Tom Loe of Sierra Drifters guide service in the Eastern Sierra has issued his New Year's Eve fly-fishing report for the region. For those who don't subscribe, here it is, slightly abbreviated:--Lower Owens River: Tough here toward the later part of December. Frigid weather and fluctuating flows at times have attributed to some very slow days in the drift boat and wild trout sections. Water temps have been in the thirties at times and this has made the fish very lethargic. Zero activity on the surface save for a sporadic midge hatch on the very warmest mornings. Our best days involved fishing streamers #6-12 near the bottom and getting them to hit the flies more out of aggression than hunger. Nymphing on the bottom will produce some fish in the very deepest pools using midge and caddis larva patterns #18-20.
Look for the fish to hold in the softest, deepest water you can locate in any given stretch. Looking into the crystal ball I see a warming trend developing in the first part of January and this could be the catalyst to get the fish feeding consistently once again.
--Upper Owens River: Please exercise caution if you decide to drive on any of the two-track roads that lead to the river. There are some substantial snow drifts currently, and others may develop quickly with any amount of wind making the roads impassable as you will become “high-centered” when you hit them.
I have been fishing this area a bunch this winter and have been rewarded with some of the best trophy-sized rainbow trout the area has to offer. The scenery is spectacular, the solitude is wonderful; however, it is not for everyone and you should be prepared for some brutal cold and ice in your guides (and on your guide) most of the day.