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Hot Creek



Truckee River
Little Truckee River
West Carson River
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West Walker River
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Hot Creek
Crowley Lake
Pyramid Lake



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Updated 9/24/23

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Maps and up to the minute Stream Flows.

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Current Conditions: 50 CFS

Fishing Conditions - Good:   Not  much has changed this week other than that the area has experienced lots of monsoonal rain.  That of course has stimulated the hatches, particularly BWOs.  With plenty of bugs hatching now is a good time to visit the creek.  Otis at the Troutfitter in Mammoth Lakes reports that  "with the water dropping and warming up the fish are starting to move out of the deep holes and into shallower holding spots.  We're starting to see the midsummer consistency in hatches. These include caddis, Tiny BWO and Tricos, which had all ready started very early. Midges in the morning plus the new foods. The Tricos are emerging fairly heavily between 8 and 9:30 with the spinner fall around an hour later.The Tricos are much more prevalent at the Interpretive Site. The best fishing seems to be 7-10 but now with the hoppers becoming more available the midday wind is giving us another reason to stick around after the wind picks up.. If you can find some calm water there's some good surface activity. Generally the midges will be hatching until early afternoon and then egg laying and spent adults in the afternoon.  Scuds and San Juan Worms will work all day.  With the decrease in flows and the increase in usage the streamer fishing has gotten tougher . It's important to key in on any slack water. Really study the water, a slick spot (flat water behind invisible rock) as small as a dinner plate might be the key to your day.Midges, Tricos, PMDs and Caddis are what's happening right now.  Have some hoppers ready if it gets windy in the afternoon.  Tricos hatch around 8am and the spinner fall is about an hour later.  Caddis show up around 9am.  PMDs can be sporadic from then on.  Wind will get the fish interested in hoppers.  Try dropping a size #18 scud twelve inches below the hopper too. 

For detailed regulations click here:


San Joaquin:
Things are picking up, still better midday on when the water warms up. If you click on the flows you will also see temperature readings. We are now seeing a mixture of smaller mayflies, Green Drakes #12-14 and the beginnings of the Little Yellow Sallies emergence. As in the smaller Freestone streams of the area the fish don't seem to eat the Green Drake nymphs much, prefering to wait until the adults start to fly away.

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


Vinci's Depth Charge Bird's Nest #18,  Bead Head Pheasant Tail  #16 &, #18 #20, San Juan Worm/passionate pink, Copper 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


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 at Bottom of Page

Hot Creek Hatch Chart


Anchor 1
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. 

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