Techniques for Fishing in the Mammoth Lakes Area

You don’t have to be an expert angler to have a thoroughly enjoyable and oftentimes productive time fishing when you visit Mammoth Lakes. In fact, the five main lakes directly in the town and many of the nearby waterways are a perfect classroom if you’re ready to try your hand at fishing. If you’re on the hunt for some pre-trip pointers, check out this list of some of the more popular techniques for catching fish in the Mammoth area, brought to you by the friendly folks at ASO Mammoth, your year-round one-stop shop for everything from fishing equipment and licenses to mountain biking gear and Mammoth ski rental.

Fly Fishing

If you’ve even seen the movie A River Runs Through It, you know there’s something endearing about fly fishing for some anglers. Even if you’re not familiar with this particular film, Mammoth Lakes is home to some of the best fly fishing in the region. The Upper Owens River is a good place to try out your fly rod if you’re new to this fishing method. Fly fishing is also popular at Crowley Lake and any of the lakes in the Basin.

Tenkara-Style Fishing

Developed and honed in the mountains of Japan, tenkara is a simpler form of fly fishing you’re welcome to try when visiting Mammoth Lakes. The main difference is the rod used doesn’t have a reel, which makes the casting process easier. Tenkara fishing tends to be more effective in spots with moving water. Your best bet is to try the streams in the area if you’re just giving tenkara-style fishing a try for the first time. No special flies are needed. Use what you would normally use for fly fishing.

Bait & Spin Casting

Inflated nightcrawlers are commonly used for bait fishing in the Mammoth Lakes area. With this approach to fishing, you place bait on a hook suspended behind a weight and try your luck. When a fish takes the bait, a bobber floating on top of the water suddenly jerks. Regardless of skill level, the sudden motion is a pleasant thrill for many anglers. As for where bait casting tends to be most successful locally, Convict Lake, the Twin Lakes, Lake George, and Lake Mary come highly recommended.

Spin casting is a fishing style popular throughout the entire Eastern Sierra region. One way it’s different from bait casting is you’re using a lure or jig instead of a worm. Additionally, you’re casting your line and reeling it back instead of casting it and just waiting for the bobber to move. Sure, there’s more work involved, but some anglers like it more than just sitting and waiting. This method tends to work well at any of the lakes in the basin.


Lake Mary, Convict Lake, and Crowley Lake are among the popular spots for the fishing style known as trolling. All you’re doing is dragging a hooked lure or baited line through one of the larger lakes here while in a moving motorboat. You can do this with one line or several at once. Make sure to cast your lures deeper, since trout prefer the colder layers of the lake over the warmer surface waters. Most of the larger lakes in the Mammoth area have convenient boat rental spots and boat ramps. Also, keep in mind the speed limit on the main lakes permitting boats in the area is 10 mph. 

If you want to experience some of the best fishing in the state, come to beautiful Mammoth Lakes. No matter which sport brings you to Mammoth, stop by and see the knowledgeable staff at ASO Mammoth. Whether they need fishing gear, mountain biking equipment, or high-quality snowboard rental, Mammoth visitors can find everything they need at our shop. Drop by on your way to the lakes or give us a call at 760-965-3444.