ASO Mammoth’s Introduction to Fly Fishing in the Eastern Sierra

Mammoth Lakes sees extreme athletes flying through the air, snow, and trails all year round, but if your preferred form of flying involves fish swimming in mountain water, scenic views, and serene nature, then Mammoth Lakes has something for you too.

Fly fishing is one of the most relaxing and rewarding sports on the planet when you’re fishing in the beauty of the mountains and streams surrounding Mammoth Lakes. Unfortunately, if you’re just getting into fly fishing then it can feel like an extreme sport due to the complicated rigs, flies, and techniques involved. That’s why the ASO Mammoth team has put together a guide to help you discover fly fishing in the Mammoth Lakes area. Check it out below and stop by our shop for more advice before your first fly fishing trip!

What You’ll Need for Fly Fishing

To fly fish, you’ll need a fly rod, a fly reel, a fly fishing line, and flies at a minimum. An experienced fly fisherman or rental tech can get you set up with all of the needed gear, but if you find yourself looking alone then you should know that the two things to consider when looking at fly fishing rods are rod weight and rod length.

The rod weight refers to the load (measured in “wt”) the rod is designed to handle based on its mass and strength. Rods 5wt-6wt are the most versatile rods because they are appropriate for many sizes of fish and are great for people who are either starting out or do not have a preference for heavier or lighter rods. For rod length, anything under 8 feet is considered a short rod and will be ideal for casting in waters where you have less room and need more control.

If you don’t have a fishing pole, you can register on this page and rent one from us!

Is Fly Tying for You?

Making an effective fly takes practice and knowledge of fish behavior, so if you don’t have plenty of those two things then you may want to consider using pre-made flies. In fact, most fly fishers have at least a year of experience under their belts. However, once you’re comfortable with fly fishing making your own flies can be a fun way to engage with the sport when you’re away from the water. We recommend learning from a seasoned fly fisherman or woman before you start tying your flies so you hit the ground running.

What Can You Expect to Catch in Mammoth Lakes?

Although there are other fish in the area, the fish that bring fly fishermen from all over the country to Mammoth Lakes are the Golden Trout, the Rainbow Trout, the Brown Trout, and the Cutthroat trout.

Knowing these trout and their behaviors will make the difference between a day of just getting wet and a day of fishing, so do your research before your fly fishing trip. For example, to catch a Golden Trout you’ll need to travel to over 10,000 feet where the species lives. The golden trout’s beautiful golden belly and pink stripe down its side and the effort required to catch them make them one of the most prized fish in the region. Similarly, Brown Trout are known to be aggressive when defending their feeding spots, but smart enough to recognize a fly. For this reason, Brown Trout are an excellent challenge for any Eastern Sierra fisherman or woman. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Brown Trout also grow to trophy size either. If you’re looking for a challenge, then head to Crowley Lake where the Brown Trout use their cunning to avoid capture and grow to trophy size.

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