WATER FLOW CHARTS
A beautiful catch-and-release wild trout spring creek, Hot Creek is located eight miles south of Mammoth. With stable flows most of the year, its nutrient-rich waters provide excellent habitat for trout with good daily hatches. Midges, mayflies, caddis, stoneflies and freshwater shrimp (scuds) make for a perfect trout menu. Rainbow, brown and the occasional cutthroat are the species you’ll find at Hot Creek. Fish average about 12 inches, some up to 20. There is about a mile and a half of public access at this popular spot. Recommended equipment: 2wt-5wt rods 7x-4x tippet 9ft-6ft leaders.
Open meadows, undercut banks and big oxbow bends best describe this spring creek north of Crowley Lake. The Owens starts as snow melt from Mammoth Mountain and the San Joaquin Ridge, fed by water pouring from the rocks at Big Springs. The Owens meanders for a half mile below the springs and then flows through three private ranches before it is again accessible to the public via Los Angeles Department of Water and Power lands. Good hatches and plenty of water to cover make the Owens an adventure. The fishing here can vary, depending on the time of year and which end of the river you fish. Above the Benton Crossing bridge, you are subject to special regulations, while the portion of the river below the bridge to a fishing monument near the mouth of Crowley Lake is open to general trout regulations. Rainbow, Brown and Cutthroat from 12-14 inches move out of Crowley Lake and migrate upriver, creating dry fly, nymphing and streamer opportunities. Recommended equipment: 4wt-6wt rods 3x-6x tippets 9ft -71/2 ft leaders.
This tail water fishery, 40 miles south of Mammoth and eight miles north of Bishop, provides excellent year-round fishing when flows are suitable. Five miles of catch-and-release, great access and friendly wild browns make the Lower Owens a fly fishing paradise. Flows are stable any time of the year but summer, when LADWP needs dictate water levels. Outstanding hatch abounds: a great trico spinner fall, late evening caddis, midday mayflies, yellow sallies stoneflies, winter midge action. Temperatures can soar to over 100 degrees here in summer, so plan to fish early mornings or evenings in July and August. Recommended equipment: 3wt-6wt rods 4x-6x tippets 9ft-71/2 ft leaders.
East Walker River
The East Walker River straddles the California/Nevada border near Bridgeport(about one hour north of Mammoth). The east fork of the Walker river is a tail water freestone stream with trophy size fish. The East Walker has become increasingly popular with the fly fishing community following its full recovery from the dewatering of the Bridgeport reservoir in the late 1980s.The state line divides two main areas of the fishery: special regulations exist on the entire California side of the river, while the five miles of catch and release water on the Nevada side known as the Rosaschi Ranch . Their are large flat water runs and plenty of riffles and lots of pocket water. The upper two thirds of the California side has the most access and the biggest diversity, and the lower third of river on this side has plenty of pocket water. That area is difficult to fish when the flows are up because of the willows, salt cedar and Russian olive trees lining the stream bank. The East Walker is known for it large brown trout and is also home to large rainbow trout, cutthroat, trout and whitefish. Small bait fish and chubs help to keep the large fish healthy-it is a very fertile environment. Most think of it as a nypmhing/streamer fishery, but there are dry fly opportunities. Check the flows before heading up. Flows below 250cfs are fishable, but stronger flows make wading harder. Stream cleats and a wading staff can be beneficial. Many different insects inhabit the river so check with the shop for up dated hatches. Recommended equipment: 4wt-7wt rods 6x-2x Tippet 6ft-12ft Leader.
The powerhouse fishery of the Eastern Sierra. This man-made reservoir has abundant food and habitat for trout. Fish growth rates in this lake are some of the fastest in the world and can exceed that of most hatcheries. Crowley is surrounded by meadows and sage brush, and fed by spring creeks and snow melt from mountain streams along with natural springs. All of this helps maintain a perfect Ph for trout and aquatic insects. Crowley Lake trout are known for their hard-fighting nature and acrobatic jumps. Trout can exceed 24 inches on this stillwater and average 16 inches. Four strains of Rainbows inhabit the lake: Coleman, Kamaloop, Eaglelake, and Colemankamaloop highbreds, along with Lahontan cutthroat and brown trout. Crowley is located 20 minute south of the town of Mammoth Lakes. The lake has a full-service marina-the Crowley Lake Fish Camp. There is also good drive-up along it northeast side (four wheel drive is recommend). A four mile drive on a washboard dirt road accesses its shores via Benton Crossing Road off US 395. Float tubing or fishing from a boat are ever-popular methods to approach this lake. It is the largest body of water in the area. Caution – the wind can come up fast on the lake and make it very rough . Stocked with over 300,000 subcatchable trout each year, it can produce incredible days that fly fisherman/women dream about. Fly-fishing tactic varies depending on time of year and what part of the lake you fish. Crowley Lake is a great place to hire a Wilderness Outfitter Guide and learn stillwater tactics. Midges, Callibaetis mayflies, Scuds, Snails, damsel flies, Leeches and Perch fry all in habit the lake and can be specialties in their diet. Two seasons exist on Crowley: the last Saturday in April until July 31st falls under general trout regulation and the second half of the season from August 1st until October 31st falls under two Trout 18 inches or larger and you most use artificial flies or lures with a single barbless hook. Recommended equipment: 4wt-6wt 9ft rods 2x-6x tippet 6ft-12ft leaders and a variety of sinking lines along with a floating line. This will allow you to fish the different depths more effectively.
Mammoth Lakes Basin
Both chains of lakes have great accesses and provide good fly fishing opportunities. The lakes vary in size from a few acres to over a hundred acres. A float tube is recommended for fishing these lakes. Most have good parking and shoreline entry. All are stocked on a regular basis and have wild trout populations; species found are rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout and cutthroat trout. Species vary depending on which lake you fish. Both the Mammoth Lakes basin and the loop fantastic alpine scenery with Aspen and pine trees lining their shores and the high Sierra as their backdrop. The Mammoth Lakes basin is right in the town’s backyard-about a ten minute drive up Lake Mary Road. Lakes to fish include Twin Lakes, Lakes Mary, Mamie, George, Horseshoe and McLeod. Twin Lakes is one of the best areas to fish because of its habitat: Callibaetis and Damselflies hatches are exciting to fish. The middle lake section is the most popular, but upper or lower sections can be equally as good. Lake Mamie is anther great place for the beginner float tuber. It is the smallest of the lakes, protected from the wind. For a little hike and adventure try McLeod Lake, a half-mile above Horseshoe Lake on the Mammoth Pass trailhead. This lovely catch-and-release lake holds Cutthroat trout. The June Lake loop, located 25 minutes north of Mammoth Lakes off US 395, has four lakes to fish: June Lake, Gull lake Silver lake and Grant Lake. Silver is a great place to start. It has great habitat-look toward the back of the lake for large brown trout that cruise along the shallows. All the lakes in this area can produce very large trout. Grant Lake has produced brown trout over 12 pounds. For an all-day adventure in the June Lake area, Parker and Walker Lake can fish very well. Both lakes require a drive on a dirt road and a short hike in. Take the North June Lake loop entrance and look for the Walker Lake and the Parker Bench turn-off. Remember water and snacks for the hike. Equipment recommended: 4wt- 6wt 9ft rod 3x-6x tippets 9ft-12ft leaders and a variety of sinking line along with floating line. This will allow you to fish the different depths more effectively.
This freestone stream is the crown jewel of scenic Mammoth fishing, with the Minarets as a backdrop and meadow wildflowers all around. A trail meanders along the bank, making for great hiking. Just over the west side of Mammoth Mountain, the San Joaquin is a backcountry setting with drive-in access. This is a great place for the beginning fly caster to practice his or her skills. There are hatches throughout the season: stoneflies, mayflies, midges and caddis. Fish often crash the dry fly. The wild fish here are small-6-10 inches-but make up the stature in beauty. The stream is planted weekly near the campgrounds; the further away you get from the campgrounds, the more wild fish you’ll encounter. If you’re really lucky, you’ll hit a Sierra grand slam: brown, rainbow, brookie and golden/rainbow hybrid, all in a day’s fun. From mid June through September, all visitors to the San Joaquin river valley must ride a shuttle that leaves from the Mammoth Adventure Center. Recommended equipment: 2wt-4wt rods 6x- 4x tippets 9ft-6ft leaders.
Bridgeport Reservoir is located one hour to the north of Mammoth lakes via 395. Located in a valley-surrounded by breath taking views of mountains and meadow. This Lake has some of the best habit for growing large trout as like it’s cousin to the south Crowley Lake, Bridgeport Reservoir is a broad shallow body of water on its southern end and narrows up towards the dam with the deeps part up near the dam in the old river canal. This lake has tremendous abundances of food from Midges, Calibeatis Mayflies, Damsels flies, Scuds, Leeches, Snails, and several types of baitfish. This lake also has a heath population of aquatic vegetation just right for hiding fish and harboring insects. With Plenty of food and great habitat the Trout grow fat both Rainbow and Browns, on most years the lake has good access from April thru July after that the reservoir may be to low to lunch your boat with ease on large water years you may have access the entire season with a public and private boat ramp available, this reservoir can be float tubed but with good but limited access on the eastern shore a boat will help get you to the far western side of the lake where Buckeye Creek and Robinson Creek feed into the lake also feeding the lake is the Upper portion of the East Walker River located next to the Runway going north east out of the town this area can be accessed from the road with a short hike on high water years. Both streamers and still water tactic can prove to be very affective. The lakes biggest drawback is the water temp and conditions it can be much like Crowley lake and can get very dirty from the algae bloom. Best Months to fish are May thru Mid July and Sept. thru Oct. this will vary with the type snow pack the area received. If you’re planning a trip here it would be best to call and get the latest conditions. The town Bridgeport has full amenities Gas, food, and Lodging. Equipment needed : 5-7wt rod, Both floating line and full sinking lines if you plan to pull streamer. 0x-5x tippets.
Crowley Tributaries and Smaller Area Creeks
McGee, Convict, Hilton and Crooked Creeks and Mammoth Creek, Rock Creek, Rush Creek, Owens Gorge: These smaller streams all provide fly fishing opportunities. They range in size from a few feet across to medium-size mountain creeks/rivers and all are freestone streams with a variety of settings. Some spots fish much like a spring creek, others like classic freestone streams with pocket water, rifles and pools. A few of these fisheries are seasonal, meaning they fish well only during certain months. Some fall under special regulations during different times of the year so check the Fish and Game Regulations. All hold wild fish populations and most are planted throughout the season. All have insects hatching throughout the season (Caddis, Mayflies, Midges and Stoneflies). These streams do not receive the attention or the pressure that other popular fly fishing fisheries in the area do. They can be great places to get away from busy weekend and holiday crowds. Travel time to the different streams from Mammoth ranges from a few minutes to an hour or so. All are accessed from Highway 395. Species found are brown and rainbow trout. Some waters hold brook trout. Recommended equipment: 2wt-5wtrod, 6x-tx tippets, 6ft-9ft leaders. A word of caution about the Owens Gorge: access to the gorge is via a paved road down to the canyon floor. Summer temperatures can reach over 100 degrees. Look out for rattlesnakes and stinging nettles.