HOT CREEK

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FISHING REPORT
Updated - 9/25/20

Scroll down for information about Lodging,

Maps and up to the minute stream flows.

Current River Conditions : Flows approximately 6 CFS 

Hot Creek currently remains closed

 

Fishing has been Good: Expect the creek to fish great as soon as it reopens and the fish have had time to have a needed rest. 

 

Otis at the Troutfitter in Mammoth reports that "the PMDs are going strong for this late in the summer. they are still going strong from about 10-12. He says "The Tiny BWO has started to emerge, starting about noon until 1 and the egg laying starts about 2.  The Hoppers are still around, not like the Owens but still plentiful. First thing it's Midges, Tricos and Caddis followed by PMDs. The Tricos are definitely taking center stage with the female emergence around 8 and the spinner fall 1-2 hours later. With the increase in Hoppers early afternoon has been getting better. Late afternoon into evening has been good especially if the wind stays down. Caddis migration starts about 8 with the emergence starting late afternoon.  The Caddis can range from a #14 to a #22 so don't be afraid to experiment, including "skating" the bigger ones. Also, male Tricos emerging from about 7 until dark."

For detailed regulations click here: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Regulations

 

San Joaquin: CLOSED

"Lots of people over there so If you go after 8 or 9 be ready for some long waits at the summit. The flows are getting skinny and midday the water is in the mid 60s. As with most of the streams around here it's been fished pretty hard so do some walking and hit more of the pocket water and deeper holes. PMDs, Caddis and a few Grasshoppers are the main fare. The fishing has been good if you can find a place to hide. The fishing is slowing down but the flows aren't dropping as fast as we expected so get there early and do some hiking."

Save years of trial and error on this very technical creek by hiring one of our guides to show you the ropes. We have guides who are on the creek every day no matter what the season. Give the shop a call (916)483-1222 or click here and we will set you up.

Recommended General All Around Hot Creek Patterns
Click here to go to our Fly Catalog

Nymphs:

Vinci's Depth Charge Bird's Nest #18,  Bead Head Pheasant Tail  #16 &, #18 #20, San Juan Worm/passionate pinkCopper John/red or copper #18, #16, Prince Nymph (various sizes), Wooly Bugger/rusty, black, Glow Bug/red.  Zebra Midge/black, brown, red, Fox's Poopah #18. Scud/pink #14, WD-40/black, chocolate, gray, olive #18, #20, Disco Midge/red,pearl #18, #20

Dries: 

Splayed Elk Hair Caddis #18, #20, Tent Caddis #18, #20, EC Caddis #18, #20, Griffiths Gnat #18, #20, Para Midge #18, #20, CDC Loop Winged Emerger #18, #20
Brooks Sprout Midge/black, cream, gray, olive #18, #20, #24, Brooks Sprout Baetis #18, #20, #24, Brooks Sprout PMD #18, Brooks Sprout Trico #20,  Quill Body Parachute/olive, tan, black  #18, #20, Quigley Cripple/gray #18, CDC Floating Nymph Emerger/Baetis, PMD #18, Rusty Spinner #18, Black Spinner #20, Lawson's Thorax/PMD, Baetis  #18, #20

See Hatch Chart Below

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LODGING NEAR
Hot Creek
Get what you need
before you go at
Kiene's Fly Shop
About Hot Creek

 

I don’t think there is anything like Hot Creek anywhere in the USA, with the exception of some of the waters in Yellowstone NP.  The geothermal characteristic of Hot Creek’s geology keep its water temperature warm enough in the winter so it never freezes even though it is located in one of the coldest sections of California, and its aquatic life takes full advantage of it.

 

Hot Creek begins as Mammoth Creek, which drains the alpine lakes that give the town of Mammoth Lakes its name. It flows out of the east side of the Sierras through town and after a couple of miles reaches Long Valley, a flat expanse of scenic Sagebrush covered flats and low hills. 

 

Once the creek transcends from freestone to a more placid spring creek demeanor (after passing under Hwy 395)  in the more level ground of the valley it enters the geothermal section where the cold freestone water is tempered by the infusion of warm springs heated by the volcanic caldera where its name changes to Hot Creek. The creek then passes by the Hot Creek Fish Hatchery operated by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (in partnership with the Hot Creek Hatchery Foundation). 

 

Just past the hatchery property, the creek slowly meanders through a meadow section that is known as the Interpretive center or just the Kiosk (local name) named for, you guessed it, the kiosk located in the adjacent parking lot where educational information about Hot Creek is provided for visitors.  This one hundred and fifty yard section is where some of Hot Creek’s largest fish are located. Special regulations are in effect, that allow only single barbless hooks on artificial lures and flies, and all fish must be released. 

 

The downstream boundary of this public section is where the famous Hot Creek Ranch property begins and continues for about a quarter of a mile.  The downstream boundary of Hot Creek Ranch is where the public water resumes and is also where the creek begins to descend into a gorge.  There are several parking areas along the rim of the gorge with trails that will take you to the creek below. 

 

The creek maintains its relatively slow spring creek like current though it now moves a little faster than it does in the upstream section.  There are also a couple of very short freestone sections.  The last parking lot which is close to the geothermal cauldrons mentioned earlier in this article, has bathrooms.  From here to where it converges with the Owens River, the water is just too hot for trout to survive. 

 

Success on Hot Creek is dependent on technique-technique-technique! Line handling technique is important so that you can present the fly by means of a downstream drift to assure the fish sees the fly first before the leader floats over its head.  The fish are smart.  It is imperative that your flies are small as most bugs are what you could tie size #18 or smaller hook.  In some cases you need to fish #20 and #24s.  Adult patterns don’t work as well as those that imitate transitional life stages, so you need to have a fly box full of cripples and emergers. 

 

HATCH CHART - HOT CREEK