I got the chance to meet up with my “San Jose Fishing Buddies” in Eastern California for a few days last week to fish Crowley Lake. They have been talking with me about joining them at Crowley for the past few years, with stories of lots of big fish. While fishing on Crowley was rather slow for us, on the way down there I stopped and fished the East Walker River for a couple of hours. I’ve read a lot about the East Walker for several years as being a great trout fishery, but I really didn’t know what to expect. The weather was cold, about 45 degrees, but the overcast conditions were a good sign for some fish activity. What I found was what seemed to be relatively high and off-color water, with the banks heavily lined with trees and brush. Take a look:
The only bugs I saw flying were midges and a few small blue-winged olives. No rising fish were seen. But, there was a lot of great pocket water that screamed nymphing, and although the water was on the high side, it was fairly easy to move along the river’s edge to hit the good “fishy looking spots”. I used my 9′ 0″ 3 wt Bamboo Czech Nymphing rod, and started with several variations of small mayfly and midge imitations. I picked up a few smaller brown trout on a #18 Psycho Mayfly pattern, but was a little discouraged that I wasn’t picking up more fish since the water looked so good.
After going through my standard Go-To flies that usually work for me, I finally put on a #16 Prince Nymph just to see if any fish were interested. That was the ticket, and the fishing, or should I say catching turned on. In the next hour, I caught 8 fish on the Prince Nymph…6 browns and 2 rainbows…ranging in size from 12″ to 18″. I sort of pride myself in being able to “match the hatch” with my small nymph selections, but on that day, it was the Prince Nymph. I’m not sure why the fish liked it or what it was imitating, but what a great day. Here are a couple of the nicer fish I caught:
For any of you who are looking for an interesting fishery with some large rainbows and browns in eastern California, I would highly recommend the East Walker River. It was definitely not water for the beginning fisherman as it required strong wading skills, and it was very important to be able to put the fly in precise spots with little to no backcast room. But, with the right fly in the right spot, the fishing was great.