There’s something magical about camping and fly fishing in the Owens Valley. It is an odyssey into the deep basins and rolling mountains of the Sierra Nevada. You can get lost in the sweeping views while in pursuit of some inspiring and challenging catches.
Yes, fly fishing is wonderful. In Mammoth Lakes, you can indulge in the natural sights and take the whole family along for a journey into the purest parts of the western United States.
Mammoth Lakes is a small town, barely large enough to fit a celebratory parade (they still manage to do it every year). But, people love fishing the high-altitude lakes, tucked snugly between sprawling mountains.
Every single year, the fishing season kicks into high gear. You can be a part of this story. What do you need to know about the seasonal fishing experience in Mammoth and Owens Valley? How can you get the most out of an adventure tied away in this remote mountain fishing town?
Challenging Trout Fly Fishing
Undoubtedly, trout is the top prized catch to seek here, with the waters being stocked with large populations of Alpers, rainbow, brown and cutthroat trout.
One of the most celebrated catches is the pedigreed trophy fish, the Alpers Trout. The Alpers Trout is known for its stocky nature and aggressive fight. Catching a good-sized Alpers Trout certainly is an accomplishment and one that attracts eager anglers to test their skills.
The species is actively stocked during the season and weighs an average of two to four pounds. They can weigh up to 12 pounds, and put up a shocking fight for a trout!
The Top Places to Fish in Mammoth Lakes
The region gives you plenty of opportunities to toss your line and welcome in the possibilities. The most prized areas are the high-altitude lakes, where the cooler temperatures and the remoteness facilitate bigger catches. These lakes often connect to powerful streams that propel themselves through the valley.
There are three main lakes in the region that are exemplary for fly fishing and chasing after highly-touted trout species. These are Crowley Lake, Convict Lake, and the Mammoth Lakes Basin.
- Crowley Lake:
- Convict Lake:
- Mammoth Lakes Basin:
Crowley Lake is located about 15 miles south of Mammoth and easily one of the top ranking fly fishing areas.
It’s known for its large rainbow and brown trout population. You can take the extra steps to tackle Sacramento perch and the Owens pupfish. Brown trout is likely the most sought-after game fish in the area, captivating visitors with its speckled look and competitive fight.
Convict Lake is almost directly east of Mammoth about 10 miles. The lake is gorgeous, and the main location for fly fishing in Mammoth Lakes for trout.
The Mammoth Lakes Basin is part of the Inyo National Forest. It is celebrated for its spectacular hiking trails and unrivaled fishing opportunities. You can find anglers in the Mammoth Lakes Basin all hours of the day during peak catching seasons.
After fishing for the day, you can take a pit stop over at The Gallery at Twin Lakes. This cozy cabin houses photographic work and paintings from the region.
You can find water recreation and fishing opportunities at virtually every turn. Take a day trip from Mammoth to any of these astonishing and breathtaking lakes, connected to the riverways and streams of the Sierra Nevada.
Fishing License Rules
Fly fishing is top-ranked in the Owens Valley. But, it is not without some regulations.
The fish are well-protected and fishing must be tracked. A fishing license is required in the Mammoth area for all anglers age 16 or older.
Fortunately, fishing licenses can be purchased locally. Costs vary from about $23 to $47. An Annual non-resident sport fishing license is $126, but visiting anglers can receive a vacation pass of two to three days for about $23.
Seasonal Fishing Derbies in Sierra Nevada
Fishing derbies call right to that competitive angling spirit. Most derbies have a specific theme or goal, such as the Bridgeport Fish Fest and Poker Run and the epic and popular Free Fishing Day.
You can ignite that competitive energy with your own strategies and determination towards the biggest and best catch of the season.
Visit the Mono County official government site at for further details about fishing derbies.
When you’re ready for your own personal fishing derby with the guys (or the family), stay in one of 1849 Mountain Rentals’ vacation condos with a view.