Upper Owens River Fishing Report

The Trout Fitter Staff

Report Date:


Flow Rates and Water Conditions

Water Conditions: Dirty but fishable

Flows are 80 cfs as of 5/1

The stretch of river above Benton Crossing Road is artificial, barbless, catch and release only. Below the bridge is now open. Flows are up a little and the water is a lot dirtier all the way up to the private ranches.

Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing Conditions and Hatches: Fair to ??????

Right now you can drive up the main road but I would be very careful about the side roads to the gates. I'm not sure it makes much of a difference, the water is very dirty and not all that clean above Hot Creek. We're getting some good early reports from down by the lake but no specifics.

UPDATE: The spring run is in the river but most are up into the private ranches so the fishing for big fish has slowed way down.

 Even though it's slowing down all it takes is one or two bigger fish to change your outlook.

With the improved fishing on the Lower Owens and Hot Creek pressure has dropped way off.  Having said that, the winter spawning Rainbows as well as the Browns are for the most part back in the lake. Water clarity coming out of Hot Creek has gotten worse, the river below is now down to 2-3 feet visibility. The up side is the fish are a lot less spooky. With the higher and dirtier conditions the hatches have become more scattered. This is early for the runoff so it may come and go with the weather changes

REMEMBER: The winter spawning Rainbows and a lot of the spring spawners are strains of Rainbows no longer stocked so if you like these fishing opportunities keep the fish in the net and in the water while taking pictures/releasing the fish. Also, even though most of the fish spawn up higher in the private ranches there are fish that spawn lower down so keep an eye out for the Redds in the tailouts and try to wade in knee deep or deeper water.

 As usual the lake fish tend to hang out in the deeper holes during the day and move upstream at night. Both the migratory browns and rainbows are scattered throughout the system. Above the Hot Creek confluence they are a lot spookier so move slowly and stay away from the high banks on the outside of bends. 

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:   Parachute Adams #18-22 | Hippie Stomper and Rubberleg Stimulator #12-16 |  Hi-Vis BWO #20-22 | Elk Hair Caddis #14-20 | Grffiths Gnat #22-24

NYMPHS:  Zebra Midge #16-22 | Copper John #14-16 | Bling Midge #22-24 | San Juan worms assorted colors | Birds Nest Natural #16-20 | Prince Nymph #12-18 | F/B Hares Ear #16-18 | Pheasant Tail #18-22 combo flash and or bead | Egg Patterns

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

More Reports

The Trout Fitter Reports
for Wednesday, May 1st
Owens River - Lower: Lower Owens River Report
East Walker River (CA): 265 cfs as of 5/1
The Truckee has seen a steady increase in flows again this week
Truckee River

The Trout Fitter Staff

Report Date:

The Truckee has seen a steady increase in flows again this week, and this trend will likely continue for the......

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