Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Hot Creek California
This spring creek has some of the highest fish
populations in the country. Located in volcano country,
this little stream is very unique. Its water comes from
geothermal springs which mixes with the cold water
from melting snow of Mammoth Creek. The results
provide a water chemistry that sustains a very healthy
aquatic insect population.

The population of wild trout runs as high as 8,000 to
10,000 trout per mile according to the California
Department of Game and Fish. One great thing about
Hot Creek that will help insure it stays that way is that it
is open only to barbless hook, catch and release, fly

Most spring creeks have smooth surface water that is
extra difficult to fish. Although Hot Creek is no pushover
by any means, it does provide some other types of
water such as runs and riffles more typical of a
freestone stream than a spring creek. This diversity of
water flows makes it a much more interesting stream to

Another good thing about Hot Creek is that its high
alkaline water and high aquatic insect population
provides a lot to great dry fly fishing. Hatches are
common and occur throughout most of the year. The
stream is heated by warm to hot springs. Some are
visible in the lower fishing section. Because of the hot
springs, the water temperature gradually increases the
farther you go downstream to the point it becomes too
warm for trout.

Fly fishing Hot Creek wouldn't be considered easy. The
trout see a lot of flies and anglers as well as other
visitors. The trout can become very selective to a
particular insect that is hatching or about to hatch.
Even though it is a little tough to fish at times, it usually
pays off with plenty of good memories decent success.
Type of Stream
Spring Creek

Rainbow Trout
Brown Trout


Eastern Sierra

Nearest Towns
Mammoth Lakes

Year - round

Good but very limited

Non-Resident License
State of California

National Weather Service Link

Fly Fishing Gear and Trout Flies
Hot Creek California
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Photo Courtesy of Gary Paepke
Photo Courtesy of Gary Paepke
You can fish Hot Creek any day of the year.
Springtime provides the most hatches even
though there are insects hatching about all
Summertime probably is the most crowded
time of the year.
Fly Fishing Guide to Hot Creek:
Springs Creeks, especially those that are like the English
Caulk streams, are not easy to fish simply because it is
difficult to fool the fish in this type of water. The trout can
get a good look at your presentations and matching the
hatch can be important.

The uppermost part you can fish starts just below the
State fish Hatchery located on the stream. Now don't get
confused thinking Hot Creek is stocked because it isn't.
Mammoth Creek also joins the stream just below the
hatchery. The section open to the public in this location
is small, only about a quarter of a mile in length. There
are no freestone characteristics in this area. It is pure,
smooth flowing water with large pools and difficult to
catch trout. The trout have no trouble closely examining
your fly in this section.
There is a large amount of the stream that is
on the property of Hot Creek Ranch. It has
some excellent fishing as well as cabins,
guides and other services for anglers. It is a
pay to play ranch but may be well worth it just
to not be crowed. A good thing about it is
they have allowed only dry fly fishing since
the 1960s. That shows the owners are taking
good care of their part of the stream and are
offering anglers even more challenge and
fun provided they are successful.

The other area the public fishing starts at the
lower end of the Hot Creek Ranch. This is the
largest and most popular section of the
stream to fish. It is also the most crowded of
the two public sections. The same basic
water temperatures and steady flows
throughout the year make the water stay
nearly the same from season to season.
Like most spring creeks, you must stay
hidden from the trout and that isn't exactly
easy on Hot Creek because there is little
cover along the stream. You much stay low
and make good cast. It takes long, light
leaders and tippets. The trout have seen
plenty of flies as well as anglers and are
easily spooked.

The stream not only holds a tremendous
population of rainbow and brown trout,
some of them grow to a large size. Fish up
to and over 20 inches are caught. Even
though the fishing can be difficult at times,
it can produce some nice trout when fished
correctly. We think it offers a good
challenge yet really doesn't penalize
anyone that makes good fly selections and
good presentations.
Hot Creek Hatches and Trout Flies:
Our information on aquatic insects is based
on our stream samples of larvae and
nymphs, not guess work. We base fly
suggestions on imitating the most plentiful
and most available insects and other foods
at the particular time you are fishing. Unlike
the generic fly shop trout flies, we have
specific imitations of all the insects in Hot
Creek and in all stages of life that are
applicable to fishing. If you want to fish
better, more realistic trout flies, have a much
higher degree of success, give us a call.  
We not only will help you with selections, you
will learn why, after trying Perfect Flies, 92%
of the thousands of our customers will use
nothing else.

Hot Creek has a huge number of aquatic
insects due to the high PH level of the water.
Hatches occur throughout the year. The
water temperatures remain about the same
throughout the year so the hatches occur at
different times than you may expect them to

Don't overlook midges on this small stream.
They hatch year-round and trout can be
taken on imitations of them when nothing
else works.

The first mayflies to appear are the
Blue-winged Olives. Different species of the
BWOs will hatch just about all year long until
around the first of November. These are the
most consistent hatches.

There are some Golden Stoneflies that will
hatch from about the middle of April through
the month of May. Other than that, the Little
Yellow Stoneflies, called Yellow Sallies
sometimes, will be the only other stonefly
hatches of any significance. They hatch
from about the first of June through

Mahogany Duns start hatching about the
first of June. This hatch can last for up to
three month. At about the same time the
PMDs, or Pale Morning Duns, start hatching.
This is a good hatch that can last until near
the end of August.
Species of Grannon caddisflies will hatch
in September and October. The October
Caddisflies also hatch around the month
of October.

Trico mayflies are one of the better
hatches to occur on Hot Creek. They start
about the first of August and hatch until
near the end of October.

Don't overlook the terrestrial insects.
Grass lines the banks of the stream and
hopper fishing can be good during the
summer month. Imitations of ants and
beetles will also work.

Scuds are one of the main items on the
trout's menu. Imitations of them can be
effective throughout the year. At times,
trout can be taken on streamers. We
suggest you fish them during low light
periods when the skies are cloudy as well
as early and late in the day.

We recommend our own line of "Perfect
Flies" for Hot Creek because they are the
most realistic imitations of insect you can
purchase. They are also the most
effective flies you can purchase. If you
haven't already tried them, we recommend
you do. You will be very pleased at the

Caddisflies are very important on Hot
Creek. There are several species that all
start hatching about the same time. The
Green Sedges are one of the first ones.
Imitations of their larva, know as Rock
Worms, will produce just about anytime of
the year. These caddisfles normally start
hatching about the last of May. Along with
the Green Sedges you will find large
hatches of Spotted Sedges. They will
hatch throughout the summer up until
around the first of September. Their Little
Sisters usually start about a month after
the Spotted Sedges and hatch until the
end of August.
Fly fishing Hot Creek can be great during
the Fall months.
Thanks to the warm water, fishing can be
good on good weather days. Midges and
small BWOs.
Photos Courtesy of Gary Paepke
Fishing Report Updated
October 13, 2016
(See Full Report At Bottom Of Page)
Hot Creek River Fishing Report - 10/13/16
The creek is in good shape, even though some fly shops attempt to degrade it. They want
you to fish other locations better for them. The water is clear. There is still some weeks and
you have to pay attention to what you use and where you cast, but otherwise, conditions
are good.
Stream Conditions:

7 Day Weather Forecast:
There is a chance of rain or snow from Friday through Monday.
Highs will range from 51 to 63 and lows from 40 to 45.

Recommended Trout Flies:
Rate: 15 cfs (approx)
Afternoon Water Temperature: 54
Clarity: Mostly clear
Blue-winged Olives, size 18/20, nymphs, emergers, duns and spinners
Midges: Blood (Red), sizes 20/22, larva, pupa and adults
Midges: Light Green, size 20/22, larva, pupa and adults
Black Matuka and Olive Matuka Sculpin, size 4/6
Brown Sculpin and White Belly Sculpin, size 6
Scuds, size 14
Sowbugs, 16
Green Sedges, caddisflies, size 16, larva, pupa and adults
Tricos, size 20, nymphs, emergers, duns and spinners
Green Sandwich Hoppers, size 8, 10, 12,
Japanese Beetles, size 16/14
Black Carpenter ants, size 16/18
Strategies, Techniques and Tips:
Various species of Blue-winged Olives nymphs are plentiful and the main insect we
recommend imitating at this time. You could even see some hatches if the skies would
become cloudy.  The Olive Matuka Sculpin and Black Matuka Sculpin streamer flies are
good flies to use for the larger trout. So are the Brown and White Belly Sculpin.
Scuds are available for the trout year-round. Scud imitations will catch trout year-round.
Sowbugs are also plentiful.
Green sedges or caddisflies should begin to hatch anytime now, if not already.
A good strategy is to fish a tandem Midge rig under a small strike indicator with the
midge lava as the bottom fly and the midge pupa as the top fly. Fish the adult midge only
when you observe trout feeding on the surface.
Hoppers are becoming important
Black Carpenter ants are plentiful around the banks.
Japanese Beetles are becoming important food.
Tricos are hatching.
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Priority Mail.  
The creek is in good shape with
clear water. The weeds are still thick
but that give you targets to cast too.
The fish hold and feed on the edges
of them. There is some rain in the