Fall is my favorite time to fish the Eastern Sierra, and I’m not alone. The crowds are gone, but the fish are still here. The mornings are often cold enough to see your breath, but most days warm up long enough to bare shirtsleeves and bask in the beauty of fall on the Eastside.
Just like many of us, the trout are trying to put on some extra padding for the winter. So they tend to be more willing to fall for the temptations of a fly, or a lure, or a juicy night crawler.
Without as many anglers to compete with, it also doesn’t take much effort to find a sweet spot on the lake or along the creek all to your lonesome.
And the views of the leaves fading like shooting stars amongst a backdrop of snowcapped mountains and the glimmer of alpine lakes and streams, well, that aint too shabby either.
All-in-all, it’s easy to see why so many anglers love casting around Mammoth Lakes during the fall. To help you make the most out of it, here are three fantastic fall spots for both fishing and the scenery.
We all have moments when the stress, chaos or negativity of life gets to us and we feel like we’re going to pop. Experts say one of the best things to do at such times is to take deep breaths and to think about someplace that brings you feelings of happiness and tranquility.
Fishing during an autumn afternoon at Lake George is one of those places for me. And if you’ve ever fished—or even just hiked around the lake—you know why.
The rather small 38-acre lake where the paved road ends is nice and quiet. At 9,060’, it’s the highest drive-to lake in the Mammoth Lakes Basin and reminds you that you’re on the edge of the wild High Sierra.
It is best fished from a float tube or kayak, but there’s also lots of shore casting options reached fairly easily from the trail that encircles the lake. The box-shaped lake’s big brown and rainbow trout can usually be found in the depths during mid-day and cruising the shallows at dusk
Lake George is surrounded by lodgepole pines and Crystal Crag rises high above its banks like a mast. It was named in honor of King George V with the larger, Lake Mary, just below it named after his beloved queen.
Fall is one of the best times to chase after trout like they owe you money, and if you’re lucky enough to land one at Convict Lake this October, you could actually get rewarded with some cold, hard cash.
Each fall Convict Lake Resort runs their Ambush at Lake Derby and on the last weekend of the month will now host the Morrison Bonus Derby, which will be giving out a couple thousand dollars in cash to a few blessed anglers.
Of course, even if you don’t catch a winning fish, it’s pretty easy to feel like a winner at Convict Lake. Much like George and Silver Lakes, Convict is a beautiful place to fish in the fall. Originally carved out by glaciers, the 170-acre lake is also home to healthy populations of rainbows and browns.
Convict Lake offers a little bit of something for almost any angling style. Anybody can hook into some nice trout at Convict Lake, whether you like to motorboat, kayak or float tube, or you prefer to shore cast while hiking around the 3-mile loop around the lake. Convict Creek just below the lake can be a fun spot to fish moving pocket water, too.
There aren’t many places as pretty to fish as Silver Lake in the fall. Mere words don’t really do much justice for the jewel of the June Lake Loop. Postcards only share a portion of it. Instagram posts merely hint at its beauty. You’ve got to go there yourself to truly appreciate all Silver Lake has to offer.
How big the mountains above it are. How brilliantly the fall sun sparkles like polished metal off its surface. How crisp the air is. How feisty the fish get once the nights get frosty.
Silver Lake covers 110 acres and is home to the oldest fishing retreat in area. Silver Creek Resort opened in 1916 and offers an experience that feels lost in time.
It’s easy to lose track of time while you’re fishing a lake that’s home to rainbow, brown, Lahontan cutthroat and the odd brook trout. The best way to fish Silver Lake is from a boat or from one of the access spots scattered along the shore. Rush Creek offers some fun moving water fishing at the inlets and outlets to Silver Lake as well.
Award winning author and journalist Mike McKenna is currently working on his next book called “Casting Around the Eastern Sierra.” You can help by ordering advanced and signed copies of the book, or support the project by purchasing great packages all donated by the best shops, guides and lodges...