Lower Owens River

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riverflow
Current River Flows, Owens River
Lower Owens River

Suggested Flies for Lower Owens River:
Eastern Sierra Hatch Selection

Other Local Favorites:

Streamers:
Woolly Bugger #8-10
Krystal Buggers #8-10
Muddler Minnow #6-10
Matuku #6-10

Baetis:
Pheasant Tail Nymph #16-18
Hare's Ear Nymph #16-20
WD-40 #16-18
RS-2 #16-20
Blue Wing Olive #16-20
BWO Paradun #18-20

Caddis:
Caddis Emerger #18-22
Emergent Sparkle Caddis #12-16
Elk Hair Caddis #16-22

Nymphs:
Zebra Midge #16-20
Copper John #16-20
Bird's Nest #16-20

Directions:
Pleasant Valley Reservoir is 9 miles north of Bishop. Take Hwy 395 to Gorge Road. Turn east and go .5 miles to Y. Bear west about 1 mile to yellow gate; continue 1.4 miles to boat ramp.
To get to the Wild Trout area, go 6.5 miles northon Hwy 395 from Bishop to Pleasant Valley Road. Turn northeast 1.8 miles to river. Cross river, turn right on Chalk Bluffs Road. (leads to Hwy 6); for frequent downstream access sites.
To reach the Owens between Bishop and Big Pine: From Hwy 395, 1 mile south of Big Pine, turn east on Stewart Lane. Go 1 mile to river. River access sites upstream to Bishop from Hwy 395; take any of these roads east or northeast: Bartell Road, Hwy 168, Collings Road, Warm Springs Road, Line St., and Hwy 6.

Notes:Lower Owens River
The lower Owens River extends below the Pleasant Valley Reservoir just north of Bishop and continues for about 45 miles to the Tinnemaha Reservoir south of Big Pine. The River follows Hwy 395. Pleasant Valley Reservoir is primarily a fishable area during the Winter through Spring months of Oct. through April. The reservoir has an active powerhouse during the rest of the year which basically makes fishing conditions spotty. During the Winter and Spring, you can wade the inlet river portion with nymphs and dry fly combinations. The reservoir part may be float tubed with streamer patterns. "Alper" Rainbows are planted here during that time, large Browns also reside here.
Below the dam is a tailwater area that is designated as a Wild Trout Section. The river meanders through a flat valley with undercut banks, riffles and aquatic vegetation providing cover. This area is also best fished during the Winter and Spring periods due to water flow and temperature. Browns rarely exceed 18" but constitute one of the densest, quality trout populations in the Sierras. Further down the River below Five Bridges, you need to take a drift boat. Guides are in the area to provide the service. Generally these areas are fished with streamer patterns such as muddlers, buggers, and leech patterns. If you take your own float, be aware of the time it takes to cover a stretch of water. Generally a trip covering 2-3 miles of river is plenty during the winter since the flows are so slow. This is about the same distance between the take-outs at Laws, Line Street, Warm Springs, and Collins. The river can get confusing due to the streamside vegetation, so take a GPS with you. The section from Pleasant Valley Dam downstream to the footbridge at the lower end of Pleasant Valley Campground is open from January 1-September 30 with no special gear restrictions and the limit is 2 fish. During the period from October 1-December 31 only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used in this section in order to protect spawning fish. There is a 0-fish limit during this period. In the section from the Pleasant Valley Campground to the redwood sport fishing regulation sign on Chalk Bluff Road only barbless artificial lures may be used with a zero limit. This section is open all year. Below the redwood sign, general trout regulations are in effect and the designated Wild Trout area continues downstream about six miles to the Five Bridges road crossing. The remaining bit of the Lower Owens is open all year with no barbless/artificial rules and has a five fish bag limit.

The Lower Owens is typically fished according to the flows which can fluctuate greatly due to the need for water in L.A. or heavy run-off conditions. Flows are usually below 500 cfs. When flows exceed 300 cfs, fishing can be difficult. Your safe wading flows are below 250 cfs. Check the link above for Current conditions. In January, although a few Flavs and some sporadic Baetis hatches might occur, midges are your best bet. Good Baetis hatches usually come off during February and March. Flav's will hatch in early afternoon and BWO's will hatch during midday, the largest (size #16) during February. Subsequent hatches of BWO's in March will tend to get smaller to #18-20 and the Caddis hatch (Green Rock Worm) will commence in March. During March, warm days will tend to result in Caddis hatches and cold days in BWO hatches. Midges will hatch throughout the Winter and Spring months. April can be difficult with high flows from the snow-melt and releases of water from the upriver reservoirs. In May, midday Baetis hatches will continue, Spotted Sedge(Cinnamon Caddis) and Small Black Caddis (Little Weedy Water Sedge) hatches will start in the late afternoons on the warmer days and continue through June. Callibaetis and PMD's show up in May through June while a major Caddis (Spotted Sedge) hatch occurs in the evening during June and July.
June and July are also good months for Stonefly hatches. Little Yellow Stoneflies may be laying eggs on the water surface during sunset and will bring the trout up to the surface. Golden Stones, Small Brown Stones, and Little Green Stones make up the other stonefly hatches that can occur during these months. Mid-morning Trico spinnerfalls will start in June and will peak by August, with some sporadic hatches continuing until the end of September. Since these days are generally hot, many flyfishermen will fish nymphs during the day and some dries during the evening hours. When the bite slows in the afternoon, some will tie on streamers to a sinking line and throw them into the pools and eddies. Wooly Buggers, Matukas, and leeches tend to work rather well. Temperatures start to cool in September and the Grannom Caddis will start to hatch and will be the dominant hatch for most of the Fall. By Mid-September through early October, October Caddis will be hatching. October also brings back the Baetis which will hatch through November in small sizes of #20-22.



Fishing Maps Available

Covers the Owens River between the Pleasant Valley Reservoir and 5 Bridges.Shows road access, GPS Long./Lat.and trails. Satellite photo background depicts vegetation surrounding the river. Special Features are the Hatch Chart, Fishing Season and Regulations, Fish Identification, Catch & Release Procedures, and Stream Etiquette guidelines. Printed on Rite-in-the-Rain Paper that will allow you to write those special notes. Waterproof and Durable.

Lower Owens 1& 2, Pleasant Valley Dam to 5 Bridges

Lower Owens 1&2

$12.95 pkg



 

Covers the Owens River between 5 Bridges Road and Hwy 6.Shows road access, GPS Long./Lat.and trails. Satellite photo background depicts vegetation surrounding the river. Special Features are the Hatch Chart, Fishing Season and Regulations, Fish Identification, Catch & Release Procedures, and Stream Etiquette guidelines. Printed on Rite-in-the-Rain Paper that will allow you to write those special notes. Waterproof and Durable.

Lower Owens 3, 5 Bridges to Hwy 6

Lower Owens 3

$12.95 pkg



 

Covers the Owens River between Hwy 6 and Poleta Road.Shows road access, GPS Long./Lat.and trails. Satellite photo background depicts vegetation surrounding the river. Special Features are the Hatch Chart, Fishing Season and Regulations, Fish Identification, Catch & Release Procedures, and Stream Etiquette guidelines. Printed on Rite-in-the-Rain Paper that will allow you to write those special notes. Waterproof and Durable.

Lower Owens 4, Hwy 6 to Poleta Road

Lower Owens 1&2

$12.95 pkg



 

Covers the Owens River off the Warm Springs Road access.Shows road access, GPS Long./Lat.and trails. Satellite photo background depicts vegetation surrounding the river. Special Features are the Hatch Chart, Fishing Season and Regulations, Fish Identification, Catch & Release Procedures, and Stream Etiquette guidelines. Printed on Rite-in-the-Rain Paper that will allow you to write those special notes. Waterproof and Durable.

Lower Owens 5, Warm Springs Road

Lower Owens 1&2

$12.95 pkg



 

Covers the Owens River off the Collins Road access.Shows road access, GPS Long./Lat.and trails. Satellite photo background depicts vegetation surrounding the river. Special Features are the Hatch Chart, Fishing Season and Regulations, Fish Identification, Catch & Release Procedures, and Stream Etiquette guidelines. Printed on Rite-in-the-Rain Paper that will allow you to write those special notes. Waterproof and Durable.

Lower Owens 6, Collins Road

Lower Owens 3

$12.95 pkg



 

Covers the Owens River, 4 miles upstream of the Owens Valley Radio Observatory (Cal Tech) and 1 mile downstream.Shows road access, GPS Long./Lat.and trails. Satellite photo background depicts vegetation surrounding the river. Special Features are the Hatch Chart, Fishing Season and Regulations, Fish Identification, Catch & Release Procedures, and Stream Etiquette guidelines. Printed on Rite-in-the-Rain Paper that will allow you to write those special notes. Waterproof and Durable.

Lower Owens 7, Owens Valley Radio Observatory

Lower Owens 1&2

$12.95 pkg



 

Covers the Owens River, 6 miles upstream of the Hwy 168.Shows road access, GPS Long./Lat.and trails. Satellite photo background depicts vegetation surrounding the river. Suggested Parking Sites and Stream Mileage from the Put-in/Take out at Hwy 168. Special Features are the Hatch Chart, Fishing Season and Regulations, Fish Identification, Catch & Release Procedures, and Stream Etiquette guidelines. Printed on Rite-in-the-Rain Paper that will allow you to write those special notes. Waterproof and Durable.

Lower Owens 8, Hwy 168 (Upstream)

Lower Owens 8

$12.95 pkg



Fish Reports:
The Troutfitter:Fish Report

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