Twin Lakes / Mammoth Lakes Area

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Lake Name: Twin Lakes      Elevation: 8,600


Road condition:   Paved  

Day hike fishing: T.J. Lake, Crystal Lake, McLeod Lake

Region: Mammoth Lakes Ranger District 760-924-5500 

Area/description: Mammoth Lakes

Size: 30 acres  Species: Rainbows, Browns and Brookies

Closest town or supplies: Mammoth Lakes

Contacts: Twin Lakes Store (760) 934-6974; Mammoth Lakes Visitor Bureau (888) 466-2666 / (760)-924-5500; Rick’s Sports Center (760) 934-3416; The Trout Fitter fly shop (760) 934-2517.

Facilities: Lodge, marina, grocery store, bait and tackle, coin-laundry, coin-showers

Nearest campground: Twin Lakes Campground; Mammoth Mountain RV Park; New and Old Shady Rest Campgrounds; Pine Glen

Boating: Boat launch; no gas-powered motors

Fishing season: General        Best times:


Favorite lures or bait: Use small lures such as Kastmasters, Daredevils and Panther-Martins.  Bring smaller lures, but have a variety of color combinations to entice both shallow and deep cruising trout.  Bank anglers typically use Power Bait, night crawlers or salmon eggs suspended above the bottom with marshmallows. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: : The Fly & Bubble technique with small nymphs such as Hare’s Ear, Zug Bug, Bead-Head Prince Nymph, Pheasant Tail or a Tellico Shrimp; for larger trout be sure to have some good streamer patterns, particularly the Olive Matuka, Woolly Buggers and leech patterns. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)


Stocking information: 20,000 plus yearly carry-overs


Additional information: High pressure

Nearby fishing: Lake Mary, Mamie Lake, Lake George

Directions: From Highway 395 turn west at the junction with Highway 203 and drive through Mammoth Lakes.  Turn onto Lake Mary Road.  Drive 2.3 miles to Twin Lakes.


Map courtesy of

Mammoth Lakes: Permit an aging angler to wax nostalgic. As a young boy attending Bishop Elementary School as a third grader, I soon discovered the children’s only fishing area at one of the parks.  Borrowing my father’s South Bend fly rod, I headed for the park on a beautiful fall afternoon.  Using a stick to dig with, I soon pulled up a number of earth worms and grubs, which I deposited in my hinged worm can that could be worn from a belt.  Walking the bank, I soon found my elusive quarry fining below a large, swaying water cress plant. I had no idea how to cast an 8’ fly rod, and my frustration soon got the better of me when I saw the trout dart away to a new hiding place.  A few older boys gathered behind me on the bank.  I looked up to see one of Doc Wilson’s older sons.  “Do you need some help?” he asked.

            I lowered my rod with a dejected sigh.  “Yeah, but I want to catch a fish all by myself,” I replied.

            “Well,” the oldest boy grinned, “I can help you do that.  I’ll just get your worm out there in the water, but you’ll have to catch the fish.”

            “OK!” I said, eager to begin a fishing lesson that my father had failed to initiate after many requests.  I followed the older boy downstream to where a fence crossed the small channel.  We crawled on our hands and knees the last few yards.  Peeking through the grass on the bank above the water, we could see a couple of trout feeding right under the wire fence.  The older boy flipped the worm out in the water and handed the rod to me.  “Now, shake out some line.  Just lift your rod a little and point it downstream.  Shake it a little more.”

            I couldn’t believe my eyes.  The red worm, neatly skewered on an Eagle snelled hook, gradually worked down to the feeding trout.  One of the trout darted over to the worm and greedily swallowed it.  I didn’t have to be told how to set the hook.  I was on my feet running backwards.  The little Rainbow never escaped the hook until I had him half-way on to the playground.  The other boys laughed with glee, and so did I when I ran home to show my mom my first trout.  Later, when I was in junior high, I spent a week or more fishing Mammoth Lakes and Rush Creek.  I caught a dozen trout every day.  I probably had no idea what the limit was, but my mother’s imposed limit was simply you ate what you caught that day because she wasn’t about to let trout pile up in our camping ice box.


            In 1959 the mantra “Catch-and-Release” had not been coined.  I was in ninth grade, and I had just sold my bicycle, cleaned out my Piggy bank and bought my first boat.  It was a Fold-A-Boat, a leaky old plywood and canvass ten foot pram that I christened the “Twilight Wanderer.”  Each day I would row out on Twin Lakes with a peanut butter sandwich wrapped in wax paper, a water jug and a bailing bucket.  My spinning rod was a Berkley and my spinning reel was a Langley 777.  My only lures were red and white Daredevils.  When I saw my mother open up the trailer doors on our little 15-foot camper and let my sisters out to play in the morning, I knew it was time to head in with my catch for a hearty trout breakfast.  My father had died the previous summer.  This trip to my father’s home area was a trip we had planned with my father a year earlier.  My mother cooked trout as a side dish every night for me.  It was a glorious fishing trip.



            Mammoth Lakes is a world class destination resort offering recreation all year.  Trendy shops, 4-Star restaurants, world class skiing and public camping nearby makes this community a fun place to visit.  Add great fishing and you will understand why it is LA’s favorite playground.  Mammoth Lakes comprises nine lakes in close proximity to each other.  Five of these lakes are reached by paved road, and the remaining lakes may be reached in short hikes or day hikes.  Lake Mary is the largest at 140 acres, and a road circles the lake with access to Mamie Lake, Horseshoe Lake and Lake George.  From Lake George hiking trails lead to T.J. Lake and Crystal Lake.  Barrett Lake is barren and Horseshoe Lake should probably be avoided due to the posted health warnings for high admissions of Co2 from volcanic fissures.  Sure, trout still survive in small numbers, but do you really want to spend time around an odorless gas that harms plant life and animal life?  McLeod Lake trailhead may be reached from the Horseshoe Lake parking lot.  McLeod Lake is a short half-mile hike up the trail.  My sentimental favorite, however, is Twin Lakes, the first lakes to be reached on Lake Mary Road.  The Mammoth Lake area also features Convict Lake, Crowley Lake and Laurel Lakes.  If your only association for Mammoth is world-class skiing, think again!


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This page contains a single entry by David Archer published on January 20, 2008 8:37 PM.

Laurel Lakes / Mammoth Lakes Area was the previous entry in this blog.

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