The Fish Report

May 31st 2023

The Troutfitter is open from 7 am to 7 pm.

The road upstream from Benton Crossing is open but be very careful, the tow out is very expensive. If you do get stuck the Troutfitter has the number. Deadman Creek is flowing through to Big Springs so the flows in the Upper Owens above Hot Creek have doubled but still fishable. The East Walker is back up over 1,000 cfs and will remain dirty until Bridgeport Reservoir fills up. With the flows fairly steady or dropping slightly and the cooler weather a lot of the streams are still high but have cleared up, the Upper Owens is one of them. DWP has blocked PVR road again, they are expecting the campground below the reservoir to flood in the very near future. The water quality above 5 bridges is relatively clean but with flows this high and almost no accessability we're staying away for now. Chalk Bluff Road is still closed with no access downstream from the campground to the Chalk Bluff. The flows are up over the banks along much of the Lower Owens and DWP is actively dumping water out onto the valley floor in many areas. The gorge will be closed 6/6-6/25 for the annual flush.

ALERT: Pleasant Valley Reservoir is open with access ONLY from Gorge road at the bottom of the grade. That is until 6/6.

 The temperatures are predicted to stay below average with well above average precipitation for the next 2 weeks.

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The Fish Report - May 31st 2023

Link and Contacts


Hot Creek - Flow Rates

Flow Rates and Water Conditions

Water Conditions: Fair- good, showing 151 cfs as of 5/26

Click "Flows" above for up to the minute info

Remember, these are the flows just below Highway 395 on Mammoth Creek.

Mammoth Creek has actually cleared up in the last couple of days.This is common once the lower elevation snow melts and before the flows jump way up.

Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing Conditions and Hatches: Fair-Good

As long as Mammoth Creek stays relatively clear the creek should be worth fishing. The road is open into the Hot Creek canyon parking lots.  Fishing has picked up, with the canyon fishing better than the interpretive site.  Midges in the morning and Baetis midday but they are getting smaller, #18-22 but still the most productive hatch. Unfortunately, with the increased flows the surface action is pretty much over. In the past, during runoff I have seen some very localized surface activity so make sure you have a selection of dry flies whenever you head down. One of the guides said there was a Mayfly hatch around 5 pm, he thinks they were Baetis but not sure.  Generally the midges will be hatching until early afternoon and then egg laying and spent adults in the afternoon.  Scuds, egg patterns and especially San Juan Worms will work all day.  With the increases in flows the streamer fishing has picked up.

I still tell my clients that a 4 second drift is average and finish with an aggressive pickup, you will hook fish you never knew existed.

Recommended Flies

DRIES:  R.P. Emerger #22 | Mother Shucker #24 | Griffith's Gnat #20-24 | Stillborn Midge Black #20-22 || Hi-Vis Baetis #18-20 | 

NYMPHS:  T Midge #24 | Zebra Midge #18-22  | Buckskin Caddis #16-20  | JuJu Baetis #18-20 | Psycho Baetis #16-18| Scuds grey #14-18 | Tailwater Sowbug Rainbow #16-18 |  Bling Midge Brown #24 | TB Millers+1LT #16-18 | Egg Patterns | B/H Pheasant Tail #16-20 | San Juan Worms #12-14

STREAMERS: Mini Sculpin Orange #6 | Slumpbuster Natural #10 | Hornburg #10-14  

Guides Hint:

Crowley Lake - Surface Elevation

Water Conditions

Water Conditions:  Fair

Lake Elevation is at 6759.4, 21 feet below full as of  5/26


The lake is pretty low right now due to DWP making room for the run-off.



Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing Conditions and Hatches: Slow-Good

It's seems to be getting more consistent with the fish concentrating a little more, but the Daphnia has made its first appearance which doesn't help. The best area seems to be Sandy Point on either side, don't be afraid to move further East or North. As usual in the early season the fish are scattered, might be why the trollers are at times more consistent than the fly dunkers. The fish aren't just spread out around the lake but also depth wise so be ready to move up and down, covering more of the water column. It's quite common for the fish to be less picky and more attracted to flash early in the season so flashy and larger flies can be effective. 

People are also catching a few fish off the shore in Crooked Creek and in Whiskey Bay, mostly on balanced leeches under indicators. 



Recommended Flies


Nymphs: Balanced Hares Ear Tan or Olive #12-16 | Janssen's Emerging Callibaetis #14-16 | Albino Baron | Zebra red/Gold or Black/Silver | Copper Clown | Copper Tiger | Tungsten F/B Black Beauty #16-18 | Double Bead Zebra


Streamers: Marabou Leech Burgundy or Brown #12 | Hornberg #8-14 | Punk Perch #14-16 | Cheech Leech #1 

Guides Hint:

Upper Owens River - Flow Rates

Flow Rates and Water Conditions

Water Conditions: Poor

Flows are 106 cfs as of 5/26

Click "Flows" above for up to the minute info

Dirty and very high but the conditions above Hot Creek are better, even with Deadman Creek flowing through to Big Springs.

Deadman and Glass creeks run over very porous ground so even in normal years by late fall large stretches above Big Springs are dry. With the water now flowing all the way through there's a lot of debris to be flushed out.

The stretch of river above Benton Crossing Road is artificial, barbless, catch and release only.


Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing Conditions and Hatches: Fair

The water is high but fairly clean and we're starting to get some better reports both below and above Benton Crossing.  The banks are snowfree but now that Deadman's Creek has  reached Big Springs who knows. Attractor nymphs including egg patterns are doing as well as anything else. We haven't seen any Cutthroat but there are still some big rainbows heading back to the lake. I have heard of a few reports below Benton Crossing with occasional big fish headed back to the lake.

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. So much for the temperature gage, it lost its funding and has been shut down. 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


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

STREAMERS: Shock Collar Leech #10 | Woolly Bugger White or Olive #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

Guides Hint:

Lower Owens River - Flow Rate


Flow Rates and Water Conditions

Water Conditions: Poor- The flows are unknown but very high and going higher


There is Gorge access to the middle and upper power plants as well as the reservoir. The flows are double the average and the gorge will be closed 6/6-6/25. Pleasant Valley Dam Road is once again blocked off at the turnoff for the Pit Campground with the campground expected to be flooded in the near future. There's virtually no access above the cement plant and even downstream most of the dirt roads are blocked off. LADWP is trying to make room for this record snowpack, especially considering that the snowpack from the Rock Creek drainage all the way to Lone Pine is even further above average than the drainages to the north. LADWP is starting to releasing water out onto the Owens Valley floor which in the future will be very beneficial but for right now be very careful where you drive.

Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing Conditions and Hatches: Poor-?

ALERT: The gauges coming out of PVR are not accurate, see report above.  The hatches have been very weak, midges just about the only ones coming off. The river above Five Bridges Road is a lot less murky but still very high flows and little access. With the warming conditions a lot of the guides are switching over to bass on the ponds, canals and lower river. If you are coming up be very careful, respect the closures and be happily surprised if you catch fish. At least until things quiet down.


DRIES: Stillborn Midge #20-22  | Giffith's Gnat #22-24 |CDC Transition midge #20-22 | No Mercy Midge #18-24 | Boroff F/Homie #20, 24 | Para CDC Baetis #16-22 | Para Adams #14-22 | Stimulators #8-10

NYMPH:  Pheasant Tail #14-20 | Hares Ear #16-20 |Caddis Cased #12 | Zebra Midge #18-22 |Weiss BP light or dark #18-20 | Bottom Roller Phsyco Rhyco #10-14 | Pearl & Orange #16 |Chamois caddis #16-20 | TB Millers +1 Lt #16-18  | Lexi Girdle Bug Tan/Black #6 | HDA Fav. Variant #12-16

STREAMERS: Wooly Bugger Olive & Black #10-12 | Mini Sculpin Olive & Black #10-12

Guides Hint: Lesson learned the hard way, don't ignore the fish rising in the shallow water on the inside of the bends. They're usually a lot bigger than you thought.

East Walker River - Flow Rates

Flow Rates and Water Conditions

Water Conditions:  Poor

Flows are at 1240 cfs as of 5/26

Click "Flows" above for up to the minute info

Yes the East Walker is open and no you don't want to go there. With the flows over 1,000 cfs and water clarity of maybe....actually it's getting cleaner, might be worth a stupid and futile gesture after all. 


Fishing Conditions and Hatches

Fishing conditions and Hatches: Don't Go...  maybe

I've heard a few stories about fish being caught out of some of the backwaters. After looking at the pictures a little more closely there might be hope. Big Stonefly nymphs downstream, attractor patterns with flash and big dark streamers would be my educated guess.


Recommended Flies

DRIES:   Caddis Adult Tan #14-16 | Chernobyl Ant #12-14 | Chernobyl  org/grz  #6-8 | Parachute Adams #16-22 | Elk Hair Caddis #12-14 |Mini Mouse #10

NYMPHS: Prince Nymph #12-16| Bottom Roller Psycho #10-12 | Copper Zebra #16-22 | Zebra black/silver #20-24  Zac Attack Damsel #14  |  Glass Bead Micro May Olive #22-24 | S&M Nymph #18-22  | Tungsten Jig Baetis #18-20 | TTS Opal B/L #14-18 |  JuJu Baetis # 22-24 | V-Rib midge Claret #14-16 | Joe's Mini Crayfish #10

STREAMERS: Meat Whistle | Baby fat Minnow #8 | Belly Scratcher Minnow Chub #2 | Bank Robber Sculpin #2 | Punk Perch Light #10-14
| Rio's Brown Town Tan #4 | Hornberg #6-12

EURO Streamers: GD UV P/Jig White #12 | Kaslar M/G/S Olive #12


Guides Hint:

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