Photo of T J Lake, Mono County, CA

T. J. Lake Fishing

Mammoth Lakes - Mono County

Photo of T.J. Lake sign

TJ Lake

T.J. Lake lies hardly more than 3/4 of a mile up a trail from Lake George, one of the Mammoth Lakes in California's Eastern Sierra. Beautiful T.J. Lake has great fishing just a twenty minute walk from the Lake George Campground. It's close enough that children can make the hike, and yet far enough away that it offers some solitude and certainly excellent fishing.

T.J. Lake was named for Tom Jones, an early supervisor of the Inyo National Forest. The lake is at 9300 feet in elevation and stretches a quarter mile in length, covering about 12 acres. T.J. Lake is known for its rainbow trout, often 9 or 10 inches in length.

Getting to TJ Lake

T.J. Lake is near Lake George, one of the largest of the Mammoth Lakes. To find Mammoth Lakes drive on Highway 395 which runs north and south along the foot of California's Eastern Sierra. Turn up Highway 203, continuing on it through the village of Mammoth Lakes. There the road becomes known as Lake Mary Road. Follow the signs to Lake George and park in the trailhead parking area on the north side of the lake. You'll find restrooms there. The trailhead for T.J. Lake is on south side of the parking area.

In My Creel

  • #16 Parachute Adams
  • #14 Royal Wulff
  • #14 Elk Hair Caddis
  • #16 Blue Wing Olive
  • #16 Zug Bug
  • #16 Pheasant Tail

I brought along my usual collection of trusted flies and nymphs for fly fishing at T.J. Lake.

Photo of T.J. Lake sign

The trail to T.J. Lake is less than a mile and only climbs about 300 feet, taking about 20 minutes. Like other trails around Mammoth Lakes the path to T.J. Lake is well maintained and fairly easy to follow.

The trail begins by cutting through the campground at the edge of Lake George. Then it crosses a creek and begins a stiff uphill climb along the shore of Lake George. That short climb is the most difficult part of the hike. Once past it you arrive at Barrett Lake. I would skip this lake entirely and continue directly on to T.J. Lake.

To reach T.J. Lake, follow the trail along the shore of Barrett Lake and watch for the sign at the split in the trail. To the left, the trail goes on to Emerald Lake. Take the right turn to T.J. Lake, but ten yards later don't mistakenly take another right onto an unmarked trail. Stay left there. T.J. Lake is only a stone's throw from Barrett Lake, up the slight rise in front of you.

Photo of T.J. Lake

Barrett Lake

The best fishing at T.J. Lake is at the far end where the water is deeper. Steep rocky outcroppings on the right side make negotiating that bank difficult. Work your way down the left side.

Accommodations and Supplies

You'll find plenty of accommodation around Mammoth Lakes. Countless condominiums line the streets and many luxurious resorts and lodges can provide a comfortable night's stay. Among the nicest places to relax is Snowcreek Resort. You also might look into the Austria Hof Lodge which offers rooms and condos. Other places worth considering are the Mammoth Creek Inn, the Sierra Nevada Lodge, and the Westin Monache Resort.

There are many campgrounds around Mammoth Lakes, some right next to the major lakes, others hidden away. Consider Coldwater Creek Campground, Lake George Campground, Pine City Campground, and Twin Lakes Campground. Reservations are possible at some of these campgrounds. Also, Mammoth Mountain RV Park is located at 2667 Main St.

California's Best Camping logo

To find the very best campgrounds in the area and all across California, visit California's Best Camping.

logo saying California's Greatest Lakes

For more information about camping, lodging, boating, and fishing in the Mammoth Lakes area, see California's Greatest Lakes coverage of Mammoth Lakes.

Fishing supplies can be purchased locally at the following places:

Recommended Books for Fishing Grouse Ridge

Photo of TJ Lake

TJ Lake

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