East of Mammoth Lakes, the Owens River is some of the finest trout fly fishing waters in the Inyo National Forest. The Owens River is known for its rainbow and brown trout.
The Upper Owens River is northeast of Mammoth Lakes from the headwaters to Lake Crowley. The river is a high plains spring creek with spawners and trout averaging 12 inches. The conditions are often windy, much of the shoreline is private and the banks provide little shady for camoflauge. The Big Springs Camp provides access to 1 mile of public access water. It is located on Owens River Road about 2 miles from SR395.
The Middle Owens River is a twenty mile stretch betwee Lake Crowley and Pleasant Valley Lake that runs through Owens River Gorge. This tailwater river section is known for its rattlesnakes and is smaller trout. The gorge can be difficult to access, as well, requiring descending steep trails from SR395 or Gorge Road. This section is open year-round
The Lower Owens River is a 25 mile stretch from Pleasant Valley Lake toward Bishop to Tinemaha Reservoir. It flows through a valley much like a spring creek. Just below Pleasant Valley dam, there is a 3.3 mile wild brown trout water. Access is provided by SR395 which parallels this section of river. There are many turnouts. The Chalk Bluffs Road provides a good access to the wild trout section.
Note: each section of river has unique regulations so make sure to verify season and lure requirements before heading out.
Overall, Owens River is the 6th most popular fly fishing river of all 17 fly fishing spots in California.