The Times' favorite summer vacation photos from readers in 2014

Trout fishing in Mammoth Lakes

Lifestyle and LeisureFishing

This isn't one of those cushy Fish-Carltons like those über-expensive Montana trout resorts. Hot Creek Ranch in Mammoth Lakes has nine no-frills cabins whose biggest amenity is one of the sweetest spring-fed creeks you'll ever see, right out your front door. You and other guests will have a two-mile stretch of it all to yourselves. Isn't that the ultimate VIP perk, anyway? Plus, it's an easy five-hour drive from L.A.

The bed

As noted, nothing fancy. The two-room cabins come in various configurations, but most sleep four if you include sleeper-couches. There is plenty of room for two, but it's tighter for three or four. The nightly fee covers two anglers; additional guests are charged $105 a night. A comfortable porch overlooks the stream and mountains.

The meal

There are no restaurants on the premises. The cabins come with fully equipped kitchens and kettle barbecues on the porch. (Bring your own charcoal.) Town is less than 10 minutes away, with Mammoth's bounty of mostly mediocre restaurants. My suggestion: Pop some potatoes in the oven, throw some steaks on the grill and watch the sun fade over the San Joaquin Ridge.

The find

Brown and rainbow trout in the prettiest paint jobs nature offers. The rules: fly fishing only, no wading, catch and release, barbless hooks. Basically, this requires tickling the fish ashore. But the water is pristine, the fish plentiful; 12- to 13-inch fish are standard. The setting, with Mammoth Mountain as your backdrop, is about as good as it gets in the Eastern Sierra. Don't be intimidated by experts tricked out in their $500 vests. Manager/guide Kevin Peterson will help you find the right fly. There is enough space for you to go off to practice your fly-fishing technique out of sight of others. And the creek is easy enough to cast across for even the rankest beginner.

Lesson learned

No matter how hard we pretend, trout are far more tuned into nature than we'll ever be. They feel your footsteps; they see your shadow.

The tab

Weeknights are $225 for two people, with a two-night minimum. Minimum weekend, Friday-Monday, $705 for two people. A full week, Monday-Monday, is $1,325. additional guests are $105 a night. And there is a 12% tax [85 Hot Creek Hatchery Road, Mammoth Lakes; (888) 695-0774, Hot Creek Ranch]. Book early, for this popular resort fills up fast. If you're counting your pennies, make your way farther down the creek to the public areas, then overnight someplace in Mammoth (summer rates start at around $100). Same creek, same beautiful trout.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
Lifestyle and LeisureFishing
  • More Weekend Escapes
    More Weekend Escapes
  • Standoff

    A STANDOFF ESCALATES: A boat carrying a U.S. Navy crew rushes to bring humanitarian aid to the fishing trawler Ching Fong Hwa in November. The trawler had been overtaken by pirates off Somalia, and a Chinese sailor was killed.

  • Bomb detected
    Bomb detected

    BOMB DETECTED: Iron, a German shepherd trained to sniff out explosives, weapons, wires and other threats, and handler Sgt. Joshua T. Rose, right, wait as military explosives experts investigate a bomb that Iron found south of Baghdad.

  • On the job
    On the job

    ON THE JOB: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Blake T. Soller follows his explosives-sniffing dog, Pluto, in a home being searched for bombs southeast of Baghdad.

  • Viewer Picture by
  • 5-day-old

    Broward Sheriff firefighter/paramedic Gisela Bass brings a five-day-old newborn to a waiting ambulance Monday night.

  • 9. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar vs. Philadelphia 76ers, Game 5 NBA Finals, May 14, 1980.
    9. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar vs. Philadelphia 76ers, Game 5 NBA Finals, May 14, 1980.

    The setting: With 33 seconds left in a tie game, Abdul-Jabbar scored on a dunk and was fouled by Julius Erving. Abdul-Jabbar made the free throw and the Lakers won, 108-103, at the Forum. The significance: Abdul-Jabbar sprained an ankle late in the third quarter and limped to the locker...

  • Witness to history
    Witness to history

    WITNESS TO HISTORY: Schlesinger, second from left, watches TV in the White House in 1961 with Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, President Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy as Alan Shepard becomes the first American to fly in space.