Sierra lakesThe area around Mammoth Lakes, CA in the Eastern Sierras, has many good waters for fishing. We opted to camp at Brown's Owens River Campground, on the banks of the Upper Owens River that flows into nearby Crowley Lake. Driving south on CA hwy 395, just past the airport turn left at the green church onto Benton Crossing Road. The campground is on your right approx 7 miles from 395 and just after you cross the bridge at Benton Crossing.
The section of Upper Owens immediately adjacent to the campground (downstream of the Benton Bridge to the Momument) is closed until May 23 in an attempt to protect spawning fish..
Upstream of the bridge has restrictions, including artificial lure with barbless hooks, a maximum of 18 inches, and only 1 fish in possession. A catch-and-release fisherperson's type of water. This section holds some large browns, but they spook easily.
From the Monument downstream to Crowley Lake holds numerous browns and rainbows. No restrictions of bait or fish size, and a daily limit of 5 fish.
Access to the river above Benton Bridge is via a dirt road that runs for several miles, starting immediately after the bridge. From the dirt road, take any of the dirt access roads down to the river. If you stay on the "main" dirt road, you'll eventually encounter a series of metal gates with requests to close them after you.
There are similar dirt access roads to the section below the monument down to Crowley Lake.
Since the river meanders through miles of open meadow, there's no cover. So, careful approaches are necessary to avoid spooking the fish.
Fly patterns for the Upper Owens include caddis in various forms and streamers worked under deep cut banks. There are numerous nearby streams and lakes, some of which I've fished in the past, including: