Fishing and Golfing: A Mammoth Doubleheader

Oct 20, 2020

Fishing and golfing may seem like competing pastimes, both taking place during the precious warm weather months, but when you break them down, they’re really rather complementary.

Golfing and fishing, especially with a fly, have a lot a common, and they call to like minds and spirits—or at least like-minded spirit and/or beer fans.

Both are outdoor activities that take place in beautiful places. Places where wildlife prospers and fresh air abounds. Both are rather quiet sports, with the silence occasionally interrupted by excited cries like “Fish on!” “Fore!” “Damn it!” “Woo Hoo!” “Grab me another beer!”

Both golf and fishing are group activities, great for bonding or interweaving with talks about business, love or life—all of which can be related back to the sport. “You know, golf/fishing is lot like life, sometimes it’s so easy it seems effortless, other times it will knock the snot out of you.” Both pastimes have lots of cool gadgets and are always introducing new state-of-the-art technology in some brilliantly wacky ways. They kind of gear most guys, and lots of gals, go gaga for.

Both involve outfits that are best left to their places of practice. Clothing specifically designed for a purpose that doesn’t included cookouts or cocktail parties, but does perform well under those conditions and can actually help as a conversation starter. “So, do you like to fish or do you just like to dress up like a park ranger?”

Both involve motions, the swing or the cast, that can be rewarded or ruined by the slightest error or mental fart. They involve movements that require quiet minds, fluidity, and a little faith. Casting a fly rod and swinging a golf club are, at their core, about “tempo and keeping a relaxed head,” said Joe Gilman of Snowcreek Golf Course.

Both fishing and golf can be extremely frustrating, but can also allow for those fleeting moments of perfection. The way a drive feels when you hit it true, or a put that breaks just right is akin to placing a perfect cast or finally getting a feisty fish into the net. Pure, unadulterated joy.

So it’s only natural that lots of folks would take advantage of Mammoth’s unsurpassed access to achieve numerous such moments in a single day.

“There aren’t a lot places where you can do both so easily,” Joe said, adding. “There aren’t a lot of places where you can do a lot of the stuff we can do around here.”

Mammoth really is just a big playground. That’s why the ideal day for many of fan of the High Sierra is to spend some time on the water and some time on the links: a Mammoth Doubleheader.

“Absolutely. It’s huge,” Ian Birrel of Sierra Star Golf Course said, when asked if local golfers also like to fish on the same day. “ A lot of folks will go fish in the morning and then come play a round in the afternoon. It’s great.”

Legend even has it that some of the staff at Sierra Star used to have one of the course’s largest ponds stocked with trout every spring so they could end each day at the course with a few casts. Those fish are gone now, but their idea lives on.

Golfing and fishing in the same day in some of the most breathtaking terrain either pastime has ever called home, that’s what it’s all about. For those who like to fish and golf, a Mammoth Doubleheader isn’t just tough to top, it’s pretty much impossible to!

Best Places to Fish & Golf:

For the spin and bait fishers, the Mammoth Lakes Basin and even Mammoth Creek are regularly stocked with trophy trout. Each lake has it’s own store of some kind, and Rick’s Sports on Main Street is a helpful spot.

For fly fishers, some of the best stillwater fishing in the nation can be found in the Mammoth Lakes Basin, Crowley Lake and Convict Lake. Hot Creek is one of the Golden State’s best blue ribbon fisheries and is a good challenge for even the most seasoned anglers. The lakes have their own shops and the Troutfitter on Main Street is a top notch fly shop.

For younger and newer golfers, the nine-hole Snowcreek Golf Course is long, but forgiving. It’s also home to the area’s only driving range.

For experienced golfers, there isn’t a more beautiful track in the country than the “highest golf course in California,” Sierra Star. There’s nothing like watching your drives gain several extra yards thanks to the lighter air at 8,000 feet above sea level.

Mike McKenna

Award-winning author and journalist Mike McKenna is the writer behind the new book Casting Around the Eastern Sierra, which was recently awarded runner-up in the Outdoor Writers Association of California's Best Outdoor Guidebook category. The book focuses on fishing in Mammoth Lakes and the surrounding area, with tips and tricks from local experts.

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