California’s Eastern Sierra

Fishing Rules & Regulations

Fishing in Mono County, California

A 2016 Fishing License is required.

A California Sport Fishing license is required of anyone 16 years of age or over, fishing any waters in Mono County (Note: A California or Nevada Fishing License works on Topaz Lake). Purchase your license online now from the California Department of Fish & Wildlife or by calling CA DFW Telephone Sales (800) 565-1458, or in person at most regional tackle shops. 
     
1-Day - $15.12 (resident or non-resident)
     
2-Day - $23.50 (resident or non-resident)
     
10-Day - $47.01 (non-resident)
     
Year 2016 - $47.01 (resident)
     
Year 2016 - $126.36 (non-resident)
Other pricing and more details at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Fishing.

Free Fishing Days: Two free fishing days are July 2, 2016 and September 3, 2106. On these days, you can fish without a sport fishing license (all other fishing regulations still apply though).  

In Season Fishing: 

Limit: 5 per person 
Bona fide trout fishing season is the last Saturday in April through November 15 every year. In 2016, Opening Day, aka “Fishmas,” is Saturday, April 30. This is when most waters in Mono County are open to anglers to fish for as many as 5 trout to catch-and-keep per day (Always check local regulations. Some waters have special restrictions. View regulations here - https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Regulations) or call 760-872-1171. Popular waters where these rules apply include Crowley Lake, Convict Lake, the Mammoth Lakes Basin, June Lake Loop waters and the Bridgeport Reservoir. (For a complete list of Mono County Fishing Spots click here). From Nov. 16 through the last Friday in April all waters in Mono County (see exceptions below) are closed to fishing.

Year-Round Fishing:

Limit: 0 per person 
At all other times of year, if you wish to fish in Mono County, there are several bodies of water where CATCH-AND-RELEASE ONLY is permitted year-round on public lands with barbless artificial flies and lures only. This includes: 
- East Walker River, which begins out of Bridgeport Reservoir and heads out Hwy. 182; 
- West Walker River, which parallels Highway 395 through Walker and Coleville, one mile north of the Highway 108 turnoff, to the Topaz Lake inlet; 
- Hot Creek; east of Mammoth Lakes and ideal for all skill levels of fly fishing
- Upper Owens River – (certain sections only); the river runs along Owens River Road, which travels east of US 395 between June Lake and Bishop. 
Note: From the last Saturday in April through Nov. 15 every year, the above waters are open for catch-and-keep fishing at the limit of one fish over 18 inches per person per day. Always check local regulations. Some waters have special restrictions. View regulations here - https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Regulations or call 760-872-1171.

Topaz Lake:

Limit: 5 per person per day
Topaz Lake, the large, sunny reservoir filled with rainbow trout, brown trout and Smallmouth bass, is on the California-Nevada stateline border, and has unique regulations. Topaz Lake is open for fishing January 1 through September 30 every year. Either a California or Nevada Fishing License works on Topaz Lake.


Sustainable Fishing

Join the effort to keep our Eastern Sierra fisheries healthy and sustainable so that trout can thrive to trophy sizes - not only for your next fishing trip but for your great grandkids and their great grandkids! It's Simple: KEEP ONLY WHAT YOU NEED - release the rest to reproduce, grow and transform into trophy sized beauties!

Tips for sustainable fishing and catch-and-release best practices:

1) Land your fish as carefully and quickly as possible. If you plan to release the fish, do not pull it up or land it on dry land - sand, rocks and vegetation damage the trout's slime covering that helps keep the fish healthy.

2) Avoid moving fish from the water - unhook and release the fish while it is still under water.

3) Only use wet hands and limit overall handing of the fish. Never use a rag and never squeeze the fish or touch its eyes or gills.

4) Remove hooks that you can see and remove gently - otherwise, clip the line near the mouth on a deep hooked fish. (The hook will rust and dissolve over time)

5) Use artificial lures (no bait) to minimize deep hooking. Barbless hooks or hooks with flattened barbs make unhooking easier and less stressful on the fish.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What time of day can I fish in Mono County? 
- Hours are: One hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. 
- Night fishing is prohibited in all Mono County waters except Topaz Lake, where fishing is prohibited from two hours after sunset to one hour before sunrise. 
- Night fishing is allowed on Rock Creek Lake (Inyo County) 24/7.

Is there anywhere that I cannot fish? 

Yes. There are a few waters that are permanently closed and prohibited to fishing in Mono County, no matter the time of year. These include: 
- Crooked Creek (below LADWP Gauging Station) is closed all year. 
- Rock Creek Diversion Channel is closed all year. 
- Other closures may apply.  

Need more info? 
For more information about fishing rules and regulations, please contact the California Department of Fish & Wildlife at 760-872-1171 or visit www.wildlife.ca.gov or one of the friendly guide services available in Mono County.