As part of my investigation of the Owen’s Valley, I drove to a segment of the Lower Owen’s River Restoration Project. I had been researching the project, it’s history, scope, and the annual reports on its progress but hadn’t yet had a chance to actually see it. While meeting with Inyo County Water officials I was able to get some more information on the recreational use of the LORP and some of its potential for future recreation (despite primarily being an ecological restoration project). Myself and two other students decided to check out the river first-hand.
We drove down the gravel road from Manzanar for several miles to the LORP and, along the way, were passed by a pickup truck. When we reached the water we discovered the occupants of the truck were fisherman so we took the opportunity to talk to them about their relationship with the river.
According to the fisherman, this section of the river always had water and they had been fishing that spot for more than 20 years. However, since the LORP project began in 2006, there has been a lot more water and a lot more fish. The fishermen said they primarily fish for bass, but carp is plentiful in the water as well. I did note that the fishermen didn’t particularly like the fact that we were grad students looking at increased opportunities for recreation on the river. I suspect they didn’t want their “secret” fishing spot to be known. For the record, you didn’t hear about it here.