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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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Old 06-29-2013, 03:37 PM
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Default re: In Search of Golden Trout in Eastern Sierra's Lakes

Spectacular scenery, I can see where it is well worth the effort!
Sad to see that some folks are using bait in a pristine lake like that, those fish grow pretty slowly.
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Old 06-30-2013, 05:07 PM
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Default re: In Search of Golden Trout in Eastern Sierra's Lakes

Might have to try that one day.
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Old 06-30-2013, 08:16 PM
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Default re: In Search of Golden Trout in Eastern Sierra's Lakes

Shoot I live only about 1.5 hours from the trailhead and never even thought about going up there, think I might have to give it a try one of these days.

Richard
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Old 06-30-2013, 11:17 PM
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Default re: In Search of Golden Trout in Eastern Sierra's Lakes

Larry,

I wish people wouldn't destroy beautiful places. I wonder how much of it is out of ignorance rather than defiance. All I know is that I'll camp under the stars the next time I go up there and will take the time to fire up the float tube as well.

Mosca, you and Hntnnut should put it on your list. The scenery is spectacular. That alone is worth the effort to get there.

Hntnnut, welcome to the forum. If you live that close, you've got to check it out. Post up some pics of those goldens. They're in there for sure, and you'll likely succeed where I failed.

-VB
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Old 07-01-2013, 12:35 AM
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Default re: In Search of Golden Trout in Eastern Sierra's Lakes

That was a nice string of pictures! Unfortunately poachers have been around since the evolution of the litter bug. I could go on at length regarding some of the littered camp sites I've come upon and bagged up in the middle of nowhere up here. It's part of life just like a couple guys like you and your pal enjoying the high lakes. You had a good experience and I can tell by the way you wrote it up you'll keep looking for more places like this.

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Old 07-01-2013, 05:50 AM
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Default re: In Search of Golden Trout in Eastern Sierra's Lakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by von behr View Post
Larry,

I wish people wouldn't destroy beautiful places. I wonder how much of it is out of ignorance rather than defiance. All I know is that I'll camp under the stars the next time I go up there and will take the time to fire up the float tube as well.

Mosca, you and Hntnnut should put it on your list. The scenery is spectacular. That alone is worth the effort to get there.

Hntnnut, welcome to the forum. If you live that close, you've got to check it out. Post up some pics of those goldens. They're in there for sure, and you'll likely succeed where I failed.

-VB
VB: I'm guessing it is just mostly ignorance. The other day while out searching for my lost dog, I met a nice family camping above Warren Bridge at the first BLM campground. The next day I went up there and the campground was littered with cardboard wrapping, dishes left on the camp table, etc. I cleaned it up before I moved on but it made me wonder why someone would do something like that, they had two young kids so they weren't teaching their kids anything positive.
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Old 07-01-2013, 09:54 AM
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Default re: In Search of Golden Trout in Eastern Sierra's Lakes

it's California...the more people that know about it the worse it will become. The worm containers haven't always been there.
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:39 PM
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Default re: In Search of Golden Trout in Eastern Sierra's Lakes

Nice TR VB! Many years ago my buddy got vertigo driving back down that road, had to get out and walk for awhile. Unfortunately road access also brings with it the possibility of less respectful visitors. milt
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Old 07-06-2013, 11:22 AM
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Default re: In Search of Golden Trout in Eastern Sierra's Lakes

I don't mind the worm containers, as long as worms are allowed and the people who bring them take them away when they leave. After all, that's how most of us got our start fishing-putting a worm on a hook.

I just wish people would put a little more thought into their travels, like noticing the obvious regulations posted on signs that clearly state the rules for a given area.

During the same trip last fall, we also fished on the Upper Owens River. After Labor Day, the regulations switch to barbless flies only and no take. The regulations are posted everywhere. There's no way to walk through the openings in the cattle fences without seeing the rules clearly posted with dates and instructions.

We had the river to ourselves for the first couple of hours in the morning. Then, people came with lawn chairs and coolers and started chucking bait into the river. Everything they caught went into the coolers. One woman struck up a conversation with us, and I tactfully suggested she check the regulations. I told her there were lots of wardens around, because it was the start of deer season. As we were getting ready to leave, I heard her talking to her husband, who glared at us, as though we had just pried his last beer from his hand.

As we were driving out, take a guess who was driving in...the game warden. I don't exactly know how that encounter went, but I would imagine it had an expensive price tag on the end of it.

Some people just have to learn the hard way. It's a strange phenomenon, because there are literally dozens of put-and-take lakes in the Eastern Sierra that would accommodate their needs and are within minutes of where they were caught.

-VB
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