June Lake Loop-Eastern Sierra

June Lake Loop

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June Lake LoopRush Creek Gull Lake Agnew Backcountry Upper Owens River Upper MF San Joaquin Parker Lake Silver Lake Gull Lake June Lake Lower Rush Creek Walker Lake

Suggested Flies for the June Lake Loop area:
Eastern Sierra Hatch Selection


Other Local Favorites:

Stillwater Flies:
Woolly Bugger #8-10
Twin Lake Specials #8-10
Grey Ghost
Mohair Leech #8-10
Matuku #6-10

Hare's Ear Nymph #12-14
Pheasant Tail Nymph #12-14
Bird Nest #12-14
A.P. Nymph #12-14
Golden Stone Nymph #4-8

Olive Caddis #12-16
Yellow Humpy #14-16
Royal Wulff #12-14
Chernobyl Ant #12-14
Madam X #12-14


Northern Yosemite Directions

Located on Road 158 off Hwy 395 about 15 miles northeast of Mammoth Lakes. The loop is about 7 miles long and exits back onto Hwy 395 about 5 miles south of Lee Vining.

June Lake The June Lake Loop area is comprised of four linked lakes and sits at an elevation of 7,600 feet. These lakes are of glacial derivation. A glacier came eastward from Koip Peak, above Alger Lakes, and was divided when it hit Reversed Peak with one part headed toward Mono Lake creating Silver and Grant Lake. The other part headed in the opposite direction until it hit the Mono Crater area and created Gull and June Lake from the deposited moraines. Remnants of the glacier still exist around Koip Peak. You can see huge boulders that were deposited by the glacier along June Lake Loop Road, one is next to the Fire Station with one boulder on top of the other. The lakes vary in size: June Lake has 320 acres, Gull Lake has 64 acres, Silver Lake has 110 acres, and the largest is Grant Lake with 1,095 acres. The Silver and Grant lakes are linked by Rush Creek while Gull and Silver are linked by Reversed Creek. June Lake and Gull Lake are both spring-fed lakes. The overflow of June and Gull Lakes create Reversed Creek which flows towards the mountain until it confluences with Rush Creek. The area was originally known as Horseshoe Canyon, named by USGS Surveyors, due to the unusual flow of Reversed Creek. Fern Creek had a trout hatchery in place from 1928 to 1942 producing over one million fingerlings per year. Most of these local waters were heavily planted with the fingerlings of Browns, Brooks, and Rainbows from Fern Creek Hatchery. Fern Lake is a 3 mile hike from the trailhead off Reversed Creek and consists of Brookies and is a good lake for dry fly fishing. Try Parachute Adams, Black Gnats, and BWO's in size 14-18. The lakes within the loop consist of primarily Browns and Rainbows. Some Brookies can be found within Gull Lake. The season is the last Saturday of April to November 15th.

Silver Lake (110 acres) is probably the best lake of the four for flyfishing. Despite getting heavy fishing pressure, the lake maintains a large number of fish due to annual plantings of 46,000 Rainbows and 15,000 Cutthroats. It is best handled by a float tube. Popular areas are the outlet of Rush Creek, particularly during the Spring when large Rainbows stage within the area for spawning or in the Fall when Browns are staging. There is a good drop-off from the northern side. There is also a good drop-off from the southern shoreline where Rush/Reverse Creek enters. Both drop-offs provide excellent locations to cast streamers such as Hornbergs or Grey Ghosts. These streamers have been favorite flies for this lake for years. A chironomid hatch occurs throughout the season. Local guides tend to use a dry fly indicator with a chironomid dropper during low light conditions in the shallower sections of the inlet and outlet. Use a 12' 4x-5x leader since the water is very clear. A 5 weight rod should suffice. The California State record Brookie (9Lb. 12 oz) was caught on Silver Lake by Tex Haynes in 1932 and an 18 lb. 9 oz Brown was caught here in Oct. 1957 by Don Campbell using a brown bucktail fly. Silver Lake Resort offers a marina, store, cabins, cafe, and rv campground. It is one of the oldest resorts within the Sierra, starting in 1916. The resort supplements the regular stocking with large trophy trout over 5 lbs. each. Nearby, Frontier Pack Train offers horse access into the backcountry.

Gull Lake (64 acres) is probably the next best lake. It is also perfect for float tubes with tule reedbeds along the northern shoreline. This is an excellent area for damsel nymphs and callibaetis nymphs. Tugging some streamers between the Big Rock and the Aspen trees along the western shoreline will pick up fish. Most of the trout in Gull Lake are 10-14 inch Rainbow stockers. The lake recieves about 38,000 Rainbows annually as well as 5,000 cutthroats. There are a number of larger holdovers, however. The lake record for Rainbows is 13 Lbs. 3 oz. Gull also has a few remaining Browns and Brookies. A 6 Lb. 12 oz Brookie caught at Gull Lake in 1968 was a U.S. Record. There are a number of entry points for float tubes. The picnic area behind the Big Rock is popular place to put in as well as the boat ramp near the campgrounds. Use an intermediate or Type I sinking line with a 9 foot 4x leader. The water is less clear than Silver Lake and the fish are less leader-shy.

June Lake (320 acres) is a large glacially developed, spring-fed lake. It is generally fished by trollers and bait-fishermen since it is large and deep. Float tubing opportunities exist along the western and northern shoreline where tule reedbeds exist. Also try the beach area along the drop-off. This lake has some very large Browns and Rainbows. A good population of Sacramento Perch has also established themselves in the shallows near the tules. The lake recieves about 85,000 Rainbow and 10,000 Cutthroat plants annually from DFG. The marina rears another 10,000 rainbows that reach up to 2 Lbs each before they release them into the lake. Try streamers, such as a Brown or Olive Twin Lake Special.

Grant Lake (1,100 acres) is the largest of the four lakes but has some excellent flyfishing opportunites. It is a long lake, 8 miles of shoreline, a sandy bottom and a deep channel through the middle of it. Originally, Grant lake was 150 acres but was enlarged in 1939 with a concrete dam. There were no fish within Grant Lake prior to 1880 until Lahontan Cutthroats were introduced from freight train wagons coming from the East Walker River over Conway Summit. Brown Trout were introduced in 1919 as fingerlings and plantings continued until 1942. Today, Grant gets about 50,000 Rainbow trout plants, 12-14 inches annually, some Lahontan Cuts and subcatchable Browns. However, the lake consists of many more large browns than any of the other June Lake Loop lakes. A 20 Lb. Brown was caught there in 1991. The population of Lahontan cutthroats within Grant continues from spawning beds within the inlet of Rush Creek. The Browns also spawn within Rush Creek above slack water but within the lake inundation zone. There is some fry and egg mortality when the Springtime elevations of the water exceed that of the Fall. During the 1970's, small plants of Eastern Brookies within Rush Creek found their way to Grant Lake. Late Fall is an excellent time to float tube the lake since the Browns come up from the depths to feed along the shoreline. The best areas to enter the lake with a float tube is around the marina, the inlet, and near the dam. During the spawn in late Spring, many large Browns will stage where Rush Creek flows into it. Another popular area is the channel between the north and south sections of the lake. Grant Lake has a marina showers, cafe, and store.

Parker Lake (ele 8,350') is not part of the loop but is close by and consists of Browns and Brookies. This 23 acre lake can be float tubed with a short 2 mile hike from the end of the access road above Grant Lake. It is a very popular destination hike during the fall with the Aspen color. The lake has both Brookies and Browns. Most of the lake is shallow and float tubes help to reach the deeper areas. Most of the fish are 8-10 inches but there are reports of larger Browns that may reside within the deeper waters. Fall is the best time to fish this lake such as Sept and Oct when those larger Browns may show themselves for a Fall spawn. Late Spring around June is also good. The fish will be within the deeper depths during the Summer months.

Rush Creek is excellent for both dries and nymphs. A caddis hatch comes off in July and is a good time to use Olive and Brown caddis patterns. If the fish are down in their holes, use nymphing patterns such as Hare's Ear and a beadhead Prince Nymph. There are two sections of Rush Creek to note. The most popular section is between Silver and Grant Lake. This is a stocked section of stream with 20,000 rainbows planted annually. The section has a 5 fish limit. There is about 2.5 miles of stream available with pocket water, runs, and pools. The second section is below Grant Lake. This is a proposed "Wild-Trout" stream that is C&R. This section of the creek was dry after 1941 when water from Grant was diverted through the Mono tunnel. In 1994, LADWP was mandated to maintain a flow into the creekbed that would assist Mono Lake from residing any further. This section of Rush Creek has less pressure on it but contains some large Browns. The upper part of this section is a man-made canal that is about 20' wide and 4' deep. Some large Browns reside here but are very spooky. The lower part of the section,below the parking area, is a freestone stream where the browns and rainbows are less wary. Below Hwy 395, Rush Creek enters Mono Lake. This section has some steep gradients and can be difficult to fish. Try to get to the outlet as the browns will stage within the outlet and make runs into Mono Lake for the brine shrimp. Try some scud patterns here.

Reversed Creek is a small 3 mile stretch between Gull and Silver Lake. This is good nymphing water as well as dries such as Adams, Bivisibles, Elk Hair Caddis, and Humpies. The best area is where is meets with Rush Creek, just above the Silver Lake inlet. The stream is up to 15 feet wide and meanders through some small meadows.

Fishing Regulations (Effective March 1st, 2021)

June Lake, Gull Lake, Silver Lake, and Grant Lake:

Last Saturday in Apr. through Nov 15. 5 trout. No gear restrictions.

All Lakes and Reservoirs in Inyo and Mono Counties (except Bridgeport Reservoir and tributaries; Convict Lake; Crowley Lake; George Lake; Grant Lake; Gull Lake; Horseshoe Lake; June Lake; Lundy Lake; Mamie Lake; Mary Lake; Rock Creek Lake; Sabrina Lake; Silver Lake; South Lake; Twin Lakes (Mammoth); Twin Lakes, Lower and Upper (Bridgeport); Virginia Lake, Lower and Upper):

Open all year. 5 trout. 10 in possession. No gear restrictions.

Parker Creek (Mono Co.) from Parker Lake to the confluence of Rush Creek:

Open all year. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout.

Rush Creek (Mono Co.) only from Grant Lake Dam downstream to Mono Lake.:

Open all year. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used. 0 trout.

Rush Creek (Mono Co.) between Silver Lake and Grant Lake.:

Saturday preceding Memorial Day through September 30. No gear restrictions. 5 trout. Summer season only to protect spawners in Spring and Fall.

All other creeks and tributaries:

From the last Saturday in April through November 15, five trout daily bag limit, 10 trout in possession; and, from November 16 through the Friday preceding the last Saturday in April, 0 trout bag limit, artificial lures with barbless hooks only and trout must be released unharmed and not removed from the water.


© 2021 Steve Schalla
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