The June Lake Loop is a chain of lakes that feed into the Mono Basin, east of Yosemite National Park. The area has attracted fishers for a couple of hundred years, and there’s plenty of trout ready to be hooked.
From June Lake itself, through Gull Lake, Silver Lake, and Grant Lake, to Rush Creek, there’s plenty of variety of fish and locations to suit all abilities and styles – and of course, like any great fishing spot, there’s the chance to land some whoppers.
The namesake of the area is a solid choice for any angler, but it’s perfect for trolling – in fact, it’s one of the best in the Eastern Sierra. The top locations are usually the ones which are the most difficult to reach from the shore. The lake is stocked, but that hasn’t stopped anyone from catching some photo-worthy trout.
And if you want to achieve what they call a “Sierra Grand Slam”, which is catching a rainbow, brown, brook and cutthroat all in one day, June Lake is where you should set up. It’s a pretty popular spot, so it can get quite busy, but it’s a fairly large lake, and there are multiple boat ramps and marinas, so you shouldn’t feel crowded out by canoeists and kayakers. Access is easy by car via Highway 158.
For a small lake, Gull Lake has some great opportunities for trout fishing. The atmosphere here is far more relaxed, lending itself well to a lazy day of boat fishing or sociable competition with fellow anglers on the shore. The marina is well-equipped with fish-cleaning stations as well, so you can soon prepare your catch for a tasty meal – there are some great picnic spots here.
You can expect to find some rather large browns and rainbows in these waters – it’s common to find 5-pounders – and hope for the chance at some cutthroats and brooks, which can be harder to come across. Family members with other interests can go canoeing or kayaking, and there’s a playground for the children, too. Access to Gull Lake is also from Highway 158.
If you’re not having much luck elsewhere, the trout will always be biting at Silver Lake. It’s the ideal place for trying out different lures and techniques, as anyone can be guaranteed to bag something, whether it’s the cutthroat trout or some rainbows, maybe even a brook. Many are in the 5-pound range, although 8- to 9-pound prizes aren’t that uncommon, either.
Head along some of the tributaries that feed in to the lake as well for a change of scenery, which is honestly stunning wherever you are. The lake can be found around halfway around the loop, off Highway 158.
If you want to lose the crowds, this is where to do it. As both the furthest lake along the loop from June Lake, and the largest, you can spend all day here and meet no-one – as long as you wait until the water-skiers finish at 10:00, of course.
It’s not just quieter, though, it’s also home to some lunkers, some rainbows but particularly browns. There’s plenty of shoreline to choose from, and you can BBQ your catch afterwards. The folks at the Marina are highly knowledgeable about the best locations and they have all the gear that boaters and shore casters might need.
Fly fishers can find their own piece of paradise at the many, easily accessible spots along Rush Creek. Highway 158 follows it from June Lake to Grant Lake.
Large browns, and rainbows, lie close to the roadside, just waiting to be caught. Many have the best luck at the inlets and outlets of all the lakes along the loop – it’s said that the chance of getting a 20-pounder isn’t out of the question.
Services On The Loop
Fern Creek Store is a wonderful resource for fishing tackle and groceries if you are in a pinch. The hours are variable and it is sometimes open when the General Store is closed.
June Lake General Store is located across the street from the Post Office in the town of June Lake. Open from 8AM to 8PM in the summer and from 9AM to 6PM the rest of the year. It is well-equipped with groceries, sundries, hardware, liquor, gifts, automotive, camping supplies and much more.
The town of June Lake features a post office. Hours are from 8:00 to 12:30 and 1:00 to 3:00, Monday through Friday.
About the author: Andrew Lowen and his family have been a part of the June Lake community since 1968, where they now own June Lake Rentals for weekend enthusiasts. They love June Lake and are eager to share the experience with those who appreciate the grandeur that the Eastern Sierras have to offer. If you’d like more information about June Lake Rentals visit them online at www.yosemitegatewaychalet.com or give them a call at (844) SKI-JUNE.