Pleasant Valley Reservoir
Lower Owens Wild Trout Section

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Pleasant Valley Reservoir

Suggested Flies for Wild Trout Section:
Eastern Sierra Hatch Selection

Click for Bishop, California Forecast

Current River Flows, Owens River

Suggested Flies for Pleasant Valley Reservoir:

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

Directions: 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 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.

Lower Owens River Notes:
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.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. Primarily a nymphers paradise, a good Baetis hatch can come off during March and April. When flows drop in late Summer or early Fall, a caddis hatch takes place in the early evening. 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.

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. When flows exceed 300 cfs, fishing can be difficult. Baetis start to show up in the first part of February and continue through May. A slight Golden Stone hatch will also come on in early Spring around late March. Callibaetis and PMD's show up in May through June while a major Caddis hatch occurs during June and July. Nymphs and emergers are the first choices for mornings, cold conditions, and times of heavy flows. When the water warms in the afternoon, most will switch over to dries like BWO's, Caddis, Adams, Blue Duns, stimulators with a midge dropper, and even Stoneflies. When the bite slows in the afternoon many will tie on streamers to some sinking line and throw them into the pools and eddies. Wooly Buggers, Matukas, and leeches tend to work rather well. Watch for the BWO hatch in the evening as it might be necessary to switch back to small dries and emergers.

Fishing Maps Available

Covers the Owens River between the Middle Gorge Power Plant to the Pleasant Valley Reservoir.Shows road access, GPS Long./Lat.and trails. Special Features are the Hatch Chart, Fishing Season and Regulations, Fish Identification, Nymphing Rigs, and Stream Etiquette guidelines. Printed on Rite-in-the-Rain Paper that will allow you to write those special notes. Waterproof and Durable.

Middle Owens 2, Middle Gorge to Pleasant Valley Reservoir

Middle Owens 2

$12.95 pkg


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

Middle Owens 2

$12.95 pkg


© 2018 Steve Schalla
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