Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide in Mammoth Lakes, California

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James Elias

Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide

Phone icon760-582-2195 Email iconbookings@fishmammoth.com Link iconfishmammoth.com
Mammoth Lakes, CA

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The Story

Join Orvis-endorsed guide James Elias for your fly-fishing adventure in Mammoth Lakes, California. Jim offers a superior guided fly-fishing experience in the mountains of California's breathtaking Eastern Sierra. Let him share his experience and passion for the sport while you relax and enjoy fishing with 12,000-foot snow capped peaks as your backdrop. Jim is comfortable teaching anglers from beginner to expert how to stalk the wild trout that inhabit the local streams and lakes.

The Eastern Sierra is a unique venue. It has a wide variety of lakes and streams to satisfy even the most discriminating fly fisherman. Whether you've never fly fished before, or you have to lie to your significant other about how many days a year you fish—there truly is something for everyone here.

There are miles upon miles of walk-and-wade fishing available on the Owens River. It's not a large river and lends itself to wading. It's a great place for beginners to start off or for a more advanced angler to challenge their skills. It's a wide open area with 360-degree panoramic views of mountains and wildlife. The Owens contains many deep bends and shallow riffles that hold several different species of trout.

Crowley Lake has 5200 acres of some of the best stillwater fishing in North America. We access Crowley by a large, modern, center console boat with comfortable seating, state- of-the-art electronics, and a grill for preparing delicious gourmet lunches on full-day excursions. Crowley is mainly fished under a strike indicator and is the best shot for catching a trophy-sized trout on any given day.

Jim moved to Mammoth in 2009 looking to live the mountain lifestyle. He has guided professionally since 2012 and worked for a local outfitter until the spring of 2018, when he decided it was time to venture off on his own. Jim's goal is simple—to provide you with a trip that's safe, fun, and most of all, memorable.

What is Provided:

All equipment is provided. IE: Waders, boots, rods, reels, flies, etc.

Deli-style lunch is provided on full day river trips and a grilled lunch is provided on full day lake trips. Snacks and beverages are provided on half-day trips.

All participants age 16 and older are responsible for acquiring a California fishing license that is valid for the dates you'll be fishing.

A waterproof GoPro camera will capture your best memories of the trip so don't worry about bringing a camera with you.

LADWP charges a $10 parking fee per vehicle at Crowley Lake which is not included.

What to Bring:

An extra change of clothes just in case. A backpack will be helpful to carry anything you choose to bring with you.

Please do not forget your California fishing license, we cannot fish without it!

Gear Recommendations:

Although all gear is provided, you're welcome to bring your own. Most fishing we do here is with either a 9 ft. 4 or 5 wt. rod with floating line.

It's strongly recommended that you bring a hat and polarized sunglasses. Dressing in layers is essential at this altitude as the day can start very cold and warm up considerably. The sun is very strong up here and a long sleeve shirt will provide the best protection from its harmful rays.

During the winter months, thicker socks, a warm hat, and a rain jacket area necessity.


We will be targeting trout almost exclusively.

There are rainbows, browns and Lahontan cutthroat in most of the waters we'll be fishing.

There are certain times of the year when we can catch very large carp and bass but there is usually only a small window of opportunity.


Crowley Lake Stillwater boat trips - May 1st-October 30th.

The Owens River is open Spring though Fall.

Hot Creek remains open year-round.


The mountains of the Eastern Sierra are all encompassing. Regardless of where we're fishing there are mountain views to be had. This area is otherwise known as a "high desert" and gets most of its precipitation in the form of snow during the winter months. The summer months are warm and very dry for the most part.

The Upper Owens River is a unique river. It starts as a small freestone creek feeding into a spring which meets up with a pipeline from Grant Lake. It then flows through a large meadow at the base of the glass mountains ending at Crowley Lake and is about a 20-minute drive from the town of Mammoth Lakes.

Crowley Lake sits at the bottom of Long Valley at 7000ft, at the start of the Owens Gorge. Crowley is 5300 acres and is about a 15 minute drive from the town of Mammoth Lakes.

The Lower Owens River starts below Pleasant Valley Reservoir and is about 3000ft lower in elevation making it a great place to fish during the winter months. It, too, winds through a large meadow and is about a 40-minute drive from Mammoth an about 15 minutes from Bishop.

Typical Weather:

The mountains make their own weather here, so it can be a real mixed bag depending on the time of year. There is no "typical" weather.

Summers here are hot during the day with temps in the 80s, and 50s at night. It's mostly dry but on occasion there can be large thunderstorms that can put on quite a show in the afternoons.

During the winter, it can be very cold and wet, but as we drop in altitude the temperatures are considerably warmer with daytime temperatures reaching into the upper 50s on some days.

Spring and fall can be wet and are very unpredictable. It can be winter one day, and summer the next. It can snow one day, and then be downright hot the next day.

Rates start from: $325

You can find all pricing information at: www.fishmammoth.com/book-a-trip

I have limited mobility or I'm in a wheelchair, can I still fish?

Yes, Jim's boat is wheelchair accessible. If you have a hard time walking, we'll make sure we go somewhere we don't have to hike to get to.

When is the best time to come?

There is no perfect time to fly fish here in the Eastern Sierra. Every season has its advantages and disadvantages. Try not to think too much into it. Anytime you can be here is a good time.

Will we catch fish?

Guiding isn't always about catching lots of fish. A guided trip is more about learning the sport and enhancing your skills to make you a better angler. Although it's very uncommon not to catch anything, it does happen occasionally. If for any reason you're not satisfied with your trip we will do everything we can to make it right.

Is transportation to and from the river/lake included?

Unfortunately no, my insurance policy does not include clients in my vehicle currently. You will be responsible for meeting at the river/lake.

How old does my child need to be to fly fish?

It's not so much about age, but about the size and maturity of the child. It's difficult for children under the age of 10 to handle a fly rod in a way where they wouldn't need constant supervision. I've had perfectly capable 7 year olds cast and catch fish on their own though. Remember, every child is different, so don't let that deter you from booking a trip.

Can we keep our fish?

Our trips focus on catch-and-release fly fishing only. These fish are our business partners. The more of them that stay in the river or lake, the better the fishing will be for future generations.

Do we still fish if the weather is bad?

Yes, inclement weather is a part of the game. The exceptions would be lightning, or extremely high winds on Crowley Lake which result in rough waters that could make it unsafe to be on the lake.

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