Trip Report Eastern Sierra Trip Report

With the California forests back open, and Highways 50 and 89 over Monitor pass open, I decided it was time to head for the Eastern Sierra. Didn't hit the major waters, but did find a lot of nice fish and relatively few people. Every time I come over this rise, I know I'm leaving the Tahoe area and heading to adventure.

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The West Walker River provided a brief break from the driving and a couple of decent rainbows that took dry flies. More water than I expected. Good start to the trip. A fish in the first cast of a six day excursion.

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Drove as far south as Rock Creek and found a deserted campground along the creek. Lots of tiny brookies that were extremely spooky in the low water. First excursion for the Gazelle T4 tent. Highly recommend it.

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Day 2 was an 8-mile round trip hike to a number of lakes in the Little Lakes Valley...Chickenfoot, Long, Box and Heart...Lots of small to tiny brookies and rainbows and one small but beautiful brown. A little smoke coming over from the Sequoia area fires on the west side, but only this day. Didn't have a heart attack in the 10,500 foot air = good day.

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On Day 3 I moved on to the Mammoth Lakes area. Took the short hike to McLeod Lake (or McCloud depending on your map) to find no signs of any cutthroat life. Launched the float tube in one of the roadside lakes and caught four fish in two hours, two of which were in the 20+ range.

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Spent the night of Day 3 in a motel in Lee Vining and had a restaurant dinner and breakfast when the forecast (and the clouds) called for rain and snow. Day 4 and 5 were in the Tioga Pass area. Took a rigorous hike to a lake that will stay unnamed and had a banner day on some very respectable brook trout. Many Sierra lakes are full of 5-6 inchers, and then there are some gems like this. The scenery was the only thing better than the fishing. Saw two other hikers the entire day!

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Day 5 was another grueling 8 mile hike in the 20 Lakes Basin of the Hoover Wilderness. This is a generally a relatively flat and moderate hike to a number of lakes (20?), unless you decide to leave the trail and go cross country as I did. You know how those shortcuts often aren't. That was this day. Fortunately the fishing was great for smallish golden trout and lots of brookies.

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After a way too chilly night in the tent (25 degrees based on wunderground), I fished Lee Vining Creek for small brookies and rainbows on dry flies before hitting the road to head back home.

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It had been dark when I came through on Day 1, but on Day 6 I saw the extent of the burning from the Tamarack Fire near Markleeville. Miles of this along the road. Northern California forests had a tough year.

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Overall a great trip that achieved my goals of 1) getting mostly out of cel phone range, 2) having no plan or schedule, 3) having nobody else to coordinate with, 3) seeing few people, 4) seeing beautiful places, and 5) catching a few fish. Trying to hang on to the feeling as I write this report instead of facing my email inbox.
 

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Bruce Baker

Active Member
Very nice report. Thanks for sharing. Caught my very first trout (brook trout) on a dry fly on the West Walker back in 1987.
 

surfnfish

Active Member
great trip, a fave area back in the day...and definitely worth the drive further east to the White Mountains (dolomite scree) to view the Bristlecone Pine trees, which can live for thousands of years...stunning scenery
 

gt

Active Member
I'll be down in the mammoth Lakes area in a couple of weeks. no fishing for me so i really enjoyed your descriptions. mostly hiking with family will be the adventures. beautiful country and so different from the PNW.
 

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