Exploring McGee Creek: A Comprehensive Fishing Guide in the Eastern Sierra Wilderness

Nestled in the heart of the Eastern Sierra near Mammoth Lakes, this hidden gem offers solitude, challenge, and a diverse array of fish populations. Here’s everything you need to know to embark on a rewarding angling adventure at McGee Creek.

Types of Fish You Can Expect to Catch

  1. Brown Trout: The undisputed stars of McGee, from feisty brookies in the headwaters to brawling monsters in the lower sections, browns are plentiful and love a good fight. Look for them in pools, runs, and near structures like logs and rocks.
  2. Rainbow Trout: While less common than browns, rainbows are still a welcome catch. They’re acrobatic and love chasing flies or lures, especially in the spring and fall. Find them in faster runs and shallower sections.
  3. Eastern Sierra Dace: These tiny, silvery fish may not be trophies, but they’re a blast to catch on ultralight gear. Found throughout the creek, they serve as a great indicator of healthy water.

A Glimpse into McGee Creek’s History

When the wind howls at Crowley Lake, an occasional event during early summer afternoons, McGee Creek becomes the refuge for anglers seeking shelter. Flowing eastward until it joins Lower Convict Creek and enters Crowley Lake, McGee Creek is a sanctuary stocked with 10- to 12-inch rainbow trout. Beyond fishing, the creek serves as a trailhead for a wilderness adventure into the John Muir Wilderness, leading to stunning lakes like Big McGee and Little McGee.

Top 5 Tips for First-Time Anglers at McGee Creek

  • Match the Hatch: McGee Creek is home to stoneflies, caddis, and midges. Pay attention to the flying insects and adjust your flies accordingly.
  • Prepare for a Hike: Accessing the best spots may involve some legwork. Pack sturdy boots, sunscreen, and sufficient water for a comfortable trek.
  • Leave No Trace: Respect the pristine ecosystem. Carry out all trash, avoid disturbing wildlife, and practice responsible campfire etiquette.
  • Be Water-Wise: Water levels in the creek can fluctuate based on snowmelt and rainfall. Stay aware of changing conditions and adjust your fishing tactics accordingly.
  • Explore Local Insights: Engage with fellow anglers or local fly shops for valuable insights into secret spots and tips for a successful fishing experience.

Top 5 Strategies and Tactics for Optimal Fishing at McGee Creek

  • Upper McGee Creek Paradise: For fly fishing enthusiasts, the remote stretch of Upper McGee Creek is a haven. Seek brook trout in the headwaters and browns in the deeper pools. Be prepared for a hike to this pristine location.
  • Accessible Lower McGee Creek: More accessible than the upper section, this area offers good fishing for both browns and rainbows. Try nymphing near structure or casting streamers in the runs. Accessible by boat from Crowley Lake.
  • Navigate The Narrows: The tight section near the confluence with the Owens River, known as The Narrows, is a hotspot for experienced anglers. Be prepared for challenging currents and potentially large browns.
  • McGee Creek Campground: Situated next to the creek, this campground offers easy access for fishing, camping, and picnicking. It serves as an excellent base for exploring the entire creek.
  • Adapt to Wilderness Conditions: Embrace the wilderness experience, adapt to changing conditions, and enjoy the solitude and beauty of McGee Creek.

Top 5 Recommendations for Fishing Gear at McGee Creek

  • Rods: Opt for medium-weight rods suitable for the fight of large brown trout in varying conditions.
  • Reels: Choose reels equipped with smooth drag systems, essential for managing the powerful runs of aggressive browns.
  • Lures: Pack a variety, including stonefly, caddis, and midge imitations, to match the hatch. Adjust your approach based on the prevailing insect activity.
  • Fishing Line: Use high-quality fishing lines with adequate strength to handle the challenges of McGee Creek’s diverse fishing conditions.
  • Explore Our Gearlist: Visit our Gearlist account for specific recommendations on rods, reels, lures, and other gear used to maximize your fishing experience at McGee Creek.

Check out our Gearlist for the gear we for trips like this

Our Gearlist account lists all of the gear we use. Discover our top picks, where to snag them, and stay informed with our regular updates.

Embark on an angling adventure at McGee Creek, where challenges meet rewards in the heart of the Eastern Sierra wilderness. Respect the ecosystem, adapt to changing conditions, and relish the unique beauty of this pristine fishing destination. Tight lines and memorable catches await in the solitude of McGee Creek.