Fly fishing at Crowley Lake is fair to excellent on most days

Crowley Lake - Mammoth Lakes, CA (Mono County)


by Tom Loe
8-8-2013
Website

Perhaps the most consistent fishery in the area currently. Although the lake is extremely low, the launch ramp is functional for large boats, and fly fishing is fair to excellent most days. Water clarity is fine with no significant blue algae blooms present. Established weed beds begin in 9 feet and extend out to 12 feet in the north arm. The lake is dropping quickly due to a major increase in release rates on the Middle & Lower Owens River recently. Don't bother looking for creek channels, they are weeded in for the most part, or non-existent. There are substantial balls of perch fry in McGee Bay, Crooked Creek, & along what is left of Green Banks and North landing. The bigs are crashing through these "meat balls" like school tuna on chovies! The chironomid hatches continue to be huge, and you will observe tall spires of midges on the bluffs and over the rabbit brush along the lakes shoreline during mid-mornings. Solid damsel fly activity as well. Absent this season are the callibaetis mayflies-this is indicative of a dry year. I suggest you have a streamer rig as well as a still water nymphing rig if you fish Crowley. The behemoth browns that live here ain't eating midges! Tie on a 4-6 inch rainbow trout pattern and pull it as fast as you can at daybreak or after the sun sets in the north arm & McGee. Unfortunately you will not be able to get through the gate to the boat landing before 7am for the remainder of the season. Tubing is better for streamer fishing anyway, and access is good to McGee and the north end.

My go to patterns have been gillies, crystal emergers & pupa, copper tiger midges, assassins, and punk perch light & dark. Streamers-Loebergs, punk perch 6-12. The Crowley Lake Deli & General Store, (Shell gas station near the lake off ramp) has a full selection of all these patterns along with our Under-cator strike indicator. Good eats too!

Photos Pictured Above: Carlos and Sabrina had a fun day on Crowley Lake while still water nymphing from a "fish magnet" bay boat
Photo #1: Sabrina also got "bad Leroy brown" to pose for a picture
Photo #2: Long time Sierra Drifter Scott S. got a nice buck in McGee
Photo #3: Scott followed up with a chunky brown and ended up with a Crowley trout "grand slam" when he landed a decent cutty later on! Check out the damsel fly getting revenge in the middle right of the picture.
Photo #4: Pictured is Larry the "Missouri Marauder" renowned hillbilly fly fisher. YEEEEHAW. I still have sore ribs from laughing with this very funny man. Check out several other fish rolling as he fights a decent brownie in Crooked Creek. This man is a legend in the angling world of Missouri, landing TWENTY TWO bluegill on a single worm! LOL
Photo #5: Mike S had a fun day on Crowley-the smoke cleared just enough to see his Under-cator!
Photo #6: Mr. Yamani tight to a nice one in Crooked.
Photo #7: Trout enemy #1 Brent R. & Steve Y. on a double at Crowley
Photo #8: Micha P with Two Bug and a very nice brownie for the young fly fisher.
Photo #9: The chironomid (midge) hatch is alive and well this August on Crowley


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