Crowley Lake is a reservoir on the upper Owens River in southern Mono County, California, in the United States. Crowley Lake is 15 miles 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 feet high and impounds 183,465 acre-feet. 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 pounds. 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.