Fly Fishing Report -Lower Owens River
March 19-22, 2104
Wednesday March 19, 2014
Because of work I got a late start from Las Vegas. It was an easy drive, but I forgot there is no fast food stops for like 275 miles. once you leave las vegas you don’t see anything until bishop…except for the whore houses; and I did see a wild burro. It’s an awesome drive over the mountain. And a one lane road through the canyon.
I got to the river around 3:30PM. Plenty of time. I parked on the west side of the river where sloffy scoped the spot last time. it’s a scramble down the hill and a tough hike up. 2 fish landed, one nice one, 5 misses and snapped off on a huge fish. There weren’t a lot of bugs but I did try to fish on top for 1.5 hours and had some success before I switched to the “bobber”
Thursday March 19, 2014
I parked at the power plant at the pleasant valley river dam. I did really well in this stretch the last time I fished it. It’s difficult fishing; not for beginners because of the trees and overgrowth and current. But, there is a ton of pocket water and good runs.
I fished downstream all the way to the lake….i have never done that…it’s a long way…and just killed… tons of action all day. Nothing huge, but a lot of wild fish. Totally fun. Even called sloff during it to tell him how good it was.
No bugs, no risers, though. I Fished the bobber all day and killed on huck-birds-nests as the trailer fly. A few on the zebra midge above. I probably landed 30+. And because of the difficult fishing I missed a bunch. The best fish was one I stalked at the confluence of rock creek…exactly where I caught a fish the last time I went there.
I moved in slowly but a big fish still saw me from 30 feet away and spooked…. So I paused and waited and he moved back in to place. I casted up from him and “whack!”. But, wait, no, not him. a much smaller fish…. Darn. I pulled him quickly out of that run so I could have a shot at the big one. not expecting him to be there, let alone not spooked, I casted and “whack!” much heavier… it’s him! great battle, netted, pictured (above and below the water) and released.
As I worked my way down river I forgot how beautiful that upper wild stretch is. The entire stretch must have been awesome before the power plant and the dam.
Overall, I believe the majority of the fish I caught were those wild brown holdovers from last years spawn. 8” to 12” fish the jump like crazy and fight like hell.
Friday March 19, 2014
This time I tried an adventure….and I wont’ do it again. I went on the dirt road on the west side of the river again, but went another 1.5 miles south looking for fly fishing trails down the mountain. I found a place to park, but it was the cattle road and the trails down were for the cows. I saw lots of cows to the south. Really loud cows. So I walked down the mountain and to what I thought was the quickest route to the river…mistake… totally overgrown and blocked…. Barely 2-3 places to fish in the first mile of hiking up river. So I essentially started right before where I parked the first day. Lesson learned. Tons of calories huffing and puffing in the hot sun; which is not that bad either.
I caught two little wild browns on the bobber downriver early and then it just shut down…. no bugs; no action. Non one else was catching fish either and there were a lot of guys on the river. I talked to a lot of them. I went a good 1.5 – 2 hours with nothing…beautiful stretch of river.
Frustrated, I said to myself, “Screw this, I’m going to the streamer.” That was around 230. And it’s exactly when Brocky txt’d me begging to take him fishing. He was my good luck charm. For the next 3.5 hours I constantly battled huge wild fish. One after another…. 4-5 from the same holes! I worked back downstream. Constant strikes on an olive, bead headed rabbit strip streamer I did not tie. Some of the strikes were so violent I cut open my finger on the fly line ripping out line and cutting through my hands. And for that entire 3 hours brock was txting me to take him fishing. J
The highlight was an 18-19” fat hen that jumped numerous times. I had to finish it up through the rapids. It was a long huge battle and the fish still was hot after beaching her and taking her picture.
I probably landed 20+ fish over 14” on that little streamer. Awesome. Interestingly enough there were a lot of fishermen on the river and no one was doing well. They were all on the bobber. I fished until around 630pm and even though I had some daylight and was doing well I fished all the way down, beyond my car and into the cows. And was a bit worried about how to navigate back to my truck… which was well founded worry because I did run into some dead-ends and had to hike backwards.
Saturday March 22, 2014
Well, after 2.5 great days of fishing I was set to drive home early so I could work the weekend and do chores before mark and Kelly got back from Orlando. But, how can you turn down a 14 year old that begs you to take him fly fishing? You can’t. When a 14 year old begs to you to take him fishing, you take him fishing. So, my man Brock and I tackled the C&R section of the Lower Owens for ~4 hours. In general terms it was not slow…we saw action all day. But, for some reason we couldn’t land a fish to save our lives. Of course when you guide a 14 year old you are not fishing a lot… you are tying rigs and pulling flies out of trees and tying on new flies and undoing tangles and teaching about reading the water and doubling back to get his forgotten backpack riverside and teaching about the hatches. All totally worth it. I love that kid and I love that he loves to fly fish.
I did sneak in some fishing on top with dries when the hatch went off and did pretty darn well. It took me forever to find the right caddis. Once I did, I saw a ton of strikes. Mostly small fish, but I did have a nice 14” brown take me on top and I battled him for 45 seconds or so before he went ballistic and shook my barbless hook. That was worth the day. Well, that and fishing with brock. Fishing with my man Brock was a highlight of the trip.