Pro Tips for Fall Fishing in Mammoth Lakes

Oct 20, 2020

Fall is one of the best times to fish in the Eastern Sierra. The beautiful fall colors create breathtaking backdrops and the fish are fattening up for the winter, making it the perfect time to catch a trophy trout. Here are some tips from Doug Rodricks, professional fishing guide with Sierra Drifters, to help you make the most of your next fall fishing trip to Mammoth Lakes. Or check out a video interview with Doug.

What are the best places to fish in the fall?

All the inlets of the lakes. With the cooling of the temperatures, the fish are moving there to get ready to spawn and you’ll find the largest concentration of big fish. Start there and find some patterns that work best. Once you find what the fish want then you should do pretty well. 

Where’s the best places to fish in rivers and creeks?

If the water is really cold, focus on the slower moving water. The fish are trying to stay insulated from the cold and don’t want to use too much energy. You’ll want to use longer leaders, have plenty of weight to get those flies down on the bottom where the fish can actually see it. 

What flies work best for catching fish in fall?

Summer is definitely the peak time for all the different bugs, but there’s still a few options in the fall: Stoneflies, Caddisflies, Damselflies, Midges, Mayflies Bait patterns: Streamer flies.

The leaves aren’t the only things changing with the season. Why do fish also change colors in the fall?

Basically, it’s to attract females. As the temperatures cool, this triggers spawning behavior and the primary reason for the color change is to get ready for the spawn.Color changes include: Brown trout: Darker orange on the belly. Brook trout: Deep red on the belly. Rainbow trout: Rosey red on the gill plate and on the lateral line.

What do you do if you want to properly release a fish back in the water?

It’s really important to revive the fish first. And it all starts once you land the fish in the net. Most people want to take the fish out of the net to take a picture of their catch, but the fish has been through a long battle, especially the bigger fish. The bigger the fish the longer they fight and the more time it takes to get them in. 

Here are some tips for reviving the fish in the net:

  • Make sure they’re upright and strong so they can swim away.
  • Then take out the fish if you plan on taking pictures.
  • Put the fish back in the net making sure it’s fully revived.
  • Then release the fish back into the lake.

Learn more about fishing in Mammoth Lakes, including permit pricing, fishing reports and forecasts.

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