A Fisherman’s Guide to the Trout Size Limit in Mammoth Lakes

If you’re planning a fishing trip to Mammoth Lakes, you might be wondering about the size limit for trout in this area. Trout fishing is a popular activity in Mono County, where you can find a variety of trout species, such as rainbow, brown, brook, cutthroat, and golden trout. However, depending on the water you’re fishing in, there may be different regulations regarding the minimum size, bag limit, and fishing season for trout. Here are some tips to help you fish responsibly and legally in Mammoth Lakes, brought to you by the knowledgeable staff at ASO Mammoth, your one-stop shop for all the equipment you need to enjoy the Mammoth Lakes area, from fishing gear to hiking equipment and Mammoth snowboard rentals.

Check the Fishing Regulations Before You Go

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) updated the statewide inland trout fishing regulations in advance of the 2021-2022 fishing season. These regulations went into effect on March 1st, 2021, and apply to most waters in Mono County. You can find the full list of regulations on the CDFW website or by calling the Bishop CDFW office at 760-872-1171.

Some of the general rules for trout fishing in Mono County are:

  • The regular fishing season is from the last Saturday in April (also known as “Fishmas”) through November 15th every year. This is when most waters are open to catch-and-keep fishing.
  • The daily bag and possession limit for trout is 5 fish, unless otherwise specified.
  • Some waters are open to year-round catch-and-release fishing with only barbless artificial flies and lures. These include Hot Creek and Upper Owens River.
  • During certain times of the year, some waters have a minimum size limit for trout of 18 inches total length and a reduced bag limit of 2 fish. This includes Crowley Lake and Upper Owens River (from August 1st to November 15th).
  • A California sport fishing license is required for anyone 16 years of age or older to fish any waters in Mono County. You can purchase your license online or at most local tackle shops.

You should also check the Mono County Fishing Map for more specific information on each body of water you plan to fish. This map shows the locations, fishing season dates, and regulations for popular fishing destinations in Mono County. You can view or print the map online or request one by mail.

Know the Size of Your Trout

If you catch a trout that’s close to the minimum size limit, you should measure it carefully before deciding whether to keep it or release it. To measure the total length of a trout, lay it flat on a ruler or tape measure and measure from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail. Don’t pinch or squeeze the tail to make it longer.

If you catch a trout that’s smaller than the minimum size limit, you should release it gently and quickly back into the water. Gently remove hooks you can see—otherwise, clip the line near the mouth on a deep hooked fish—and release the fish while it’s still under water. Only use wet hands, and limit how much you handle the fish. Never use a rag, and never squeeze the fish or touch its eyes or gills. This will reduce stress and injury to the fish and increase its chances of survival.

Enjoy Your Trout Fishing Experience

Trout fishing in Mammoth Lakes can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for anglers of all skill levels. You can find scenic and productive fishing spots in lakes, streams, rivers, and reservoirs throughout Mono County. You can also hire a local fishing guide or join a fishing event to enhance your fishing adventure.

You should always be aware of the size limit for trout in Mammoth Lakes and follow the fishing regulations for each water you fish. This will protect the trout population and ensure sustainable fishing for future generations.

If you’re on your way to gorgeous Mammoth Lakes to do some freshwater fishing, don’t forget to stop in and see the friendly folks at ASO Mammoth. Whether they need fishing equipment, hiking gear, or top-quality ski rentals, Mammoth visitors will find everything they need at our shop. Drop by on your way to the lakes or give us a call at 760-965-3444.