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The Owens River is a river in southeastern California in the United States, approximately 120 miles (193.1 km) long. It drains into and through the Owens Valley, an arid basin between the eastern face of the Sierra Nevada and the western faces of the Inyo and White Mountains.
The Owens is a spring creek, which originates at a place called Big Springs. The entire stretch of the river from Big Springs to the inlet of Crowley Lake is commonly referred to as the Upper Owens River. Anglers can fish pools and pocket water at Big Springs, and from there, several miles of meandering meadow stream before it enters Crowley lake. The meadow stretch of the river flows through awesome scenery, as marsh hawks swoop over the low rises, with the snow-capped peaks of the Eastern Sierra as a backdrop. The fishing is equally dramatic. The resident fish are wary and difficult to catch, and the spawners - both brown and rainbows - in the spring and fall add another element. Like fishing to steelhead on a small creek, these monster fish seem hugely out of place in the shallows of the Upper Owens. Because of the fragility of the spawning population, only a small stretch of the Upper Owens, at a place known as Benton Crossing, is open to conventional tackle. And this is allowed only during a few months of the summer. For the remainder of the season and on other parts of the river, size restrictions and bag limits are in place. In conjunction with these limitations, only artificial lures or flies with single barbless hooks are allowed. A section of the river above Benton Crossing is also closed to fishing because of an invasion of non-native snails. It is open all year, and many anglers fish it in the winter when most of the surrounding waters are closed. Opening weekend is also an excellent time to fish here. The Lower Owens is a classic dry-fly fishery, as the river meanders slowly through a grassy meadow. Depending on the weather, anglers may encounter hatches of Baetis, caddis and pale morning duns. The fish rise readily to these flies, and the smooth surfaces make for excellent, although sometimes challenging, dry-fly presentations. Please check local rules and regulations before you fish as they can change frequently.
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