00 I switch to blue wing olive nymph patterns like bead head flash back pheasant tail nymphs, and olive quilldigons. Early afternoon is time for a gold ribbed hare’s ear pattern. During the hatch if the water I’m fishing has lots of surface feeding wild brown trout I will switch to a dry fly. I’m fishing Griffith’s gnats to imitate the midge clusters. I’m fishing blue wing olive parachutes, olive sparkle duns, and olive comparaduns to imitate the blue wing olive mayflies. When the trout start taking the caddis off the surface I use elk hair caddis or X-caddis.
Larry Sears from Bainbridge, WA working the far bank of the lower Owens River with a nymph after the blue wing olive hatch.
The snow is slowly retreating and the ground is starting to show up. Fly fishers still have to access the interpretive site by walking in from Hot Creek Hatchery Road. The snow is packed and is an easy five to 10 minute walk down the road to the creek. Midges and blue wing olive mayflies are hatching and the trout are coming to the surface to feed on these hatching insects. Wind is blowing the freshly hatched insects off the water before the trout can feed on them, forcing fly fishers to fish nymphs on those blustery windy days.
Fly fishers are parking at the end of Hot Creek Hatchery Road where the county has ended their plowing of the road. It’s an easy walk into the parking lots that access the Canyon of Hot Creek. The walk into the canyon can be tricky when the steep sections into the canyon are icy. Coming out in the afternoon when the snow has softened up is easier. The trout are concentrating on nymphs on the windy days. I like to throw tiger midges, zebra midges, pupae midge patterns in these colors, bead head flash back pheasant tail nymphs, and olive quilldigons. On the days the wind lies down and the trout are feeding on the surface I’m throwing blue wing olive parachutes and midge emerger patterns.
Upper Owens River:
Above Benton Crossing Bridge:
Access by vehicle is still hampered by the blanket of snow left by December’s storms. Fly fishers willing to put in the extra effort and walk up river past the corrals towards Longyears are being rewarded by trophy trout that have not been pressured by fly fishers. I prefer to fish the deep runs, pools, and cutbanks that the trout use to rest and feed as they migrate through the Owens River system above Crowley Lake. I’m throwing stoner nymphs, green/gold Prince nymphs, and bead head flash back gold ribbed hare’s ears on size 12 jig hooks. When the winds not blowing the trophy trout have been feeding on the hatching blue wing olive adults and nymphs.
Bishop Creek Canal:
Behind the Ford Dealer:
When the wind is not blowing the blue wing olive mayflies off the surface, the trout are feeding on the surface middle of the day. I’m fishing with a size 18 blue wing olive parachute, Adams parachute, olive sparkle dun, and olive comparadun. The fish are supper skittish and require long casts of 30 to 50 feet to not spook them. Nymphing under an indicator is spooking to many trout so I’m fishing with a dry and dropper rig. I’m using a size 16 Adams parachute and size 18 bead head flash back pheasant tail nymph. Prior to the blue wing olive hatch I’m throwing tiger midges and zebra midges in size 18 to 22.
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