Fishing Convict Lake

Oct 15, 2020

You don’t have to be a great photographer to take amazing photos at Convict Lake. The lake and the surrounding mountains are pretty enough to make any picture look good—if there’s a fish of a lifetime involved, all the better.

The spectacular views are why Convict Lake is famous for starring in films and granola bar commercials. The stunning surroundings are also why it’s a favorite place to fish for lots of fans of the Eastern Sierra. No matter how the catching is, the views are sure to inspire and the photos are certain to be amazing.

Originally carved out by glaciers, Convict Lake is a glistening aquatic blessing. Its water is so gin-clear that it’s usually easy to see 30 feet deep. The lake is home to healthy populations of rainbow and brown trout and is stocked regularly throughout the season. One of the deepest lakes in the region, Convict is also known for producing large trout, with a few fish each year nearing the eight-pound range.

A hiking trail loops around the mile-long lake, with spots to fish sprinkled all over. Everything from short strolls to full days spent slowly working the picturesque shoreline can be productive. The marina at Convict Lake Resort is also a good place to rent a boat for the day. Float-tubes or small personal watercraft like stand-up paddleboards also work well on sections of the 170-acre lake.

History buffs like Convict Lake, too. The 12,268-foot high Mount Morrison which towers above the lake was named in honor of Robert Morrison. Morrison was part of a local posse that confronted a half-dozen prison escapees at what was then known as Monte Diablo Creek in 1871. Morrison was killed in the encounter, though most of the prisoners were finally rounded up, and helped give the lake and its creek a new name.

A 15-minute ride from Mammoth Lakes, Convict Lake is a fun place to chase after fish like they just got out of jail, realizing that even if some of them get away, you’ll at least be rewarded with some great views and terrific photographs.

Fishing 101: Convict Lake offers a nice a variety of options for any angler. Bait and lures anglers can enjoy success casting from shore or from a boat. The inlet and outlet offer something for those who prefer moving water. The fish in Convict Lake are known for working the shoals and drop offs along the banks, and for holding in a few spots such as by the marina. The lake is just big enough to allow room for lots of anglers and for plenty of monster trout to grow large and feisty.

General Season rules and regulations apply. Fishing season runs from the last Saturday in April through November 15. Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations should be consulted for more details.