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Hello Fellow Anglers,

The warm days of early November have faded to mid-winter like conditions. A fresh coat of white has finally blanketed the Eastern Sierras and the temperatures have quickly turned cold! Currently the forecast is calling for continued storminess into the first week of December and 20-30” has fallen on the Sierra Crest and 5-12” in the Long Valley area since Wednesday Nov 26th. Although the general trout season closed Nov 15th there are still some area streams and lakes open.  They provide excellent opportunities to fly fish in Mono and Inyo Counties. These include The East and West Walker rivers in Northern Mono County, Hot Creek and the Upper Owens River above the Benton Crossing Bridge and The Gorge in Mono and Inyo County along with Pleasant Valley Reservoir and the Lower Owens River in Inyo County, near and below Bishop. Most of the trans-sierra passes have closed for the season with the recent snowstorms; included are SR 120, SR108 and SR 88 Monitor Pass. You must travel further north to cross the Sierras on HWY 50 or 80 which are open, but can close so it is always best to check weather and road conditions when traveling to the Eastern Sierras this time of year. A drive that might normally take 4-7 hours can be 10-12 hours if a winter storm impacts the 395 corridor both to the south and north.  You can encounter snow from the High Desert all the way up and down the Owens Valley. Make sure you carry chains, a shovel and the necessary provisions if you happen to get stuck when traveling to the area during the Fall, Winter and Spring months.

Looking at local fishing conditions on the area fisheries that remain open: Conditions have certainly changed in the last week and hatches and there durations will adjust to the more winter like conditions. Midges and Beatis will be more of the norm and Caddis will be present to only the warmest of days.  Anyone driving out to the upper Owens River should have 4 wheel drive and a shovel. If the Gate closes at Hot Creek one should be prepared to hike in.  Currently there isn’t enough snow yet but in the coming days that might be the case. Snowshoes could come in handy if the snow does continue. With the morning temps sliding well below the freezing mark fishing in Mono County may be left to the warmer days and afternoons as ice on the line and guides on your fly rod could be an issue. It will warm up again and the fishing will have its amazing moments. It is best to keep an eye on the forecast and plan outings when conditions are more favorable and tolerable. Currently there is snow from Bishop to Bridgeport anywhere from 2-12” and current stream flows throughout the area are at normal levels.        

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[toggle title=”Hot Creek”] -OPEN YEAR ROUND

hot-creek18[1]

December 1st, 2019 –

Flows are currently holding at 48 cfs and dropping slightly due to the colder temperature. The runoff from last spring has flushed the stream of all the silt for the most part. Hatch-wise: caddis, midges and baetis. The fish numbers are still slightly on the lean side but much improved from 3 years ago and they seem to pod up in certain sections of the stream now that flows have dropped to winter levels. The existing fish are very healthy, mostly 12-16” browns and rainbows with a smattering of larger specimens. If more snow falls and the berm gets formed at the end of the pavement you will have to hike in approximately ½ mile. This will most likely occur with another good snowstorm. Generally this takes place when 2ft of snow is on the ground. Both the section leading in and out of the reservoir can be great.

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[toggle title=”Middle Fork of San Joaquin, Devils Postpile, Reds Meadow Area”]san-joaquin2[1]

December 1st, 2019 –

Closed until April 25, 2020

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[toggle title=”Crowley Lake”]

December 1st, 2019 –

Crowley Lake -OPEN

Closed until April 25, 2020

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[toggle title=”East Walker”] -OPEN YEAR ROUND UNDER SPECIAL REGULATIONS

December 1st, 2019 –

The East Walker is currently flowing at 20 cfs it has been holding at this level since the 20th of November. The fish are holding in the deeper pools and icing could be an issue if overnight temperatures drop into the single digits. It might be best to wait until late winter or early spring to target this fishery.

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[toggle title=”Crowley Tributaries”]mcgeecreek[1]

December 1st, 2019 –

Crowley Tribs, Convict, McGee, Hilton and Crooked Creeks -CLOSED

Closed until April 25, 2020

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[toggle title=”Mammoth Lakes Basin”]lakes-basin14[1]

December 1st, 2019 –

Mammoth Lakes Basin CLOSED

Closed until April 25, 2020

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[toggle title=”Lower Owens”] -OPEN YEAR ROUND + Some sections fall under special regulations

December 1st, 2019 –
Flows above the Pleasant Valley Reservoir can be subject to change depending on the time of day and season, generally the winter months are fairly stable but keep that in mind if you are fishing that section as there is no warning when the flow might come up from the power plant.
Flows have dropped to winter levels. The current flows being released from Pleasant Valley Reservoir are holding at 148 cfs. The fishing has been good and the weather can be much different than it is in the high country and generally some 10-20 degrees warmer. There is snow currently on the ground in the area but it should melt off as the sun comes out in the coming days. The Brown Trout are in spawning mode and there is a smattering of rainbows mixed in. Fish are keying in on Midges and Baetis patterns. Many areas are fishable at these flows if you want to get away from the crowds. This is one of the best fisheries in the state during the winter time if you are targeting trout and want a beautiful back drop and surrounding with plenty of opportunities to catch wild brown trout on the fly.

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[toggle title=”Upper Owens”]Section ABOVE Bridge – OPEN YEAR ROUND
owens-river41[1]

December 1st, 2019 –

Section ABOVE Bridge to Private property: – OPEN YEAR ROUND Under Special Regulations
Section below the Bridge to the Monument: – CLOSED
From the Monument to Crowley Lake: – CLOSED

The fishing here can have some amazing moments. It can also be crowded; Social media has pros and cons! The snow and colder weather could change the number people fishing in the area. Both large Rainbows and Browns from out of Crowley Lake are present along with some holdover planters and juvenile residents. You will need to cover ground to find the fish. Nymphing or pulling streamer is your best tactic. There is some dry fly action but mostly limited to the smaller resident fish. Current flows below the East Portal to Hot Creek is 111 CFS below Hot Creek to the Bridge is at approximately 160 CFS .Use caution as snow is on the road paralleling the river so 4-wheel drive is recommended and you should always carry a shovel.

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[toggle title=”WATER FLOWS”]
*Provided by LADWP
[button link=”http://wsoweb.ladwp.com/Aqueduct/realtime/lvrealtime.htm” style=”tick” text=”dark” window=”yes”]LONG VALLEY WATER FLOW OVERVIEW[/button]
[button link=”http://wsoweb.ladwp.com/Aqueduct/realtime/norealtime.htm” style=”tick” text=”dark” window=”yes”]NORTHERN OWENS VALLEY WATER FLOW OVERVIEW[/button]
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