Water clarity coming out of Hot Creek has gotten worse

The Trout Fitter Staff

Report Date:


Flow Rates and Water Conditions

Water Conditions: Dirty but fishable

Flows are 98 cfs as of 5/16

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 significantly dirtier up to the private ranches.

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

Lots of debates among the guides about how to handle the Cutthroat spawners. Most felt that it shouldn't even be on the report while the rest of us felt it would be better to bring up the ethical side of it. Well, the cat is out of the bag so we might as well talk ethics...or not. I'm kind of tired of the whole issue but here are a few thoughts: 1) Legal/illegal is not the same as ethical/unethical - Just because it's legal, that doesn't make it right. 2) Pay attention to the actions of others and notice unethical behavior. Remember as a kid when you told your mom that all the other moms were letting their kids do it, so why couldn't you? How did that work out? The silver lining is that if you don't want to catch the spawners and you want some solitude, the Cutthroat are spawning in a very small area and the rest of the river is uncrowded. Midges and Tricos emerge first thing. Trico spinners fall mid-morning. BWOs hatch midday and caddis are scattered in the afternoon. Lots of 6-16 inch fish to play with.

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. 

 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 Saturday, May 18th
Hot Creek: Flows are up another 20 cfs
Owens River - Lower: Lower Owens River Fishing Report
East Walker River (CA): East Walker River
The Trout Fitter Reports
for Wednesday, May 1st
Owens River - Section 3 - Upper (above Crowley): Upper Owens River Fishing Report
Owens River - Lower: Lower Owens River Report
East Walker River (CA): 265 cfs as of 5/1


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