Fishing Convict Creek
Located just south of Mammoth Lakes by Lake Crowley, Convict Creek is a gem of the Eastern Sierras. It’s a small creek, but the beautiful aspens that line the banks combined with the DFG’s regular stocking make it a great place to fish.
About the Creek
There are three main sections of the creek. Above Convict Lake, the creek mostly contains a few small brookies - often by late summer, the creek turns into a bare trickle here. Just below the outlet, the creek is stocked heavily with planters, and combined with a few large escapees from the lake, this section probably makes for the best fishing. Closer to Lake Crowley, the creek passes through a study area with fishing is not allowed, before finally merging with McGee Creek to pour into the main lake. I haven’t fished this last section much, but I’ve heard there are big trout that migrate up the lower sections from Lake Crowley for spawn - so it might be worth checking out.
For the section near the lake, for the most part the creek is fairly overgrown, and the water is fairly fast moving - I’ve only seen a few pools, where groups of stocker trout often seem to congregate. However, don’t discount the many riffles in this stretch - a nice drift with a weightless nightcrawler has done absolute wonders for me through patches of faster water - in fact, I broke off on what looked like a 5 lb trout in such a riffle once, right as the sun was setting. The name of the game here is accurate casts - if you can avoid the branches overhead and get your bait or lure to drift naturally in the current, odds are you’ll pull out a nice fish. Unfortunately, the bottom is quite rocky and therefore snaggy, so make sure to bring extra tackle.
Time can be fairly important here. Earlier on in the summer season when the air is still cool, I’ve found that the fish are happy to bite aggresively throughout the day, slurping down bright colored Mice Tails without a care in the world. However, later on in the season, the bite will often shut off in the middle of the day, before picking up again around dusk. Simultaneously, the trout seem to prefer more natural presentations like a weightless nightcrawler or a cricket drifted in the current.
I’ve caught a few pan-sized brown trout in this stretch, usually on some kind of lure worked in the current. There are probably some bigger fellas out there, but I haven’t caught any myself…
Getting down to the creek can be kind of tough - the banks can often be quite steep, and covered with tree roots and foliage. Make sure to wear long pants and good sturdy shoes. Convict Lake also provides easier-to-access stillwater fishing opportunities nearby.
For the trout:
Panther Marin, 1/16 oz