Hot Creek California Fly Fishing, Camping, Boating

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Hot Creek

Visitors come to Hot Creek for its world class fly fishing, unique geothermal activity, and rare wildlife.

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  • Hot Creek geothermal area boasts over a dozen steam vents and bubbling blue pools.
  • Spend the day fishing or explore the creek banks for wildlife.
  • Visit the Hot Creek Fish Hatchery for a chance to hand feed the trout.

Overview

Visitors come to Hot Creek for its spectacular scenery, geothermal activity, as well as excellent fishing, hiking, and wildlife viewing.

Location & Information

From Mammoth Lakes head south on US 395, then follow signs to the Hot Creek Fish Hatchery onto Owens River Road. The road is paved for the first 3.3 miles, and then turns to gravel. Park at the paved parking area and follow the path down to Hot Creek.

Hot Creek is open year round from dawn until dusk. In winter, snow may make the roads impassable. 

  • Inyo National Forest
    351 Pacu Lane
    Suite 200
    Bishop, CA 93514
    Inyo National Forest
  • Hot Creek Fish Hatchery
    Star Route 1
    Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
    760-648-7334

Activities

Hot Creek Fly Fishing
Hot Creek is famous for its fly-fishing. Expect Tui Chub, Rainbow and Brook Trout. This stream is catch and release only, so only artificial, barbless hooks are allowed. Fishing is allowed here year round. Try the following fishing locations:

  • The Interpretive Area - Find this area just below the Hot Creek Hatchery. Flat smooth water and deep pools challenge fisherman to use careful technique. The pros advise you to “make delicate presentations to surface sipping trout.” 
  • Hot Creek Ranch - This area of the river is private, open only to guests of the fly-fishing resort. 
  • Geothermal Area - After a short hike down into the canyon housing the geothermal area that gives Hot Creek its name, anglers will find the fishing that has made this stream famous. Get here by continuing down the road past the fish hatchery and parking in one of the two dirt lots. Then follow the paths downhill.

Hot Creek Hatchery
One of the largest Fish Hatcheries in California, Hot Creek offers free self-guided tours and an opportunity to feed their fish.

  • Location: The hatchery is located south of Mammoth Lakes off US-395. Watch for signs.
  • Hours: 8am until 4pm Closes to the public when there is snow on the ground.
  • Fee: Free
  • Contact: 760-934-2664
  • Website: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/fish/Hatcheries/HotCreek/index.asp
  • Tours: Free self guided tours of the hatchery are available seven days a week, from 8am to 4pm. The tours take approximately 30 minutes
  • Feed the Fish: For $0.25 visitors can purchase fish food and feed the trout.

Geothermal area
Three miles under Hot Creek lies a chamber of hot magma. Water percolates beneath the earth’s surface and is heated and pressurized before eventually emerging into hot creek. The result is over a dozen steam vents and bubbling blue pools (which occasionally erupt into geysers). Swimming was once allowed here; however, because of area instability is no longer. Make sure to stay on established paths and area board walks to avoid incident as the ground can be unstable.

Wildlife Viewing
Hot creek is home to birds such as the Great Horned Owl and Bald Eagle (usually spotted during winter). Bushy-Tailed Woodrats are responsible for the piles of dry sticks you find jammed into rock crevices. Mountain Lions make an occasional appearance.

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