As has been tradition for the last four years, we decided to forgo camping outside of Best Buy for a screaming deal on a 8k, 80” OLED TV or robotic vacuum or whatever the hottest consumer electronic is of the year, and make the trek to the Eastern Sierras to chase a better Black Friday Quarry. 

Right after stuffing ourselves with Turkey, stuffing, cranberry’s and pumpkin pie, with way too much whipped cream, we hit the road north with bishop as the final destination.  We rolled in around mid-night thirty, checked-in at the local budget hotel and got a couple hours of sleep. 

The next morning, we got up ate a quick breakfast, wadered up and hit the wild trout section of the river.  We had a couple hours to fish before we met up with some old Golden State Flycaster members that live up in the area.  With the flows around 125 cubic feet a second (CFS) the river was flowing perfect to nymph the deep pools. 

Chunky Wild Rainbow

Chunky Wild Rainbow

Third cast in to a deep run, the Rio Two Tone Indicator Tippet twitched, a quick down stream set, and FISH ON! Turned out to be a feisty wild little rainbow.  The fish was thick compared to it’s overall length.  Good sign that the fish was well fed, and that there’s ample food for the trout.  A couple more casts, and another fish.  A better sized brown trout.  Popped the barbless fly out of its mouth and sent the trout back to the depths. 

Lesley’s Brown Trout

Right after the release, I look up and Lesley is hooked up and she quickly landed a small brown.  Fifteen minutes into the day and the skunk is off for both of us!  We moved up river and encountered quite a few other fly anglers.  Holiday weekends can be tough on the Lower O.  The fish didn’t seem to care, as they were eager to take a fly. 

We met up with Beryl, Joe, and Laura who are bishop locals.  We ended up fishing with them for the second half of the day.  Everyone caught their fill of trout, and we ended up moving out of the wild trout section to a stretch closer to town.  It’s always a blast to pull fish after fish around the spin casters as they wonder what color powerbait will bring them success, I did the right thing and recommended they try the rainbow color, with sparkles.

The next day we got up, and to get away from the crowds we headed to a lessor known part of the river.  We were rewarded with a bunch of really solid 14-16” brown and rainbow trout.  The best moment of the trip came when Lesley was able to hook and land her first double.  Two fish, one cast.  It was a mixed double with a rainbow and a brown trout. 

The Lower Owens is fishing great, it’s definitely time to get up there and wet a line.  The fish seemed to be hanging out in the deeper pockets, pools and bends.  There was a prolific BWO hatch, and the bugs were size about 22.  Despite that, there wasn’t many fish taking off the surface.  Getting down to them was the most effective technique of the weekend.  Along with dead drifting tungsten nymphs, jigging trough the deep holes produced a bunch of fish.  Careful on maintaining contact on the fall.  That’s where most of the strikes occur. 

The trout were really keying in on pink like the Beadhead Tactical Smack’er sally pink, Squirmy Wormy, Flashback Pheasant Tail, Perdigon Pink Panther 

All in all a great weekend with some great people and fantastic fish!! Way better than a new TV!

By Dave Smith

Dave Smith Fly Fishing

Ca Licensed Fly Fishing Guide

Facebook - dave.smith3

Instagram - @sdflyangler