An authentic mountain town surrounded by scenic beauty.

Fishing in the Bishop Area

Bishop, California is FAMOUS for many things, but fishing is at the top of most visitors' lists. Record-class fish are regularly caught in the Eastern Sierra and many a stringer of pan-sized trout are caught as well. No matter where you fish, you can be assured that the Department of Fish and Game has stocked every available water with plenty of catchable-sized fish. Bishop Creek is a good bet for plenty of action during the open season from late April to the end of October. During the off-season, the Owens River and Pleasant Valley Reservoir remain open and very active. During the short summer season in the high country, the fish are often on a feeding frenzy and you can catch them using anything for bait. It really doesn't get any better!

This is trout country — cold, clear creeks dancing down mountain canyons and gem-like alpine lakes are home to fighting rainbow, brown, brook and golden trout. Cast a fly or lure, bait a hook and get ready for some of the finest fishing in the West. Whether it's the challenge of the catch-and-release wild trout section of the Owens River or lazily casting your line into a sparkling lake, the chance of catching a big one is always there. Our fishing report provides information on Bishop area fishing conditions, during fishing season.

Popular Fishing Areas:

Pleasant Valley Reservoir
This is THE place to catch large trout. Not your everyday-sized fish, but instead huge fighting machines. The Reservoir is open to fishing year-round with a five fish limit per day and five fish in possession. You can park at the gates at either end of the reservoir and walk or ride your bike along the shore on a paved roadway. Flows in the upper area of the river can fluctuate wildly; if you wade in, make sure you can wade out fast!

Lower Owens/Bishop Area
Below Pleasant Valley reservoir you can fish the Owens year-round. During the winter, if you pick a good day, you'll have as much fun as during the middle of summer. Yes, there ARE hatches during the winter — you just have to really pick the right day. But no matter what, being outside surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere, throwing your line in the water, with snowy mountains in the background — well, it beats working. During the summer, the fishing can be very good here. Sometimes it's very hot, but it can be worth the effort. The Wild Trout section of the river comes out of Pleasant Valley Reservoir and flows for 4.4 miles downstream towards Bishop. There's supposed to be 4,000 fish per mile living here, and if you catch one you are supposed to release it so there continues to be 4,000 fish per mile.

Owens River (Benton Crossing Road area)
Classic Mammoth river fishing. Lot's of fly fishing. A slow meandering stream to test your technical fishing skills without a lot of trees around to steal your flies. Certain times of the year you will need mosquito repellent, but it is often windy here, which keeps the little buggers at bay. This is reputed to be a world-renowned fishery, with an amazing number of fish per mile. Locals report mixed luck at times. Good place to fish, great scenery, ignore the hype and enjoy the place. South on Hwy. 395 to Benton Crossing Road (at the green church), then about three miles to the bridge. Turn left on the dirt road and drive as far as you want, look for dirt roads leading to the river every so often. Just pick one. It tends to be less crowded the further you drive.

Crowley Lake
Everyone knows Crowley. Opening day is usually a sight to see: 6000 - 8000 people show up. This lake arguably provides some of the best trout fishing in California. This is a big lake, and a boat is useful. They are available for rent. Float tubes are common. Try crawling all the way across the lake in a float tube. That would make a good story. Crowley Lake is just a few miles south of Mammoth on Hwy. 395. There is a marina, general store, rental boats (most with motors), campgrounds, and RV sites (some with full hook-ups). There are two fishing seasons on Crowley — from opening day until August 1 there is a five fish per day, no size limit, and 10 in possession rule. After August 1 thru October 31, it's a two fish per day, 18-inches total length, and only artificial lures with barbless hooks can be used.

Lake Sabrina
Lake Sabrina is located on the middle fork of Bishop Creek, and is surrounded by inspiring, 13,000-foot granite peaks, with glaciers on the rock faces. Lots of trails lead from Lake Sabrina to backcountry lakes. To get there, drive to Bishop on Hwy. 395, and turn west on West Line Street. Follow the signs to the lake, which are located approximately 20 miles southwest of Bishop.

Bishop Creek, Middle
Turn west on West Line Street in Bishop and continue on 15 miles to Intake II. Trout are planted from Intake II to Cardinal Lodge and from Lake Sabrina down to the North Lake Turnoff.

Bishop Creek, Lower
Turn West on West Line Street and continue to Bulpitt and Isaac Walton Parks. Plants are made upstream from Bulpitt Park to the Powerline Road.

South Fork of Bishop Creek
West on West Line Street, to the South Lake turnoff just below Intake II. Turn left at the fork. The creek is planted at various access points between Habeggers to the USFS campsites, and from Parcher's to Weir Lake.

South Lake
At 10,000 ft., South Lake presents a breathtaking scene and is also loaded with trout. The road to the lake meanders along beautiful Bishop Creek, lined with pine, aspen and cottonwood. Campgrounds, boat rentals, food services and lodging accommodations are available. South Lake is also popular with hikers, backpackers and horsepackers, with the trailhead for Bishop Pass leading to hundreds of high-mountain lakes in the John Muir Wilderness.

Rock Creek Lake
Take Hwy. 395 north from Bishop, about 30 miles. Turn west at Tom's Place and follow the road to the lake.

Other backcountry lakes
Some are close by, some are overnighters, but none are THAT far away. Leave the crowd behind. Skelton Lake, Barney Lake, Duck Lake, Thousand Island Lake, and many others.

Bishop Area Fish Report
California Department of Fish & Game

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