ASO Mammoth’s Guide to Mammoth Lakes’ Fish

There may be plenty of fish in the sea, but there are only a few types in the waters around Mammoth Lakes.

Just because there are a few species of fish in the Mammoth Lakes area doesn’t mean they’re not worth going after though, as people travel from all over the country to Mammoth Lakes just to try. Not only is Mammoth Lakes a beautiful place to spend time outside, but the fish in the area are just as pretty as the mountains and lakes. To help you know what’s on the end of your line, the ASO Mammoth team has put together a simple guide to the types of fish in our waters.

Check out our list below and share your best catches with us!

Sacramento Perch and Smallmouth Bass 

Before we get to the trout most people travel to Mammoth Lakes to hook, you should know that there’s more in the waters than just trout. Although they’re isolated to specific bodies of water, Smallmouth Bass and Sacramento Perch are also a part of the ecosystem.

Although catching a Sacramento Perch may not be as exciting as hooking a bass, they are a rare fish as they only live on the West Coast of the United States and are mainly found only in Crowley Lake and Bridgeport Reservoir. You can identify the Sacramento Perch by its dark green color and uneven vertical lines running across its sides. Smallmouth Bass have similar markings with vertical lines along its sides, a dark brown color, and white stomach. However, Smallmouth Bass are tough to catch as they live in burrows in the shoreline that make them difficult to find and even harder to catch. Smallmouth Bass are only found in Topaz Lake.

Golden Trout

The Golden Trout is the official freshwater fish of California because of its elusiveness and beauty.

To catch a Golden Trout, you’ll need to travel, often by foot, to over 10,000 feet where the species lives. If you catch one, you’ll know thanks to its golden belly and pink stripe down its side. You can expect plenty of competition if you’re fishing for Golden Trout as they’re one of the most prized fish in the region.

Rainbow Trout

The Rainbow Trout is a beautiful and plentiful fish in the Mammoth Lakes area. With a pink streak down their side so strong that Rainbows are often identified by it from the surface, the Rainbow Trout is easily identifiable. The pink stripe, olive color, spots along their bodies, and their ability to live in shallow creeks makes the Rainbow one of the most well-known fish in the region.

Brown Trout

The Brown Trout may not have the colorful markings of other fish, but they make up for it in aggressiveness and cleverness. Brown Trout are known for growing to trophy size because of their ability to be both aggressive when defending their feeding spots, but smart enough to avoid capture. For this reason, Brown Trout are an excellent challenge for any Eastern Sierra fisherman or woman. If you’re up for the challenge, then head to Crowley Lake where the Brown Trout and their brown bodies with black spots are known for growing to trophy size.

Cutthroat Trout

Although they’re rare, you’ll know a Cutthroat Trout when you see one thanks to their distinctive red or orange slashes running near their mouths.

Don’t mistake the Cutthroat for a rainbow, as the two share similar markings. Even though the Cutthroat is rare in the Mammoth Lakes area, they’re still a vital part of the ecosystem and a great catch.

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