Our preference in fishing is stream fishing for Trout, but I do realize that many people would rather enjoy the relaxation of sitting on the shoreline of an amazing California lake, just enjoying the wonder of the majestic scenery around you while you’re waiting for a fish to swim by and make your bobber or line dance. One incredible lake can be found at the top of Rock Creek Rd.
Rock Creek Lake…
So we begin our search for some of the best fishing lakes in California and a few of the best fishing streams in California, twenty miles north of Bishop, on Hwy 395.
The first thing you’ll notice here on Rock Creek Rd. is Tom’s Place, a wonderful little establishment providing great food, lodging and plenty of fishing gear.
If you follow Rock Creek Rd. approximately 9 miles west, you will find yourself at Rock Creek Lake. Here you may camp and/or fish and normally catch your limit of some pretty good sized Rainbow Trout. If you’ll walk around to the western most part of the lake, you’ll find that the fishing can be outstanding. The game warden does tend to hang around quite a bit so you’ll want to make sure that you keep your license handy. This lake is also one of the most scenic lakes along our path up through the Eastern Sierras.
Also noticeable along Rock Creek Rd. are several campgrounds, all bordered by Rock Creek where stream fishing is absolutely wonderful. Most of these campgrounds are uniquely picturesque and all are wonderful to camp in.
Convict Lake also has camping, food and supplies there locally and can be very picturesque. Also, to a great extent, the restrooms here in the campground have just recently been renovated very nicely!
Mammoth Lakes Area…
Soon you will notice signs for Mammoth Lakes area where there is a multitude of wonderful lakes and streams for very productive trout fishing, combined with a wonderful selection of campgrounds to choose from.
One memorable campground is Coldwater Creek that borders another amazing California lake, Lake Mary; complete with some great Trout fishing and Crystal Crag Lodge, a great place to experience the great outdoors and whet your whistle for doing this awesome camping and fishing thing. Just be aware that this is definitely bear country!
Soon after you leave Mammoth area you will begin to see signs for June Lake Loop where once again you will find ample campgrounds, cabins, supplies and lake fishing.
A Great Option…
One thing that is very important to note here is that there are one or two outfits that will rent a trailer to individuals wanting to camp, but not having the equipment to do it in. Once you make reservations at your favorite campground and campsite, they will bring the trailer out, spot it and set it all up for your arrival.
It is a great way to break into the wonderful world of camping and is absolutely low stress. You simply pack up your bedding, food and supplies and just show up! Sierra Vacation Trailer Rentals is probably the better known one and we have seen them from Bishop to Bridgeport.
I’ve talked to some of the people from Sierra Vacation quite a few times and they are all awesome people. Another company much the same as the previous one is Adventure in Camping. We have also seen many of there rental trailers in most of the places that we camp throughout the Eastern Sierras. And again, I’ve said howdy to some of their people and they are all friendly, courteous and very professional.
If you’re fairly unfamiliar with this option for camping, call Lori at Sierra Vacation (760 935-4263) and ask her all of your questions. She is extremely helpful with all of your concerns and will walk you through the whole process, what to bring, what to expect and what to do once you get to the campground.
One thing that I really like about both of these companies is that they service their customers during their stay, meaning that they offer fresh water refills, battery replacement if the batteries get low and black/grey water removal if need be.
These may be a bit expensive in the short run, but are a great way to “test the water” so to speak and experience camping before deciding on the exact equipment that you might want to invest in. It’s also a great way to determine what accessories you might deem a ‘must have’ and what you might determine to be a ‘might want to have’!
Lee Vining to Yosemite and Back…
As you progress past the June Loop and approach Lee Vining, you will notice Hwy 120 heading off to the west and eventually leading you to the east entrance of Yosemite National Park where you’ll find many more great campgrounds from Tuolumne Meadows, a little inside the eastern gate, to White Wolf campground a half hour off the valley floor, to a multitude of campsites on the coveted “valley floor”.
Keep in mind as you pass the 120 junction there at Lee Vining that just a few miles from you on the 120 are at least 3 nice little campgrounds right on Lee Vining Creek with plenty of rainbow trout just waiting for ya’. Also at that junction there is a big Mobil station with a great restaurant and a dump site for your grey and black water holding tanks.
Headin’ North Again…
Now you’ll pass Mono Lake (sorry, no fishing) and 25 minutes later you’ll pass the road leading to the Virginia Lakes area, another paradise for fly and lake fishing.
Finally, Bridgeport and Robinson Creek…
And now you drop down into the mother lode, Bridgeport California. Here you’ll find one of the best kept secrets of California. This quaint little town provides several great little restaurants, lodging, gas stations, a library with free wifi and quite a few other neat attractions.
Just 20 minutes north is the infamous Walker River. But if you’ll turn S/W at the Shell station there in Bridgeport, and head for the mountains, you’ll shortly discover Robinson Creek with several more great campgrounds, then Twin Lakes and then, at the end of Twin Lakes Rd, Mono Village. Here you’ll find a restaurant, a marina, gasoline, propane, fishing gear and tackle, boats for rent, a laundry mat, a dump station, a general store, hundreds of campsites and some pretty incredible fishing!
Another Really Great Option…
Another very important thing to note here is that there is a company, I believe (but I’m not sure) that it is named Sierra Septic Tank Service that operates a septic pumping service that circulates through most of the campgrounds around the Twin Lakes/Bridgeport area. Twice a week and for a fee they will pump out your grey water and black water holding tanks. This allows you to be a little more comfortable a little bit longer.
All of the above mentioned camp grounds have drinking water available and for the most part, restrooms available. Keep in mind that there are many, many more campgrounds, lakes and fishing areas available there in the Eastern Sierras.
Meanwhile, Back at Home…
Back at home, weekdays and weekends summer camping finds us in the San Bernardino mountains 26 miles or so southeast of Big Bear in a campground off of Hwy 38 called Heartbar.
Here you are surrounded by beautiful pines and mountains that provide plenty of wildlife including coyotes, mountain cat and bear. Hiking also requires caution due to an occasional snake or two. Santa Ana River is 6 or 7 miles down 38 for some great stream fishing and lake fishing is available at Jenks Lake located 8 or 9 miles south of Heartbar, or Big Bear Lake 26 miles or so northwest.
Several years ago in the mountains northeast of San Diego we discovered the old gold mining community of Julian. South of Julian 4 miles on hwy 79, is a great little campground called Pinezanita RV Park and Campground where you will find campsites with hookups for electric and water along with two waste dumpsites. This is a great place to camp for anywhere between a weekend and two week vacation.
Here you’ll find an extremely clean and well maintained campground with a small pond for fishing and a great little country store complete with RV accessories, food and ice. Again, one of the best things about Pinezanita is being so close to Julian where you’ll find some great restaurants, plenty of antique hunting and much, much more to do. Good fishing can be found a few miles south of Pinezanita on hwy 79 at Lake Cuyamaca.
A Couple of San Diego Regional Parks…
Just before you get to Julian on hwy 79 you’ll find Pine Hills Rd. which will take you to William Heise County Park where you’ll find a wonderful, rustic setting. Here there are lots of campsites coupled with approximately 10 sites supplying partial hookups.
Many of the campsites here also are spread out nicely giving you ample space from your potential neighbors. Again this campground is only 10 to 15 minutes from Julian which makes it a pretty great place to do some camping. Another bonus is that all the rangers at this location are pretty personable and helpful.
When things are a little cooler during the spring, fall and early winter, you’ll find us at a San Diego Regional Park named Dos Picos.
It is located on hwy 67 just a few miles southwest of Ramona in San Diego County. There is a ton of great things about Dos Picos ranging from the awesome park rangers there to it’s very location. Dos Picos is only an hour or so from San Diego. It’s also only 30 to 40 minutes from Julian. The city of Ramona is 5 minutes away for anything and everything that you might need… pizza, bagels, lattes or maybe a great steak!
If ya’ like Bass, Crappie and Blue Gill, there is a sweet little pond here that will challenge you and feed your fever for fishing. Locals will tell you about a mystic Bass that will taunt and tease you until you are ready to cry!
One word of caution here though is the fact that because of the great climate most of the year around, this campground fills up on the weekends the majority of the year. But during the weekdays this campground is outstanding!
Dos Picos Campground offers water and electrical hookups and also an extremely clean and convenient waste dumpsite. They also provide clean and large restrooms and showers to those who would prefer using them. You will absolutely, totally fall in love with everything about Dos Picos.
Next we’re going to give you names and numbers, information for many of the different aspects of camping that you’re pretty sure to experience. So get the printer ready to go!
By R.C. Stude