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photo by Greg Vinci


freestone to a more placid spring creek demeanor in the level ground of the valley, it enters the geothermal section where the cold freestone water is tempered by the infusion of warm springs heated by the many hot springs along its courseLong Valley is considered the most volcanically active area in the lower 48 today  that sits only about five thousand feet below ground. 

As I said above, Hot Creek is basically a PMD, Micro Caddis, Tricos or Midge environment.  During the pre-runoff season, usually by around the end of May through early June, the bugs generally consist of Blue Winged Olives, midges and in some years Caddis.  The period after runoff is the beginning of the prolific hatches for which Hot Creek is known.  Pale Morning Duns and Caddis begin to hatch and Blue Winged Olives and midges are still hanging around.  As June progresses the PMDs, Little Yellow Stones and Caddis are becoming more prevalent and will continue through the summer.  As the water warms near the beginning of July, the Tricos begin to hatch and can be a significant bug until Fall.  Bugs are generally tiny here and will hatch in different sizes at different times of the season.  For example, the early season Pale Morning Duns are usually about size #16 but later hatches will be in the #20 to #24 range.  Caddis likewise can vary from #18 through #22 in size.  Tricos and Midges are of course naturally tiny in the #20-22 range.  The lesson here is be prepared with patterns in several different sizes.  If you are not a fly tier, then check with a local shop before fishing so you have the right size fly.  If you are staying in Mammoth Lakes, stop by Rickís Sport Center, The Troutfitter, or Wilderness Outfitters before you head down to the creek.  If you are staying in Bishop, then stop by Brocks Fly Fishing first. 

In the gorge, 9 ft. four or five weight rods are about perfect.  Anything smaller is going to make it tough to land a fish thatís buried in the weeds, and when the wind comes up in the afternoon a rod with a little more backbone will help casting. There is no need to wear waders on Hot Creek, as wading is not allowed.  Do however; wear long pants as Nettles along the bank can cause much misery.  Speaking of wading, if you do have to step into the water to land a fish, keep in mind that New Zealand Mud Snails were found in Hot Creek and several other local waters in 2001.  Since the spoors will cling to boots and clothing and hitch a ride back home with you to your local waterway, make sure that you sterilize (for more information on NZMS sterilization log on to http://www.flyline.com/environmental/nzms/) your boots and any clothing