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Old 06-29-2013, 03:22 PM
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Default In Search of Golden Trout in Eastern Sierra's Lakes

Last fall, I explored the Eastern Sierra Lakes with some friends while we were in the area fishing.

We started at the trailhead, the trail begins at about 7,300 feet in elevation and rises to the lakes, which are at about 10,100 feet. The elevation can be covered in a distance of about 4 1/2 miles in 90 minutes with a high-clearance 4WD vehicle. The hike is listed as a very strenuous 8 hours.

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The lower portion of the trail is the roughest in terms of big boulders and ruts. The change in scenery is stunning as you go from high-desert sagebrush to a high-mountain creek lined with aspens before reaching the lakes, which are right below the timberline.

Here's the upper switchback portion of the trail-there's a bit of a drop:

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Here's the reward at the end of the trail:

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We spent about 2 1/2 hours fishing the upper and larger of the two lakes. We couldn't figure out the pattern, but the fish were definitely there. My friend caught two golden trout, but released them before I could get a photo.

The Lakes have special regulations requiring barbless flies only and strict catch-and-release. We were there during the first weekend of deer hunting season, and we were surprised when two game wardens made the drive to pay us a visit. They checked our licenses and flies with no issues.

I'm glad they did, because I saw plenty of evidence that people are camping overnight up there and using bait. The camping part isn't bad, except I saw where they have been cutting trees for firewood. The trees don't grow very fast or very tall at 10,000 feet, and if everyone did that, there wouldn't be much left up there. At one point a few years ago, I had read that the fish population had been nearly wiped out because of people taking fish. I was glad to see the fish were there, despite the fact that I couldn't entice them to my fly.

Although I didn't catch the elusive golden trout while we were there, the drive and scenery were worth the effort.

It would be perfect in a float tube.

Here is the road back to civilization:

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Last edited by mcnerney; 07-10-2013 at 05:18 PM.
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