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Crowley Lake, Mammoth Lakes

#11 of 13 in Nature in Mammoth Lakes
Water Body · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
Crowley Lake is a reservoir on the upper Owens River in southern Mono County, California, in the United States. Crowley Lake is 15 mi (24 km) south of Mammoth Lakes.

The lake was created in 1941 by the building of the Long Valley Dam by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP), as storage for the Los Angeles Aqueduct and for flood control. The dam is 126 ft (38 m) high and impounds 183,465 acre⋅ft (0.226301 km3). For more on the history of the lake, see Owens Lake.

It is known for its trout fishing: Between 6,000 and 10,000 anglers hit the lake on opening day. The largest brown trout taken from the lake weighed 26 lb (12 kg). Many people from all over California head here for late summer and fall fly fishing since the lake contains some of the largest trout around. Crowley Lake Fish Camp, run in cooperation with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, is the only way to access the lake, and visitors can rent boats, book camping sites, and buy supplies at the Fish Camp.
The lake is named after Father John J. Crowley, "the desert Padre", who was a key figure in Owens Valley history and a local hero. When it became obvious that the city of Los Angeles's appropriation of the water supply had made agriculture impossible in the Owens Valley, many of the residents of the Valley lost all hope. Father Crowley traveled up and down the Valley, convincing many of them that it could become a tourist destination. Thus, it is fitting that while it exists to serve the Los Angeles aqueduct, Crowley Lake is also a prime destination for anglers. Father Crowley was killed in 1940 in an automobile accident.

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Crowley Lake reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
37 reviews
  • This is my second year being guided by Jim Elias of FishMammoth Guide Service. Let me say that I have fly fished for over 30 years and in that time I have hired my fair share of guides. I have fished....  more »
  • Great food but you have to order before lights out, pay when you leave and a marriage proposal in the bathroom. And see the mountains below in your little space.  more »
  • Awesome lake at the foot of the mountains. Boating, fishing, camping and lots of fun.
  • Gorgeous views and BLM camping nearby made for this to be a great little stop on my road trip headed north.

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