Fly Fishing: A Cure For All Ailments

“My father was a Presbyterian minister and a fly fisherman, and though it is true that one day a week is given over wholly to religion, even then he told us about Christ’s disciples being fisherman and we were left to assume as my younger brother Paul and I did, that all first class fisherman in the Sea of Galilee were fly fisherman and that John, the favorite was a dry-fly fisherman.” – A River Runs Through It

Obstacles such as car trouble can be the downfall of any outing, whether it be a short trip to the store or a long adventure into the great wilderness, but no matter how big the trouble and how deflating it might be, one thing will always over shadow it…fly fishing.

My trip to Bishop this last weekend was faced by some rather discouraging situations.  Just over half way there the radiator on my car blew, pulling over with the temperature red lining, we were stopped 90 something miles from our destination at 11pm.  With too much money being spent and a day lost in Lone Pine, we finally made it to our camp site on the Upper Owens river just as the sun was going down.

Upper Owens from the Brown's Owens River Campground - aprox. 7:00pm (photo by Jared Isham with his Android Phone LG Optimus S)

The fun part of the High Desert or foothills planes is the extreme fluctuation in temperatures.  During the day we were blowing our radiator, drinking cold beverages or wet wading in the river, at night it got cold enough for a layer of frost on the ground and tires.  Our quick evening fishing when we arrived only lasted about 30 mins as the sun was going down but on the Upper Owens at that time dry flies would get you a fish if using the correct ones.  Fish were surfacing the entire time we were fishing.

Unfortunately, by the time I got my fly tied on and my line working and in a descent spot, I was packing up and heading back to camp to start cooking dinner, but the fish on the water was a good sign of better things to come.

The next morning we got up, tore down our camp and headed back in to Bishop to meet up at the Sierra Trout Magnet Fly Fishing shop where my friend I was with was going to spend the day with.  I was tagging along and providing the transportation and to do some fishing of my own.


Upper Owens River at Dusk (photo by Jared Isham Canon 60D)

We started out fishing the Lower Owens for our first spot of the day.  This part of the river has a lot of heavy over growth and not many places for easy access to the water.  If you are considering even making an attempt to fish this part of the river you will have to be prepared in one of two ways…maybe both if you are feeling the need.  You’ll need to wade either 1) with waders or 2) wet wade.  It was warm enough for when I was there so I chose to wet wade.  I strapped on my boots and jumped in at the first spot that looked good.

Lower Owens River by Jared Isham (shot on Canon 60D)



Waste high in water I put on a Blue Winged Olive fly and started casting.  It’s always nice feeling your line tug, and this is a good river to get some extra fight compared to the high mountain streams I’m used to fishing.  I reeled in good size Brown Trout, roughly 14″ long and could possibly be up there in the biggest fish I’ve ever caught…I know, I need to fish these kind of waters more often.  Once I let the fish back into the water I cast again and two casts later I got another bite, but in a few seconds the line snapped and whatever was on the end of my line got away.  I gave the water a slight rest and cast again, this time with a type of caddis.  I hooked a fish and started reeling in, this guy felt like a big one. I had recently lowered my leader and tippet to a lighter weight so, with the line that just snapped on the other fish, I was planning on being careful with this one.  After letting the fish pull the line out and then reeling it back in for five or ten minutes my patience got the best of me and I tried to just pull him in fast.  Snap.

I lost that one too.  I only wish I got to see how big it was.

The urge is back and the next trip will take me back to the Kern River as the water flow is at an excellent flow for fishing.  Stay tuned.