January 2008 Archives

PV Pit Campground / Bishop Area

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Campground Name:  Pleasant Valley Pit Campground        Area: Tableland boulder area

Administered by: Bureau of Land Management (760) 872-5000

Elevation: 4,400

Season Length: Generally opens November 1 through mid May; subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Number of sites:

Fee: $2. per vehicle/per night

Garbage: containers  Pack-it-out!

Toilets: Pit    Water: No Potable Water   fire pits                     

Nearest town: Bishop

Nearby facilities: Bishop

Nearby fishing: Owens River, Pleasant Valley Reservoir

Reservations: No

Additional information:  The camping area is in a borrow pit.  It is popular with rock climbers, and it is one of the few winter public camping spots in the entire region.

Directions: From Highway 395 in Bishop, drive 6.5 miles north to Pleasant Valley Road.  Turn right (east) and drive approximately one mile.  Turn left onto a dirt road, which is signed PV Pit Campground.  (This is before the Pleasant Valley County Campground.)

 

Bridgeport, California

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Highway 395, 25.2 miles north of Lee Vining and 112 miles south of Reno, Nevada

Photo Gallery

Services and Accommodations

Restaurants and Eateries:  Bridgeport Inn; Burger Barn; Pops Galley; Rhino’s Bar and Grill;

Public Internet Use Facilities:

Museums and Point of Interest:

Events and Festivities: April 26: Opening Day for the General Trout Season); June 21: Bridgeport Trout Tournament (Chamber); July 3-4: I.P.R.A Rodeo; 4th of July Turkey Shoot; October 12: Annual Bridgeport Reservoir-East Walker River Catch and Release Fly Fishing Tournament; November 15: General Trout Season Closes

Summer Recreation: Biking, Birding, Camping, Fishing, Golfing, Hang Gliding, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Mountaineering, Photography, Rock Climbing

Winter Recreation:

Sporting Goods Stores: Ken’s Sporting Goods

Fly Shops: The Angler’s Edge,

Nearby Fishing:

Nearby Camping:

Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce  P.O. Box 541, Bridgeport, CA 93517  760-932-7500

Community Parks:

Tours and Side-Trips: Bodie State Historic Park (ghost town) (760) 647-6445

Weather: 

Fast Click for Relevant Articles on the Area:

Recreational Contacts: Virginia Lakes Pack Outfit (760) 937-0326

Government Contacts:

            Bureau of Land Management (Bishop Office) 787 Main Street, Suite P, Bishop, CA 93514

            Department of Fish and Game:  Season dates, licenses, restrictions, fish stocking

To provide corrections or offer suggestions, email David Archer

Companion Web Sites

Fishing Tips 101 (A compilation of “Mastering the Basics Series”)

Glacier to Yellowstone (A complete guide to fishing and camping in Montana)

Bass and Trout Fishing Digest (Dave’s fishing adventures in Northern California and Oregon)


Bridgeport, California

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Highway 395, 25.2 miles north of Lee Vining and 112 miles south of Reno, Nevada

Photo Gallery

Services and Accommodations

Restaurants and Eateries:  Bridgeport Inn; Burger Barn; Pops Galley; Rhino’s Bar and Grill;

Public Internet Use Facilities:

Museums and Point of Interest:

Events and Festivities: April 26: Opening Day for the General Trout Season); June 21: Bridgeport Trout Tournament (Chamber); July 3-4: I.P.R.A Rodeo; 4th of July Turkey Shoot; October 12: Annual Bridgeport Reservoir-East Walker River Catch and Release Fly Fishing Tournament; November 15: General Trout Season Closes

Summer Recreation: Biking, Birding, Camping, Fishing, Golfing, Hang Gliding, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Mountaineering, Photography, Rock Climbing

Winter Recreation:

Sporting Goods Stores: Ken’s Sporting Goods

Fly Shops: The Angler’s Edge,

Nearby Fishing:

Nearby Camping:

Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Links: http://www.bridgeportcalifornia.com/  P.O. Box 541, Bridgeport, CA 93517  760-932-7500

Community Parks:

Tours and Side-Trips: Bodie State Historic Park (ghost town) (760) 647-6445

Weather: http://mammothweather.com

Fast Click for Relevant Articles on the Area:

Recreational Contacts: Virginia Lakes Pack Outfit (760) 937-0326

Government Contacts:

            Bureau of Land Management (Bishop Office) 787 Main Street, Suite P, Bishop, CA 93514

            Department of Fish and Game: (www.dfg.ca.gov/fishing) Season dates, licenses, restrictions, fish stocking


Photo (jpegs) Submissions

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Submitting a photograph to www.guidetohighway395

bass.jpgPhoto Credit/Copyright: Any photograph submitted to guidetohighway395.com remains the property of the photographer or web site owner.  The photograph will be removed from the site with an email request.  All published photographs will be given credit such as (Courtesy of Full Name + link to web site) or (Photo copyright Full Name, Year + link to web site).

Photo Subjects: Photographs (unless sent for a business ad) must be of high quality and feature the flora, fauna, mountains, lakes, or people engaged in recreation etc. They may be submitted by professional photographers, guides, business owners or family members chronicling a family trip.  

Photo Placement:  Placement of a submitted photograph will be the sole discretion of David Archer.  For the most part, I will try and place a photograph under a corresponding entry or category (i.e Crowley Lake Fishing; Twin Lakes Campground; Devil's Postpile etc.)  Later I will create a separate category for my favorite photograph submissions, but that is in the future.

Thank you for your support.

Dave Archer
541-783-3796


Add Your Business

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Services and Accommodations

Adding your business information to www.guidetohighway395.com, a recreational guide to the West's favorite highway, is EASY and FREE! As you undoubtedly know, Google placement is primarily based on the number of relevant web sites that are linked to your site.  It is to our mutual benefit to exchange links.  To add your business on this page for this town with a link back to yours is Free! I ask for nothing but a reciprocal link to my site.   Please provide the information to the form below, and reply back to me.  I will then cut and paste the information to the Services and Accommodations section or other pertinent category and email you when it is posted.  You may even add two photographs to your business listing; however, they must be sent to me as jpegs.  I do have a small fee of $10 per photograph, which will be waived if you have a quality photograph of flora, fauna, mountains, fishing etc.  Naturally, any additional photographs that I select to add to my site entries will include the words, "Courtesy of..." PLUS another link to your site.

Step 1: Add a link on your site to my web site.  You may use www.guidetohighway395.com , or you may use a description with a link.  Send me an email asking for a reciprocal link, along with a browser address to where I may find the link to my site.

Step 2: In your email include the following form with your business information.
Closest Town (See town listings under categories):
Type of Business:
Name of Business:
Business Address:
Contact Person:
City:
Zip Code:
Telephone:
Email:
Web Address:
150+ Word Description of Business:

Step 3: Include in this email which 2 photographs that you want me to down load from your site to use on your business listing.  Each photograph will be sized to a 4-inch width.  One photograph will be posted under your business name and the other will be posted at the bottom.  Please specify which order you want.  Use this description example: Photo1: Use the first photograph of the lodge on my home page.  Photo 2:  Go to "About Us" and use the photograph of my wife and I on the front porch.  (Please send a check for $20 for adding photographs or send along some quality photographs that you will give me permission to use in lieu of the $20 fee.  Your submitted photographs with permission to publish will waive the fee regardless of whether or not I use the photograph.

Placement:  Your business will be listed under a category name (i.e.: Lodges).  The order of businesses will not be alphabetical but based on the order in which I received the request for a business listing.  The category "Services and Accommodations" for each town requires you to select a town (or the nearest town) from the established list of towns on my category list (Home Page).

If you are a guide or outfitter, don’t forget that you may submit an article for
consideration on my Guide to Highway 395 web site or my http://www.fishingtips101.com site, which will be linked to the Highway 395 site.  Additionally, you may also submit a single fishing tip to my www.guidetohighway395.com site.  The tip may include an accompanying photograph attachment of yourself, as well as a photograph relative to the tip.  At the bottom of the tip, include your name, email, web address etc.  The tips will be placed at the bottom of a particular lake, river or creek entry.

Thank you for your support.

Dave Archer
541-783-3796

Add Your Business

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Add Your Business

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
Services and Accommodations

Adding your business information to www.guidetohighway395.com, a recreational guide to the West's favorite highway, is EASY and FREE! As you undoubtedly know, Google placement is primarily based on the number of relevant web sites that are linked to your site.  It is to our mutual benefit to exchange links.  To add your business on this page for this town with a link back to yours is Free! I ask for nothing but a reciprocal link to my site.   Please provide the information to the form below, and reply back to me.  I will then cut and paste the information to the Services and Accommodations section or other pertinent category and email you when it is posted.  You may even add two photographs to your business listing; however, they must be sent to me as jpegs.  I do have a small fee of $10 per photograph, which will be waived if you have a quality photograph of flora, fauna, mountains, fishing etc.  Naturally, any additional photographs that I select to add to my site entries will include the words, "Courtesy of..." PLUS another link to your site.

Step 1: Add a link on your site to my web site.  You may use www.guidetohighway395.com , or you may use a description with a link.  Send me an email asking for a reciprocal link, along with a browser address to where I may find the link to my site.

Step 2: In your email include the following form with your business information.
Closest Town (See town listings under categories):
Type of Business:
Name of Business:
Business Address:
Contact Person:
City:
Zip Code:
Telephone:
Email:
Web Address:
150+ Word Description of Business:

Step 3: Include in this email which 2 photographs that you want me to down load from your site to use on your business listing.  Each photograph will be sized to a 4-inch width.  One photograph will be posted under your business name and the other will be posted at the bottom.  Please specify which order you want.  Use this description example: Photo1: Use the first photograph of the lodge on my home page.  Photo 2:  Go to "About Us" and use the photograph of my wife and I on the front porch.  (Please send a check for $20 for adding photographs or send along some quality photographs that you will give me permission to use in lieu of the $20 fee.  Your submitted photographs with permission to publish will waive the fee regardless of whether or not I use the photograph.

Placement:  Your business will be listed under a category name (i.e.: Lodges).  The order of businesses will not be alphabetical but based on the order in which I received the request for a business listing.  The category "Services and Accommodations" for each town requires you to select a town (or the nearest town) from the established list of towns on my category list (Home Page).

If you are a guide or outfitter, don’t forget that you may submit an article for
consideration on my Guide to Highway 395 web site or my http://www.fishingtips101.com site, which will be linked to the Highway 395 site.  Additionally, you may also submit a single fishing tip to my www.guidetohighway395.com site.  The tip may include an accompanying photograph attachment of yourself, as well as a photograph relative to the tip.  At the bottom of the tip, include your name, email, web address etc.  The tips will be placed at the bottom of a particular lake, river or creek entry.

Thank you for your support.

Dave Archer
541-783-3796

Lee Vining, California

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Highway 395, 16.3 miles north of June Lake and 25.2 miles south of Bridgeport

Photo Gallery

Services and Accommodations

Restaurants and Eateries:

Public Internet Use Facilities:

Museums and Point of Interest: Old School House Museum (760) 647-6461; Mono County Museum (760) 932-5281;

Events and Festivities: April 26: Opening Day for the General Trout Season); November 15: General Trout Season Closes

Summer Recreation: Birdwatching, Camping, Hiking, Fishing, Kayaking on Mono Lake, Photography


Winter Recreation: Downhill skiing in June Lake and Mammoth; cross country skiing

Sporting Goods: Bell's Sporting Goods (760) 647-6406

Nearby Fishing: Home: Lee Vining: Fishing (See also Highway 120 Fishing)   Fishing Tips

Nearby Camping: Home: Lee Vining: Camping (See also Highway 120 Camping)

Lee Vining Chamber of Commerce:  http://www.leevining.com/ (760) 647-6629

Visitor Links:  Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center, Highway 395 a half mile north of Lee Vining, (760) 873-2408, www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/vc/mono

Community Parks:

Tours and Side-Trips:  Bodie Ghost Town; Mono Craters; Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve;Yosemite National Park, 

Weather

RV Related:

Recreational Contacts: Mono Lake Boat Tour (760) 937-1934

Government Contacts:

            Bureau of Land Management (Bishop Office) 787 Main Street, Suite P, Bishop, CA 93514

            Department of Fish and Game: (www.dfg.ca.gov/fishing) Season dates, licenses, restrictions, fish stocking

            Inyo National Forest: books, maps and wilderness passes and permits: Mt. Whitney Ranger Station (760) 873-2500; White Mountain Ranger Station (760) 873-2500; Mammoth Ranger Station (760) 924-5500  www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo

Lee Vining Expansion Notes in Alphabetical Order

Bodie Ghost Town

Bodie State Historic Park is a genuine California gold-mining ghost town.  Today it looks much the same as it did over 50 years ago when the last residents left. To preserve the ghost town atmosphere, there are no commercial facilities at Bodie. Be sure to bring plenty of film.  Visitors can walk down the deserted streets of a town that once had a population of 10,000 people. The town was founded by Waterman S. Body (William Bodey), who had discovered small amounts of gold in hills north of Mono Lake. In 1877, the Standard Company struck pay dirt and a gold rush transformed Bodie from a town of 20 people to a boomtown.  Only a small part of the town survives, preserved in a state of ‘arrested decay.’ Interiors remain as they were left and stocked with goods. Designated as a National Historic Site and a State Historic Park in 1962, the remains of Bodie are being preserved in a state of "arrested decay". Today this once thriving mining camp is visited by tourists, howling winds and an occasional ghost….

Souvenirs and Collecting

Everything in Bodie is part of the historic scene and is fully protected. NOTHING may be collected or removed from the park. Metal detectors are not allowed.

Closed Areas

For public protection, certain unstable sections of the park are posted as prohibited areas, and are closed to entry by park visitors.

Camping

There is no camping at Bodie. You must camp at least three miles from Bodie on BLM land. Fire restrictions are often in effect.

Winter Visits

Bodie is open all year. However, because of the high elevation (8375 feet), it is accessible only by over-snow equipment during the winter months.  Many four wheel drive vehicles get stuck each year in powdery snow that is deeper than it first appears. Spring thaws bring mud, and wheeled vehicles are not advised. TOWING FACILITIES ARE NOT AVAILABLE. Snowmobiles must stay on designated roads within the park. Winter weather is often unpredictable. Sub-zero temperatures, strong winds and white-out conditions are not uncommon.

Directions

The park is northeast of Yosemite, 13 miles east of Highway 395 on Bodie Road, seven miles south of Bridgeport….From U.S. 395 seven miles south of Bridgeport, take State Route 270. Go east 10 miles to the end of the pavement and continue 3 miles on an unsurfaced road to Bodie. The last 3 miles can at times be rough. Reduced speeds are necessary. Call the park if there are any questions about road conditions....”

(public domain-- http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=509)

 

Lundy Lake Canyon

During the Bodie mining boom, W.J. Lundy established a sawmill along the creek and supplied lumber to the Bodie mines.  Shortly thereafter a prospecting family discovered gold in the area and prospectors staked out their claims.  The May Lundy was a successful mine that operated for many years.  Today Lundy Lake is a popular trailhead to the Hoover Wilderness and a beginning or ending trail for those hiking to or from the 20 Lakes Basin from Saddlebag Lake.  The canyon is beautiful and hikers can reach one of the falls in a day hike.  Lundy Lake offers good fishing and is regularly stocked.

Mono Craters

One of the youngest of these volcanoes in the chain of volcanoes stretching from Mammoth to Mono Lake is Panum Crater, which is on the south shore of Mono Lake 

Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve

The reserve was established to preserve the spectacular "tufa towers," calcium-carbonate spires and knobs formed by interaction of freshwater springs and alkaline lake water.  Mono Lake is a majestic body of water covering about 65 square miles. It is an ancient lake, over 1 million years old -- one of the oldest lakes in North America. It has no outlet. Throughout its long existence, salts and minerals have washed into the lake from Eastern Sierra streams. Freshwater evaporating from the lake each year has left the salts and minerals behind so that the lake is now about 2 1/2 times as salty and 80 times as alkaline as the ocean….Winter is a particularly beautiful time at Mono Lake. The crowds are gone, a quiet stillness prevails, and snow crystals sparkle on the tufa towers.  The road to South Tufa is kept plowed, allowing year round access except immediately after large storms.  South Tufa, Old Marina, and the State Reserve boardwalk below the Mono Lake County Park are all wonderful places to cross-country ski when snow conditions permit….

Interpretive Programs

These programs are a cooperative effort of the State Reserve, U.S. Forest Service and the Mono Lake Committee. Rangers lead free tufa walks at the South Tufa area -- tours are at 1:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays May through October. Tours are offered 3 times daily from late June through Labor Day (10am, 1pm, and 6pm); and daily at 1pm late May through September.  Bird walks are offered at the Mono Lake County Park/State Reserve boardwalk at 8:00 a.m. Fridays and Sundays mid-May through Labor Day….

Visitor Center

The Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center is a great place to start your visit to this area. The center is located just off Highway 395, north of Lee Vining and includes a variety of exhibits about the natural and human history of the Mono Basin. Visitor center staff stand ready to help you plan your explorations of Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra.

Outdoor Activities

Hiking, swimming, boating, and cross-country skiing are just a few of the many activities you can enjoy at this unusual lake.  Photographers come from all over the world to capture the interplay of light, desert, and water. The natural history of the lake is described and explained in a one-mile self-guided nature trail at South Tufa.

This spectacular tufa area is the best place to visit if you have time for only one stop. A boardwalk trail below the Mono Lake County Park allows access to the north shore tufa area and marsh. A trail at Panum Crater leads to the dome and crater rim.

A swim in Mono Lake is a memorable experience. The lake's salty water is denser than ocean water, and provides a delightfully buoyant swim. Old timers claim that a soak in the lake will cure almost anything. Keep the water out of your eyes or any cuts, as it will sting.

Camping

The State Reserve is surrounded by the Mono Basin National Forest Scenic Area, operated by the Forest Service. There are no campgrounds in the State Reserve or the Scenic Area. Dispersed camping is permitted in most of the Scenic Area outside the exposed lake bed lands. Campfire permits are required. Established campgrounds are located in Lundy Canyon, Lee Vining Canyon, and the June Lake Loop.

Boating

All types of boating are permitted on Mono Lake, although access is restricted to all islands between April 1 and August 1 each year to protect the nesting gulls. It is advisable to stay near shore while boating, and to be alert for sudden high winds. We recommend launching canoes and kayaks at Navy Beach, on the south shore, where a parking lot is close to the water. For those with boats too large to carry, an unimproved launch ramp is available near Lee Vining Creek. Stop by the Scenic Area Visitor Center for directions.”

(public domain-- http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=514)

 

Yosemite National Park is reached via Highway 120 on the Tioga Pass Road, approximately 12 miles from Lee Vining.

Companion Web Sites:

Glacier to Yellowstone (A complete guide to camping and fishing in Montana from Glacier to Yellowstone)

Fishing Tips 101 (Offering a "Mastering the Basics" series for freshwater fishing)

Bass and Trout Fishing Digest (Dave's hodge-podge of fishing adventures in Northern California and Oregon)


 

 


June Lake

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Highway 395, 20.9 miles north of Mammoth Lakes and 16.3 miles south of  Lee Vining

Photo Gallery

Services and Accommodations

Restaurants and Eateries:

Public Internet Use Facilities:

Museums and Point of Interest:

Events and Festivities: April 26: Opening Day for the General Trout Season; August 31: Million Dollar Troutstock fishing derby; November 15: General Trout Season Closes

Summer Recreation: Biking, Birding, Camping, Fishing, Golfing, Hang Gliding, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Mountaineering, Photography, Rock Climbing

Winter Recreation: Skiing   

Sporting Goods Stores: Ernie’s (760) 648-7756

Fly Shops:

Nearby Fishing: Home: June Lake: Fishing    Fishing Tips (Deadman Creek, Glass Creek, Grant Lake, June Lake, Owens River, Parker Lake, Reversed Creek, Rush Creek, Silver Creek)

Nearby Camping: Home: June Lake: Camping (Big Springs Campground, Deadman Creek Campground, Glass Creek Campground, Gull Lake Campground, Hartley Springs Campground, Oh, Ridge Campground, June Lake Campground, Reversed Creek Campground, Silver Lake Campground)

June Lake Chamber of Commerce 

Community Parks:

Tours and Side-Trips: Tioga Pass, Mono Lake (See Lee Vining)

Weather

Fast Click for Relevant Articles on the Area:

Recreational Contacts: Frontier Pack Train 888-437-MULE; Mammoth Ballooning (760) 937-8787; McGee Creek Pack Station (800) 854-7404

Government Contacts:

            Bureau of Land Management (Bishop Office) 787 Main Street, Suite P, Bishop, CA 93514

            Department of Fish and Game: (www.dfg.ca.gov/fishing) Season dates, licenses, restrictions, fish stocking

            Inyo National Forest: books, maps and wilderness passes and permits: Mt. Whitney Ranger Station (760) 873-2500; White Mountain Ranger Station (760) 873-2500; Mammoth Ranger Station (760) 924-5500  www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo

Companion Web Sites:

Glacier to Yellowstone (A complete guide to camping and fishing in Montana from Glacier to Yellowstone)

Fishing Tips 101 (Offering a "Mastering the Basics" series for freshwater fishing)

Bass and Trout Fishing Digest (Dave's hodge-podge of fishing adventures in Northern California and Oregon)


 

 


Mammoth Lakes, California

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Highway 395, 17.6 miles north of Tom’s Place and 20.9 miles south of June Lake

Photo Gallery

Services and Accommodations

Restaurants and Eateries:

Public Internet Use Facilities: Access Business & Shipping Center (706) 934-4667; Kava Coffeehouse (760) 872-1010; Looney Bean (760) 934-1345; Mammoth Lakes Library (760) 934-4777; Wild Willy’s Mammoth Arcade (760) 924-1082

Museums and Point of Interest: Devil’s Postpile National Monument (619) 934-2289; Mammoth Museum (760) 934-6918; Mammoth Ski Museum (760) 934-6592

Events and Festivities: April 26: Opening Day for the General Trout Season); August 11: Sierra Drifters/Crowley Lake Stillwater Classic fishing derby (760-935-4301) November 15: General Trout Season Closes

Summer Recreation: Biking, Birding, Camping, Fishing, Golfing, Hang Gliding, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Mountaineering, Photography, Rock Climbing

Winter Recreation: Skiing


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Photo courtesy of Mammoth Mountain

Sporting Goods Stores:

Fly Shops:

Nearby Fishing:  Home: Mammoth Lakes: Fishing   Fishing Tips (Convict Creek, Convict Lake, Crowley Lake, Crystal Lake, Hot Creek, Lake George, Lake Mary, Laurel Lakes, Mamie Lake, Mammoth Creek, McGee Creek Campground, McLeod Lake, Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River, Minaret Falls Campground, New Shady Rest Campground, Starkweather and Sotcher Lake, Sherwin Creek Campground, Red's Meadow Campground, Twin Lakes Campground, Upper Soda Springs Campground)

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Photo by H. Blackburn.  Courtesy of Mammoth Mountain

Nearby Camping: Home: Mammoth Lakes: Mammoth Area Camping (Agnew Meadows Campground, Agnew Meadows Horse Camp, Cold Water Campground, Convict Lake Campground, Crowley Lake Campground, Devils Postpile Campground, Lake George Campground, Lake Mary Campground, Pine City Campground, Pumice Flat Campground,

Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Links: Mammoth Lakes Visitor Center and Ranger Station, Main Street on Highway 203, (760) 924-5500, Open daily 9 am to 5pm. www.fs.fed/r5/inyo/vc/mammoth.html)  //  Mammoth Lakes Visitor Bureau // Mammothweb.

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Photo courtesy of Mammoth Mountain

Community Parks:

Tours and Side-Trips: Crowley Lake, Devils Postpile National Monument (Red's Meadow and Rainbow Falls), Hot Creek Geological Site, Hot Creek State Fish Hatchery, Mammoth Lakes, Mammoth-Mono Geological Tour, Mammoth Mines, Minaret Vista, Obsidian Dome, Whitmore Hot Springs

Weather     Local Weather Forcast 

RV Related:

Recreational Contacts:

Agnew Meadows Pack Train (760) 934-2345

Mammoth Lakes Pack Outfit 888-475-8747

McGee Creek Pack Station offers spot pack trips, dunnage trips, all inclusive trips and day rides. (760) 935-4324 (summer); (760) 878-2207 (winter).

Red’ Meadow Pack Station offers spot pack trips, dunnage trips, all inclusive trips and day rides. (760) 934-3445

Government Contacts:

            Bureau of Land Management (Bishop Office) 787 Main Street, Suite P, Bishop, CA 93514

            Department of Fish and Game: Season dates, licenses, restrictions, fish stocking

            Inyo National Forest: books, maps and wilderness passes and permits: Mt. Whitney Ranger Station (760) 873-2500; White Mountain Ranger Station (760) 873-2500; Mammoth Ranger Station (760) 924-5500  www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo

To provide a correction or offer a suggestion, email David Archer.

Mammoth Lakes Expansion Notes in Alphabetical Order

Crowley Lake: (See Mammoth Area Fishing)  Named after Father Crowley for his tireless efforts to promote tourism in the Owens Valley after Los Angeles drained the area of water, Crowley Lake is actually a 5,000 acre reservoir, which filled Long Valley from the Owens River and the many smaller creeks in the area.  Completed in 1941, the lake supplies water for the domestic consumption of Los Angeles.  The lake is administered by the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.  Lake Crowley is perhaps the most prolific trout nursery and resource in the region for fast growing trout, along with Sacramento perch.  Anglers from southern California converge on the lake opening day of trout season in staggering numbers so large that I hesitate in reporting these published figures. Suffice to say close to ten thousands anglers line the shoreline in years experiencing a mild winter.  Upwards of over three hundred boats have been counted opening day.  Some years the lake thaws early, which produces larger trout.  Some years the lake will not be thawed so call ahead.

Devils Postpile National Monument; Red’s Meadow and Rainbow Falls

I have combined these “must see” side trips because the entrance road has driving restrictions.  (See driving restrictions below) 

The area of the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River will delight visitors with spectacular lakes and streams.  Within the valley, lush meadows teem with wildlife and floral displays rival any other scenic spot in the Sierras.  Add shimmering water spilling over a basalt cliff at Rainbow Falls, nearby trails that lead day hikers and back packers into the Ansel Adams and John Muir Wilderness, and it is no wonder that over 100,000 visitors a year enter this Sierra shrine.  Originally encompassed in Yosemite National Park, mining and logging lobbyists successfully pressured Congress in removing 500 square miles from the recently established park.  The Devils Postpile was suddenly expelled from the protection of park status.  When news spread about the proposal in 1910 to detonate the spiraling vertical basalt columns, and use the rubble for a rock impoundment downstream, the environmental community was galvanized into action.  The Devil’s Postpile, by presidential proclamation from President Taft, earned a protective status when it was declared a national monument in 1911. Reaching the Devils Postpile from the visitor center is made along a quarter-mile trail that wind along the river and through stands of lodge-pole pines and fir to the base of the cliff.  “Not only does the Monument preserve and protect the fascinating formations of the Postpile, but it serves as a portal to the sublime High Sierra backcountry….The Devil Postpile is one of the finest examples of columnar basalt in the world.  Approximately 55% of the formation’s columns are six-sided.” (www.nps.gov/depo/)

Rainbow Falls is approximately two miles downstream from the Devils Postpile National Monument, and it too is reached by trail.  Tumbling a 101 feet over a sheer wall of rugged basalt, the mist creates prismatic rainbow displays when the sun climbs above the mountain tops.  It is a wonderful place to relax, take photographs and enjoy a picnic lunch.  A fun way to get to Rainbow Falls is to ride a mule-drawn wagon from Red’s Meadow.

Road Restriction:

Mandatory travel restrictions are enforced for the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River and the Devils Postpile National Monument area.  Only campers are allowed to drive on the road from 7:00 A.M to 7:30 P.M.  A shuttle bus operates repeatedly throughout the day from the Mammoth Mountain Ski area for visitors during these restricted travel times. “All visitors accessing the recreational opportunities and activities in the Reds Meadow Valley are charged a per-person transportation fee. Fees are collected during the entire open season and all hours of the day. Fees are used to operate the shuttle system. If visitors arrive when the station is closed, their fee will be collected upon their exit from the valley. Passes are available at the Shuttle Terminal at Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge Gondola Building and also at Minaret Vista Station for those few exceptions that are not required to ride the bus.

The shuttle service to Reds Meadow/Devils Postpile began in 1979. The shuttle was determined necessary to reduce the impact on the environment from vehicle traffic. The narrow road into the Reds Meadow area serves as the only access to the San Joaquin River Valley , the Devils Postpile National Monument , Rainbow Falls and 5 trailheads leading into the John Muir and Ansel Adams Wilderness Areas, including the Pacific Crest Trail and John Muir Trail. The road also allows access to 186 campsites (6 campgrounds), 4 nature trails, and 2 day use lakes, Reds Meadow Pack Station and Lodge, and Agnew Meadows Pack Station. Vehicle use and Exceptions

Excessive vehicle use is the reason for a mandatory shuttle bus. However, some exceptions are recognized. Following is a list of most exceptions:

  • Vehicles entering the valley before 7:00 am , or after 7:30 pm
  • Vehicles carrying passengers with a disabled placard (once in the valley visitors must hike to most sites)
  • Vehicles towing horse trailers or other livestock
  • Campers camping in the Reds Meadow area
  • Overnight Resort Guests
  • Administrative vehicles
  • Vehicles carrying car top boats, canoes, kayaks for use in valley

Exceptions are still charged the per person transportation fee.”

 http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/recreation/redsmeadow.shtml

Hot Creek Geologic Site

In the annals of trout fishing lore, Hot Creek is known far and wide.  Downstream from the Hot Creek State Fish Hatchery, visitors leave their fly rods behind and witness hot gas vents, boiling water, sky-blue hot springs and rising steam, which rises to the earth’s surface from molten lava miles below.  Be prepared for the sulfurous smell of rotten eggs as steam escapes from fumaroles along the creek.  Visitors are cautioned to stay on designated trails as the ground is unstable.  The short trail offers an overlook and an observation bridge.  To reach the hot springs from Highway 395, turn east at the airport exit and follow the signs on Fish Hatchery Road, which is three miles south of Mammoth Junction.  Drive 2.5 miles on a gravel road to the parking area.

Hot Creek State Fish Hatchery raises a couple of million trout annually to be stocked locally.  Considered to be one of the largest hatcheries in the state, the Hot Creek Hatchery also produces over 20 million trout eggs for hatcheries throughout the state.

Inyo Craters

The Inyo Craters are older than the Mono Craters.  Looking like a funnel depression stuck in a mountain, the Inyo Craters are examples of super-heated steam explosions when ground water comes in contact with rising magma.  Referred to as phreatic eruptions, the magma never reaches the surface.  Radio carbon dating of wood debris sets the time of activity at over 600 years ago.  The two Inyo craters pits are 600 feet in diameter and hold water at the bottom of the funnel.  The craters may be reached by trail through a Jeffrey pine forest which ends at a picnic site.  To reach the trail from Mammoth Lakes, take the Mammoth Scenic Loop Road.  Look for the signed entrance to Inyo Craters and continue one mile to the parking area.

Mammoth Lakes (See Camping and Fishing Section)

Mammoth-Mono Geological Tour (The Mammoth Ranger District Headquarters offers a pamphlet entitled, “Craters – Cones- Coulees” for a self-guided tour of 10 geological sites.)  You are mistaken if you believe that visiting the area’s caldera, an area approximately 10 by 20 miles, will be a stroll down memory lane when the last eruption occurred 100,000 years ago.  The Mono-Long Valley Caldera is alive and well.  So, what are the odds of an eruption during your planned visit.  Scientists on staff at the U.S Geological Survey predict that the probability of any activity is about 1%.  In other words, stick around for another 100,000 years for the fireworks.  The most recent eruptions created the hills surrounding Mammoth Lakes, a mere 100,000 years ago.  Keep in mind, however, that the entire Mammoth and Mono Basin sees isolated pockets of activity outside the Long Valley Area.  As recent as 250 years ago, an eruption on Paoha Island in Mono Lake shook the area.

The study of geology is not the study of ancient history.  It is the study of Mother Earth in her slow, meticulous transformation of our planet.  Should an unthinkable and unpredictable, less than catastrophic, eruption take place during your visit and  in close proximity to where you stand, take heart from the fact that lava flows “rarely move faster than a brisk walk.” It will be the pyroclastic blast of hot ash venting at speeds “greater than 100 miles an hour” that will get you!  I exaggerate, of course.  Scientists predict that the next eruption will more than likely be small, and it could be limited to that of an explosive steam kettle, with the molten magma activity safely under the ground as it vaporizes underground water in its struggle to reach the surface.  When sub-surface gas is pushed up just beneath the earth’s crust, and it is touched off by a finger-like vein of molten rock, “stuff” happens.  It is precisely this rising finger of hot molten rock that keeps the USGS busy monitoring the area.  In 1980-1982 scientists noticed a slight uplift of the ground surface in the Long Valley Caldera, as the magma and a finger-like projection pushed upwards along the south wall of the caldera.

The self-guided tour of the geological wonders around the Mammoth area, including a trip to the Hot Creek Geological Site, is an important part in understanding the region.  For informative articles on “Long Valley Caldera and Mono-Inyo Craters,” and “Future Eruptions in California’s Long Valley Area – What is Likely?”, visit USGS on-line.

Mammoth Mines

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area:  Encompassing 3,500 acres, 150 trails, 29 ski lifts and three full service slope-side lodges, Mammoth Mountain is the quintessential ski resort in the eastern Sierra Mountains.

Minaret Vista

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Photo courtesy of Mammoth Mountain


Located a short distance west of the Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort on Minaret Road, the Minaret Vista at the top of the pass affords an impressive view of the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River, the Ritter Mountain Range and the jagged Minarets across the valley floor.  A self-guided tour provides signed information on the geology and plant life in the area from the picnic area and Deadman Pass Trailhead.

Obsidian Dome

Obsidian, prized by the Indians for making spearheads and arrowheads, is a black, glass-like creation from lava that cooled rapidly after a surface eruption.  Thousands of years after the caldera was formed, domes were created from magma pressure far below.  The resulting ground swell forms a resurgent dome.  Think of the Obsidian Dome as a magma after-thought or burp.  If you have visited Mammoth Hot Springs Geothermal area, you can imagine what that burp smelled like!

Whitmore Hot Springs

Operated by Mammoth Lakes, the pool is regulated at 80-degrees from a nearby hot spring.  Open to the public, Whitmore Hot Springs pool is located one mile of Highway 395 on Benton Crossing Road, just before the Mammoth Airport.

Companion Web Sites:

Glacier to Yellowstone (A complete guide to camping and fishing in Montana from Glacier to Yellowstone)

Fishing Tips 101 (Offering a "Mastering the Basics" series for freshwater fishing)

Bass and Trout Fishing Digest (Dave's hodge-podge of fishing adventures in Northern California and Oregon)


 

 

 

 



Tom's Place, California

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Highway 395, 20.5 miles north of Bishop and 17.6 miles south of Mammoth Lakes and gateway to Rock Creek and Little Lakes Valley.  Tom's Place is right off Highway 395 across from Crowley Lake.  Tom's Place Resort offers cabins, a general store and a cafe and bar.  (See the separate categories for Rock Creek fishing and camping.)

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Restaurants and Eateries: Tom's Place Resort; Rock Creek Resort


Events and Festivities: April 26: Opening Day for the General Trout Season); November 15: General Trout Season Closes

Summer Recreation: Biking, Birding, Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Mountaineering, Photography, Rock Climbing

Nearby Fishing: Rock Creek and the Bishop area.

Home: Bishop: Fishing   Fishing Tips

Nearby Camping: Home: Bishop: Camping

Bishop Chamber of Commerce
690 N. Main St., Bishop, California  93514; 760-873-8405; 888-395-3952 Toll free
Visitor center hours: 10AM to 5PM M-F  10AM to 4PM Weekends

Tours and Side-Trips:

Weather  


Recreational Contacts: Rock Creek Pack Station (760) 872-8331


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Government Contacts:

            Bureau of Land Management (Bishop Office) 787 Main Street, Suite P, Bishop, CA 93514

            Department of Fish and Game: Season dates, licenses, restrictions, fish stocking

            Inyo National Forest: books, maps and wilderness passes and permits: Mt. Whitney Ranger Station (760) 873-2500; White Mountain Ranger Station (760) 873-2500; Mammoth Ranger Station (760) 924-5500  www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo


Rock Creek Canyon and the Little Lakes Valley

Rock Creek Canyon has bragging rights.  At the Mosquito Flat Trailhead, it is the highest paved road in California, towering above the valley floor at 10,250 feet elevation.  But it is also considered one of the most beautiful entrances to the John Muir Wilderness simply because the gain in elevation eliminates those arduous climbs that most trailheads into the Sierra Mountains demand.  Day hikers can make a round-trip hike of a little over five miles to Little Lakes Valley, a popular destination for photographers and anglers.  The trail offers a very gradual accent, and in places it could be described as almost level.  Standing guard over the Little Lakes Valley are three sentinels: Mt. Dade, Mt. Abbot and Mt. Mills, each towering over 13,000 feet.  Summer’s splendid profusion of wildflowers and verdant green meadows and the autumnal hues of gold from Quaking Aspen and willow have inspired hikers, photographers and artists for many generations.

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To provide a correction or offer a suggestion, email David Archer.

Companion Web Sites:

Glacier to Yellowstone (A complete guide to camping and fishing in Montana from Glacier to Yellowstone)

Fishing Tips 101 (Offering a "Mastering the Basics" series for freshwater fishing)



 

 



Bishop, California

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Highway 395, 15.6 miles north of Big Pine and 20.5 miles south of Tom’s Place

Restaurants and Eateries: (My favorites) Bar-B-Q Bills (760) 872-5535; Erick Schat’s Bakkery (760) 873-7156; La Casita (760) 872-2326

Public Internet Use Facilities:

Museums and Point of Interest: Laws Railroad Museum (760) 647-6445; Paiute Shoshone Indian Cultural Center

Events and Festivities/ March 15: Blake Jones Trout Derby – Bishop Chamber of Commerce; April 26: Opening Day for the General Trout Season; May 23-26: Memorial Day Arts and Craft Show; August 28-September 1: Eastern Sierra Tri-County Fair; September 27-28: California Wild Horse and Burro Show); November 15: General Trout Season Closes.

Summer Recreation: Biking, Birding, Camping, Fishing, Golfing, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Mountaineering, Photography, Rock Climbing

Winter Recreation: (See Mammoth Lakes)

Sporting Goods Stores: Barrett’s Outfitters (760) 872-3830Culver’s Sporting Goods (760) 872-8361; Mac’s Sporting Goods (760) 872-9201; Wilson’s Eastside Sports (760) 873-7520

Fly Shops: Brooks Flyfishing Specialists (760) 872-3581; Owen's River Fly Shop (760) 872-3830 - www.owensriverflyshop.com

Nearby Fishing: Home: Bishop: Fishing   Fishing Tips (Bishop Creek, Heart Lake, Intake II, Mack Lake, McGee Creek, North Lake, Owens River, Pine Creek, Pleasant Valley Reservoir, Rock Creek, Rock Creek Lake, Ruby Lake, Sabrina Lake, South Lake

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Photo courtesy of Bishop Chamber of Commerce

Nearby Camping: Home: Bishop: Camping (Big Trees Campground, Bishop Park Campground, Bitterbrush Campground, Forks Campground, Four Jeffrey Campground, Horton Creek Campground, Intake II Campground, Pleasant Valley Campground, PV Pit Campground, Mountain Glen Campground, North Lake Campground, Sabrina Lake Campground, Willow Creek Campground)

Bishop Chamber of Commerce
690 N. Main St., Bishop, California  93514; 760-873-8405; 888-395-3952 Toll free
Visitor center hours: 10AM to 5PM M-F  10AM to 4PM Weekends

Community Parks:

Tours and Side-Trips:  Bishop Creek Canyon, Buttermilk Country, Fish Slough, Volcanic Tableland

Weather  

RV Related:

Recreational Contacts: Bishop Country Club golf course (760) 873-5828; Bishop Pack Outfitters (760) 873-4785; Paiute Palace Casino; Keough’s Hot Springs (760) 872-4670; Pine Creek Pack Station (760) 387-2797; Rainbow Pack Outfitters (760) 872-8803.  Rainbow Pack Outfitters offers overnight pack trips into the John Muir Wilderness and into King's Canyon Wilderness.  They also offer guided day rides and fishing trips in the Bishop Basin.

Government Contacts:

            Bureau of Land Management (Bishop Office) 787 Main Street, Suite P, Bishop, CA 93514

            Department of Fish and Game: 407 W. Line Street, Bishop, CA 93514 (619) 872-1171 Season dates, licenses, restrictions, fish stocking etc.

Photo courtesy of Bishop Chamber of Commerce

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            Inyo National Forest: books, maps and wilderness passes and permits: Mt. Whitney Ranger Station (760) 873-2500; White Mountain Ranger Station (760) 873-2500; Mammoth Ranger Station (760) 924-5500  www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo

Bishop Expansion Notes in Alphabetical Order

The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Across the broad Owens Valley lays a parallel mountain range that stretches east of Lone Pine northwards into Nevada.  The White and Inyo Mountains, bereft of rainfall as storms stall over the high Sierra, rise to impressive heights in a seemingly barren landscape.  The third highest mountain in California, and the largest mountain in this range, is White Mountain Peak at 14,246 feet.  Home to bighorn sheep, wild horses, deer and mountain lion, along with many species of birds, the White Mountains are home to the oldest living species in the world – the ancient Bristlecone Pine trees.  In this cold and desolate region, visitors, may visit and photograph “Methuselah”, a 4,774 year-old, or they may visit “Patriarch”, the largest of the ancient Bristlecone Pines, who is a youngster at 1,500 years.

Unassuming in height, the Bristlecone Pine grows on barren, windswept slopes with little surrounding vegetation, which protects them from wildfire danger.  Stout and gnarly, their twisted limbs entwine as they stand proud survivors and testimony to the rigors of nature and time not in decades or centuries but in millennium.  Slow to grow, their dense wood core wards off insects and disease.  Dr. Edmund Schulman, who discovered the trees in the 1950’s, has studied the ring growth in living and dead trees and provided a 9,000 year record of weather patterns for the region.

The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is 36 miles from Big Pine.  The last thirteen miles are unpaved and rough in places.  A picnic site is located at approximately 16 miles.  The only campground is Grandview Campground, a few miles north of the Cedar Flat Information Center.  The next stopping point is the Sierra Overlook at 9,000 feet elevation.  From this vista, the sweeping Sierra Mountains can be identified from a map display to help identify Mt. Whitney in the southern region and Mt. Dana in Yosemite to the north. Below the broad plain of Owens Valley stretches from Lone Pine to Bishop, and looking to the east, one can see the mountain peaks surrounding Death Valley.  Up the road is Schulman Grove Visitor Center.  Picnic tables and rest rooms are available, as well as Methuselah Walk, a trail to Old Methuselah.  Patriarch Grove lies ahead at an elevation of 11,000.  This final destination is reached on a narrow dirt road not recommended for large RV’.  From the parking area, it is a short walk to see the “Patriarch”, the largest of the Bristlecone Pine trees.

To visit Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, turn east on Highway 168 from Highway 395 in Big Pine.  After thirteen miles, turn left onto Road 01, a signed road to the forest.

Bishop

With the discovery of gold in Aurora, miners poured into an isolated region 30 miles southwest of Hawthorne, Nevada.  The population swelled to 10,000 people, and in less than ten years $27 million dollars in gold came out of the mines that both California and Nevada claimed to be under their jurisdiction.  These hungry miners needed beef, and Samuel Bishop meant to supply them.  From his home at Fort Tejon, in the mountains above San Fernando Valley, he and his wife and a number of hired hands drove 600 cattle and 50 horses 250 miles to where he claimed a ranch on Bishop Creek.  Arriving August 22, 1861, he joined just a handful of other white settlers to claim land in the Owens Valley.  The local native inhabitants lived near Bishop Creek and diverted the creek to irrigate fields of tabose, a yellow grass with edible tubers.  Within a year armed settlers attacked a band of Paiute Indians who had killed a stray cow.  Conflict over land and water escalated, and after a few years Samuel Bishop and his family returned to their more settled area of Fort Tejon.

By 1863 a stage coach line was established from Bishop to Aurora.  Conflict with the natives and the ensuing up-risings necessitated an army outpost in Independence.  With the Army in control, it was obvious that more than beef was on the menu for miners throughout Inyo County, and soon Bishop became a farming hub for the region.

Continuing silver and gold strikes brought in the Carson & Colorado Railroad that connected Owens Valley with mines to the north, south, east and west.  Bishop incorporated in 1903, and by 1906 it claimed to have the world’s wealthiest gold mine up in Bishop Canyon.  The biggest boom, however was in the 1930’s when the mining operation reworked their claims and produced $1.5 million in gold.  By the turn of the century, the city of Los Angeles desperately needed water for their burgeoning population.  They quietly began purchasing farms and ranches, along with the water rights throughout the region.  By 1913 the Los Angeles Aqueduct began draining the region, and within a few years farming declined substantially.  The next fortune was made from the hydroelectric powerhouses, which tapped Bishop Creek.

With little private land to expand, Bishop nonetheless became prosperous as the tourism hub of Inyo County.  Regional and national exposure of the natural wonders of the area, spawned in part from the exposure of Hollywood films crews during the 1920’ and 30’s, transformed Bishop and Mammoth into a  recreational playground for southern California.  Today Bishop is best known for Mule Days during Memorial Weekend, the Tri-County Fair and Rodeo in July and the Labor Day weekend rodeo.  For an excellent overview on the history of Bishop, visit the Bishop Chamber of Commerce web site.

Blake Jones Fishing Derby

The next derby will be held Saturday, March 15, 2008.  The Blake Jones Trout Derby is held every March....The site of the derby is along the Owens River, just below the Pleasant Valley Reservoir, six miles north of Bishop. Put on by the Bishop Area Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau, this pre-season event is a great chance to wet your line and hone your fishing skills while getting a chance to win big prizes!

Fishing during the derby is allowed in the reservoir and along the river only as all others waters are closed until the last Saturday in April. Tons of trout are planted just before the derby by both Alpers Trout Hatchery and the DFG. and you can enter your catch in any number of categories including "Blind Bogey" and "Big Fish" for a chance to win your part of over $10,000 in prizes including high quality rod & reel combos, float tubes, custom lures, lodging, dinners and other goodies from local merchants and friends of the Bishop Chamber.... During the derby, you are allowed to fish in both the  Pleasant Valley Reservoir and any section of the lower Owens River (except the catch & release Wild Trout area) and bring your catch to the derby headquarters at the reservoir to have them weighed by Hal and the crew.

Each participant receives five "fish cards" so that one can enter up to five fish (the legal limit) in the contest to increase the chance of winning. Everyone's fish cards are put into the hopper and those that match the Blind Bogey weight will win prizes. There are also prizes for "Biggest Trout" plus lots more! 
The Blind Bogey fish this year weighed 11oz. (caught by a secret fisherman two days before the derby) and 20 lucky fishermen who caught fish that matched that size had their fish cards drawn with first prize a fisherman's dream package contributed by local sporting goods dealers Barrett's Outfitters, Mac's Sporting Goods and  Culver's Sporting Goods along with the Paiute Palace, Sears, Berkley and Cabelas.

Who was Blake Jones?
Whenever you bait your hook with Powerbait or any of the other modern cheese baits, you can thank the late Blake Jones. Jones invented cheese bait which was unique when it was introduced back in the 1950s. Before Blake Jones came along anglers had to use Velveeta cheese spread or cut small pieces from a block of cheese which easily fell off the hook when immersed in water. Blake's special cheese bait stayed on the hook even during heavy casting.  But Blake Jones was probably best known as one of the legendary anglers in Bishop. Along with his wife, Peggy, he fished all over the high country and taught hundreds of people how to fish thelakes and streams of the High Sierra. Longtime local resident and business owner Don Barrett explained. 'They were the type of people who would never hesitate and help people fish. They might hand someone a jar of bait and show them how to use it. They were just that way.'"

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For complete details on the derby go to www.bishopvisitor.com

 Photo courtesy of Bishop Chamber of Commerce.













Buttermilk Country

Named by a local dairyman back in the 1870’s, the area is quite popular with family rock climbers and “bouldering” experts alike, who use only their fingers and toes to climb.  The area is beautiful in the spring both for wildflowers, birds and a large deer herd that winter in the area.  To reach Buttermilk Country, turn west on Line Street (Highway 168) from Highway 395 in Bishop.  Drive 7.3 miles and turn right on Buttermilk Road.  Proceed to the turn-around.

Fish Slough / Volcanic Tableland

 One of the best tour guides for Inyo County may be found on line or at Ranger District Headquarters or at Visitor Centers. Motor Touring in the Eastern Sierra including Death Valley covers self-guided tours for sport utility vehicles.  One such tour route is Fish Slough, Red Rock Canyon and Casa Diablo.  Following the old Carson & Colorado railroad route through Chalfant Valley in the shadows of the stark White Mountains, this loop tour will take you to historic Fish Slough, a native fish sanctuary and wetland area important to the Paiute Indians.  It is here that they harvested native Indian rice and fished and hunted.  Today this small remnant of desert marshland is being protected by the Bureau of Land Management as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern.  Bird watchers and naturalists will enjoy the many varieties of ducks, raptors and herons.  Continuing on Fish Slough Road, the loop circles up through Red Rock Canyon and then southward to Casa Diablo Mountain, where drivers must chose their exit route back to

Bishop or connect with the Benton Crossing Road.  (Be sure to have a Inyo County map or the Inyo National Forest map along with safety provisions.)  The Volcanic Tableland is a vast high-desert outback, to borrow a name from those Down Under.  From Highway 395 in Bishop at the intersection with Highway 6, turn right on Highway 6 and proceed 1.3 miles to Five Bridges Road.  Turn left on this road and drive 2.3 miles to Fish Slough Road.  The motor tour guide should be in your possession.  They suggest setting your trip meter as the “directions, especially for Route 13, depend upon knowing your mileage.”

Keough’s Hot Springs.

With a claim to be the Eastern Sierra’s largest natural hot springs pool, Keough’s Hot Springs has a long history for soaking tired bodies in geothermal spring water.  During the 1920’s and 30’s, Keough’s Hot Springs was a health and leisure resort.  Valley residents then and now hold barbecues and picnics.  I have fond memories of swimming here as a youngster in the late 1940’s.  At that time it had a little train that circled the premises.  I know that I will be returning soon.  The hot spring pool is located seven miles south of Bishop, just off Highway 395.  For information call (760) 872-4670.

To provide a correction or offer a suggestion, email David Archer.

Companion Web Sites:

Glacier to Yellowstone (A complete guide to camping and fishing in Montana from Glacier to Yellowstone)

Fishing Tips 101 (Offering a "Mastering the Basics" series for freshwater fishing)

Bass and Trout Fishing Digest (Dave's hodge-podge of fishing adventures in Northern California and Oregon)


 


Big Pine, California

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Highway 395, 26 miles north of Independence and 15 miles south of Bishop

Photo Gallery

Services and Accommodations

Restaurants and Eateries:

Public Internet Use Facilities:

Museums and Point of Interest:

Events and Festivities: April 26: Opening Day for the General Trout Season; November 15: General Trout Season Closes

Summer Recreation: Biking, Birding, Camping, Fishing, Golfing, Hang Gliding, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Mountaineering, Photography, Rock Climbing

Winter Recreation:

Sporting Goods Stores:

Fly Shops:

Nearby Fishing: Home: Big Pine: Fishing   Fishing Tips (Big Pine Creek, Owens River)

Nearby Camping: Home: Big Pine: Camping (Tinnemaha Campground)

Big Pine Chamber of Commerce:   Big Pine Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, P.O. Box 23, Big Pine, California 93513
(760) 938-2114  or  (866) 938-2114

Community Parks:

Tours and Side-Trips:  Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest; Big Pine Canyon; Keoughs Hots Springs

Weather  

RV Related:

Recreational Contacts: Glacier Pack Train (760) 938-2538. The pack station is located 11 miles west of Big Pine on a paved road.  Pack trips include spot, dunnage and base camp, along with day rides.  Fishing and pack trips reach Big Pine Lakes, Palisades Glaciers, Sawmill Pass, Baker Lakes and day rides to upper lakes.

Government Contacts:

            Department of Fish and Game: (www.dfg.ca.gov/fishing) Season dates, licenses, restrictions, fish stocking

            Inyo National Forest: books, maps and wilderness passes and permits: Mt. Whitney Ranger Station (760) 873-2500; White Mountain Ranger Station (760) 873-2500; Mammoth Ranger Station (760) 924-5500  www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/about

Big Pine Expansion Notes in Alphabetical Order

The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest

Across the broad Owens Valley lays a parallel mountain range that stretches east of Lone Pine northwards into Nevada.  The White and Inyo Mountains, bereft of rainfall as storms stall over the high Sierra, rise to impressive heights in a seemingly barren landscape.  The third highest mountain in California and the largest mountain in this range is White Mountain Peak at 14,246 feet.  Home to bighorn sheep, wild horses, deer and mountain lion, along with many species of birds, the White Mountains are home to the oldest living species in the world – the ancient Bristlecone Pine trees.  In this cold and desolate region, visitors, may visit and photograph “Methuselah”, a 4,774 year-old, or they may visit “Patriarch”, the largest of the ancient Bristlecone Pines, who is a youngster at 1,500 years.

Unassuming in height, the Bristlecone Pine grows on barren, windswept slopes with little vegetation, which protects them from to wildfire danger.  Stout and gnarly, their twisted limbs entwine as they stand as proud survivors and testimony to the rigors of nature and time not in decades or centuries but in millennium.  Slow to grow, their dense wood core wards off insects and disease.  Dr. Edmund Schulman, who discovered the trees in the 1950’s, has studied the ring growth in living and dead trees and provided a 9,000 year record of weather patterns for the region.

The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is 36 miles from Big Pine.  The last thirteen miles are unpaved and rough in places.  A picnic site is located at approximately 16 miles.  The only campground is Grandview Campground, a few miles north from the Cedar Flat Information Center.  The next stopping point is the Sierra Overlook at 9,000 feet elevation.  From this vista, the sweeping Sierra Mountains can be identified from a trail side marker to help identify Mt. Whitney in the southern region and Mt. Dana in Yosemite to the north. Below the broad plain of Owens Valley stretches from Lone Pine to Bishop, and looking to the east, one can see the mountain peaks surrounding Death Valley.  Up the road is Schulman Grove Visitor Center.  Picnic tables and rest rooms are available, as well as Methuselah Walk, a trail to Old Methuselah.  Patriarch Grove lies ahead at an elevation of 11,000.  This final destination is reached on a narrow dirt road not recommended for large RV’.  From the parking area, it is a short walk to see the “Patriarch”, the largest of the Bristlecone Pine trees.

To visit Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, turn east on Highway 168 from Highway 395 in Big Pine.  After thirteen miles, turn left onto Road 01, a signed road to the forest.

Big Pine

Named for the large stands of pine trees in the area, Big Pine was a logging and lumber operation that served the mining districts from Cerro Gordo all the way up to Bodie and Aurora, Nevada and eastward over Westgard Pass to White Mountain City.  The lumber was freighted by  teams of oxen on large wagons with iron-rimmed, spoke wheels.  Big Pine offers highway junction 168 to the Ancient Bristlecone Forest, as well as a northern route to Death Valley.  Jutting above the escarpment is Palisade Glacier and the head waters of Big Pine Creek, along with a number of good campgrounds with shaded camp sites.  Big Pine Creeks offers good fishing.  The creek forks higher up the slope.  “The north fork trail offer access to the Big Pine Lakes and the Palisade Glacier, the largest glacier in the Sierra and the southernmost glacier in the Western Hemisphere.  The Palisade Crest, rising above 14,000 feet contains some of the finest alpine climbing in California.  The Big Pine Lakes zigzags through a slope of sage, manzanita, and Jeffrey pines before it reaches Second Falls and follows the creek to its headwaters.  Hikers will pass a stone cabin built by movie actor Lon Chaney (the original “Quasimodo”)while walking through a forest of Lodge pole  Pine.” (www.bigpine.com)

Keough’s Hot Springs.

With a claim to be the Eastern Sierra’s largest natural hot springs pool, Keough’s Hot Springs has a long history for soaking tired bodies in geothermal spring water.  During the 1920’s and 30’s, Keough’s Hot Springs was a health and leisure resort.  Valley residents then and now hold barbecues and picnics.  I have fond memories of swimming here as a youngster in the late 1940’s.  At that time it had a little train that circled the premises.  I know that I will be returning soon.  The hot spring pool is located seven miles south of Bishop, just off Highway 395.  For information call (760) 872-4670.

To provide a correction or offer a suggestion, email David Archer.

Companion Web Sites:

Glacier to Yellowstone (A complete guide to camping and fishing in Montana from Glacier to Yellowstone)

Fishing Tips 101 (Offering a "Mastering the Basics" series for freshwater fishing)

Bass and Trout Fishing Digest (Dave's hodge-podge of fishing adventures in Northern California and Oregon)



Independence, California

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Highway 395, 15.8 miles north of Lone Pine and 26.2 miles south of Big Pine

Photo Gallery

Services and Accommodations

Restaurants and Eateries:

Public Internet Use Facilities:

Museums and Point of Interest: Eastern California Museum, 155 N. Grant Street, Independence, CA 93526; Open 10 am to 4 pm – closed Tuesdays and major holidays.

Events and Festivities: April 26: Opening Day for the General Trout Season; June: Father’s Day Trout Derby (Chamber); November 15: General Trout Season Closes

Summer Recreation: Biking, Birding, Camping, Fishing, Golfing, Hang Gliding, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Mountaineering, Photography, Rock Climbing

Winter Recreation:

Sporting Goods Stores: High Sierra Outfitters (760) 876-9994

Fly Shops:

Nearby Fishing: Home: Independence: Fishing  (Independence Creek, Owens River) Fishing Tips

Nearby Camping: Home: Independence: Camping  (Goodale Creek Campround, Grays Meadow Campgrounds, Oak Creek Campground)

Independence Chamber of Commerce: Located at: 139 North Edwards (Hwy. 395) across from the courthouse.
The office is open Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.(760) 878-0084

Community Parks:  Dehy Community Park

Tours and Side-Trips:

Weather  

RV Related:

Recreational Contacts: Cottonwood Pack Station (760) 878-2015; Sequoia King Pack Trains (760) 387-2797

Government Contacts:

            Inyo National Forest: books, maps and wilderness passes and permits: Mt. Whitney Ranger Station (760) 873-2500; White Mountain Ranger Station (760) 873-2500; Mammoth Ranger Station (760) 924-5500 http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/about/

            Department of Fish and Game: (www.dfg.ca.gov/fishing) Season dates, licenses, restrictions, fish stocking.

Independence Expansion Notes in Alphabetical Order

Independence: The county seat for Inyo County, Independence was established in 1866 and named Putnam after Charles Putnam a founder and pioneer of the area. With the establishment of Fort Independence during the Indian up-risings, the town was later named Independence.  The present county courthouse was built in 1921. The original courthouse was demolished in the famous 1872 earthquake.  It was replaced, but it too was destroyed by fire in 1886.  The impressive stone courthouse built in 1921 now is home to the Inyo Country Free Library.  A number of historical homes can be seen in Independence.  If you are traveling and need a rest or a picnic, visit Dehy Community Park, which offers restrooms and picnic tables at the northern end of town.  The park is home to Engine 18 from the Carson and Colorado Railroad.  Engine 18, the Little Engine That Could, hauled oar from Keeler north to Benton where it chugged up and over Montgomery Pass to service the communities of Mina and Mound House.

Onion Valley: Just as Lone Pine has its paved entrance into the high country of the Sierra Mountains, so too does Independence with its beautiful Onion Valley, gateway to the John Muir Wilderness.  During the Civil War miners sympathetic to the southern cause tended to shift to the Lone Pine area, while Union supporters worked the area around Independence.  The rivalry was both serious and intense at times.  The Alabama Hills were named for the Southern war ship, the Alabama.  When the U.S. war ship Kearsarge sank the Alabama, Independence miners named their mining district Kearsarge, along with naming Kearsarge Peak.  The Onion Valley Road, named for the wild onions found in the high mountain meadows, climbs high above the valley floor to offer outstanding camping, picnicking, and both day hike opportunities, as well as a trailhead to Robinson Lake and Kearsarge Pass.  The Kearsarge Pass is the historic pass used by the natives to trade with natives on the western slopes of the Sierras.  Mountain men, prospectors and geological survey teams also used this pass.   At an elevation of 9,200 and an elevation climb of 5,000 feet, the trailhead sits in a glacial bowl at the headwaters of Independence Creek.  The drive offers splendid views of Owens Valley and the Inyo Mountains, as well as Mt. Williamson, the second highest mountain in California at 14,375 feet.  From Highway 395 in Independence, turn west on Market Street (Onion Valley Road) and drive thirteen miles to the trailhead.

Manzanar Historical Monument

Because of war hysteria and racist fears, Japanese American citizens, along with Japanese aliens and visitors, were rounded up and forced into relocation camps during World War II.  One of the most preserved of the ten internee camps is Manzanar, which is located just off Highway 395 five miles south of Independence and ten miles north of Lone Pine. "After the attack on Pearl Harbor, West Coast military commander John L. DeWitt filed a report accusing Japanese-Americans of engaging in espionage and disloyal conduct. Less than three months later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order No. 9066 (February 19, 1942) empowering the Secretary of War to round up U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry and Japanese resident aliens from the West Coast. Approximately 118,000 citizens were routed under military guard to assembly centers and then ten internment camps with no more than what they could carry in two suitcases.

Manzanar War Relocation Center began as an "assembly center" under U.S. Army control. The 500-acre camp was quickly filled with former residents of Bainbridge Island, WA and Terminal Island, CA, followed by persons of Japanese ancestry expelled from Southern California (more than 70% from the Los Angeles area). Acres of farmland were part of this camp, existing beyond the fence. The War Relocation Authority took control of Manzanar on June 1, 1942 and operated the camp until it closed in November 1945. A total of 11,400 people were processed through this relocation center. The population reached 10,200 in September 1942; by 1944 it was 6,000....

Many of the internees volunteered or were drafted into the U.S. military. The 100thBN/442nd Regimental Combat Team of Japanese Americans became one of the most decorated of the war in Europe. Others volunteered to serve in the Military Intelligence Service. Internees at Manzanar were allowed to leave for jobs in other parts of the country, provided they had a sponsor. Older people and children comprised the main populace by the time the camp closed in November 1945.

Many notable people were sent to Manzanar. Among their ranks was the family of Sadao Munemori, a 19-year-old boy who was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroics in Italy during World War II. Ralph Lazo was another Manzanar teenager. He was of Mexican and Irish decent. When his best friends were removed from their homes and taken to Manzanar, Ralph went too because he felt they were all the same. His was the only documented case of a non-Asian who was not part of an Asian family who voluntarily entered the camps. One hundred ten orphans (some as young as six months) were sent to the Children’s Village at Manzanar, the only camp to have such an orphanage. Toyo Miyatake, a professional photographer, snuck a camera lens into Manzanar, built a camera and became the official photographer of the camp. Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston wrote about her childhood experiences in the book, Farewell to Manzanar. Their memories recorded on film and in prose are vivid portraits of life in the camp." (http://www.nps.gov/archive/manz/Manzhis.htm)

Visitors may visit Manzanar taking a three mile long self-guided tour.  Manzanar National Monument has no entrance fee.  They provide a tour map.  At the present time there is no visitor center or museum.  Many exhibits and artifacts may be seen in the nearby Eastern California Museum in Independence.

Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery

 Threatened with budget cuts, targeted for closure, and imperiled by the Inyo Complex Fire in July of 2007, the Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery stands tall and proud in the shadows of the high Sierra.  With a land donation and a gift of $1500, the citizen of Independence persuaded the California Fish and Game Commission to build a fish hatchery on Oak Creek in 1915.  One of the commissioners declared that the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery goal was “to design a building that would match the mountains, would last forever, and be a showplace for all time.”  Over 60,000 visitors a year will attest to the goal being met.  The hatchery is the sole provider of Golden trout for the wilderness lakes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

To provide a correction or offer a suggestion, email David Archer.

Companion Web Sites:

Glacier to Yellowstone (A complete guide to camping and fishing in Montana from Glacier to Yellowstone)

Fishing Tips 101 (Offering a "Mastering the Basics" series for freshwater fishing)

Bass and Trout Fishing Digest (Dave's hodge-podge of fishing adventures in Northern California and Oregon)


 

 


Lone Pine, California

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Highway 395, 209 miles north of Los Angeles and 15.8 miles south of Independence

Photo Gallery

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Restaurants and Eateries: Bonanza Mexican Restaurant; High Sierra Café, Merry-Go-Round; Mt. Whitney Rest; Pizza Factory; Season’s Restaurant; Totem Cafe

Public Internet Use Facilities:

Museums and Point of Interest: InterAgency Visitor Center; Manzanar Internment Camp

Events and Festivities:  March 1: Early Opener Trout Derby (Chamber); April 26: Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage (A delegation of Japanese-Americans and others return to Mananar to pay tribute to the internees and Japanese-American Veterans who fought in WW II.  Organized by Mansanar National Historic Site.) May 3: Wild West Marathon (Chamber); October: Lone Pine Film Festival (Chamber); November 15: General Trout Season Closes

Summer Recreation: Biking, Birding, Camping, Fishing, Golfing, Hang Gliding, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Mountaineering, Photography, Rock Climbing.

Sporting Goods Stores: Gardner’s True Value (706) 876-4208; Lone Pine Sporting Goods (760) 876-5365

Nearby Fishing: Home: Lone Pine: Lone Pine Fishing   Fishing Tips

Nearby Camping: Home: Lone Pine: Lone Pine Camping

Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Links: www.lonepinechamber.org; InterAgency Visitor Center at the junction of Highway 395 and Highway 136, (760) 876-4444.  Open 8 am to 4:50 pm.  Closed Tuesday and Wednesday in the off season.

Community Parks:

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Tours and Side-Trips:  Alabama Hills; Cerro Gordo; Diaz Lake; Horseshoe Meadows; Manzanar Concentration Camp

Weather

RV Related:

Recreational Contacts: Mt. Whitney Golf Club (760) 876-5795; Lone Pine Pheasant Club

Government Contacts:

            Inyo National Forest: books, maps and wilderness passes and permits: Mt. Whitney Ranger Station (760) 873-2500; White Mountain Ranger Station (760) 873-2500; Mammoth Ranger Station (760) 924-5500  www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo

            Department of Fish and Game: (www.dfg.ca.gov/fishing) Season dates, licenses, restrictions, fish stocking

To provide a correction or offer a suggestion, email David Archer.

Lone Pine Expansion Notes in Alphabetical Order

Alabama Hills:

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If you are a rock climber, a kid who loves climbing up boulders or a western movie fan, be sure to visit the Alabama Hills Recreation Area, a few miles west of Lone Pine.  Into this arid, enchanting rock forest, film directors have been directing scenes of fabulous rock formations since the 1920’s.  Offering majestic vistas of Mount Whitney and the Sierra escarpment, Alabama Hills is especially beautiful during the spring when wildflowers dot the sandstone and granite landscape.  Each year Lone Pine celebrates its movie connection with the Lone Pine Film Festival, which for 2008 will be held October 10-12.  If you plan on visiting Alabama Hills, be sure to visit the Film Festival web site for their movie road tour.



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Diaz Lake:  Three miles south of Lone Pine.

Lake size: 22 acres    Species: Planted Rainbows early in the season; Largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie and Channel catfish

Closest town or supplies: Lone Pine

Contacts: Inyo County Parks Department; Mt. Whitney Ranger District (760) 876-6200; Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce: toll-free at (877) 253-8981 or locally at (760) 876-4444; Lone Pine Sporting Goods (760) 876-5365; Gardner’s True Value (706) 876-4208

Facilities: Boat launch; rest rooms, picnic site, swimming area and playground

Nearest campground: Diaz Lake, Lone Pine Creek, Boulder Creek RV (760) 876-4243

Boating: Personal watercraft allowed

Fishing season: Early opener-see regulations       Best times: Spring and late fall

Favorite lures or bait: Conventional gear for bass; lures and bait for trout

Stocking information: 12,000 trout per season

Additional information: If you are a bass fisherman and a trout fisherman, this is a great spot for a spring outing. Lone Pine also hosts an Early Opener Derby.  If you enjoy bass fishing, ask locally for directions to “High Banks” on the Owens River, as well as Billy Lake.

Directions: Three miles south of Lone Pine on Highway 395.

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Cerro Gordo Mines: The Cerro Gordo Mines, discovered in 1867 when Los Angeles was a sleepy cattle town of less than three thousand people, transformed Los Angeles and all the communities along the way with its rich strike of silver.  Estimates of 13 to 15 million dollars worth of silver bullion were freighted to Los Angeles and then shipped to San Francisco for refinement.  Today the mining district is preserved as an authentic ghost town.  Although the trip is easier today than over a hundred years ago, it is a notably rough road and not recommended for low clearance vehicles or large RV’s.  The road climbs 5,000 feet in elevation, is narrow in places, and the last 2.5 miles offer switch backs with no room to turn around.

“Of the three roads into camp, the most commonly used access to Cerro Gordo is via the infamous Yellow Grade (aka Cerro Gordo) Road. Originally constructed as a toll-road in 1868, by bullion king Mortimer Belshaw, the road began earning a "romantic" reputation from its onset. Legend has it that the earliest teamsters would consume their whiskey at the bottom, near Swansea and later Keeler, before urging their teams up the grade. The roads steepness and weather extremes fostered creativity back then. Today, the Yellow Grade is within the maintained mileage system of Inyo County. Experienced county road crews groom away defects on an as-needed basis. While traveling in any of the canyons of the high desert, all visitors should pay close attention to weather events that may create dangerous flash-flood conditions.

            The climb from Highway 136, at Keeler, to Cerro Gordo is roughly 5000 feet. The distance is 7.5 miles. The road surface is of native sand, gravel and bedrock. While the use of a four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended, nearly any two-wheel-drive car or truck with moderately adequate ground clearance, good brakes and a sound drive train, should suffice. Travelers should plan to take between 25 to 30 minutes, after leaving the highway, to arrive. Carrying a good spare tire is imperative and a can of "stop-leak" or other tire emergency aid won't hurt. Knowing how to change a flat tire is also a good practice. As with many desert destinations in and around the Death Valley region, care should be taken to not overheat the vehicle's cooling system, and for those of you with automatic transmissions, you might find an extra can of transmission fluid handy.” (www.cerrogordo.us/roadway.html)

Golfing:  Mt. Whitney Golf Course, 2559 S Main, Lone Pine, CA 93545
(760) 876-5795

Hang Gliding:
For an interesting article on hang gliding, along with national long-distance hang gliding records, visit the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce web site, or for a look into the world of hang gliders, visit Horseshoe Meadow launch site at Walt's Point for a scary description of hang gliding high above the Sierra Mountains.

Horseshoe Meadows: Horseshoe Meadows, gateway to the Golden Trout Wilderness and the John Muir Wilderness, provides a great picnic get-away for travelers wanting to escape the heat of the valley floor and enjoy a high elevation meadow, along with the sparkling waters of Cottonwood Creek.  Travelers to the area in the late spring will be rewarded with panoply of wildflowers, especially Shooting Stars and Lupine.  Unlike so many trailheads, the Golden Trout Wilderness trailhead offers wonderful day hikes for the entire family.

 Climbing from an elevation of 6,000 feet to nearly 10,000 feet, the paved road to Horseshoe Meadows is noted as one of the highest gains in elevation, as well as one of the most splendid panoramic views of the Owens Valley.  Plan on using low gears in the accent, as well as in descending the mountain.  Along the way look for the Point of Historical Interest marker for one of the film settings in the 1939 movie, Gunga Din.  Approximately 18 miles from Lone Pine is the launching point at Walt' Point for hang gliders, and at 19 miles is the ruins of Cottonwood Sawmill, which supplied the Cerro Gordo mines with kiln wood.  The logs were cut from the nearby canyon and set careering down a nine-mile flume, where they were freighted to a steam ship and steamed across Owens Lake.  The logs were then transferred to freighters who hauled the logs up the treacherous mountainside to Cerro Gordo mines. Drections: From Highway 395 in Lone Pine, turn west on Whitney Portal Road and drive 3.5 miles and turn left on Horseshoe Meadows Road.  Drive 22 miles to the trailhead.


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Lone Pine:
Brothers Bart McGee and Alney first settled the area in 1861 and aptly named the location Lone Pine after a lone Jeffrey Pine tree at the base of Lone Pine Canyon.  Within a few years, the discovery of silver and the opening of the Cerro Gordo mines expanded commerce both in Los Angeles and Lone Pine.  Farmers, ranchers, miners and merchants created a hub of commerce and activity in this desert oasis. By the 1880’s the mining district went bust after shipping millions of silver, lead and zinc to the city of Los Angeles.  The mining industry, in turn, created a steady corridor of freight wagons and supply centers to Los Angeles.  With a growing business climate and ever increasing population, the Los Angeles city planners knew they needed more water and the Owens River would be the conduit of life.  In 1904 Los Angeles began using the water supply of Owens River and set out to buy water rights from Lone Pine to Lee Vining, which is often referred to as the Water Wars

 By the 1920’s the aqueduct was under construction and agriculture faced a steady decline.  What was once a great productive area for hay, fruits and vegetables became a producer of water for southern California.  During this period of agricultural decline, Hollywood discovered the wonderful landscapes surrounding Lone Pine in the Alabama Hills.  To date over 250 films have utilized the fantastic rock formations in the area.  Western film stars from Tom Mix, Roy Rodgers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy and the Duke all filmed here in the Alabama Hills.  (See Lone Pine Film Festival).  Today Lone Pine is still a hub, and recreation and the outdoors draw visitors from around the country.

Owens Lake: When the city of Los Angels diverted water from Owens Lake to an aqueduct in 1913, it could not anticipate the ecological calamities and financial responsibilities it would face ninety-five years later.  With just a little more than a decade of shutting off the Owens River, this once broad desert lake of nearly 100 square miles dried up to become an alkali menace to nearby residents, who themselves have benefited from cheap water drained from the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  During the 1870’s, steam barges plied the lake carrying ore from the Cerro Gordo Mines.  Waiting for them on the other side, were long-lined freighters pulled by thirty to forty mules.  On any given day fifty or more freighters would line up waiting for the precious cargo to be hauled to Los Angeles.  Today nearby residents face some of the worst coarse-particle air pollution in the United States from alkali dust storms. Litigation continues on the Water War dispute and the management of the Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Project.

Mt. Whitney: Hey, all you anglers out there!  When was the last time you heard about three fishermen scaling a 14,495 foot un-named mountain in one day when others had failed?  Three local fishermen, John Lucas, Charles Begole and Albert Johnson, from the Lone Pine area worked their way up to what is now the peak of Mount Whitney and left a note in a tin can to prove their feat.  Clarence King, a member of the California State Geological Survey had erroneously climbed a companion peak of Mt. Whitney and publicized his achievement in many professional journals.  He named the mountain for his director.  When government officials set off to substantiate his climb in the history books, they were dismayed to find that Mr. King had inadvertently climbed Mt. Langley, which lies southeast of Mt. Whitney.  Although the three fishing amigos named their mountain, Fishermen’s Peak, the government bureaucracy had its way and Mt. Whitney remained in perpetuity honoring a government director rather than honoring piscatorial mountain climbers.

Companion Web Sites:

Glacier to Yellowstone (A complete guide to camping and fishing in Montana from Glacier to Yellowstone)

Fishing Tips 101 (Offering a "Mastering the Basics" series for freshwater fishing)

Bass and Trout Fishing Digest (Dave's hodge-podge of fishing adventures in Northern California and Oregon)





 



South Lake / Bishop Canyon

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Lake Name: South Lake    Elevation: 9,755

Road condition:   Paved       Paved to gravel      Gravel/dirt  road         4x4 road

Day hike fishing: Two trails lead to separate high elevation lakes.  One trail leads to Treasury Lakes; the other trail leads to Bishop Pass and Bull Lake and Long Lake. Treasure Lakes is a 2.5 mile hike with a moderate grade.  Mostly Rainbows with a few hybrids and Golden trout, the fish are small but eager to take small flies. (Best source: Eastern Sierra Fishing Guide for Day Hikers by John Barbier.

Region: White Mountain Ranger District (760) 876-6200  Area/description: Bishop Creek drainage

Lake size: 166     Species: Rainbows, brookies and Browns

Closest town or supplies: Parcher’s Resort and South Lake Landing (760) 872-0334

Contacts: Parcher’s Resort (760) 872-0334; South Lake Landing; : Bishop Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center (760) 873-8405; Barret’s Outfitters (760) 872-3830; Brock’s Flyfishing Specialists (760) 872-3581; Culver’s Sporting Goods (760) 872-8361; Mac’s Sporting Goods (760) 872-9201

Facilities: Lodge, marina, grocery store, bait and tackle; boat launch

Nearest campground: Four Jeffrey

Fishing season: General        Best times: Spring and fall

Tips: Because the banks are steep and access to the shoreline is limited, South Lake is best fished from a boat.  The best spots are the numerous inlets at the back of the lake. Bait fishermen, using Power Bait and night crawlers, do well at the dam.  Typically the lake is frozen over on opening day and ice fishermen enjoy good catches.  Mid-summer trolling with lures is popular as well. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Stocking information: 24,000 Rainbows

Additional information: South Lake is heavily stocked and heavily fished.

Nearby fishing: Fish the outlet, which is Bishop Creek

Directions: Turn left on Highway 168 from Highway 395 in Bishop.  Follow Highway 168 for fifteen miles.  Turn left on South Lake Road and proceed seven miles to the lake.

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Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

Oh! Ridge Campground (near June Lake)

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Campground Name:  Oh! Ridge Campground (near June Lake)       

Area: June Lake Loop / Lee Vining

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 7,600

Season Length: 4/26-11/1 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mono Basin Scenic Area Ranger Station & Visitor Center 760-647-3044

http://www.monolake.org/visiting/index.html

Number of sites: 144

Fee: $15.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 40 feet   No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Flush   Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                      

Nearest town: June Lake Village, Lee Vining

Nearby facilities: June Lake Village

Nearby fishing: The lakes and creeks along June Lake Loop

Reservations: For reservable campsites, contact the National Recreation Reservation Center at http://www.recreation.gov or contact www.reserveusa.com (877) 444-6777

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions.  Oh Ridge Campground is located in the Eastern Sierras, near the Town of June Lake, at an elevation of 7,600 feet. This campground is situated off US 395.  Campsites are located on mostly open area above the shoreline of beautiful June Lake. Day use area has a swimming beach located adjacent to the campground. The outstanding lake and mountain views at this campground are a favorite spot for both families and anglers.

Directions: From Highway 395 north to the southern junction of state highway 158, turn west on Highway 158 and drive two miles to the campground.

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Photo courtesy of http://mytopo.com/





 

 

June Lake Campground

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Campground Name:  June Lake Campground  Area: June Lake Loop / Lee Vining

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 7,600

Season Length: 4/26-11/1 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mono Basin Scenic Area Ranger Station & Visitor Center 760-647-3044

http://www.monolake.org/visiting/index.html

Number of sites: 28

Fee: $15.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 32 feet   No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers 

Toilets: Flush  Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                       

Nearest town: June Lake Village, Lee Vining

Nearby facilities: June Lake Village; boat launch; boat rentals; moorings; grocery store; coin-laundry

Nearby fishing: The lakes and creeks along the June Lake Loop

Reservations: Yes  For reservable campsites, contact the National Recreation Reservation Center at http://www.recreation.gov or contact www.reserveusa.com (877) 444-6777

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions.

Directions: From Highway 395 north to the southern junction of state highway 158, turn west on Highway 158 and drive less than a mile to the campground.

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Map courtesy of mytopo.com

                            

Reversed Creek Campground / June Lake Area

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Campground Name:  Reversed Creek Campground   Area: June Lake Loop / Lee Vining

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.

http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 7,600

Season Length: 5/15-10/31 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mono Basin Scenic Area Ranger Station & Visitor Center 760-647-3044

http://www.monolake.org/visiting/index.html

Number of sites: 17

Fee: $15.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 30 feet   Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Flush  Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                       

Nearest town: June Lake Village, Lee Vining

Nearby facilities: Lake resorts and June Lake Village

Nearby fishing: The lakes and creeks along June Lake Loop.

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions.

Directions: From Highway 395 north to the southern junction of state highway 158, turn west on Highway 158 and drive three miles to the Reversed Creek Campground, which is across the street from Gull Lake.


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Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 



Gull Lake Campground / June Lake Area

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Campground Name:  Gull Lake Campground  Area: June Lake Loop / Lee Vining

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 7,600

Season Length: 4/26-11/1 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mono Basin Scenic Area Ranger Station & Visitor Center 760-647-3044

http://www.monolake.org/visiting/index.html

Number of sites: 11

Fee: $15.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 30 feet   No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Flush   Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                      

Nearest town: June Lake Village, Lee Vining

Nearby facilities: Boat launch; boat rentals; grocery store; bait and tackle; coin-laundry

Nearby fishing: The lakes and creeks along June Lake Loop

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions.

Directions: From Highway 395 north to the southern junction of state highway 158, turn west on Highway 158 and drive three miles to the Silver Lake Campground.

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Photo courtesy of http://mytopo.com/


 

 

Silver Lake Campground / June Lake Area

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Campground Name:  Silver Lake Campground   Area:  June Lake Loop / Lee Vining

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 7,200

Season Length: 4/26-11/1 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mono Basin Scenic Area Ranger Station & Visitor Center 760-647-3044

http://www.monolake.org/visiting/index.html

Number of sites: 63

Fee: $15.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 32 feet   No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Flush   Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                      

Nearest town: June Lake Village, Lee Vining

Nearby facilities: Boat launch (10 mph restriction); boat rentals; grocery store; bait and tackle; café; coin-laundry

Nearby fishing: The creeks and lakes along the June Lake Loop

Reservations: Yes   For reservable campsites, contact the National Recreation Reservation Center at http://www.recreation.gov or contact www.reserveusa.com (877) 444-6777

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions.  The campground is located in the Eastern Sierras of California at an elevation of 7,200 feet. Both stream and lake fishing can be accessed from campground. A small store, cafe, hiking trailhead, and pack station all within easy walking distance. Pressurized water spigots and flush toilets are located throughout the campground. Picnic tables, fire rings, and bear boxes are provided at each campsite.

Directions:  From Highway 395 north to the southern junction of state highway 158, turn west on Highway 158 and drive seven miles to the Silver Lake Campground.

JuneLakeMap.jpg





























Photo courtesy of http://mytopo.com/


 

Hartley Springs Campground / June Lake Area

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Campground Name:  Hartley Springs Campground    Area:  June Lake Area

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 8,400

Season Length: 6/1-10/1 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mono Basin Scenic Area Ranger Station & Visitor Center 760-647-3044

http://www.monolake.org/visiting/index.html

Number of sites: 20

Fee: None

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 40 feet   No Hook-ups:   Garbage: Pack-it-out!

Toilets: Vault    Water: No      Picnic tables and fire grills                      

Nearest town: June Lake

Nearby facilities: June Lake

Nearby fishing: The lakes and creeks on June Lake Loop

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions.

Directions: From Highway 395 north of Mammoth, turn left at Glass Creek Road (dirt).  Continue approximately two miles to the campground access road.

Glass-Deadman.jpg


Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

 

Deadman Creek Campground / June Lake Area

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Campground Name:  Deadman Creek Campground    Area:  June Lake Area

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 7,800

Season Length: 6/1-10/15 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mono Basin Scenic Area Ranger Station & Visitor Center 760-647-3044

http://www.monolake.org/visiting/index.html

Number of sites: 30

Fee: None

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 30 feet   No Hook-ups:   Garbage: Pack-it-out!

Toilets: Vault    Water: No      Picnic tables and fire grills                      

Nearest town: June Lake

Nearby facilities: June Lake

Nearby fishing:

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions.

Directions: From Highway 395 north of Mammoth, turn left at Deadman Creek Road.  Continue approximately two miles to the campground access road.  The campground is .5 miles on the entrance road.

Glass-Deadman.jpg
Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

Big Springs Campground / June Lake Area

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Campground Name:  Big Springs Campground    Area:  June Lake Area

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 7, 200

Season Length: 4/25-11/1 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mono Basin Scenic Area Ranger Station & Visitor Center 760-647-3044

http://www.monolake.org/visiting/index.html

Number of sites: 26

Fee: None

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to:     Hook-ups:   Garbage: Pack-it-out!

Toilets: Vault    Water:      Picnic tables and fire grills                            

Nearest town: June Lake Village

Nearby facilities: June Lake Village

Nearby fishing: Upper Owens River; the lakes and creeks on June Lake Loop

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions.

Directions: From Highway 395 between Mammoth and June Lake, turn right on Owens River Road and drive ¼ mile to the campground entrance.

CrestviewBest.jpgMap courtesy of mytopo.com.

 


Glass Creek Campground / June Lake Area

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Campground Name:  Glass Creek Campground   Area:  June Lake Area

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 7,600

Season Length: 4/25-11/1 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mono Basin Scenic Area Ranger Station & Visitor Center 760-647-3044

http://www.monolake.org/visiting/index.html

Number of sites: 50

Fee: None

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 40 feet   No Hook-ups:   Garbage: Pack-it-out!

Toilets: Vault    Water: No      Picnic tables and fire grills                      

Nearest town: June Lake

Nearby facilities: June Lake

Nearby fishing: Upper Owens River; June Lake Loops lakes and creeks

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions.

Directions: From Highway 395 between Mammoth and June Lake, turn left on Glass Creek Road and drive  ¼ mile to the campground entrance.

Glass-Deadman.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

Agnew Meadows Horse Campground / Red's Meadow

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Campground Name:  Agnew Meadows Horse Campground

RedsCamp.jpg


Area:  Mammoth Basin /Red’s Meadow / Devil’s Postpile

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 8,400

Season Length: 6/8-9/16 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mammoth Ranger District and Visitor Center  (760) 924-5500; http://www.mammothlakeschamber.org/visit.html

http://www.visitmammoth.com/

Number of sites: 3

Fee: $19.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to:     Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers  Pack-it-out!

Toilets: Vault    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                     

Nearest town:

Nearby facilities:

Nearby fishing: Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River; Sotcher Lake

Reservations: For reservable campsites, contact the National Recreation Reservation Center at http://www.recreation.gov or contact www.reserveusa.com (877) 444-6777

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions. Located in the eastern Sierra west of Mammoth Lakes, the campground is situated in a Lodge pole pine forest, at an elevation of 8,240 feet. Restrooms are provided. You must have saddle and/or pack stock to camp in this campground. Two vehicles are allowed per site, including the horse trailer. Sites have one hitching rail and no corrals or watering trough. All visitors to the Reds Meadow Valley area may be required to pay an access fee. Visitors should check with the Forest Service at the Mammoth Visitors Center (760) 924-5500 for fees, regulations and shuttle bus schedules.

Directions: From Highway 395 and the junction with Highway 203, drive west through Mammoth Lakes past the ski area. Highway 203 ends at Minaret Summit.  Continue 2.5 miles on Reds Meadow Road. Follow the signs to Agnew Meadows campground.

DevilsPostpile.jpg


 Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

Note: If you are visiting the Red’s Meadow area via the shuttle bus, here are the scheduled stops:

Agnew Meadows - trailheads for Shadow, Ediza, Thousand Island & Garnet lakes; Pacific Crest & John Muir trails; pack station; & camping;

Starkweather Lake – fishing

Upper Soda Springs Campground – ½-mile walk to camping & river fishing;

Pumice Flat Campground turnoff - camping; group camping by reservation only; Ranger's cabin; pay phone; & amphitheater

Minaret Falls Campground turnoff – 1-mile walk to camping, a view of the falls from the riverbank & river fishing

Devils Postpile National Monument - camping; picnicking; Ranger Station; pay phone; information; books & maps; tours & programs; trailheads for Minaret & Beck lakes, Summit Meadow & John Muir Trail. 1/4-mile walk to the postpile rock formation

Sotcher Lake - fishing; day hiking & picnicking

Reds Meadow Campground - camping; bath house; trailheads for Mammoth Pass & Pumice Flat

Rainbow Falls – trailhead for Fish Creek; 1-1/4 mile hike to the falls

Falls-Use.jpg

Reds Meadow Resort - pack station; store, cafe, cabins, pay phone.

 

Agnew Meadows Campground / Red's Meadow / Mammoth Area

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Campground Name:  Agnew Meadows Campground

Area:  Mammoth Basin /Red’s Meadow / Devil’s Postpile

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 8,400

Season Length: 6/8-9/16 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mammoth Ranger District and Visitor Center  (760) 924-5500; http://www.mammothlakeschamber.org/visit.html

http://www.visitmammoth.com/

Number of sites: 21

Fee: $16.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 45 feet   No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Vault    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                     

Nearest town:

Nearby facilities:

Nearby fishing: Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River; Sotcher Lake

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions.  The campground is located 1/2 hour from Mammoth Lakes, a full service community with shops, festivals, restaurants, and other services available during the season. The campground has four group sites that can accommodate from 10 to 20 people. Picnic tables, fire rings, potable water and food lockers are provided. There is a resort, store, cafe and pack station located within 5 miles. The campground is located in a lodge pole pine forest, in close proximity to several trailheads into the Ansel Adams Wilderness, with access to the John Muir and the Pacific Crest Trails. Popular activities include fishing, hiking, bird watching, and horseback riding. A narrow, dirt access road is not suitable for trailers or RV’s. Pumice Flat Group Campground is safer for visitors with trailers or motor homes. All visitors to the Reds Meadow Valley area may be subject to an access fee. Check with the Forest Service at the Mammoth Lakes Visitor Center (phone # 760-924-5500) for fees, regulations and shuttle bus schedules pertaining to the season.

Directions:  From Highway 395 and the junction with Highway 203, drive west through Mammoth Lakes past the ski area. Highway 203 ends at Minaret Summit.  Continue 2.5 miles on Reds Meadow Road. Follow the signs to Agnew Meadows campground.

DevilsPostpile.jpgMap courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

Note: If you are visiting the Red’s Meadow area via the shuttle bus, here are the scheduled stops:

Agnew Meadows - trailheads for Shadow, Ediza, Thousand Island & Garnet lakes; Pacific Crest & John Muir trails; pack station; & camping;

Starkweather Lake – fishing

Upper Soda Springs Campground – ½-mile walk to camping & river fishing;

Pumice Flat Campground turnoff - camping; group camping by reservation only; Ranger's cabin; pay phone; & amphitheater

Minaret Falls Campground turnoff – 1-mile walk to camping, a view of the falls from the riverbank & river fishing

Devils Postpile National Monument - camping; picnicking; Ranger Station; pay phone; information; books & maps; tours & programs; trailheads for Minaret & Beck lakes, Summit Meadow & John Muir Trail. 1/4-mile walk to the postpile rock formation

Sotcher Lake - fishing; day hiking & picnicking

Reds Meadow Campground - camping; bath house; trailheads for Mammoth Pass & Pumice Flat

Rainbow Falls – trailhead for Fish Creek; 1-1/4 mile hike to the falls

Reds Meadow Resort - pack station; store, cafe, cabins, pay phone.

 

Campground Name:  Devils Postpile National Monument Campground

Area:  Mammoth Basin /Red’s Meadow / Devil’s Postpile

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 7,600

Season Length:  Mid June opening, subject to weather conditions—see other campground opening dates

Contact:  Information (760) 934-2289 http://www.nps.gov/archive/depo/depomain.htm; Mammoth Ranger District and Visitor Center (760) 924-5500; http://www.mammothlakeschamber.org/visit.html

http://www.visitmammoth.com/

Number of sites: 21

Fee: $14.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 25 feet   No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Flush  Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                       

Nearest town: Mammoth Lakes

Nearby facilities: Mammoth Lakes

Nearby fishing: Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River; Sotcher Lake

Reservations: For reservable campsites, contact the National Recreation Reservation Center at http://www.recreation.gov or contact www.reserveusa.com (877) 444-6777

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions. All visitors to the Reds Meadow Valley area may be subject to an access fee. Check with the Forest Service at the Mammoth Lakes Visitor Center (phone # 760-924-5500) for fees, regulations and shuttle bus schedules pertaining to the season.

Directions: From Highway 395 and the junction with Highway 203, turn left and drive 4 miles through the town of Mammoth Lakes to Minaret Road.  Turn right on Minaret Road and drive five miles past Minaret Station and the Mammoth Mountain Ski area.  Highway 203 ends at Minaret Summit. Continue on Reds Meadow Road nine miles to the campground.

DevilsPostpile.jpg

 Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

Note: If you are visiting the Red’s Meadow area via the shuttle bus, here are the scheduled stops:

Agnew Meadows - trailheads for Shadow, Ediza, Thousand Island & Garnet lakes; Pacific Crest & John Muir trails; pack station; & camping;

Starkweather Lake – fishing

Upper Soda Springs Campground – ½-mile walk to camping & river fishing;

Pumice Flat Campground turnoff - camping; group camping by reservation only; Ranger's cabin; pay phone; & amphitheater

Minaret Falls Campground turnoff – 1-mile walk to camping, a view of the falls from the riverbank & river fishing

Devils Postpile National Monument - camping; picnicking; Ranger Station; pay phone; information; books & maps; tours & programs; trailheads for Minaret & Beck lakes, Summit Meadow & John Muir Trail. 1/4-mile walk to the postpile rock formation

Sotcher Lake - fishing; day hiking & picnicking

Reds Meadow Campground - camping; bath house; trailheads for Mammoth Pass & Pumice Flat

Rainbow Falls – trailhead for Fish Creek; 1-1/4 mile hike to the falls

Reds Meadow Resort - pack station; store, cafe, cabins, pay phone.

 

 

 

 

Campground Name:  Upper Soda Springs Campground

Area:  Mammoth Basin /Red’s Meadow / Devil’s Postpile

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 7,

Season Length: 6/8-9/4 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mammoth Ranger District and Visitor Center  (760) 924-5500; http://www.mammothlakeschamber.org/visit.html

http://www.visitmammoth.com/

Number of sites: 28

Fee: $16.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 36 feet   No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers 

Toilets: Vault    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                     

Nearest town: Mammoth Lakes

Nearby facilities: Mammoth Lakes

Nearby fishing: Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River; Sotcher Lake

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions. All visitors to the Reds Meadow Valley area may be subject to an access fee. Check with the Forest Service at the Mammoth Lakes Visitor Center (phone # 760-924-5500) for fees, regulations and shuttle bus schedules pertaining to the season.

Directions: From Highway 395 and the junction with Highway 203, turn left and drive 4 miles through the town of Mammoth Lakes to Minaret Road.  Turn right on Minaret Road and drive five miles past Minaret Station and the Mammoth Mountain Ski area.  Highway 203 ends at Minaret Summit. Continue on Reds Meadow Road 5.1 miles to the campground.

DevilsPostpile.jpg

 Map courtesy of mytopo.com

Note: If you are visiting the Red’s Meadow area via the shuttle bus, here are the scheduled stops:

Agnew Meadows - trailheads for Shadow, Ediza, Thousand Island & Garnet lakes; Pacific Crest & John Muir trails; pack station; & camping;

Starkweather Lake – fishing

Upper Soda Springs Campground – ½-mile walk to camping & river fishing;

Pumice Flat Campground turnoff - camping; group camping by reservation only; Ranger's cabin; pay phone; & amphitheater

Minaret Falls Campground turnoff – 1-mile walk to camping, a view of the falls from the riverbank & river fishing

Devils Postpile National Monument - camping; picnicking; Ranger Station; pay phone; information; books & maps; tours & programs; trailheads for Minaret & Beck lakes, Summit Meadow & John Muir Trail. 1/4-mile walk to the postpile rock formation

Sotcher Lake - fishing; day hiking & picnicking

Reds Meadow Campground - camping; bath house; trailheads for Mammoth Pass & Pumice Flat

Rainbow Falls – trailhead for Fish Creek; 1-1/4 mile hike to the falls

Reds Meadow Resort - pack station; store, cafe, cabins, pay phone.

 

 

Minaret Falls / Red's Meadow / Mammoth Area

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Campground Name:  Minaret Falls Campground

Area:  Mammoth Basin /Red’s Meadow / Devil’s Postpile

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 7,600

Season Length: 6/8-9/23 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mammoth Ranger District and Visitor Center  (760) 924-5500; http://www.mammothlakeschamber.org/visit.html

http://www.visitmammoth.com/

Number of sites: 27

Fee: $16.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 47 feet   No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Vault    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                     

Nearest town:

Nearby facilities:

Nearby fishing: Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River; Sotcher Lake

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions. All visitors to the Reds Meadow Valley area may be subject to an access fee. Check with the Forest Service at the Mammoth Lakes Visitor Center (phone # 760-924-5500) for fees, regulations and shuttle bus schedules pertaining to the season.

Directions: From Highway 395 and the junction with Highway 203, turn left and drive 4 miles through the town of Mammoth Lakes to Minaret Road.  Turn right on Minaret Road and drive five miles past Minaret Station and the Mammoth Mountain Ski area.  Highway 203 ends at Minaret Summit. Continue on Reds Meadow Road six miles to the campground entrance.

DevilsPostpile.jpg

 Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

Note: If you are visiting the Red’s Meadow area via the shuttle bus, here are the scheduled stops:

Agnew Meadows - trailheads for Shadow, Ediza, Thousand Island & Garnet lakes; Pacific Crest & John Muir trails; pack station; & camping;

Starkweather Lake – fishing

Upper Soda Springs Campground – ½-mile walk to camping & river fishing;

Pumice Flat Campground turnoff - camping; group camping by reservation only; Ranger's cabin; pay phone; & amphitheater

Minaret Falls Campground turnoff – 1-mile walk to camping, a view of the falls from the riverbank & river fishing

Devils Postpile National Monument - camping; picnicking; Ranger Station; pay phone; information; books & maps; tours & programs; trailheads for Minaret & Beck lakes, Summit Meadow & John Muir Trail. 1/4-mile walk to the postpile rock formation

Sotcher Lake - fishing; day hiking & picnicking

Reds Meadow Campground - camping; bath house; trailheads for Mammoth Pass & Pumice Flat

Rainbow Falls – trailhead for Fish Creek; 1-1/4 mile hike to the falls

Reds Meadow Resort - pack station; store, cafe, cabins, pay phone.

 

Red's Meadow Campground / Red's Meadow / Mammoth Area

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Campground Name:  Red’s Meadow Campground

Area:  Mammoth Basin /Red’s Meadow / Devil’s Postpile

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 7,700

Season Length: 6/8-9/23 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mammoth Ranger District and Visitor Center  (760) 924-5500; http://www.mammothlakeschamber.org/visit.html

http://www.visitmammoth.com/

Number of sites: 52

Fee: $16.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 30 feet   No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers 

Toilets: Flush   Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                      

Nearest town: Mammoth Lakes

Nearby facilities: Resort; restaurant;

Nearby fishing: Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River; Sotcher Lake

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions. All visitors to the Reds Meadow Valley area may be subject to an access fee. Check with the Forest Service at the Mammoth Lakes Visitor Center (phone # 760-924-5500) for fees, regulations and shuttle bus schedules pertaining to the season.

Directions: From Highway 395 and the junction with Highway 203, turn left and drive 4 miles through the town of Mammoth Lakes to Minaret Road.  Turn right on Minaret Road and drive five miles past Minaret Station and the Mammoth Mountain Ski area.  Highway 203 ends at Minaret Summit. Continue on Reds Meadow Road five miles to the campground.

DevilsPostpile.jpg

 Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

Note: If you are visiting the Red’s Meadow area via the shuttle bus, here are the scheduled stops:

Agnew Meadows - trailheads for Shadow, Ediza, Thousand Island & Garnet lakes; Pacific Crest & John Muir trails; pack station; & camping;

Starkweather Lake – fishing

Upper Soda Springs Campground – ½-mile walk to camping & river fishing;

Pumice Flat Campground turnoff - camping; group camping by reservation only; Ranger's cabin; pay phone; & amphitheater

Minaret Falls Campground turnoff – 1-mile walk to camping, a view of the falls from the riverbank & river fishing

Devils Postpile National Monument - camping; picnicking; Ranger Station; pay phone; information; books & maps; tours & programs; trailheads for Minaret & Beck lakes, Summit Meadow & John Muir Trail. 1/4-mile walk to the postpile rock formation

Sotcher Lake - fishing; day hiking & picnicking

Reds Meadow Campground - camping; bath house; trailheads for Mammoth Pass & Pumice Flat

Rainbow Falls – trailhead for Fish Creek; 1-1/4 mile hike to the falls

Reds Meadow Resort - pack station; store, cafe, cabins, pay phone.

 

Pumice Flat Campground / Red's Meadow / Mammoth Area

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Campground Name:  Pumice Flat Campground      

Area:  Mammoth Basin /Red’s Meadow / Devil’s Postpile

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 7,700

Season Length: 6/8-9/2 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mammoth Ranger District and Visitor Center  (760) 924-5500; http://www.mammothlakeschamber.org/visit.html

http://www.visitmammoth.com/

Number of sites: 17

Fee: $16

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 45 feet   No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers 

Toilets: Vault    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                     

Nearest town: Mammoth Lakes

Nearby facilities: Horse back riding; small store; Mammoth Lakes

Nearby fishing: Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River; Sotcher Lake

Reservations: For reservable campsites, contact the National Recreation Reservation Center at http://www.recreation.gov or contact www.reserveusa.com (877) 444-6777

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions. All visitors to the Reds Meadow Valley area may be subject to an access fee. Check with the Forest Service at the Mammoth Lakes Visitor Center (phone # 760-924-5500) for fees, regulations and shuttle bus schedules pertaining to the season.

Directions: From Highway 395 and the junction with Highway 203, turn left and drive 4 miles through the town of Mammoth Lakes to Minaret Road.  Turn right on Minaret Road and drive five miles past Minaret Station and the Mammoth Mountain Ski area.  Highway 203 ends at Minaret Summit. Continue on Reds Meadow Road five miles to the campground.

DevilsPostpile.jpg

 Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

Note: If you are visiting the Red’s Meadow area via the shuttle bus, here are the scheduled stops:

Agnew Meadows - trailheads for Shadow, Ediza, Thousand Island & Garnet lakes; Pacific Crest & John Muir trails; pack station; & camping;

Starkweather Lake – fishing

Upper Soda Springs Campground – ½-mile walk to camping & river fishing;

Pumice Flat Campground turnoff - camping; group camping by reservation only; Ranger's cabin; pay phone; & amphitheater

Minaret Falls Campground turnoff – 1-mile walk to camping, a view of the falls from the riverbank & river fishing

Devils Postpile National Monument - camping; picnicking; Ranger Station; pay phone; information; books & maps; tours & programs; trailheads for Minaret & Beck lakes, Summit Meadow & John Muir Trail. 1/4-mile walk to the postpile rock formation

Sotcher Lake - fishing; day hiking & picnicking

Reds Meadow Campground - camping; bath house; trailheads for Mammoth Pass & Pumice Flat

Rainbow Falls – trailhead for Fish Creek; 1-1/4 mile hike to the falls

Reds Meadow Resort - pack station; store, cafe, cabins, pay phone.

 

 

 

 

Twin Lakes Campground / Mammoth Lakes Basin

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Campground Name:  Twin Lakes Campground    Area:  Mammoth Lakes Basin

TwinAngler.jpg

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 8,600

Season Length:  Sites 1-11 5/25-10/28; Sites 16-70 5/15-9/30; Sites 71-95 5/25-10/14, subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mammoth Ranger District and Visitor Center  (760) 924-5500; http://www.mammothlakeschamber.org/visit.html

http://www.visitmammoth.com/

Number of sites: 92

Fee: $19.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 40 feet   No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers  Pack-it-out!

Toilets: Flush   Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                      

Nearest town: Mammoth Lakes

Nearby facilities: Boat launch (power boats, swimming and other water sports are prohibited.  Grocery store; coin-laundry.

Nearby fishing:

Reservations: Yes  For reservable campsites, contact the National Recreation Reservation Center at http://www.recreation.gov or contact www.reserveusa.com (877) 444-6777

Additional information:  Some wheelchair accessible facilities are available.  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions. Located in the Eastern Sierras of California near the town of Mammoth Lakes, this pine forest campground sits at an elevation of 8,600 feet. There is lake side camping with easy access to fishing and a boat launch. Pressurized water spigots and flush toilets are located throughout the campground. Picnic tables, fire rings, and bear boxes are provided at each campsite.

Directions:  From Highway 395 and the junction with Highway 203, turn left and drive 4 miles through the town of Mammoth Lakes and continuing on Lake Mary Road to the Twin Lakes cutoff.

MammothBasinLakes.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.



Cold Water Campground (near Lake Mary)

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Campground Name:  Cold Water Campground (near Lake Mary)       

Area:  Mammoth Lakes Basin

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 8,900

Season Length: 6/8-9/16 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mammoth Ranger District and Visitor Center  (760) 924-5500; http://www.mammothlakeschamber.org/visit.html

http://www.visitmammoth.com/

Number of sites: 77

Fee: $19.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 50 feet   No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Flush  Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                       

Nearest town:

Nearby facilities: Boat launch; boat rentals;

Nearby fishing: Day hike trips to Emerald Lake, Arrowhead Lake, Skelton Lake and Red Lakes.

Reservations: Yes  For reservable campsites, contact the National Recreation Reservation Center at http://www.recreation.gov or contact www.reserveusa.com (877) 444-6777

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions. Located in the eastern high Sierras of California near the town of Mammoth Lakes, this pine forest campground sits at an elevation of 8,900 feet. There is creek side camping with easy access to fishing at Lake Mary and hiking on major trailheads into the backcountry. Pressurized water spigots and flush toilets are located throughout the campground. Picnic tables, fire rings, and bear boxes are provided at each campsite.

Directions: From Highway 395, turn left on State Highway 203 to Mammoth Lakes.  Continue four miles and turn on Lake Mary Road.  Drive another four miles and turn left on Lake Mary Loop Road.  Drive a 1/2 mile to the campground.

MammothBasinLakes.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

 

 

Pine City Campground (near Lake Mary)

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Campground Name:  Pine City Campground (near Lake Mary)

PineCityCamp.jpg

Area:  Mammoth Lakes Basin

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 8,900

Season Length:  6/8-9/9 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mammoth Ranger District and Visitor Center  (760) 924-5500; http://www.mammothlakeschamber.org/visit.html

http://www.visitmammoth.com/

Number of sites: 10

Fee: $19.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 40    Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Flush  Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                       

Nearest town: Mammoth Lakes

Nearby facilities: Resort; boat launch (10 mph restriction); restaurant; coin-laundry

Nearby fishing: Crystal Lake, Mammoth lakes and creeks

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions.

Directions: From Highway 395, turn left on  State Highway 203 to Mammoth Lakes.  Continue four miles and turn on Lake Mary Road.  Drive another four miles and turn left on Lake Mary Loop Road.  Drive a ¼  mile to the campground.

MammothBasinLakes.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

Lake Mary Campground / Mammoth Lakes Area

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Campground Name:  Lake Mary Campground    Area:  Mammoth Lakes Basin

LMaryLaunch.jpg

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 8,900

Season Length:  6/8-9/9 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mammoth Ranger District and Visitor Center  (760) 924-5500; http://www.mammothlakeschamber.org/visit.html

http://www.visitmammoth.com/

Number of sites: 46

Fee: $19.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 30 feet   No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Flush  Water: Yes      Picnic tables, fire grills, food lockers       

Nearest town: Mammoth Lakes

Nearby facilities: Resort; boat launch (10 mph restriction); restaurant; coin-laundry

Nearby fishing: Crystal Lake, Mammoth lakes and creeks

Reservations: No

Additional information:  No swimming or body contact with the water.  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions.

Directions: From Highway 395, turn left on  State Highway 203 to Mammoth Lakes.  Continue four miles and turn on Lake Mary Road.  Drive another four miles and turn left on Lake Mary Loop Road.  Drive a ¼  mile to the campground.

MammothBasinLakes.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

Lake George Campground / Mammoth Lakes Area

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Campground Name:  Lake George Campground   Area:  Mammoth Lakes Basin

MammothCamping.jpg

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 9,000

Season Length:  6/8-9/9 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mammoth Ranger District and Visitor Center  (760) 924-5500; http://www.mammothlakeschamber.org/visit.html

http://www.visitmammoth.com/

Number of sites: 16

Fee: $19

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to:     Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers  Pack-it-out!

Toilets: Flush  Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                       

Nearest town:

Nearby facilities: Boat launch (small motors only)

Nearby fishing: Twin Lakes, Lake Mary, Lake George

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions.

Directions: From Highway 395, turn left on  State Highway 203 to Mammoth Lakes.  Continue four miles and turn on Lake Mary Road.  Drive another four miles and turn left on Lake Mary Loop Road.  Drive .5 miles to the campground.

MammothBasinLakes.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

 

Sherwin Creek Campground / Mammoth Lakes Area

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Campground Name:  Sherwin Creek Campground        Area:  Mammoth Village Area

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 7,600

Season Length:  4/25-9/9 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mammoth Ranger District and Visitor Center  (760) 924-5500; http://www.mammothlakeschamber.org/visit.html

http://www.visitmammoth.com/

Number of sites: 85 (15 walk-in tent sites)

Fee: $18.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 34 feet   Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Flush  Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                       

Nearest town: Mammoth Lakes

Nearby facilities: Mammoth Lakes

Nearby fishing: Mammoth lakes and creek

Reservations: For reservable campsites 52 of 85, contact the National Recreation Reservation Center at http://www.recreation.gov or contact www.reserveusa.com (877) 444-6777

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions.  Sherwin Creek Campground is located in the Eastern Sierras, near the town of Mammoth Lakes, at an elevation of 7,600 feet. The campground is situated in a shady Jeffery Pine forest and bordered by Aspen-lined Sherwin Creek. If you are bringing an ATV to the campground, please see the camp host regarding rules.

Directions:  Take US 395 to State Highway 203 to Mammoth Lakes.  Turn left at the first traffic light in town onto Old Mammoth Road. Drive south 0.9 miles to Sherwin Creek Road and then left 2 miles to campground.

Mam-Sher-Laurel.jpg


 Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

New Shady Rest Campground / Mammoth Lakes Area

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Campground Name:  New Shady Rest Campground       Area:  Mammoth Lakes Area

NewShadyCamp.jpg

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 7,800

Season Length:  Sites 68-118 4/25-10/28; sites 123-165 5/25-9/16, subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mammoth Ranger District and Visitor Center  (760) 924-5500; http://www.mammothlakeschamber.org/visit.html

http://www.visitmammoth.com/

Number of sites: 95

Fee: $15.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 38 feet     Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Flush  Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills  Dump Station       

Nearest town:

Nearby facilities: Playground, grocery store, coin-laundry, Mammoth Lakes

Nearby fishing: Mammoth lakes and creeks

Reservations: For reservable campsites 50 of 92, contact the National Recreation Reservation Center at http://www.recreation.gov or contact www.reserveusa.com (877) 444-6777

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions.  New Shady Rest Campground is located in the Eastern Sierras next to the town of Mammoth Lakes at an elevation of 7,800 feet. The campsites are located under a shady canopy of a mature Jeffery pine forest, yet the campground is within walking distance of restaurants and stores in the town of Mammoth Lakes. There is a $5.00 charge for the sanitary dump station.

Directions: Take US 395 to State Hwy.203 to Mammoth Lakes. Turn right on Sawmill Cutoff Road. The campground is 0.1 miles on the right.

Mam-Sher-Laurel.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

 

McGee Creek Campground / Mammoth Area

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Campground Name:  McGee Creek Campground    Area:  Crowley Lake Area / Mammoth Area

McGeeCkCamp.jpg

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 7, 600

Season Length:  5/15-10/15 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mammoth Ranger District and Visitor Center  (760) 924-5500; http://www.mammothlakeschamber.org/visit.html

http://www.visitmammoth.com/

Number of sites: 28

McGeeShade.jpg

Fee: $17.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 28 feet    No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Flush    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills   Little Shade

Nearest town: Mammoth Lakes

Nearby facilities: Mammoth Lakes

Nearby fishing: McGee Creek, Convict Creek, Convict Lake, Crowley Lake

Reservations: For reservable campsites, contact the National Recreation Reservation Center at http://www.recreation.gov or contact www.reserveusa.com (877) 444-6777

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions. McGee Creek is located approximately 36 miles northwest of the town of Bishop, California, adjacent to McGee Creek. This camp area is located in a flat, open area with sagebrush and a meadow. Some aspen in the vicinity. McGee Creek is at an elevation of 7,600 feet with high mountains and an outstanding view. Firewood is for sale at the site. Roads and spurs are paved. Popular activities include fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing, horseback riding, hunting, photography and geology study. McGee trout fishing and Crowley Lake fishing. Equestrian Center nearby. The Mammoth Jazz Jubilee is held in mid-July. Some sites may be available on a first come, first serve basis.
Directions:  Off US Highway 395 take the first exit after Crowley Lake, the McGee Creek exit, and proceed 2 miles south up the paved McGee Creek Road to the campground.

Convict-McGee.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

Convict Lake Campground / Mammoth Area

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Campground Name:  Convict Lake Campground        Area:  Crowley Lake

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Elevation: 7,800

Season Length:  4/20-10/31 subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mammoth Ranger District and Visitor Center  (760) 924-5500; http://www.mammothlakeschamber.org/visit.html

http://www.visitmammoth.com/

Number of sites: 85

Fee: $18

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to:     Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers  Pack-it-out!

Toilets: Flush   Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills  Dump Station      

Nearest town: Mammoth Lakes

Nearby facilities: Resort, boat launch, store, restaurant, horse back riding

Nearby fishing: Convict Creek, Crowley Lake, Mammoth Lakes

Reservations: For reservable campsites, contact the National Recreation Reservation Center at http://www.recreation.gov or contact www.reserveusa.com (877) 444-6777

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions. Convict Lake Campground is located two miles off Highway 395 between Mammoth Lake and Bishop at the Mammoth Lakes airport. Convict Lake Resort is adjacent to the campground with a store, pack station and restaurant. The Lake is less than 100 yards from the campground. Convict Creek runs through the campground.

Directions:  Convict Lake Campground is located approximately 34 miles north of Bishop California on Highway 395. The turnoff to the campground is across from the Mammoth Airport and is well signed. From the north, Convict Lake is 5 miles south of Mammoth Lakes California. Turn west off of Highway 395.

Convict-McGee.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

Crowley Lake Campground (BLM) / Mammoth Area

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Campground Name: Crowley Lake Campground (BLM)     Area: Mammoth

Administered by: Bureau of Land Management (760) 872-5000

Elevation: 6,800

Season Length:  Generally opens the last Saturday in May through November 1; subject to weather conditions

Contact:  Mammoth Ranger District and Visitor Center  (760) 924-5500; http://www.mammothlakeschamber.org/visit.html

http://www.visitmammoth.com/

Number of sites: 47

Fee: $5

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: No size restriction   No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Pit   Water: No Potable Water    Picnic tables and campfire pits

Nearest town: Mammoth

Nearby facilities: Crowley Lake, Crowley Fish Camp, Mammoth

Nearby fishing: Crowley Lake, Convict Creek, Convict Lake, Hot Creek

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices above are subject to change and reflect 2008 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate and subject to weather conditions.  Horses are prohibited.

Directions: From Highway 395 approximately 30 miles north of Bishop, turn west on Crowley Lake Exit.  Proceed west through the Crowley Lake Community for two miles.  Turn north (right) at Crowley Lake Drive and proceed two miles to the campground entrance.

CrowleyLake.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

Tuff Campground / East of Tom's Place

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Campground Name: Tuff Campground         Area: Near Tom’s Place and close to Crowley Lake.  What it lacks in scenery and shade is made up in the closeness to the highway and area services.

Administered by: White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500

Season Length: 4/27-10/15 subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400 or www.reserveusa.com (877) 444-6777.

Number of sites: 34

Fee site

RV sites:  Up to 45 feet  RV’s   No Hook-ups

Toilets and Water:       Picnic tables and fire grills                                    

Nearest town: Tom’s Place / Bishop

Nearby facilities: Bishop

Nearby fishing: Rock Creek, Crowley Lake

Reservations: NO

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices above are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions.

Directions: From Highway 395 at Tom’ Place (20 miles north of Bishop), turn right (east) on Rock Creek Road and drive .5 miles to the campground.

Tom'sPlace.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

French Camp / Tom's Place / Rock Creek

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Campground Name: French Camp   Area: Tom’s Place / Rock Creek

FrenchCamp.jpg

Administered by: White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500; Rock Creek Lake Resort (760) 935-4311.

Elevation: 7,500

Season Length: 4/25-10/29 - subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400 or www.reserveusa.com (877) 444-6777.

Number of sites: 86

Fee: $17. (A $5 charge is assed for each additional vehicle.)

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 35 feet   No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Flush    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills  Dump Station     

Nearest town: Tom’s Place, Bishop

Nearby facilities: Bishop

Nearby fishing: Rock Creek, Rock Creek Lake and Upper Rock Creek

Reservations: Reservations are accepted. For reservable campsites, contact the National Recreation Reservation Center at http://www.recreation.gov or call them at 1-877-444-6777.

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions.

Directions: From Highway 395 at Tom’ Place (20 miles north of Bishop), turn left (west) on Rock Creek Road and drive ¼ of a miles to the campground.

Tom'sPlace.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

Iris Meadow Campground / Tom's Place / Rock Creek

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Campground Name: Iris Meadow Campground  Area: Tom’s Place / Rock Creek

RkCkCampground.jpg

Administered by: White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Elevation: 8,300

Season Length: 5/15-10/29 - subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400; Rock Creek Lake Resort (760) 935-4311.

Number of sites: 14 (Some of the sites are on the creek.)

Fee: $18. (A $5 charge is assed for each additional vehicle.)

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 30 feet     Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Flush    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                     

Nearest town: Tom’s Place, Bishop

Nearby facilities: Bishop

Nearby fishing: Rock Creek, Rock Creek Lake and Upper Rock Creek

Reservations: NO

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions.

Directions: From Highway 395 at Tom’ Place (20 miles north of Bishop), turn left (west) on Rock Creek Road and drive three miles to the campground.

Iris-BigMeadow.jpg

Photo courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

 

Big Meadow Campground / Tom's Place / Rock Creek

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Campground Name: Big Meadow Campground    Area: Tom’s Place / Rock Creek

Rk-Ck-Camp-2.jpg

Administered by: White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Elevation: 8,600

Season Length: 5/15-10/29 - subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400; Rock Creek Lake Resort (760) 935-4311.

Number of sites: 11

Fee: $18. (A $5 charge is assed for each additional vehicle.)

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to:     Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers  Pack-it-out!

Toilets: Vault    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                     

Nearest town: Bishop

Nearby facilities: Tom's Place Resort

Nearby fishing: Rock Creek, Rock Creek Lake and Upper Rock Creek

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions. 

Directions: From Highway 395 at Tom’ Place (20 miles north of Bishop), turn left (west) on Rock Creek Road and drive four miles to the campground.

Iris-BigMeadow.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

Palisade Campground / Tom's Place / Rock Creek

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Campground Name: Palisade Campground  Area: Tom’s Place / Rock Creek

Rk-CK-Camping.jpg

Administered by: White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Elevation: 8,600

Season Length: 5/24-10/8 - subject to weather conditions

Contact: White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500. Rock Creek Lake Resort (760) 935-4311.

Number of sites: 5 (Close to the creek)

Fee: $18 (A $5 charge is assed for each additional vehicle.)

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 30 feet    No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Flush   Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                      

Nearest town: Tom’s Place

Nearby facilities: Bishop

Nearby fishing: Rock Creek, Rock Creek Lake and Upper Rock Creek

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions. 

Directions: From Highway 395 at Tom’ Place (20 miles north of Bishop), turn left (west) on Rock Creek Road and drive five miles to the campground

 

East Fork Campground / Tom's Place / Rock Creek

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Campground Name: East Fork Campground  Area: Tom’s Place / Rock Creek

Administered by: White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Elevation: 9,000

Season Length: 5/24-10/1 - subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400; Rock Creek Lake Resort (760) 935-4311 or www.reserveusa.com (877) 444-6777.

Number of sites: 133

Fee: $17. ($5 extra is charged for each additional vehicle.)

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to:     Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers  Pack-it-out!

Toilets: Vault    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                     

Nearest town: Tom’s Place, Bishop

Nearby facilities: Bishop

Nearby fishing: Rock Creek, Rock Creek Lake and Upper Rock Creek

Reservations: For reservable campsites, contact the National Recreation Reservation Center at http://www.recreation.gov or call them at 1-877-444-6777 or www.reserveusa.com (877) 444-6777

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions. 

Directions: From Highway 395 at Tom’ Place (20 miles north of Bishop), turn left (west) on Rock Creek Road and drive five miles to the campground.

 

 

Upper and Lower Pine Grove / Tom's Place / Rock Creek

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Campground Name: Upper and Lower Pine Grove  Area: Rock Creek / Tom’s Place

Administered by: White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Elevation:

Season Length: 5/26-10/15 - subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/ ; Rock Creek Lake Resort (760) 935-4311.

Number of sites: (Upper-8; Lower-11)

Fee: $17. ($5 is charged for each additional vehicle.)

RV sites:  ?   RV’s up to: 16 feet    No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Flush   Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                                          

Nearest town: Tom’s Place, Bishop

Nearby facilities: Horseback riding

Nearby fishing: Rock Creek, Rock Creek Lake and Upper Rock Creek

Reservations: No

Additional information: Some of the camp sites are on the creek. Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions.

Directions: From Highway 395 at Tom’ Place (20 miles north of Bishop), turn left (west) on Rock Creek Road and drive seven miles to the campground

 

 

 

 

Rock Creek Lake Campground / Tom's Place / Rock Creek

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Campground Name: Rock Creek Lake Campground   Area: Tom’s Place / Rock Creek

RockCreekLake.jpg

Administered by: White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Elevation: 9,600

Season Length: 5/25-10/29 (subject to weather conditions)

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400; Rock Creek Lake Resort (760) 935-4311.

Number of sites: 26

Fee: $18

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 22 feet    No Hook-ups: 

Toilets: Flush   Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills

Nearest town: Tom’s Place, Bishop

Nearby facilities: Boat launch; boat rentals; horse-back riding; resort; day hikes

Nearby fishing: Rock Creek Lake, Rock Creek, Upper Rock Creek

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.

Directions: From Highway 395 at Tom’ Place (20 miles north of Bishop), turn left (west) on Rock Creek Road and drive    miles to the campground.


BigCreekLake.jpgTom'sPlace.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.


















Horton Creek Campground / Bishop area

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Campground Name: Horton Creek Campground   Area: 10 miles north of Bishop

Administered by: Bureau of Land Management, Bishop Field Office (760) 872-5000

Elevation: 4,975

Season Length: Opens late April through late October and subject to weather conditions

Number of sites: 54

Fee: $5.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 30 feet     No Hook-ups:   Garbage:  Containers

Toilets: Pit    Water: No Potable Water     Picnic tables and fire pits and a few fire grills                         

Nearest town: Bishop

Nearby facilities: Bishop

Nearby fishing: Pine Creek, Pleasant Valley Reservoir, Owens River

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions. Horses are prohibited. Horton Creek Campground is located on an alluvial fan next to Horton Creek with an outstanding view of Mt. Tom and Wheeler Crest.  Nearby is the Tungsten Hills.  Wintering deer herds often graze in the early spring.

Directions: From Highway 395 in Bishop, drive north approximately eight miles.  Turn left on Sawmill Road, and then take an immediate right (west) onto Round Valley Road and continue three miles to the campground.

Horton-McGee.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

 

Pleasant Valley Campground / Bishop area

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Campground Name: Pleasant Valley Campground  Area: Bishop

Administered by: White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Season Length: Opens late April through late October and subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400; White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Number of sites: 200

Fee: $10 per night per vehicle

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: (no restrictions No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Vault    Water: Yes/hand-pump      Picnic tables and fire grills  

Nearest town:

Nearby facilities:

Nearby fishing:

Reservations: Reservations are accepted. For reservable campsites, contact the National Recreation Reservation Center at http://www.recreation.gov or call them at 1-877-444-6777.

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions. 

Directions: From Highway 395 in Bishop, drive seven miles north to the Pleasant Valley Road.  Turn right (east) and continue approximately one mile to the campground.

PleasantValleyReservoir.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

Bitterbrush Campground / Bishop Creek area

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Campground Name:  Bitterbrush Campground        Area: Bishop

Administered by: White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Elevation: 7,500

Season Length: Open year-round / subject to weather

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400; White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Number of sites: 36

Fee: $19

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to:     Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers 

Toilets:    Water: Yes                                                                          

Nearest town: Bishop

Nearby facilities: Bishop

Nearby fishing: South Lake, Bishop Creek, Sabrina Lake, North Lake

Reservations: NO

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions. 

Directions: From Highway 395 in Bishop, turn left (west) on Line Street (Highway 168) and drive___miles.

BishopCreek.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

Big Trees Campground / Bishop Creek Canyon

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Campground Name: Big Trees Campground  Area: Bishop Creek Canyon

Administered by: White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Elevation: 7,500

Season Length: 4/25-9/30 - subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400; White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Number of sites: 9

Fee: $16.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 30 feet    No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers 

Toilets: Vault    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                     

Nearest town: Bishop

Nearby facilities: Bishop

Nearby fishing: South Lake, Bishop Creek, Sabrina Lake, North Lake

Reservations: NO

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions

Directions: From Highway 395 in Bishop, turn left (west) on Line Street (Highway 168) and drive 11 miles to the campground entrance road.  Continue two miles on a dirt road to the campground.

BishopCreek.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.


 

 

North Lake Campground / Bishop Creek Canyon

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Campground Name:  North Lake Campground and picnic area

Area: Bishop Creek Canyon

Administered by: White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Elevation: 9,500

Season Length: 6/13-10/1 - subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400; White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Number of sites: 11 sites for tents only

Fee: $16.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to:     Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers  Pack-it-out!

Toilets: Vault    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                     

Nearest town: Bishop

Nearby facilities: Horseback riding

Nearby fishing: South Lake, Bishop Creek, Sabrina Lake, North Lake

Reservations: NO

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions. 

Directions: (Check on road conditions as this is a steep and windy road.) From Highway 395 in Bishop, turn left (west) on Line Street (Highway 168) and drive 17 miles to a sign post for North Lake (Forest Service Road 8S02.  Continue two miles to the campground and lake.

LakeSabrina.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

Sabrina Campground / Bishop Creek Canyon

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Campground Name: Sabrina Campground    Area: Bishop Creek Canyon

Administered by: White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Elevation: 9,000

Season Length: 5/15-10/15 - subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400; White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Number of sites: 18

Fee: $16.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 30 feet   No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Vault    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                     

Nearest town: Bishop

Nearby facilities: Lake resorts, Bishop

Nearby fishing: South Lake, Bishop Creek, Sabrina Lake, North Lake

Reservations: NO

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions

Directions: From Highway 395 in Bishop, turn left (west) on Line Street (Highway 168) and drive 17 miles to the campground.  (The road forks so follow the sign to the campground.)

LakeSabrina.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

Bishop Park Campground / Bishop Creek Canyon

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Campground Name: Bishop Park Campground  Area: Bishop Creek Canyon

Administered by: White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Elevation: 8,400

Season Length: 5/15-10/29 - subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400; White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Number of sites: 21

Fee: $16.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 22    No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Flush    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                     

Nearest town: Bishop

Nearby facilities: Bishop

Nearby fishing: South Lake, Bishop Creek, Sabrina Lake, North Lake

Reservations: Reservations are accepted only for group reservations. For reservable campsites, contact the National Recreation Reservation Center at http://www.recreation.gov or call them at 1-877-444-6777.

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions. 

Directions: From Highway 395 in Bishop, turn left (west) on Line Street (Highway 168) and drive 15 miles to the campground.

SouthLake.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

Intake II Campground / Bishop Creek Canyon

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Campground Name: Intake II and Intake Walk-in Campgrounds

Area: Bishop Creek Canyon

Administered by: White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Elevation: 8,200

Season Length: 4/26-10/29 - subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400; White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Number of sites: 8 (7 walk-in tent camp sites)

Fee: $16.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 22 feet    No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Vault    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                     

Nearest town: Bishop

Nearby facilities: Bishop

Nearby fishing: South Lake, Bishop Creek, Sabrina Lake, North Lake

Reservations: NO

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions. 

Directions: From Highway 395 in Bishop, turn left (west) on Line Street (Highway 168) and drive 14.5 miles to the campground.

 

Forks Campground / Bishop Creek Canyon

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Campground Name: Forks Campground  Area: Bishop Creek Canyon

Administered by: White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Elevation: 7,800

Season Length: 4/26-10/1 - subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400; White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Number of sites: 9

Fee: $16.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 22 feet    No Hook-ups:   Garbage:

Toilets: Vault    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                     

Nearest town: Bishop

Nearby facilities: Lake resorts, Bishop

Nearby fishing: South Lake, Bishop Creek, Sabrina Lake, North Lake

Reservations: NO

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions

Directions: From Highway 395 in Bishop, turn left (west) on Line Street (Highway 168) and drive 14 miles to South Lake Road.  Continue less than a quarter of a mile to the campground.

Four Jeffrey Campground / Bishop Canyon Creek

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Campground Name: Four Jeffrey   Area: Bishop Creek Canyon

Administered by: Inyo National Forest / White Mt. Ranger District

Elevation: 8,100

Season Length: 4/26-10/29 - subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400 or www.reerveusa.com (877) 444-6777; White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Number of sites: 106

Fee: $16.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 25 feet     No Hook-ups:  Dump Station

Garbage: containers

Toilets: Vault    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                     

Nearest town: Bishop

Nearby facilities: Lake resorts, Bishop

Nearby fishing: South Lake, Bishop Creek, Sabrina Lake, North Lake

Reservations: Reservations are accepted. For reservable campsites, contact the National Recreation Reservation Center at http://www.recreation.gov or call them at 1-877-444-6777 or www.reerveusa.com (877) 444-6777.

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions.

Directions: From Highway 395 in Bishop, turn left (west) on Line Street (Highway 168) and drive 14 miles to South Lake Road.  Continue to Willow Creek Campground or Four Jeffrey Campground or Mountain Glen Campground.

 

Mountain Glen Campground / Bishop Creek Canyon

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Campground Name: Mountain Glen Campground   Area: Bishop Creek Canyon

Administered by: Inyo National Forest / White Mt. Ranger District

Elevation:

Season Length: 5/23-10/1 - subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400; White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Number of sites: 5

Fee: $18.

RV sites:     RV’s up to:     Hook-ups:   Garbage:

Toilets:    Water:           Picnic tables and fire grills                                

Nearest town: Bishop

Nearby facilities: Resort lakes

Nearby fishing: South Lake, Bishop Creek, Sabrina Lake, North Lake

Reservations: NO

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions. 

Directions: From Highway 395 in Bishop, turn left (west) on Line Street (Highway 168) and drive 14 miles to South Lake Road.  Continue to Willow Creek Campground or Four Jeffrey Campground or Mountain Glen Campground.

Willow Creek Campground / Bishop Creek Canyon

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Campground Name: Willow Campground   Area: Bishop Creek Canyon

Administered by: Inyo National Forest / White Mountain Ranger District

Elevation:

Season Length: 5/23-10/1 - subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400; White Mountain Ranger District (760) 873-2500.

Number of sites: 7

Fee: $18.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to:     Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers  Pack-it-out!

Toilets: Vault    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                     

Nearest town: Bishop

Nearby facilities: Lake resorts

Nearby fishing: South Lake, Bishop Creek, Sabrina Lake, North Lake

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions

Directions: From Highway 395 in Bishop, turn left (west) on Line Street (Highway 168) and drive 14 miles to South Lake Road.  Continue to Willow Creek Campground or Four Jeffrey Campground or Glen Mountain Campground.

                         

 

 

Name of river: Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River

UpperSJ.jpg

Road condition: Paved to gravel  

Region: Devils Postpile National Monument / Mammoth Lakes Area

Description: Although it receives tremendous fishing pressure, the middle fork offers splendid scenery, a variety of water and some of the most beautiful hiking areas in the Sierra Mountains that can be reached by a car.  (See driving restrictions noted on Sotcher Lake.  Yes, this water gets fished out in a matter of three or four days after its weekly stocking, but skilled anglers can always find the wild ones and the smart stockers.  You would be foolish to visit Devils Postpile National Park and not bring along your fishing gear because the shuttle buses provide just such storage!

Species: Planted Rainbows and wild Browns and Brookies

Closest town or supplies:  Mammoth Lakes

Contacts: Red’s Meadow Resort and Pack Station (800) 292-7758 Stop! Here is a must see web site with video streams of pack trips offered by Red’s Meadow –

http://www.redsmeadow.com/

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Mammoth Lakes Visitor Bureau (888) 466-2666 / (760)-924-5500; Rick’s Sports Center (760) 934-3416; The Trout Fitter fly shop (760) 934-2517

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Nearest campground: Minaret Campground, Devils Postpile

Fishing season: General        Best times: Early in the season and again in the fall after the pressure drops.

Tips:

Favorite lures or bait: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)

Stocking information: 19,000.  The heaviest planting is at the Minaret Campground.

Nearby fishing: Sotcher Lake, Starkweather Lake

Additional information:

Directions: From Highway 395, turn west on Mammoth Lakes Road and drive three miles to Minaret Road.  Turn right on Minaret Road and travel almost twelve miles to the Devils Postpile Monument.  Look for a sign and road that forks to the right.

DevilsPostpile.jpg

 Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

Note: If you are visiting the Red’s Meadow area via the shuttle bus, here are the scheduled stops:

Agnew Meadows - trailheads for Shadow, Ediza, Thousand Island & Garnet lakes; Pacific Crest & John Muir trails; pack station; & camping;

Starkweather Lake – fishing

Upper Soda Springs Campground – ½-mile walk to camping & river fishing;

Pumice Flat Campground turnoff - camping; group camping by reservation only; Ranger's cabin; pay phone; & amphitheater

Minaret Falls Campground turnoff – 1-mile walk to camping, a view of the falls from the riverbank & river fishing

Devils Postpile National Monument - camping; picnicking; Ranger Station; pay phone; information; books & maps; tours & programs; trailheads for Minaret & Beck lakes, Summit Meadow & John Muir Trail. 1/4-mile walk to the postpile rock formation

Sotcher Lake - fishing; day hiking & picnicking

Reds Meadow Campground - camping; bath house; trailheads for Mammoth Pass & Pumice Flat

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Rainbow Falls – trailhead for Fish Creek; 1-1/4 mile hike to the falls

Reds Meadow Resort - pack station; store, cafe, cabins, pay phone.















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Sage Flat Campground (upper, lower) / Big Pine Area

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Campground Name: Sage Flat Campground      Area: Big Pine

Administered by: Inyo National Forest / White Mountain Ranger District

Elevation: 7,600

Season Length: Opens late April through late October and subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Number of sites: 21

Fee: $16.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 35 feet    No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Vault    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                     

Nearest town: Big Pine

Nearby facilities: Big Pine

Nearby fishing: Big Pine Creek, wilderness lakes, Owens River (See Highway 395 Fishing Category)

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Please note that the dates and prices above are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions

Directions: From Highway 385 in Big Pine, turn west (left) on Crocker Street, which turns to Glacier Lodge Road.  Drive eight miles to the campground.

 

Campground Name: Upper Sage Flat Campground    Area: Big Pine

Administered by: Inyo National Forest / White Mountain Ranger District

Elevation: 7,600

Season Length: Opens late April through late October and subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Number of sites: 21

Fee: $16

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 35 feet     No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Vault    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                     

Nearest town: Big Pine

Nearby facilities: Big Pine

Nearby fishing: Big Pine Creek, Owens River (See Highway 395 Fishing Category)

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.  Please note that the dates and prices above are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions

Directions: From Highway 385 in Big Pine, turn west (left) on Crocker Street, which turns to Glacier Lodge Road.  Drive eight and a half miles to the campground.

BigPineCreek.jpg



Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

BigPineMap.jpg


 

Big Pine Creek Campground / Big Pine Area

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Campground Name: Big Pine Creek Campground         Area: Big Pine

Administered by: Inyo National Forest / White Mountain Ranger District

Elevation: 7,700

Season Length: Opens late April through late October and subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Number of sites: 36

Fee: $16.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 22 feet     No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Vault    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills                     

Nearest town: Big Pine

Nearby facilities: Big Pine

Nearby fishing: Big Pine Creek  (See Highway 395 Fishing Category)

Reservations: No

Additional information: Please note that the dates and prices above are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions.  For reservable campsites, contact the National Recreation Reservation Center at http://www.recreation.gov or call them at 1-877-444-6777.

Directions: From Highway 385 in Big Pine, turn west (left) on Crocker Street, which turns to Glacier Lodge Road.  Drive nine miles to the campground.

BigPineCreek.jpgBigPineMap.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

 

 

 

Baker Creek Campground / Big Pine Area

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Campground Name: Baker Creek RV Campground   Area: Big Pine

Administered by: Inyo County Parks and Recreation

Elevation: 4,000

Season Length: Opens late April through late October and subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo County Parks and Recreation(760) 872-5911

Number of sites: 70

Fee: $10 daily fee per vehicle

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 40 feet    No Hook-ups:   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Vault    Water: Yes / hand pump      Picnic tables and fire grills 

Nearest town: Big Pine

Nearby facilities: Big Pine

Nearby fishing: Big Pine Creek (See Highway 395 Fishing Category)

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash; an extra fee is charged for each additional vehicle. Inyo National Forest Listings: Please note that the dates and prices above are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions. 

Directions: From Highway 395 in Big Pine, turn west on Baker Creek Road and drive one mile to the campground.

BigPineMap.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

Tinnemaha Campground / Big Pine Area

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Campground Name: Tinnemaha Campground (county)     Area: Big Pine Area

Administered by: Inyo County Parks Department, (760) 878-0272

Elevation: 4,400

Season Length: Opens late April through late October and subject to weather conditions

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Number of sites: 55

Fee: $10 per vehicle each night

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: No restrictions    Garbage: Pack-it-out!

Toilets: Vault    Water: Stream water – boil or filter      Picnic tables and fire grills      

Nearest town: Big Pine

Nearby facilities: Big Pine

Nearby fishing: Big Pine Creek, Owens River, Bishop Creek (lakes) (See Highway 395 Fishing Category)

Reservations: No

Additional information:  Some facilities have wheel-chair accessibility; pets must be kept on a leash; an extra fee is charged for each additional vehicle. Inyo National Forest Listings: Please note that the dates and prices above are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions. 

Directions: From Highway 395 in Independence, drive north and turn left (west) on Fish Springs Road, which is about six or seven miles south of Big Pine.  From Fish Springs Road drive a half of a mile and turn left on Tinnemaha Creek Road. Proceed two miles to the campground.

BigPineMap.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

 

Onion Valley Campground / Independence Area

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Campground Name: Onion Valley Campground

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Season Length: Open June 2 through October 1

Contact: Mt. Whitney Ranger Station, 640 S. Main Street Lone Pine , CA 93545

Phone: 760-876-6200
Nearest town: Independence

Nearby fishing: Located at 9,600 ft. Onion Valley is literally on the edge of the John Muir Wilderness. The popular Kearsarge Pass trail begins at the entrance to the campground and several alpine lakes are within day hiking distance. Rainbow, Eastern Brook, and Golden Trout can be caught in the area. 

Number of sites: 29

Fee: $13.

RV sites: Yes, restricted to 16 feet; picnic tables and fire grills

Toilets: Vault toilets

Water: Piped water

Reservations / contact info: Reservations are accepted. For reservable campsites, contact the National Recreation Reservation Center at http://www.recreation.gov or call them at 1-877-444-6777 or http://www.recreation.gov/. 1-877-444-6777.

Directions: Located 13 miles west of town. From U.S. 395 turn west on Market Street (Onion Valley Rd.). follow the road past Grays Meadow Campground to the road end. Proceed past the Kearsarge Pass trail head and through the gate into the campground.

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Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

                                                     

Oak Creek Campground / Independence Area

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Campground Name: Oak Creek Campground

Administered by: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Season Length: Open all year

Contacts: (760) 873-5577 for more information or http://www.independence-ca.com/

Nearest town: Independence

Nearby fishing: Once a very popular campground, Oak Creek has been largely overlooked since The California Department of Fish and Game ceased planting fish in the north fork of Oak Creek. Even so it is still possible to catch wild rainbows in the creek.

Number of sites: 22

Fee: None

RV sites: Some sites will accommodate large RV's. RV length limit = 28 feet.

Toilets: Vault toilets   Garbage: Pack-it-Out!

Water: No

Shade: Some

Reservations: Not required

Directions: Located 5 miles northwest of town. From U.S. 395 turn west on Fish Hatchery Rd. and follow the road past the Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery. Stay on the right fork of the road which follows the north fork of Oak Creek. Turn left into the campground at the gate.

Independence-1.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

Grays Meadow Campgrounds / Independence Area

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Campground Name: Grays Meadow (upper and lower    Area: Independence

Administered by: Inyo National Forest / Mt. Whitney Ranger District map

Season Length: The camp grounds are open from March 16 to October 15 subject to weather conditions.

Contact: Inyo National Forest.  http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/  760-873-2400

Number of sites: 52

Fee: $13

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 34 feet    

Toilets: Flush    Water: Yes      Picnic tables and fire grills

Nearest town: Independence

Nearby facilities: Independence

Nearby fishing: Independence Creek; Onion Valley Trailhead to wilderness lakes (See Highway 395 Fishing Category)

Reservations: Reservations are accepted. For reservable campsites, contact the National Recreation Reservation Center at http://www.recreation.gov or call them at 1-877-444-6777 or http://www.recreation.gov/. 1-877-444-6777 or http://www.ReserveUSA.com

Additional information:  Pets must be kept on a leash.

Directions: Grays Meadow Campground is located 6 miles west of town. From U.S. 395 turn west on Market Street (Onion Valley Road). Proceed past the County campground on the west edge of town and follow the road for 6 miles.

IndependenceMap.jpgIndependence-1.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

 

Goodale Creek Campground / Independence Area

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Campground Name: Goodale Creek Campground (BLM)    Area: Independence

Administered by: Bureau of Land Management (760) 872-5000

Elevation: 4,000

Season Length: Generally open second week of April through November 1; subject to weather conditions

Contact: BLM Bishop Field Office (760) 872-4881

Number of sites: 62

Fee: $5.

RV sites:  Yes   RV’s up to: 30 feet   Garbage: containers

Toilets: Pit   Water: No      Picnic tables and fire grills                           

Nearest town: Independence

Nearby facilities: Independence

Nearby fishing: Independence Creek (See Highway 396 Fishing Category)

Reservations:  No

Additional information: Please note that the dates and prices below are subject to change and reflect 2007 data.  If listed, the campground opening dates are approximate due to weather conditions. Horses are prohibited. With little shade, the summer months can be very hot here.

Directions: From Highway 395 in Independence, drive 12 miles north and turn west on Aberdeen Road and continue two miles to the campground.

IndependenceMap.jpg

Maps courtesy of mytopo.com.

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Tips for Fishing Cricks and Creeks

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Learn the Basics of Creek Fishing

Regardless if you fish a creek with a fly, a spinner or bait, the principles are basically the same, and the rewards are wonderfully experienced with a wild trout on the end of your line. This summer and fall I will be writing an entry on fishing creeks with lures and bait.  Regardless of what tackle you use, small cricks and creeks require stealth and a low profile.  Lure fishermen should cast downstream in shallow water conditions, but if there is good pocket water, follow the tips in this entry.  Bait fishermen should go to smaller hooks, smaller tippet size and smaller bait portions.


Creeks Are Not Just for Kids!



Years ago, when I worked out of a local fly shop, I wouldn't hesitate in suggesting a guided instructional trip to one of our local creeks, if a perspective client mentioned that he or she was a beginner. I fondly recall many days when instruction was immediately reinforced with fish after fish rising to take a swat at my client's Royal Wulff or bushy Humpy. If you are new to the sport of fly fishing, spend as much time as you can on a mountain creek. You will be delighted with the action, as well as accelerating your mastery of fly fishing. Keep in mind, however, that spring and early summer the creeks generally run very cold, and the trout are sluggish. Wait until mid-July. August is even better for high elevation canyon creeks.

The size of a trout is relative to the conditions of its environment. High elevation canyon creeks do not produce large trout, but they do provide a respite from the summer heat and an intimacy with the water and flora of a mountain stream. Best of all, most creeks produce an abundance of small, hungry trout. And when you catch a 10 to 12-incher, it is akin to catching a 16-incher on a river. If you are new to fly fishing, follow these short guidelines to Master the Basics of Creek Fishing.

 

 

Casting: A short cast is all you need. How short? Try right in front of you with no line on the water. The key to creek fishing is to keep your fly out of tree top branches and brush. You do not need finesse casting skills on a creek. Get your feet wet and position yourself in the middle of the creek. Fish directly upstream on both sides. Make short casts and control your line. After you make a short cast to a small riffle or pocket, keep your fly line off the water! Keep your rod tip up and allow the fly to drift naturally. Do not pull or move the fly once it is on the water. In a tumbling creek, it is imperative to keep line off the water. Once the line is on the water, you will have immediate line drag, and your fly will be drowned. Instead of making a long cast over tumbling water, move up closer to your target. Trout face upstream. If you are directly behind them, you can catch them three feet away, providing your shadow is not on the water or they do not see the flash of your rod.

Fly Patterns: Go big or go home! Use 10-12 common attractor patterns, such as a Royal Wulff, a Humpy, a parachute Adams or a hopper. If the water is fast and deep and you can fish only one side of the creek effectively with a dry fly, use a Girdle Bug or a Yuk Bug. Fish these patterns just as you would a dry fly. Allow them to sink under the surface and watch for the strike. Once you learn to read water, make a short cast, anticipate the strike and set the hook, you will be ready for rivers. Be sure to pinch the bards down on your fly patterns for quick catch-and-release.

Line Control: If you are right handed, slip the fly line under your pointing finger of your right hand. Place your left hand under your right and pull down any excess line, as the fly floats back to you. You should also be raising your fly rod, as the fly drifts back to you.

 

 

 

 

 

Setting the Hook: Creek trout slam an offering without hesitation. After all, winter is long and cold in these canyons, and if they are going to grow up, they have to eat everything that comes their way! These little buggers are fast. You may miss a lot of strikes before you see their approach under water. After the splash, it is usually too late to react. I suggest wearing Polarized sun glasses, which cut through the surface glare. Anticipate the strike when you see movement under the fly and lift the rod tip up quickly as the trout breaks the surface. At the same time, begin the habit of pulling the line in a downward motion with your left hand. (Remember, the line has already been transferred under the index finger of your right hand.) Don't feel embarrassed if you throw a little cutthroat over your shoulder. We have all done this.

 

Reading the Water: The benefit of learning to fly fish on a creek is that the angler gets a crash course on trout hiding places. The advantage is that a creek is a much smaller classroom. Trout need protection from predators, and they need a resting spot where they can spot food drifting their way.

 

 

 

 

 

Waterfalls and Pools: Carefully cast your fly to a pool, as it will hold larger fish. Keep your fly out of the turbulent water and foam. Start presenting your fly on the tail-out of the pool, so that you are not disturbing trout further up in the pool. Next cast your fly along the edges of the pool on both sides before you cast to the middle. Look for dark pockets in the pool to cast your fly.

Riffles: Unlike rivers, creek riffles are usually fairly short. Just like rivers, they provide trout with both cover and a steady flow of food. Again, keep your fly line off the water. If your fly gets sucked down, pull it up and re-cast.

Pockets: Look for small pockets of water behind boulders in fast water. Drop your fly dead-center in the pocket or along the fast seams. The trick to fishing pocket water is to keep the fly moving very slowly.

I always proclaim that I am an expert when it comes to fishing a creek, even though expertise can be acquired by anyone with just a few forays into the canyons of Montana. One summer I was taking a father and his son out to teach them "crick fishin". Looking up the trail, I spotted a lone fly fisherman walking towards us. "I’ll bet he had lousy fishing," I whispered to the young boy. "let’s find out."

Sure enough the man had caught only a few small Cutthroats, and he was obviously disappointed. When he was out of hearing, the father looked at me quizzically, and the young boy asked, "How did you know?"

"Simple," I replied. "He had dry pants and dry sneakers."

10 Rules for Successful Creek Fishing

  • 1. Get wet!
  • 2. Position yourself in the middle of the creek, and keep moving upstream after two or three casts to a likely holding spot.
  • 3. Keep your fly floating at a natural speed. Better yet, keep your fly along the seams and in slow pocket water at a slower speed.
  • 4. Unless you are using a Hopper, present your fly gently on the water.
  • 5. Keep excess fly line off the water. Don’t let the current drag your fly under. Better yet, keep your fly line off the water entirely!
  • 6. Keep a low profile and make the first cast count!




















  • 7. Don't forget to dab from above. It can be fun!




















  • 8. Use large attractor patterns.
  • 9. Wear felt-sole wading boots or sneakers with outdoor carpet glued to the bottom.
  • 10. Learn the creek, and then return with a child.

Float Fishing Safety

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Fishing from a Kickboat or Drift Boat

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Part I: Safety, Preparation and Rowing Techniques
Part II: Advantages of Kick Boats and One-Man Rafts
Part III: Float Fishing Strategies

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When I moved to Wyoming in my twenties, I signed up for a hunter’s safety course. At least thirty people of all ages shuffled into the Game and Fish meeting room and took their seats on the folding chairs. People talked quietly, as if they were in a church. Presently a uniformed spokesman, after some preliminary discourse, asked a profoundly simple question. “How many of you attending this Hunter’s Safety Class have experienced an accident or a near accident involving firearms?”

I was shocked with how quickly at least three-fourths of the attendees raised their hands. I was also struck with the honesty and quickness in raising their hands. My own hand had been slow to rise, in part from some deep seated shame of having pointed an “unloaded” gun at an adolescent friend with my finger on the trigger. Fortunately, a respected family member’s instruction a year or two previous to this horrific moment came to the forefront of my senses, and I lowered the .22 rifle. I opened the chamber for my friend’s inspection. When the .22 shell ejected, I apologized and made a hasty retreat to the bathroom where I quelled my nausea.

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I would submit that any assemblage of river floaters, if asked to raise their hand owning up to a water accident or boating accident, would be slow to respond, not from a lack of honesty but out of sheer ignorance. Unlike firearm accidents, boating accidents do not have a smoking gun. They do not have a pulled trigger. What they do have is a perilous temptation with death or injury that is perpetrated out of ignorance or carelessness. Unlike the discharge of a firearm, with its instantaneous report of death or injury, potential river tragedies often go unnoticed. Float fishing from a personal water craft rewards anglers with increased fishing success and miles of scenic beauty; a successful outing, of course, requires safe preparation, good rowing skills, self-rescue knowledge, along with effective fishing techniques.

Recently, my son Brandon, on reading the article, commented on the "dark side" of this article and the references to death. He told me, "You might as well tell them to go out and buy a crotch-rocket motorcycle and drive like hell without a helmet! Be sure to tell your readers how much fun it is to float fish. Lighten up, old man." In retrospect I realize that I have presented a grim picture of danger. On any given weekend in Montana during the fishing season, hundreds and perhaps thousands of anglers safely enjoy the rewards of float fishing on streams and rivers across the state. It is true that sad accounts of death by boating accident leap to the top of the front page. Perhaps it is my age that I reference the dangers in this instructional article on safe river float fishing, or perhaps it is my own foolish recollections of a few of my own experiences and witnessing of near tragedies that clouds the text. At any rate, the important fact to remember is that safe float fishing is so much fun, as Brandon reminds me.

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Safety
Anyone who has lost a loved one from a boating accident knows the importance of wearing an approved life jacket. I have always distained wearing a life vest, as they are hot and get in the way of my casting. After a near drowning accident at age 60, I wear a suspenders vest with an inflatable C02 pull-string. I don’t even know that I have it on, and I do keep it on even in shallow, innocuous looking water. Keep a lifeline or throw rope handy, especially if you are floating with a group. Bring along plenty of rope and a first aid kit. A dry bag for extra clothes is essential. Keep this bag where it can be easily reached. Add to this bag the necessary provisions for starting a fire, and be sure to throw in some extra batteries for the flashlight. For years I carried a flare in my dry bag when I floated in the late fall or winter. A flare is a quick fire starter. Beware of the vagaries of weather. Hypothermia is always a present danger in the mountain states. Even water temperatures in the 50s can drain one's strength and rob the body of heat. Being immersed in water temperatures in the high 40’s is an instant shock to the system. Strong swimmers without life jackets have perished under these conditions, especially when the air temperatures are in the high 60’s or low 70’s and floaters have shed outer garments.

A good knife and rain gear is essential. The biggest safety tip is the most obvious and most often overlooked: the oarsman should be completely sober and alert at all times. This means scanning the river ahead 100 yards at a time and pulling over to scout any difficult passage. Taking your eyes off the river or helping a buddy land a fish is the primary factor in many river accidents. Prior to launching, examine all of the equipment for damage.

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The next step is preparedness. Call the local fishing shops or rv parks close to the river and ask for updated river information, or ask for the name of a local guide or ranger. Each year after spring run-off, professional river runners navigate stretches of the river noting new channels, strainers and sweepers. This information gets passed around locally and shared with everyone who asks for it. Beginning floaters need to understand the power and dynamics of moving water. The most common obstacles or dangers are in-stream obstacles such as rocks and boulders, strainers, pillows, hydraulics, chutes and cliffs, which deflect the full force of the current. Shoreline obstacles also include rocks, strainers and sweepers.

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Broaching and obstacle sideways in a boat creates “a clear and present danger.” With the possible exception of allowing the current to spin the boat backwards with the rower facing upstream, broaching a boat or raft is clearly the most dangerous position a rower faces. Sweeping broadside into an obstacle requires instantaneous reaction. Any delay and a rower is at risk of the obstacle sucking the boat down under the water, sometimes creating a wrap-around effect.

Broaching Escape Maneuver: In the following photograph, Dave Inks, inventor of the Water Strider one-man raft, demonstrates how to escapes broaching a rock. He quickly pulls on his right oar, which spins him around to the side of the rock. He has already pulled in his left oar, and with his left hand he can push off the rock. What he doesn’t do is lean too far into the rock, nor does he panic and shift his weight upstream, which could easily flip the boat, as he completes the maneuver.

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(Note: I asked Dave to wear a life jacket and he declined.)

When I was a young fly fishing guide in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, I was guiding an elderly couple on the Snake River early in the summer. The water was very cold and still flooding its banks. I decided to take a small side channel. The tall meadow grass spilled sparkling rivulets of water into the side channel, and the pebbled bottom cast glittering rays of stream light. Wildflowers were abundant, and the cottonwoods showcased their new, yellow-tinted foliage. The Tetons loomed over us still snow-capped with their majestic, cragged peaks. We all sat in silence just taking in the scenery.

Rounding a corner we picked up speed as the gradient dropped. Suddenly in front of us was a strainer, a bare, single cottonwood trunk angling up out of the water and facing upstream. Strainers are extremely dangerous because the current is pulled downwards as it courses over a partly submerged tree. Wrapped around the strainer underwater was a green, seventeen foot Coleman canoe. We quickly glanced up to the bank overlooking this scene of disaster and observed three sullen men. I pulled into the eddy under the verdant bank they were resting on and asked, “Is everyone alright?” They were drenched. One man avoided our gazes entirely by resting his head between his knees. Apparently, we had just missed the accident. One of the men soberly replied, “We’re alright now, but it was a close call.”

The lady client turned to me with a quizzical look. I too was perplexed. At the deepest spot in this side channel, and on both sides of the strainer, the depth of water was no deeper than two and a half feet. Below the strainer the water welled up across a shallow riffle. The entire pool was less than ten yards long, and yet these men had ashen complexions and were clearly in shock.

It was impossible to extricate the canoe with four strong men. I thought it was a useless folly, but I joined in to help the men, as I sensed they needed to do something besides silently staring at the water. The force of water kept the collapsed canoe in place. I offered them a ride to the highway bridge. The nearly drowned victim said nary a word. The other friend was also reticent about sharing information on their mishap. The third man spilled his guts. He couldn’t stop talking.

Captains and titans of the business world, these three imagoes were on a mission to buy a ranch or spread in Jackson Hole. Since it was a warm day, on impulse they decided to float the river. They stopped in at a sporting goods store, picked up a canoe and some paddles, bought a cheap ice chest and stocked up on beer. Life jackets were considered a frivolous expenditure for this spontaneous expedition. They drank heavily all day. By their own admissions, they had a number of close calls and near misses with the canoe. Each incident they roared with laughter and reached for another beer. Wanting to slow down a bit and enjoy the scenery, they took the side-channel and let their guard down. After all, it was shallow water.

On one of the turns through the meadow, the canoe turned sideways. The men laid down their oars and drank their beer, laughing out loud at all the anecdotal stories they would be able to tell their friends and family. Coming around the final corner, the water compressed into a fast riffle. Their view was obscured by the tall grass on the banks. They made no effort to straighten their course. Dropping down the riffle into the pool, they saw the strainer. The men clumsily grabbed their oars knowing they were going to capsize, get drenched and pull their laughing bodies up on the shore. It worked just as they had planned.

Into the water the man at the bow of the boat and the stern of the boat fell. Gasping for breath from the cold water they slipped and fell and dragged themselves up to the shore laughing like boys who had just pushed each other into a swimming pool at a birthday party. It was more than a minute before the duo realized they weren’t a trio. They bolted upright and were stunned to see a scene completely absent of their friend, who had been seated in the middle of the canoe. The canoe was now under water and completely wrapped down both sides of the strainer. The top of the cottonwood was bouncing in agitation, as if it was in pain from the foreign obstacle enveloping it. The men shook off their stupor and charged for the capsized canoe.

They could feel the body of their friend under the canoe. He was wedged at the waist at the bottom of the tree trunk in less than three feet of water. His upper torso and his legs divided the strainer’s sweep from the bottom to the surface. The two men could neither budge the canoe nor extricate their friend. Finally, one man pulled his friends legs downstream, while the other friend dove under the water and pushed the head and trunk up and around the trap. A couple of minutes had elapsed. The victim, thankfully, had just taken a deep breath as he glanced below the tip of the outreached tree trunk. He fought with all of his might to turn and twist free while under the water. At the moment his lungs gave out, he felt his friends tugging and pulling on him. He regained consciousness when they pulled him ashore.

Many years later I pulled a baby from a cottonwood tree in the middle of a slow section of the Bitterroot River, just behind Hamilton High School. In their panic, the mothers kept diving into the water only to be swept below the tree and the stranded baby. When I came into view around a turn in the river, the women were screaming and waving their arms hysterically. I began pushing on the oars. I couldn’t understand a word they were yelling, and then I spotted a year old baby.

The mothers had been inner tubing on a hot summer day with their children. None of them had life jackets on them or tied to their tubes. The hysterical mother with the lost baby had prudently prepared her baby for the float trip behind town. She placed Angel Wings on her baby’s arms. In truth, the Angel wings saved the baby’s life. When the current sucked the baby down between the branches, the arm floatation devices jammed in the branches. When I pulled up close to the drowned tree, I observed that the baby was face up. Her mouth was barely above water. She was coughing and spitting up water. The rescue was neither gallant nor noteworthy. I did not calmly return the baby to the mother. My own shock set in, and I found myself angrily lecturing this poor, sobbing mother as I delivered the baby to her arms. Later I felt miserable about my reaction. It was clearly not appropriate for the situation.

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One nemesis for float fishers is sweepers. As the name implies, half-fallen trees overhanging the water lie in wait for anglers who concentrate more on their fly than the river ahead. After I gave up guiding in western Montana, my wife and I opened up a bed and breakfast establishment for fly fishers. I offered guided float trips on gentle sections of the river. Since I was not operating as a guide or operator of a boat or raft, I felt I was free of any liability in case of an accident. I gave a presentation the night before on oaring and safety. I repeated all the points prior to launching the next day. I insisted everyone wear life jackets, and I reminded them that we were all captains of their own little boat, and they were fishing and floating independently. In one summer I had a teenage boy and an elderly man knocked out of their small boats by sweeping branches. My son Darin was taking a business law class at the University of Montana. When the professor heard about these two incidents, he impressed upon Darin that I was risking a major law suit that I would lose. I ended the trips. I too have been surprised by sweepers on occasion. The advice seems too simple. Keep looking up and targeting obstacles for at least a hundred yards!

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. A Hydraulic is a powerful, deep hole, which is usually found below a diversion dams (weir) or at a confluence with another river, when the water drops over a ledge. They should always be avoided. Sometimes they look very safe. Avoid them by portaging.

As a beginning rower, the beginner should immediately look for his or her first obstacle. An obstacle can be a mid-stream boulder, a strainer, a sweeper, a narrow chute, partially submerged rocks, current breaks, hydraulics and any other potential danger. It can even be the bank or shoreline that the current is moving towards. Once the first obstacle is established, the rower should position the boat so that the bow is facing the obstacle with the stern of the boat partially facing up stream. The rower is now in a position to row away from the first obstacle. As the rower faces the first obstacle, he or she should glance downstream for the second and third obstacle. Note in the following photograph that the first rower has allowed her boat to turn sideways, a dangerous position. Although Dave Inks’ rafts are quick to respond, one should stay in the correct position to immediately row away from an obstacle. Note the angle of Dave’s boat.

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Look at every obstacle closely. Don’t over react and expend a lot of rowing effort when a few pulls of the oar will be sufficient to slip by the obstacle. However, if the current is swift, and you are on a collision path, start ferrying your water craft laterally across the river away from the obstacle. Many beginners make the mistake of allowing the stern, or the back of the boat, to slip downstream ahead of them, which leaves them facing upstream in a dangerous situation. To avoid this keep the bow downstream with the stern at a 30 to 40 degree angle. In this position the rower will make progress across the stream away from the obstacle. Keeping the stern of the boat at an angle allows the boat to make progress laterally without danger of the stern of the boat spinning around. Rowers should never get in the habit of trying to push a boat to safety. To row away from an object, begin by thrusting your arms and the oars directly facing the object.

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Dip the oars into the water (not too deep), and pull the oars to your chest. Most of us have more muscle, pulling power than pushing power.

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Prior to floating a Class II or Class III river, practice spinning your craft 90 degrees, 180 degrees and 360 degrees from both directions. My son Brandon Archer demonstrates this technique in one of my Little Dippers. In the photograph below, Brandon pulls on his left oar while simultaneously pushing on his right oar. Practice these maneuvers until they become second nature or reflexive.

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High Siding is an accident waiting to happen on the water. When passengers shift to one side of the boat, the weight shift tips the boat and robs the rower of his control. It is not uncommon to have someone spill out of a raft or drift boat when embarking for shore in shallow water. Someone falling and hitting their head on a rock can easily be avoided. The rower should take charge when he anchors the boat near the shoreline to exit passengers. The rower should exit first. If the water is not too deep on the outside, the rower should stand a thwart towards the middle of the boat and steady the boat as one angler at a time exits without rods in their hands. The easiest maneuver is one leg at a time with a shift in weight balance. Hold on to the gunwale or raft frame firmly. The rower can lift or tilt the boat slightly to help the departing passenger.

High Siding while the boat or raft is in motion rarely happens. People just know the obvious. High Siding on a strainer or a pillow seems to be a natural reaction that places everyone in the boat in danger. My first boating accident was when I had been guiding for three years in Montana. It was spring and the waters were high, fast and cold. Although the white water enthusiasts were enjoying themselves, it was folly to fish. My outfitter had out of town guests who wanted to fish large nymphs. I insisted they wear life jackets and belts on their waders. One of the clients did not have a belt, so I gave him mine. When I went to put on my own life jacket, I was surprised to discover that I had inadvertently grabbed a child’s vest. This was probably twenty-five years ago, and I was wearing Seal Dry waders, a thin latex plastic wader that stretched and ballooned out like a sea anchor.

I was being as cautious as I could be. The clients were asking to move in closer to the shoreline and the spring sweepers. One of the gentlemen was fishing with a rod he had built. He was clearly proud of his creation. He was fishing with a lead-core shooting head with weighted Woolly Buggers. I repeatedly reminded him that he was catching the bottom, and with the speed of the current, if he hung up, the rod would be jerked right out of his hands. Right after the second caution, he hung up. His rod bent in an unbelievable arc, and he shifted the rod to the upstream side of the raft. He uttered something between a sigh and a short whimper and reluctantly surrendered the fly rod to the swift current.

I shot a glance downstream and noted the strainer towards the shoreline. I was convinced I had enough distance to save his rod. I spun the raft around using the push-pull oaring technique, flung the oars to the center of the raft, dropped to my knees on the bottom of the raft, leaned overboard and grabbed the tip of his fly rod. I jumped quickly to my rowing seat and gauged the distance to the outstretched tree trunk looming up in the middle of the river. I was lined up to broach the strainer dead even on the side of the boat. No problem I thought to myself, but when I leaned on the oars, I was shocked to discover how fast I was floating and how little progress I was making.

I faced a dilemma that all beginners should understand without equivocation. Never try to push the boat with the oars. Always pull away from the obstacle. I correctly reacted to the situation once I realized I was going to broach the strainer. I spun the boat around so that the bow was now facing the obstacle straight on. I yelled to the two men up front to reach out and push us away from the tree trunk, while I tried another hard pull on the right oar. It was a successful maneuver. We were just going to take a glancing blow. I didn’t even need their help.

Just as I touched the strainer on its side, the two men stood up in the bow of the raft. I went mute as I watched in astonishment. Standing on the soft floor of the raft, both men leaned over the side and pushed. We were instantly high sided, and the bulging water along side the strainer pulled the boat under and flipped the 14-foot raft, all its equipment and three men like paper dolls. The two men floated over to the shoreline easily. When I came up to the surface, my waders had ballooned out with water, and I immediately began to sink, but not before I grabbed a roped which was tied to the side of the raft. Dropping down into a set of waves, I got spun around under the tipped raft. Then I lost my rope grip on the left side of the raft when I large wave pulled me completely out of the water.

I dropped under the water like a cannon ball falling off the poop deck. My eyes were open, and I could see trailing branches from a willow tree. I managed to grab a thin branch no thicker than my thumb. It was the last bush I could have grasped. A few yards downstream a log jam pulsed and shook from the current.. After I dropped off my two clients and filed a report, I went home to an empty house. I had just gone through a divorce. I was in shock for hours and couldn’t sleep. The news of my accident spread through the guide ranks up and down the valley. I was ashamed of my incompetence and poor judgment, and I dreaded meeting the other guides. Strangely, no one ever made reference to my accident over the next fifteen years or asked me about it. I should have talked about it. It still haunts me to this day. I jeopardized the lives of my two passengers for a fly rod.

When you need a rowing break, and you find yourself in dangerous, boulder strewn waters, look for an Eddy – a pocket of quiet water behind a large boulder or a narrow slice of shoreline from a slope or boulder field. The water tends to circle around and move upstream. Here you can rest quietly by just feathering the oars before you push off again.

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Always scout the river ahead. If need be you can easily tie a line to your boat and safely walk the boat through a dangerous section. If you are in a group, the most experienced rower should be the lead rower. He or she can wave the group on if the route is safe. Let the leader navigate through the rough section first, and one-by-one the rowers behind may follow his or her path to safety.

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Sometimes a Pillow, which is an up surging pillow of water when a strong current is pushed up against a bridge abutment or large rock, can actually deflect you away from the wall, abutment or cliff. However, they are, nonetheless, dangerous and the rower should take action to avoid them.

These are just some of the challenges of floating a river. Beginning float fishers should begin on slow, moving water in order to practice good rowing techniques and casting techniques. Only experienced rowers should attempt to navigate mountain streams strewn with boulders.

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Instead, practice boat handling skills and fishing skills on slow moving waters that hold big fish. What follows is a quick summary review.

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Summary Review: One of the best books that I have read on river floating is Stan Bradshaw’s book, River Safety. ISBN: 1-890373-08-7

1. Wear a Life Jacket at all times.

2. Stock your Dry Bag with safety provisions. Include the following: a first aide kit; a pocket knife; extra clothes and rain gear; a stocking cap; rope; flash light; food; a plastic tarp; water bottle and water filter; patch kit.

3. Obstacles: Look for your first obstacle, such as the current pushing into the approaching bank. Other obstacles are rocks, side-currents, sweepers, strainers, hydraulics, log jams, bridge abutments etc.

4. Practice ferrying across current, and practice the push-pull oaring technique for quick boat maneuvering.

5. If you are thrown or tipped out of your raft, roll on your back with your feet facing downstream. In this position you may push off rocks and other obstacles. Once you are in the clear, swim for shore. (Bradshaw’s book is filled with self-rescue techniques, as well as assisted rescue. It should be required reading!)

6. Check out river conditions prior to launching, and be prepared for adverse weather changes.

7. Always scout challenging or dangerous water. If necessary, line-out your boat or portage around the section.

8. Always keep your boat pointed at the next obstacle. Be prepared to PULL the oars. Your boat should be at a 30 to 45 degree angle.

9. Keep looking ahead as far as a 100 yards. Do not allow your fishing to interfere with safe boating practices.

10. Never drink or take drugs prior to floating a river, and certainly not while you are on the water.

If you plan on float fishing in Montana, be sure and visit Dave's companion site, Glacier to Yellowstone.

Mastering the Basics of Stillwater Fly Fishing

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In my earlier articles on Mastering the Basics, I drew from my own experience honed over many years of learning and practicing the skills associated with fly angling. In writing Mastering the Basics of Stillwater Fly Fishing, I do not profess to be an expert or authority on stillwater fishing. In my five decades of fly fishing and my years of guiding, I concentrated mostly on moving waters, with the exception of high-elevation lakes. At age 62 I do not have the luxury of slowly acquiring stillwater skills over a period of years. Now that I live across the street from Klamath Lake / Agency Lake, which harbors huge trout, I am dedicated to honing my stillwater fishing skills. Over the past few years I have hooked and landed a number of trout from Agency Lake in the four to seven pound range, but I also grudgingly admit that I have been skunked more times than I care to share.

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I have included a glossary and a test, to this section on Mastering the Basics of Stillwater Fly Fishing. The test was a useful tool for me, but I hope it will be fun for those of you new to the sport. As a retired teacher, I know the value of reading, outlining information and then writing a test in order to really learn the material. However, the ultimate and final test is on the water, and I hope that this information will help you accelerate your skills as it has for me.

I have struggled with how I am to present the information in Mastering the Basics of Stillwater Fly Fishing. Since I know I will rework this material in the future, and return to it many times to add photographs and illustrations, I have decided to organize the information with bold headings and bulleted markings to aid in quick reading. Sometimes I will merely outline the material if I do not see the need for expansive explanation.

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If you are new to stillwater fishing, I recommend that you take the test first and then peruse through the glossary that I have provided. I also recommend that you take along a small notepad with specific goals or experimenting techniques that you will practice when you get out on a lake nearest you. Be sure to take notes on what you learned! In this manner you will experience an accelerated learning curve for Mastering the Basics of Stillwater Fly Fishing. Finally, if you live far from a trout lake, then fly fish for bass and sunfish in a lake close to you. The principles are very similar.

What You Need to Know About Stillwater and Stillwater Trout

If you are an experienced bass angler, you clearly have a head start in pursuing and catching trout in stillwater. Here is a basic review of all that I have learned bass fishing that is directly applicable to stillwater trout fishing.

Lake Anatomy: The size, depth, shoreline, bottom composition, elevation, annual precipitation and the ph balance (0-17) are defining factors in trout survival and growth.

Size and Type: Find the nearest trout lake and seek out information on good fishing areas. Become an expert on one area before you concentrate your efforts five miles down the lake. Begin with locating a section of the lake that has an inlet or an outlet or feeder streams dumping into the lake. These are good holding areas for trout, as they supply cooler, oxygenated waters and good food sources. Reservoirs, because of the water draw downs during the late spring and summer, make life tougher for trout than bass. Insects, their primary food source, are impacted greatly and in some cases nearly eradicated due to the extreme draw downs. Seepage Lakes, especially low elevation lakes, have no inlets or outlets. They sustain fertile water conditions from mountain seepage and groundwater seepage. Denny Rickard reminds readers in his book that the key to a good trout lake is the percentage of shallow shoreline, which provides food and cover for trout. Sunlight is another determinant to sustained growth of trout. More sunlight means longer plant growth seasons, more insect life, and thus more food sources for longer periods. PH Levels measure the level of acid or alkalinity in a particular body of water. A pH balance of 5 to 7 is ideal for sustained trout growth according to Rickards.

Targeted Waters / Cover: Read any good bass fishing book and you will learn most of what there is to know about stillwater fishing for trout. Keep in mind the obvious. Trout need cover to protect themselves from overhead predators. They need overhead obstructions or camouflaging to break up their outline. They need cooler waters that provide sufficient oxygen, and they need to be close to good sources of food. So in alphabetical order, here are some “fishy” spots to target: algae blooms, bays, branches, channels, cliffs, downed trees, drop-offs, feeder streams, inlets and outlets, points, rocks, river channels, shoals (submerged islands), springs, vegetation.

(P#4:cover)

Water Zones: When sunlight can not reach the bottom, which in turn stimulates plant growth and thus oxygen, the zone is referred to as the Chemocline or Profundal zone. The Thermocline is a narrow zone of water lower in oxygen than the surface. It tends to hover just above the Chemocline as the surface waters heat up during the summer months. Trout will often seek refuge near the thermocline. Keep in mind, however, that the ideal spot for any fish is one which provides cool, oxygenated waters close to the shallows, which provides their food source. Lake Turn-Over: Water is heaviest at 39 degrees. At this temperature it drops to the bottom so during the winter when the surface temperature is 32 degrees the bottom is warmer. The same is true during the summer when warmer water rises to the top resting on the colder water underneath. Turn over during the spring occurs when the wind creates currents that pull and fold water at the surface, which in turn draws up water from the bottom in a mixing pattern. In the process, bottom nutrients are brought to the surface which aids insects and pulls trout up to warmer waters, typically in the shallows. It also brings more oxygen to the deeper water so fish can be found at all levels during the spring turn over. The division of these two water layers in called the Thermocline. During a lake turn over the thermocline disappears. Below the thermocline in larger lakes is the Chemocline, which is deeper water holding insufficient levels of oxygen. During the fall the turn-over begins anew as winter approaches.

Windows of Opportunity: Look for birds, such as swallows and night hawks, actively swarming over the water, which indicates a hatch in that area. Of course, one should look for rises, but keep in mind that some surface takes are quite subtle and go unnoticed. On wind rippled water, Rickards says to look for “nervous” water. Look for water that moves contrary to the natural water movement around a particular spot that has drawn your attention. Use a monocular or binoculars to help you scan waters in the near vicinity for a sparse hatch. Remember, it doesn’t take much activity to get the attention of trout that there is food on the surface. And speaking of food, the experts are unanimous in declaring that 90% of stillwater fishing should be under the surface!
Overcast or dark days or rippled water provide opportunities for trout to move into the shallows and feed. On windy days, the shoreline is a natural area to target because the waves churn up food sources and trout will often move right into this frothy, muddy water. Look for points or small islands during spells of wind. Fish down from the point or just inside an island, as the island or point will provide a sheltered area of water which blown insects can readily be spotted by lurking trout. It is the same for stream fishing. Ice-Out provides excellent fishing as trout are hungry. As the water begins to warm somewhat after ice-out, be sure to target inlets which are staging areas for pre-spawning, hungry trout. During the spring be sure to try a Glo-Bug at the inlets and outlets. As all bass fishermen know, an approaching storm tends to stimulate a bite.

Times to Avoid: Avoid fishing during a period of the full moon. Watch out for lightening, and stay home during a cold front with a falling barometer.

Recommended Equipment:

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Rods: Clearly, a slow-action rod is most endorsed by the experts. The slower action rods absorb the shock of a large fish on the take. Light tippets do not hold up on a stiffer rod when a large trout fights in underwater vegetation. Many of the experts, both guides and authors that I have met, use 5 wt rods from 8.5 to 9.5 in length. As always, it is a personal preference. Certainly 5 – 8 weight rods will all do fine.

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Floating Lines: The most versatile line is the weight-forward or double-tapered floating line. Weight can be added to the fly or the leader to effectively fish depths of 20 feet with a 25-foot leader, split shot and strike indicator.

Sink Tips: A 10 sinking tip at the terminal end of a floating line, these lines are nice to have for depths up to ten feet, but in my opinion, someone on a limited budget should buy an Intermediate Sinking Line before they begin the expensive acquisition of shooting heads or sink tips. Sink tips do have an advantage in that they are easier to pick up and cast again, especially in and around vegetation and floating mats.

Intermediate Full Sinking Line: The one clear advantage of this line is that its rate of descent is slower, which allows longer retrieves at a designated depth. Unlike fast sinking lines and sink tips, it does not impart a hinge. Rather, it sinks informally its full length. This line is best utilized along shoreline cover down to eight feet. Years ago I was fishing Nevada’s Pyramid Lake using a lead-core shooting head. Although I was using a similar fly to the fellow perched on a ladder next to me, he was out fishing me 2-1. When the school of fish would come down the shore line, he could keep his nymph in the target zone twice as long as I could with my heavy shooting head. I switched to a sinking tip and improved my catch rate. Now I carry a floating line, a sink-tip and an intermediate full sinking line. (I also have a Quad Tip, but I can’t decide if I like the system. The loops are just too big.)

Uniform Full Sinking Lines: These lines are designed to reach the bottom, or a specific depth, quickly, especially waters from 10 to 20 feet in depth.

Line Color: It is generally accepted that lighter colored lines or the new transparent lines create less shadows and minimize spooking fish.
Casting Distance: A 50 to 80 foot cast is most desirable on calm water; a longer cast allows you to get in a good retrieving rhythm and it targets more fish.

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Leaders: A ninth foot 4X or 5X leader is a minimum. Leaders from 12 to 15 feet are more effective. When you use a strike indicator in deeper water with a floating line, than 15 to 20 foot leaders are not uncommon, but they are challenging to cast. Croft reminds his readers, if they plan on dry fly fishing on the surface, to keep grease or floatant free of the last six inches so that the tippet sinks under the water next to the fly.
Thermometer: Use a thermometer to check the conditions. Water temperatures from 70 and above push trout to cooler water. The comfort zone for trout ranges from 60-68.

(P#8:tippet)

Tippet: The terminal end of a leader is the tippet. Tippets are rated by diameter and strength. Manufacturers still follow the diameter size with a designated X rating from 0X to 8X. 4X, the mid range at .007 diameter, is probably the most popular diameter. Like Croft I have always added a 4X extension to my 4X leaders using good quality tippet material. Always check the tippet on a new leader as they are prone to breakage from nicks and weak spots. If you need to size down to a 5X or 6X, it only takes a minute.

Searching Patterns: In the absence of rising fish, or fish located cruising though the area, a searching pattern is the “Go-To” choice. Determine the most prolific food sources for a particular body of water. Of these, which food sources are most abundant throughout a season or time period? The experts recommend beginning with the ubiquitous Chironomid midge, followed by scuds and dragonfly nymphs and damsel nymphs. Finally, a leech pattern is a good “Go-To” searching pattern anytime of the year. Be sure to cast in all directions around your anchored boat. In his book, Fly-Fishing Stillwaters for Trophy Trout, Denny Rickards recommends narrowing your fly selection to generic or representative patterns that can simulate more than one food source. He points out that trout “feed opportunistically on suggestive patterns [more so] than exact imitations.” He has developed a number of these suggestive patterns such as Denny’s Seal Bugger, Denny’s Stillwater Nymph and his All Purpose (AP) Emerger.

(P#9: searching patterns)

Chironomids or Midges, although resembling mosquitoes, do not bite. Ranging from the miniscule in size to an inch in length, they tend to reflect the water conditions in which they live in terms of shading or body color hues. Recommended hook sizes range from 12 to #20 using 5X or 6X tippet. Use an aquarium net or a stomach pump to match the abdomen of a midge hatch in selecting an appropriate color. Colors typically range from tan through the green and brown tones and even dark green or black. Most of the experts favor green hues. Stillwater anglers rely heavily on Chironomidae patterns as these midges, as they are often called, hatch year-around. Rowley states in his book, Fly Patterns for Stillwaters, that Chironomids make up “40% of the trout’ diet during the open water season. Chironomids are the first and most prolonged hatch of the fishing season.” (p.11) They also range in the shallow depths of a lake to the profundal zone. Midge larva species that crawl around in the mud in low oxygenated waters typically are bright red from the hemoglobin in their system. These larvae are referred to as Blood Worms.

(P#10:Blood Worm)

Because many Chironomids live in deeper waters, their migration to shore as pupae is important to the trout as well as anglers. As larva they are usually too deep and too slow moving to attract much attention from trout. They are slow, tentative swimmers in their ascent to the surface, but once they break through the surface film, they emerge and escape as duns in four or five seconds. Unlike mayflies they do not have a spinner fall so the pupae stage is the most important stage for stillwater fly anglers. Even in the middle of a hatch, most experts recommend fishing a nymph pattern just under the surface with a floating line. The exception to this rule is to imitate a entrapped cripple, which offers a more leisurely take for the trout.
Patterns for Chironomid Larvae: San Juan Worm, Frostbite Bloodworm, Super Floss Bloodworm, Yarn Bloodworm.

Best Times: Low light conditions

Retrieval for the Blood Worm: Let the fly settle to the bottom. Use a strike indicator and little or no retrieve.

Retrieval for the Chironomid Pupa: Overwhelmingly, the experts agree that agonizing patience is needed to slowly work a Chironomid pupa vertically to the surface. Use a slow hand-twist retrieve with long pauses after moving the pattern an inch or two!

Patterns for the Chironomid Pupae: Bronzie, Chromie, Pearl Pupa, Thompson’s TDC, Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear, Zug Bug.

(P#11:Chironomid Patterns)

Breaking through the surface film, which is not always easy on calm days, the pupa struggles to escape from its pupa shuck. Many of the pupae become entangled and trapped while struggling to escape their shuck, dry their wings and fly away. Any delay or struggle attracts the attention of feeding trout that pick them off as they linger in the surface. Once the pupa splits the thorax of the shuck, it dries off its wings and flies away in seconds. To successfully fish the emerger, the fly must rest in the surface film. Rowley touts his Para Pupa. Croft recommends a Compara Dun. Most of the experts, however, recommend staying with a pupa pattern fished just below the surface right through the hatch. One advantage of using a strike indicator, when fishing close to the shoreline, is that the wind, rippled waters lift and bob the suspended midge pattern, which imparts a realistic motion to the fly.
Patterns for the Chironomid Cripple or Emerger: Griffith’s Gnat (cripple), Compara Dun, Para Pupa, Raccoon.

(P#12: Cripples)

Scuds
Scuds are the second “Go-To” pattern and a predominant food source in most lakes and an important source of protein for wild trout. Ranging is size from ¼” to almost an inch in some lakes, the scud looks like a freshwater shrimp, but in fact it is a crustacean. Scuds find safe haven close to shore around weed beds, and their coloration reflects their surroundings. They mostly avoid direct sunlight. All the experts agree that since they swim straight, patterns should be straight. They swim slowly and erratically, but they are capable of quick bursts of speed so a variety of retrieves are worth trying. Turn over rocks and shake submerged weeds to ascertain size and color. Pregnant females have an orange or pinkish brood sac, but all pink indicates a dead scud! Typically scuds are pale yellow to green. However, their backs are darker than their underside. Preferred sizes range from size 10 to size 16, and most patterns are lightly weighted.

Scud Patterns: Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear, Zug Bug, Sparkle Shrimp, Pearl Shrimp.

(P#13: Scuds)

Damselflies: The duns, which are not much of a food item for trout, are most noted for their blue and black color and two sets of wings. The nymph, on the other hand, is an important food source year around. Measuring one to two inches in length, they blend into their surroundings, although they typically are shades of brown and green. Preying on other insects, they swim with a wiggling motion, but like the scud they may have a burst of speed followed by a pause. Late spring and early summer they migrate to the shore where they climb weed stalks and any other protruding objects to leave the water and spend the rest of the time as flying insects. Since the nymphs are migrating to shore, Croft suggests casting from the shore and retrieving back to the shore.

(P#14: Damselfly)

Damselfly Retrieve: Using a faster retrieve than a Chironomid nymph, use a hand-twist retrieve followed by a short burst and then a pause. Add a twitch and a pause for each retrieve.

Damselfly Patterns: (Size 10 hook size on 2X or 3X hook) Denny’s Stillwater Nymph, Gold Bead Damsel, Woolly Buggers, Seal Buggers.

(P#15: Damsel nymph patterns)

Dragonfly: Unlike the Damselfly which has a one year cycle, the Dragonfly has a three or four year cycle so the size of the fly is not as critical. Dragonfly nymphs are “Go-To” patterns, and the most common imitation is the Woolly Bugger. Like Damselflies, Dragonflies are an important food source for trout year around. Target the weedy and woody areas of a lake or pond. A number of the experts suggested trolling a Dragonfly Nymph just off the shore from a kick boat or belly boat on a full sink line. The color of Dragonfly nymphs ranges from light green to a green-brown mix. A number 4- 8 hook size on a 2X or 3X shank is recommended. The dragonfly’s propulsion system is much like a water jet pump. Pulling in water through their gill chamber, they discharge it out through their rectum, which gives them quick 3 to 5 inch bursts of speed.

(P#Dragonfly)

Dragonfly Patterns: Carey Special, Woolly Bugger.
(See Phillip Rowley’s book, Fly Patterns for Stillwaters, for notable patterns developed by British Columbia stillwater experts.)

Dragonfly Retrieve: Work the Dragonfly near the bottom with a full sink line. Use very short strips with the occasional short bursts followed by a pause. Keep in mind that silt-living dragonflies capture their prey by ambush. They move very slowly across the bottom so a slow hand retrieve along with short pauses should also be utilized.

Leeches: Another important food source for stillwater trout, leeches look like a worm, but they have a flat paddle which helps them propel through the water in an undulating manner similar to fans at a stadium doing a wave. The great majority of leeches are not of the blood sucking variety. Although they reach upwards to four inches in length, the smaller sizes seem to be more enticing. The experts recommend sizes 10-6 long-shank hooks. Target the shoreline. Depending on the water color, leeches typically range in color from olive to reddish-brown to black. The leech is also a good pattern to slowly troll just off the shoreline. It is an especially useful pattern during the summer when hatch activity has slowed. As they are nocturnal creatures inhabiting heavily vegetated areas, the leech pattern is best used during low light conditions. To match the coloration of leeches in a particular body of water, Croft recommends cracking an egg and placing it in the water after dark. With their keen sense of smell, they will locate the egg in no time.

Leech Retrieve: Slow hand retrieves or one-inch pulls followed by a pause is the most recommended leech retrieval rate. Rowley recommends adding weight up front on the hook so as to achieve a jigging motion after the pause. Rickards alternates between “very quick one-inch pulls [and] long slow steady strips with deliberate pauses between pulls.” (p. 21)

Leech Patterns: Seal Bugger, Woolly Buggers, Marabou Leech, Mohair Blood Leech.

(P#17:Mayfly)

Callibaetis Mayfly: Although abundant in streams, mayflies do not profusely inhabit stillwaters as they do in rivers and streams. One of the exceptions, however, is the Callibaetis, the speckled-wing mayfly. Preferring clear water, lakes with Callibaetis mayflies are an important trout food source as nymphs, duns and spinners. Typically, two or three hatching periods occur throughout the season with each successive hatch smaller in size from the last (12 down to #16). During spring the hatch comes off mid-morning, but as the season progresses, hatches occur in the early morning and low light of evening. Mottled in browns and tans with speckled, translucent wings, the Callibaetis mayfly can be found across the country, including famous trout rivers offering slower water. Croft recommends noting the time of day of a Callibaetis hatch on a particular body of water and then arriving at the same spot an hour earlier the next day to fish with a nymph pattern.

The Callibaetis Mayfly is a swimmer, as opposed to crawlers, clingers and burrowers. As nymphs they are active swimmers in and around vegetation, and they are surface emergers. Slender and elongated, the Callibaetis nymph runs the usual gamut of colors from tan to gray and from olive to brown with darker backs. On their ascent to the surface, they too use trapped air and gas, which imparts a silvery sheen to their body. With the distinct silhouette of a sailboat, the dun can also range in color based on the water coloration. One distinguishing pattern, however, is their mottled and translucent wings and two long tails.

Nymph Patterns: Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear, Pheasant Tail Nymph.

Callibaetis Dun / Emergers / Cripples: Much like spring creek conditions, trout have the opportunity to inspect and recognize a fake when they see one. Bring along a small dipping net and inspect and compare the dun with your simulated pattern. Sometimes it is easier to entice a strike with a cripple pattern than a dun pattern. Popular dun patterns include Parachute Adams, Adams and a Compara-dun. If you are fishing a good hatch and you have exhausted your best patterns without success and experience a rising mood of panic or frustration, fish an emerging nymph pattern on a dry line just under the surface.

(P#18: Minnow Patterns)

Minnows: Although I have had much success with streamer patterns in rivers and on lakes targeting bass, I have had limited success with minnow streamers in lakes. However, I duly acknowledge that others rate Zonkers and Woolhead Sculpins, especially in the early spring and fall, as their “Go-To-Pattern.” Oddly enough, last year I caught a 7-pound Klamath Lake rainbow with a fly rod and a 1-inch Rapala minnow as my “fly”. At my age I don’t care about being unorthodox!

(P#19: Crawdad Pattern)

Don’t overlook crawdad patterns and fishing with beetles, ants and hoppers during the summer. I hope the glossary helped and that you had fun taking the Stillwater Fishing Test. Be sure to read my annotated bibliography and the books that I recommend below. Finally, I rarely get any feedback, constructive or otherwise. Drop me an email at: dave@glaciertoyellowstone.com. Good fishing!

Dave Archer

Bibliography

Most of the material in this article is from the following books. I have placed them not in alphabetical order, but in my personal order of preference. I have looked for consensus and shared common information. Whenever I use information specific to one author, I have cited the author’s name rather than using end notes.

1. Fly-Fishing Stillwaters for Trophy Trout by Denny Rickards (ISBN: 0-9656458-0-0) A Stillwater Productions Publication, PO Box 470, Fort Klamath, OR 97626
Rickards’ book is 181 glossy pages of beautiful photographs and illustrations and a clear treatise on stillwater fly fishing for trophy trout. He is both methodical and thorough. Sharing years of original research, Rickards holds nothing back. He wants every reader who applies his principles to achieve success. It is a beautiful and absorbing book.

2. The Fish Bum’s Guide to Catching Larger Trout, an illustrated manual on stillwater tactics for the intermediate fly angler, written and illustrated by Mike Croft
(ISBN: 1-57188-142-5) Frank Amato Publications. In the spirit and tradition of The Curtis Creek Fly Fishing Manifesto, I couldn’t resist buying this book. After reading a half dozen books on stillwater fly fishing, I knew I had to place this book as my second choice. It is packed with information and quite possibly just as comprehensive as the rest. For a young angler new to stillwater fly fishing, I would recommend this book as a primer. It is excellent to review and peruse because it is illustrated, and the verbiage has been whittled down.

3. Fly Patterns for Stillwaters, A Study of Trout, Entomoly and Tying, by Phillip Rowley (ISBN: 1-57188-195-6) Frank Amato Publications. Rowley is an expert in the field of fly fishing, and he has written many books and feature articles. I bought this book for the tying directions, but what I found was that the book covers almost all the important aspects of stillwater fly fishing from presentation and retrieves to seasons, and the interesting life cycle of all the insects he imitates.

4. Morris & Chan on Fly Fishing Trout Lakes, by Skip Morris and Brian Chan
(ISBN: 1-57188-181-6) Frank Amato Publications. Morris and Chan have produced an exceptionally written, photographed and illustrated book for the beginning or intermediate stillwater fly angler. It is certainly a tie for my second choice. It ended up in the number four spot only because I felt I had to place Rowley’s fly pattern book up close to the top.

5. Strategies for Stillwater, by Dave Hughes (0-8117-1916-2) Stackpole Books. I read every word in Hughes’ book and can recommend it as a definitive book on stillwater fly fishing. I do not enjoy reading instructional books on any subject when they are bereft of bold headings, boxed information, lots of photographs and illustrations and a format that aids in reviewing the information. Nonetheless, Strategies for Stillwater is as comprehensive as Denny Rickards’ book, and I learned a great deal from reading it.

6. ‘The Gilly’ A flyfisher’s Guide by Contributors (ISBN:0-88925-638-1) Published by Alf Davy. An excellent resource, especially for those anglers heading to British Columbia, it too is organized and presented as mostly text.

7. Fly Fishing the Mountain Lakes by Gary LaFontaine (ISBN: 0-9626663-7-8)
Greycliff Publishing Company. This book is a great read both for information on fishing high elevation lakes as well as a chronicle of LaFontaine’s fishing adventures. I loved it, but I also became somewhat depressed with how much equipment the experts rely on in fishing as an expert!

To read all my Mastering the Basics series, visit my companion site, Fishing Tips 101.


Stillwater Fly Fishing / Pre-test / Glossary

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Test on the Basics of Stillwater Fly Fishing

As I have noted in my introduction to Mastering the Basics of Stillwater Fly Fishing, I am not an expert or authority on stillwater fishing. In my five decades of fly fishing and my years of guiding, I concentrated mostly on moving waters, with the exception of high-elevation lakes. At age 62 I do not have the luxury of slowly acquiring stillwater skills over a period of years. Now that I live across the street from Klamath Lake, which harbors huge trout, I am hell-bent to learn the secrets of stillwater fly fishing quickly. Over the past few years I have hooked and landed a number of trout in the four to seven pound range, but I also grudgingly admit that I have been skunked more times than I care to address. The glossary and test, dear reader, are for me. As a retired teacher, I know the value of reading, outlining information and then writing a test in order to really learn the material. The ultimate and final test is on the water.

I hope you too find some value in taking the test first, and then reading my article. The test will prep you for the article. If you are already an experienced stillwater fly fishing angler, the test may be too elemental, as it truly targets the beginning angler who wants to “master the basics.” As always, I would enjoy receiving any feedback or suggestions for improvement. (The answers to the test are at the very bottom.)

Dave Archer

1. Why do the experts recommend slow action rods for stillwater fishing?
2. What is the preference for rods in terms of length and line weight?
3. What is the most commonly recommended leader?
4. A Chironomid fly most closely resembles what other insect?
A. Caddis B. Grasshopper C. Mosquito D. Mayfly

5. With a few exceptions, the experts were fairly consistent in their targeted “Go-To” patterns when searching for trout in a new lake. In order of importance, which order most closely reflects the choice of the experts?
A: Leech, Dragonfly/Damsel, Minnow, Chironomid, Scud, Terrestrial
B: Scud, Minnow, Dragonfly/Damsel, Terrestrial, Chironomid
C: Minnow, Scud, Chironomid, Dragonfly/Damsel, Terrestrial
D: Chironomid, Scud, Leech, Dragonfly/Damsel, Terrestrial

6. What is the most versatile fly line?
7. Another name for “midge” is ___________

8. A “scud” is ________
A. A lonely, small cloud drifting by itself
B. a clump of trico mayflies
C. a small crustacean resembling a shrimp
D. A & C

9. The experts agree that trout prey most actively on leeches in the following range: A. 1-2 inches B. 2-3 inches C. 4-5 inches D. 6-8 inches

10. One advantage of fishing a dark Woolly Bugger is that it imitates two sources of trout food which are ___________ and __________

11. T/F Unlike bass, trout will only feed on a crawdad when it is young and molting.
12. Use a mouse pattern after…

13. Generally, unless you have cabin fever, avoid these conditions:
A. A rapidly falling barometer
B. Wind
C. a period of a full moon
D. flat, calm conditions
E. water with an algae bloom present
F. C & E
G. A & C

14. In deciding on the distance and speed of retrieval, the experts are in total agreement that the most important aspect of the retrieve is the …
15. An approaching storm often (decreases the bite) (increases the bite).
16. T/F: Strike indicators are out of the realm of fly fishing and indicative of an inexperienced fly fisher.

17. When fishing with a San Juan Worm, an angler is imitating what larva?
A. Mayfly
B. Chironomid
C. Caddis
D. Leech

18. T/F: The Caddis is not as important to the stillwater angler as it is to the stream angler.

19. A Callibaetis insect is what “class” of insects?
A. Mayfly B. Caddis C. Chironomid D. Water Boatman

Match Retrieves with Patterns:

Note: The choices of retrieves are not precise. Select a retrieve that is most appropriate. I found the experts have a wide range of opinion on the matter of retrieve. Keep a record of what works for you, but don’t be cavalier as this is the most critical aspect of stillwater fly fishing. Bring along a cheat sheet and practice each retrieve when you venture out on the water. Take notes!

A: One hand twist every five to ten seconds followed by a quick jerk and a pause
B: One inch slow and steady pulls followed by a pause
C: Three to six inch slow pulls followed by a pause
D: Two feet pulls speeding up with a flick of the wrist at the end w/ occasional pauses
E: Rapid short retrieves: Strip-strip-strip-pause
F: Long, fast pulls punctuated with an occasional pause and jerk
No retrieve

Which of the above retrieves would you use for the following patterns?

20. Leech on bottom
21. Leech swimming
22. Chironomid larva
23. Chironomid pupae
24. Dragonfly nymph
25. Damselfly nymph
26. Minnow
27. Scud
28. Terrestrial
29. Emergers or nymph on the surface
30. Cripple or dun on the surface

Matching Insects with Fly Patterns
A. Chironomid
B. Callibaetis Mayfly Dun
C. Callibaetis Mayfly Nymph
D. Caddis
E. Damselfly
F. Dragonfly
G. Leech
H. Scud
I. Terrestrial
J. Minnow
K. Crawdad

Match the following patterns with the insects above.

31. Bronzie, Chromie
32. Zonker
33. Adams, Midges, Black Gnat, Mosquito, Compara Dun
34. Pheasant Tail Nymph, Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear
35. Sedge pattern (Hint: England and Canada)
36. Woolly Bugger, Carey Special, Beadhead Woolly
37. Sparkle Shrimp, Zug Bug
38. Seal Bugger
39. Ants, beetles and grasshoppers
40. Woolhead Sculpin, Red Sided Shiner
41. Hare’s Ear Wet
42. Carey Special (another use different than 36.
43. Reddish brown Woolly Bugger fished on the bottom
44. Denny’s All Purpose Emerger
45. Bloodworm

46. T/F: Callibaetis nymphs are active swimmers
47. T/F: Callibaetis duns and Hexagenia duns provide the best opportunity for dry fly fishing on lakes.
48. Why are Chironomid nymphs and Callibaetis nymphs bright during their ascent to the surface?
49. What is a major disadvantage of fishing stillwater with a floating line?
50. What one piece of equipment should you always have when wading or fishing a boat?

Answers:

1. The slower action rods absorb the shock of a large fish on the take. Light tippets do not hold up on a stiffer rod when a large trout fights in underwater vegetation.
2. Many of the experts, both guides and authors that I have met, use 5 wt rods from 8.5 to 9.5 in length. As always, it is personal preference. Certainly 5 – 8 weight rods will all do fine.
3. 4x-5x, 9 to 15 feet in length
4. C
5. D
6. Floating
7. Chironomid
8. D
9. A
10. Minnow or forage fish and a leech
11. False
12. dark
13. A & C Denny Rickards and other experts note that trout like the cover of an algae bloom until the oxygen is depleted and the temperature of the water nears 70 degrees.
14. Pause
15. Increases the bite
16. Bull shit!
17. Chironomid blood worm
18. T The caddis larva moves slowly across the lake bottom not attracting much attention. Its descent in the pupa stage to the surface is slow, and it too often goes unnoticed. Once in the surface film, the emerger stage is over quickly.
19. Mayfly

20. A or B
21. C or D
22. A or B
23. A or B
24. C or D
25. B or C
26. E or F
27. A or B
28. No retrieve, slight twitch
29. B or C
30. No retrieve

31. Chironomid nymph
32. Streamer
33. Chironomid emerger / dun
34. Callibaetis nymph or Chironomid nymph
35. Caddis
36. Leech
37. Scud
38. Leech or Dragonfly nymph
39. Terrestrial
40. Minnow
41. Chironomid nymph
42. Dragonfly nymph
43. Crawdad
44. Chironomid emerger
45. Chironomid larva
46. True
47. True
48. They use trapped air and gas to help them rise to the surface, which gives a shinny reflection to their bodies.
49. Wind drift moves the line which in turn moves your fly.
50. Inflatable chest suspenders or a Coast Guard approved floatation devise.

If you got an “A”, skip my article, although you may want to read one or more of the recommended books, especially Fly Patterns for Stillwater. If you did poorly, read the accompanying article, and be sure to buy one or more of the books that I recommend. If you are young and just beginning to fly fish, I recommend Croft’s book, The Fish Bum’s Guide to Catching Larger Trout, an illustrated manual on stillwater tactics for the intermediate fly angler. Although I valued and enjoyed reading a number of books listed in my bibliography, my favorite remains Denny Rickards, Fly-Fishing Stillwaters for Trophy Trout.


Mastering the Basics of Stillwater Fly Fishing
Glossary

A
Alderflies: These insects are similar to Caddisflies, but they are black.

Anchored Position: Unless you are drifting with the wind or trolling, an anchored stationary position provides the greatest opportunity for precise casting and controlled retrieves. Cabala’s offers a number of small anchors for belly boats and Kickboats. In a larger boat, especially with two anglers, two anchors keep the boat stationary in the wind so that the boat doesn’t swing back and forth. In this manner both anglers may cast parallel and both casters have a stationary zone to target.

B
Barometer: Fair and Stable means fair or stable fishing; Low or falling means “The Pits.”

Bloodworm: Many species of Chironomids live deep in the lake. To survive in this oxygen depleted zone, they need hemoglobin, which gives the larva body a bright red color.
(Photograph)

Boil: A boil is a bulge of water on the surface indicating a fish is feeding just under the surface on emerging insects. This is contrasted to sippers who lazily sip insects in the surface film during low light. This is contrasted by a splashy spay of water indicating a charging trout eager to catch a surface resting insect prior to its maiden flight.

C
Callibaetis Mayfly: Although abundant in streams, mayflies do not typically inhabit stillwaters. One of the exceptions, however, is the Callibaetis, the speckled-wing mayfly. Preferring clear water, lakes with Callibaetis mayflies are an important food source of trout as nymphs, duns and spinners. Typically, two or three hatching periods occur throughout the season with each successive hatch smaller in size from the last. The hatch during spring comes off mid-morning, but as the season progresses hatches occur in the early morning and low light of evening. Mottled in browns and tans with speckled, translucent wings, the Callibaetis mayfly can be found across the country, including famous trout rivers offering slower water.
(Photograph)

Chemocline: This is the bottom of the lake, the profundal zone, which holds little oxygen. Unless there is seepage springs offering oxygenated water in the Chemocline, trout will not be found in this zone.

Chironomids – Midges: The most prolific insect in lakes around the world, the chiromomidae are classified as “true” flies, with two sets of wings and resembling their cousin the mosquito, but they do not bite. Phillip Rowly in his book, Fly Patterns for Stillwaters, notes that there are over 2500 species of Chironomids in North America, and they make up approximately 40% of a trout’s diet almost year around. This is a bug worth getting to know! (Refer to the article on Stillwater fishing for more details and strategies.)
(photograph)

Cover: Read any good bass fishing book and you will learn everything there is to know about stillwater fishing for trout. Keep in mind the obvious. Trout need cover to protect themselves from overhead predators. They need overhead obstructions or camouflaging to break up their outline. They need cooler waters that provide sufficient oxygen, and they need to be close to good sources of food. So in alphabetical order, here are some “fishy” spots to target: algae blooms, bays, branches, channels, cliffs, downed trees, drop-offs, feeder streams, inlets and outlets, points, rocks, river channels, shoals (submerged island), springs, vegetation.

(Art illustration)

Counting Down: The dilemma of a stillwater fly angler in deeper water is not knowing how far down the fly line and fly have settled. Keep in mind that bass and trout do not look down. If they have acclimated to a particular depth, which is comfortable, they are unlikely to dive down to a food source. To search out these suspended fish which are typically near the bottom, an angler must time his sinking cast prior to retrieving it through a particular zone or depth. Once feeding trout have moved out of the shallows for safety and sanctuary, they station themselves at a suspended depth. Progressively allow each cast to sink deeper by counting seconds prior to retrieval. Keep in mind that the longer cast that you make will keep the fly in a particular depth or zone before the retrieval gradually lifts the fly to the surface. The countdown method is also beneficial when you are pulling your fly just above underwater plants and vegetation. The countdown method is most useful when fishing sinking lines, which have a particular sink rate. (See fly line sink rates.)

Cripple: When a hatch occurs, quite a few pupa struggle and get tied up in their nymphal shucks. These cripples make easy pickings for trout, as Chironomid upon reaching the surface film often escape as duns into the air in a matter of seconds.

D
Damselflies: Delicate, slender and long bodied, the Damselfly is easily recognized in “Smurff” blue. Fly anglers, however, are more interested in the Damselfly when it is a nymph slowly swimming around and feasting on other insects. Living in fairly shallow water, their migration to stalks or pilings for their metamorphic escape into maturity provides great opportunity for trout and angler alike.
(Photograph)

Dragonflies: Are you too young to have seen the movie Predator? If you missed it, see it as soon as possible, and you will understand the nature of a Dragonfly, the predator of the underwater, insect world. They make their way into the stomachs of trout and bass only in the nymph stage. One advantage for the angler is that the nymph stage often spans two or three years, hence size does NOT matter in this circumstance, as size is relative to age. Dragonfly nymphs are “Go-To” patterns, and the most common imitation is the Woolly Bugger.
(Photograph)

Drainage Lake: This is a natural lake characterized by an inlet and an outlet.

Dropper Fly: Using a second or third fly is referred to as a dropper. Quiet often a smaller dropper nymph is tied directly to the hook bend of the point fly. Some anglers reverse the size order and place a larger fly as the dropper so that it looks like it is pursuing a smaller fly just ahead of it.
(illustration)

Dun: From larva to pupae to the dun stages, the dun is ready to mate and perpetuate the cycle of life.
(Photograph)

F
Fly Line Sink Rates:

Fly Patterns:
Searching Patterns: In the absence of rising fish, or fish located cruising though the area, a searching pattern is the “Go-To” choice. Determine the most prolific food sources for a particular body of water. Of these, which food sources are most abundant throughout the season? The experts recommend beginning with the ubiquitous Chironomid midge, followed by scuds and dragonfly nymphs and damsel nymphs. Finally, a leech pattern is a good “Go-To” searching pattern anytime of the year. Be sure to cast in all directions around your anchored boat.
(Photograph)


G
Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear: This is a must have nymph pattern for high and low elevation lakes. For high elevation lakes this patter and a Zug Bug are sometimes all that you need.


H
Hatch: Being in the hatch on the hatch or near the hatch is like being in the front row of an opera or behind home plate. It is close to the action when large numbers of insects emerge and trout begin gorging themselves. When the hatch dies, look for the same hatch at another location of the lake, such as an area enveloped in mountain shade. These areas are more gradual to warm during cool spring mornings. Morris and Chan remind us that “good” hatches are not always so noticeable and can be missed. Watch for surface feeding and birds darting around catching their meal.

Heavy Water: When water reaches 39 degrees it becomes heavy and settles towards the bottom whereas the surface water hovers at 32 degrees to form ice. Trout seek out these warmer water conditions during the winter.

Hexagenia Mayfly: The Godzilla of mayflies, these giants of stillwater are revered and prayed upon by trout and anglers in the know. Short hatching periods near dark, keep initiated anglers chuckling to themselves or making packs with their partners on vows of secrecy. Recognized by brilliant yellow coloration, Hex duns are imitated on hooks in size 8 to 4 on long shank hooks!

Hinge Effect: On fast sinking lines and sink tips, the uneven decent of the line creates a hinge effect which adversely effects line control. The uniform sinking intermediate lines do not have this problem.

I
Ice-Out: Trout are hungry after ice-out, although due to the cold water temperatures they are sluggish. Target inlets where trout will stage for their spring spawning runs.

Interception: If a trout is feeding on the surface, make an effort to anticipate the movement of the trout and place a dropped fly in its path.

K
Kickboat: Replacing the dangerous Belly Boats of yesteryear, kickboats utilize two pontoons with a rowing frame. They are safe, easy to transport and still keep the angler low on the water. With swim fins and oars, kickboats can cover a large area.

L
Life Vest: I distained wearing a life vest all my life until at age 60 I got myself in trouble in a near drowning incident of my own stupidity. I now wear a suspenders type inflatable, and I forget I have it on it is so unobtrusive.

Larva: This is the worm stage of an underwater insect as it grows and matures. Many larva construct tubes or shells made of fiber or mud. They feed on vegetation and keep a low profile. Dragging themselves across the bottom their movements are slow and usually undetected. During lake turnover (see turnover) or during windy periods where the waves pull and fold water at the surface, shallow living larva are dislodged from the bottom and make an easy meal for hungry trout. Chironomid larva often live in deeper water. During spring they migrate towards the shore, and trout and trout anglers are on the look out.

Leeches: I am not swayed by the fact that the great majority of leeches are not of the blood-sucking variety. I remember as a young man frantically flicking and swiping them off my muddy pants in sheer panic. And yes, I recently watched the movie African Queen and I will be no less panicked the next time they cling to my body, covered or not. And yet I fondly recall catching a huge brown in the Hog Pond near Anaconda, Montana in the early 80’s on a big, brown leech imitation. Leech patterns are “Go-To” patterns in summer when hatches are on the wane. Good imitations are Woolly Buggers, Beadhead Woolly, and the Marabou Leech. Leech patterns are more ammunition for “Go-To” search patterns, but keep your retrieve agonizingly slow!

Line Control: Always keep slack out of your finished cast and point the rod tip down to the water. A straight line communicates a bite whereas loose coils floating on the surface do not register a subtle take. A lowered rod tip removes slack or sagging line. The same principle is true with leaders. Use a piece of rubber or leather to stretch the coils out of a leader prior to attaching a fly.

Littoral Zone: Shoreline

M
Match-the-Hatch: Observe and match the color of the abdomen.

N
Nymph: From egg to larva, the next stage is the nymph stage. (See Pupae.)

P
Pelagial Zone: Open water out in the middle of a lake
Profundal Zone: Down on the bottom of the Profundal Zone, beyond light penetration, little or no oxygen is present to sustain fish.
Pupae: After the larva, or worm stage, the pupae mature in one or two years. Sporting gills and slender bodies, they linger in this stage long enough to become vulnerable to feeding trout. Bobbing and dipping on the bottom, they gather trapped air and gas, which is their ticket out of Mudville. Slowly they ascend to the surface where they shuck their husks, dry their newly emerged wings and fly off to seek a mate and once again insure the survival of their species. Some linger on the surface too long and are leisurely sipped by cruising trout.

R
Retries:
Pauses: “All creatures great and small” eventually poop out and pause to catch their breath. Trout know this and dart in on the pauses of rising insects. More trout are taken on the pause than the retrieve say the experts so keep pausing in anticipation!

Hand-Twist Retrieve: The Hand-Twist retrieve is a forced slow retrieve, a reminder that many of the patterns that imitate forage creep along the bottom at a snail’s pace. Assuming that the angler is right handed and controlling the line above the reel with the line pinched at the top, the angler pinches the line between his thumb and forefinger on his left hand a few inches below the right hand. Now, simply roll the left hand across the line and cup the line in the palm of your hand. Pinch the line above and keep rolling the line up in your palm. Add frequent pauses in your retrieve.

Short Strip Retrieve: The next short retrieve simply strips in line four to six inches at a time punctuated by frequent pauses. A good ratio is strip-strip-strip-pause in a fairly rapid manner.

Fast, Streamer Retrieve: Pulling line downwards and behind you in two foot increments is best suited for streamer fishing. Croft recommends tucking the rod under your armpit and stripping in line with two hands like salt-water fly anglers.

No Retrieve: Gary LaFontaine, in his book, Fly Fishing the Mountain Lakes, states that “a slow retrieve outfished a quick retrieve 4 to 1 and no retrieve outfished a slow retrieve four to one….I’m a specialist at not moving a fly—nymph, dry, wet, or streamer—on lakes.” (p.15)

S
Scuds: Frequently referred to as freshwater shrimp, scuds are crustaceans and an important food source for stillwater trout. Ranging in colors from tan to green and from a quarter of an inch to almost an inch, these creatures crawl or erratically swim in woody or weeded areas year-around, particularly in more alkaline spring waters.

Seepage Lake: One defining aspect of a seepage lake is that it does not have tributaries, feeder creeks or an outlet. Springs and seepage from mountainsides or ground water maintain fertile waters conducive to fish growth. Thermal heating with no escape to cooler waters will periodically kill trout in a seepage lake.

Sight Fishing: Spotting a cruising fish and making a perfect cast is the ultimate challenge of stillwater fly fishing. It is made somewhat easier with polarized sun glasses and a low profile, which is why Belly Boats and Kickboats are popular.

Silence and Stealth: What is true for the bass fisherman is true for the stillwater fisherman. The rattling thrust and churning of props, along with dropping objects onto the bottom of the boat, send shock waves of sound far beyond a caster’s range. Voices, however, do not penetrate the deep and are carried by the wind across the water unbeknownst to the trout below. Once fish are alarmed and take fright, you are wasting your time fishing in a vacated, dead zone. Move into a targeted zone in silence and stealth. Tidy up your boat so that Thermos bottles and coffee cups don’t jolt trout with shocking reverberations like an annoying alarm clock

Spinner: From larva to pupae to the dun stages, the dun is ready to mate and perpetuate the cycle. After mating the insects are spent and fall to the water dying as spinners. Some species fly to cover, however, and do not provide a “spinner fall” feast for hungry trout.

Strike Indicator: Similar to a bobber, the strike indicator is usually placed so that the fly is suspended a foot or more from the bottom. So many strike indicators line the shelves in fly shops that I can’t keep track of them all. I have tried most. The Corkies work great, but I am always short of tooth picks. The fold-over foam pads really gum up a leader when you remove them. Remember, an unweighted fly takes for ever to get to the bottom so add a tiny piece of weight. (See Weighted Flies.) Fishing with strike indicators is a waiting game, so be patient as this is a very effective method of fishing. Multiple flies help determine what the fish are keying into.

Stripping Basket (Aprons): Casting 50 to 80 feet of line can be challenging enough, but when you go to shot the line at the end of a double-haul and it snags on your feet or on a boat cleat, it becomes frustrating. Stripping baskets and aprons contain the line both on the retrieve and the cast.

T
Thermocline: The thermocline is a narrow zone of water lower in oxygen than the surface. It tends to hover just above the Chemocline as the surface waters heat up during the summer months. Trout will often seek refuge near the thermocline.

Trolling: Nothing new here! Fly anglers were trolling with flies long before outboard motors. Armed with a streamer pattern or wet fly, trolling is still an effective technique to reconnoiter unfamiliar waters. Use full-sinking lines, and use oar power to allow the line to sink to the bottom in ten to twenty feet of water. One difficulty, however, is placing your rod in easy reach. Missed opportunities are common. Row into the wind to slow the trolling speed down.

Turn-over: During the spring and again in the fall, the water at the bottom of the lake moves upwards, which is caused from the wind’s waves folding water over and over. This in turn tends to generate a current which draws water from the bottom towards the surface. This mixing of waters is beneficial in that it folds in oxygen and it pulls sediment from the bottom up to the surface which aids insects. The Thermocline, the division of surface water and warmer, heavier water on the bottom, blends. Fish move to shallower water. During the fall the turn-over reverses itself.

W
Water Boatman (Corixia): Although not highly recommended by the experts as a “Go-To” pattern, Water Boatmen are actually flying beetles that spend time in and out of the water. They are easily observed in shallow water under the surface. During pauses it drifts upwards to the surface a bit before it continues swimming.

Wind: Yes, the wind is the nemesis of the fly angler, but it also provides rippled water cover for trout to slide into the shallows and feed on drowned insects. If you can manage your boat in a strong wind, the waves against the shoreline stir up mud and creatures for trout to feed upon. Be careful what you pray for because CALM waters can really slow the fishing down.

Wind Slicks: These isolated islands of mirror like water in rippled waters, make for good feeding windows for trout hiding along the rippled edges waiting for a visible morsel.

Weighted Flies: A weighted fly is wrapped with lead wire or a metal bead or even a heavy, stout hook. Unweighted flies can be settled to the bottom with a small split-shot, lead wire or a pinch of lead putty on one of the blood knots on the leader.

Wind Drifting: I agree with Denny Rickards’ position that Wind Drifting is ineffective and a waste of time.

Bibliography

Most of the material in this article is from the following books. I have placed them not in alphabetical order, but in my personal order of preference. I have looked for consensus and shared common information. Whenever I use information specific to one author, I have cited the author’s name rather than using end notes.

1. Fly-Fishing Stillwaters for Trophy Trout by Denny Rickards (ISBN: 0-9656458-0-0) A Stillwater Productions Publication, PO Box 470, Fort Klamath, OR 97626
Rickards’ book is 181 glossy pages of beautiful photographs and illustrations and a clear treatise on stillwater fly fishing for trophy trout. He is both methodical and thorough. Sharing years of original research, Rickards holds nothing back. He wants every reader who applies his principles to achieve success. It is a beautiful and absorbing book.

2. The Fish Bum’s Guide to Catching Larger Trout, an illustrated manual on stillwater tactics for the intermediate fly angler, written and illustrated by Mike Croft
(ISBN: 1-57188-142-5) Frank Amato Publications. In the spirit and tradition of The Curtis Creek Fly Fishing Manifesto, I couldn’t resist buying this book. After reading a half dozen books on stillwater fly fishing, I knew I had to place this book as my second choice. It is packed with information and quite possibly just as comprehensive as the rest. For a young angler new to stillwater fly fishing, I would recommend this book as a primer. It is excellent to review and peruse because it is illustrated, and the verbiage has been whittled down.

3. Fly Patterns for Stillwaters, a Study of Trout, Entomology and Tying, by Phillip Rowley (ISBN: 1-57188-195-6) Frank Amato Publications. Rowley is an expert in the field of fly fishing, and he has written many books and feature articles. I bought this book for the tying directions, but what I found was that the book covers almost all the important aspects of stillwater fly fishing from presentation and retrieves to seasons, and the interesting life cycle of all the insects he imitates.

4. Morris & Chan on Fly Fishing Trout Lakes, by Skip Morris and Brian Chan
(ISBN: 1-57188-181-6) Frank Amato Publications. Morris and Chan have produced an exceptionally written, photographed and illustrated book for the beginning or intermediate stillwater fly angler. It is certainly a tie for my second choice. It ended up in the number four spot only because I felt I had to place Rowley’s fly pattern book up close to the top.

5. Strategies for Stillwater, by Dave Hughes (0-8117-1916-2) Stackpole Books. I read every word in Hughes’ book and can recommend it as a definitive book on stillwater fly fishing. I do not enjoy reading instructional books on any subject when they are bereft of bold headings, boxed information, lots of photographs and illustrations and a format that aids in reviewing the information. Nonetheless, Strategies for Stillwater is as comprehensive as Denny Rickards’ book, and I learned a great deal from reading it.

6. ‘The Gilly’ A flyfisher’s Guide by Contributors (ISBN:0-88925-638-1) Published by Alf Davy. An excellent resource, especially for those anglers heading to British Columbia, it too is organized and presented as mostly text.

7. Fly Fishing the Mountain Lakes by Gary LaFontaine (ISBN: 0-9626663-7-8)
Greycliff Publishing Company. This book is a great read both for information on fishing high elevation lakes as well as a chronicle of LaFontaine’s fishing adventures. I loved it, but I also became somewhat depressed with how much equipment the experts rely on in fishing as an expert!

For updates on fishing tips, visit Dave's companion site, Fishing Tips 101.


Fly Fishing Basics: Step 5

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Fly Patterns and Presentation

tf-hopper2.jpg

I always drop by a fly shop if I am away from my home waters. The price of bugs is generally the same, but the information is invaluable. Shop owners frequently buy regional and specialty flies from their guides.

Keep in mind that each day shop outfitters send out their guides with the simple goal of getting their clients into fish, and everyday information is traded back and forth on what works, where it works and when it works. Shop owners and clerks readily pass on this information to first-time customers for half a dozen flies or less! Naturally, every shop has their killer flies that they use to expand the sale, but I don't believe that I have ever been duped. Fly shops have short seasons. In order to survive, they depend on customer loyalty, which in turn depends on their credibility. Regarding published hatch charts, take them with a grain of salt. Although I personally admire the dedication and perseverance that it takes to compile a hatch chart, the vagaries of Mother Nature generally render them in the category of "You should have been here last week." The best source of information will be from the local fly shops. Regardless of where you buy your flies, stay out of the bargain basement. Not all flies are tied equally.

fliesandfloatant.jpg

For years I would shake my head in puzzlement when a client would open up his fly box and pull out a cheap and poorly tied fly. Rather than upset a client's out-of-state purchasing acumen for Montana trout flies, I would just resort to some swaps if I knew I was dealing with a tightfisted bargain hunter. Look for stiff neck hackles that will keep the fly high and dry. The next simple test is to look at the body to see if it is slender and proportionate. Finally, a good dry fly should have a three-point landing. When the fly is resting in the palm of your hand, the hackle and the tail should be aligned so that the bottom of the hook is barely resting on your palm. If the tail is too short, the fly will not land as well, nor will it offer the same profile to trout.

It is the fly that triggers the strike. The one topic guaranteed to generate instant conversation among fly anglers is the mention of fly patterns. No other facet of fly fishing evokes so much enthusiasm and reverence. Through the years many surveys have asked prominent fly fishers to share their favorite fly patterns. Lefty Kreh, in an article in Field and Stream, published February 1972, polled 12 expert fly fishers. The following list of dry flies, nymph flies and streamer flies represents a composite of the most frequently used flies for each category among these 12 experts.

* Dry Flies: Light Cahill, Adams, Royal Wulff, Irresistible, Quill Gordon, Humpy
* Nymphs: Trueblood Otter Shrimp, Quill Gordon, Ed Burk, Yellow Stone Fly, Muskrat, Woolly Worm
* Streamers: Black Nose Dace, Spruce Fly, Muddler Minnow, Gray Ghost, Black Marabou, White Marabou

Dan Abrams, in a similar type survey published in Sports Afield, October 1975, polled 30 notable fly fishers regarding their top four fly patterns. Seven of the 30 were prominent Rocky Mountain fly fishers. A generalized list of the most popular patterns produced the following: Adams, Royal Wulff, Humpy, Muddler Minnow and Gold-ribbed Hare's Ear Nymph. Add the Woolly Bugger and a Light Cahill in varying sizes and I would be content for quite some time. Well, of course, I would need to add a hopper pattern and a PMD and maybe a....

One of the great joys of fly fishing is sharing what works. If you are a beginner and meet a friendly fly fisher, pull out your fly box and ask, "Which one should I use?" I fondly recall many occasions when someone took me under their guidance and shared their secret fly for the day. Through the years my own collection of fly patterns grew in direct proportion to my fly fishing budget. Like most of the fly fishers I know, I can never have enough patterns. I have a number of match-the-hatch patterns for those special days, and I have my reliable stand-by attractor patterns and generic patterns that I started out with 40 years ago.

I have prioritized the following recommendations for the young beginner who has an empty fly box and a thin wallet. If you would like to begin tying your own flies, I highly recommend Jack Dennis's manual, Western Trout Fly Tying Manual. For a more in-depth approach to matching hatches, I recommend The Complete Book of Western Hatches by Rick Hafele and Dave Hughs.

For those of you who are new to the sport of fly fishing and have never fished in Montana, I offer 20 patterns that will cover about 90% of the fishing from Glacier to Yellowstone. Be observant of what the trout are feeding on and use a small aquarium net to scoop up the bugs and look at them closely. Purchase a fly box with a foam backing and sort your dry mayfly patterns by color and size. For example, I start out with light, cream-colored Cahills and pro-gressively move across in increasingly darker shades to pale yellow, bright yellow, yellow-green, green, olive green and into the green-browns and finally mahogany and rust colors. I set up a separate row of gray and tan mayfly patterns. Personally, I am less concerned with Latin identification as I am with finding the right sized imitation in as close to the natural color as possible. Organizing my fly box in this manner helps me to locate a pattern quickly. It also reminds me what colors I am missing or what sizes I am missing. The following 20 patterns are the ones that "I never leave home without."
Dry Fly Patterns

Royal Wulff: Sizes 10-16

RoyalWulff-MB.jpg

The Royal Wulff is the definitive attractor pattern. Created by the famed Lee Wulff, it imitates nothing, and yet it of-fers to the trout an equivalent of an exquisite Julia Child masterpiece. Derisively called the "Dude Fly" because of its white calf-tail wing, this extravaganza brings the fish up! Best of all, it is a fly the caster never fails to see. To digress for the beginner, keep in mind that you have to set the hook, as the trout will spit the fly out on its dive back into the water. Most beginners miss the take because by the time they react, the fish is safely on its way. Wear Polaroid sunglasses so that you can begin to train your eyes for underwater movement. Early detection allows you to react more quickly.
Presentation: Classic, upstream dead drift.

Humpy (Goofus Bug): Sizes 10-16

tf-redhumpy.jpg

The Humpy's origin, according to Jack Dennis, is shrouded in controversy. Whether the fly originated in Jackson, Wyoming, or elsewhere is really unimportant. What is important to the beginner is that this fly works, and it is an indispensable pattern to have in your fly box. Although it is an attractor pattern, it may imitate a large caddis or stonefly in larger sizes. The fly is ideal for fast-flowing waters because of its inherent buoyancy. The Royal Humpy is especially easy to track in fast water. When sparsely tied, the Humpy works amazingly well on slow waters and can be used to imitate a Little Yellow Stonefly. The great advantage of this fly for the beginner is that it is almost unsinkable, and it offers great visibility in fast water for both the fisherman and the trout. It is, however, a most challenging pattern to tie. The best directions for tying this pattern may be found in The Second Fly-Tyers Almanac by Robert H. Boyle and Dave Whitlock.

Presentation: Classic, upstream dead drift. However, since this pattern closely resembles a caddis fly and floats so well, try drifting the fly downstream under willows or overhanging branches. As the fly drifts to the targeted area, lift the rod tip up to create an erratic skipping motion on top of the water, and then lower the rod tip quickly to allow the fly to drift once again on top of the water. Await the strike!

Renegade

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It would appear that the Renegade attractor pattern has faded in popularity over the last 20 years, but it is a great fly for late evening fishing, as the white hackle in the front helps to see the fly on darkened waters. The second advantage is that the dual hackle design keeps the fly afloat when it is difficult to see after sundown. If you are new to the sport of fly fishing, be sure you have a good supply and a range of sizes for the Royal Wulff, the Humpy, the Renegade, the Adams and the Elk Hair Caddis.

Adams/Parachute Adams: Sizes 12-22

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The ubiquitous Adams is probably the most widely used dry fly pattern on the North American continent. It imitates any number of gray mayflies. I highly recommend acquiring as many Adams in various sizes as possible. Because of the difficult visibility with this pattern, I have switched over exclusively to Parachute Adams for sizes 16-22. Although this is a generic type pattern, a size 20 Parachute Adams performs quite well during a Trico or Baetis hatch on slow moving water with a nine-foot leader and 6X tippet.

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Trico

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Blue-Wing Olive (Baetis)

The Trico spinner imitation has a small black body with divided white poly wings in the spinner position. During the heat of summer, get out on a Rocky Mountain river between 7 and 9 am (varies) for the Tricorithodes or Trico hatch followed by the spinner fall.
Although one of the smallest of mayfly species, nonetheless, this is a staple for feeding trout primarily because of the preponderant numbers during the spinner fall. Generally found in slower waters, the trout settle into a sipping, rhythmic rise form. Do not be deceived by the small rings and the dark noses - big fish! Fish in the morning during those dog days of August. I'm sure you will be delighted with the experience regardless of how many fish break off and get away. Because I have trouble seeing a small Trico, I often add on a small Trico as a trailer behind a small Parachute Adams.

Presentation: Classic, upstream dead drift.

Gray Drakes (Heptagenia and Siphlonurus) typically hatch throughout the summer starting in early June. Sizes 10-18.

Tricorythodes typically hatch late in the summer, usu-ally at the beginning of August. Sizes 20-26.

Light Cahill or PMD: Sizes 12-18

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Cahill

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Pale-Morning Dun

A light cream color Heptagenia mayfly imitation is another must have pattern. The Light Cahill pattern may also be used on slower waters and lakes to imitate Callibaetis. The Callibaetis dun body is olive-brown, however, so you may want to darken a few of your Light Cahills with a magic marker.

The Light Cahill can be used to imitate Ephemerella or Heptagenia mayflies, but be sure to closely inspect the size and color of the insect, and then match it with your color coded fly selection.

PMD - Pale Morning Dun

Pale Morning Duns are probably the most prolific and reliable hatch from Glacier to Yellowstone. These Ephemerella drake patterns should be part of your must-have patterns in sizes 16-22. PMDs hatch from June through October. Lighter in color from their cousins the Green Drakes, their bodies range from olive green to pale yellow and tan. The wings are generally slate gray to yellow. PMD cripples should be part of your collection.

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Zug Bug

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Gold-Ribbed Hare's Ear

Nymph patterns such as the Zug Bug, Gray Nymph and the Hare's Ear generally work well. The darker green patterns will work well during a Baetis hatch as well.

The famous Green Drake hatches (Ephemerella grandis) are typically from mid-June through mid-July. If you are in an area with a Green Drake hatch, be sure to stock up on a number of these drake patterns at the nearest fly shop. The hatch is generally not heavy, but if they are out, the trout are looking for them. Reports from guides returning to the shop will determine if you should buy traditional drake patterns or Compara Duns or Green Para-drakes. All of the above patterns range in color from pale yellow to green to olive brown. Stock up.

Elk Hair Caddis: Sizes 10-18

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Unlike the graceful rise and gliding fall of the mayfly, a cad-dis hatch looks like a burst of kindergartners swarming over a playground. An accompanying soundtrack for a mayfly would be a Viennese waltz. Conversely, the caddis dance would be a rap soundtrack by Snoop Dogg. Generally, the caddis will hatch in the evening. The most popular body colors are brown, olive, green, gray and tan.

Caddis flies are not easily missed, and in the pupa and winged stages they are an important part of the trout's diet. Look for them in the quiet pocket water under willow branches or overhangs, especially in the evening. You may also want to select a few patterns for the emergent phase such as a sparkle pupa. For larger caddis imitations use a Humpy or an X-Caddis. Use a Goddard Caddis for fast, heavy water.

One of the guides I worked with collected the caddis cases and tied them on a Mustad hook with a peacock thorax. He fished them on a dead drift, and I was impressed! Beginning with the Grannom Caddis hatch in May, caddis emerge throughout the summer and fall. The most consistently popular pattern is the Elk Hair Caddis.

Presentation: Classic, upstream dead drift or erratic ac-tion produced by rod tip action.

Blue-Wing Olive: Sizes 16-22

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The Baetis (Blue-Wing Olive) is an important pattern in Montana, as Baetis hatch from May through October. They are generally smaller than a PMD. The body color for a Baetis pattern is olive brown with gray wings and light gray hackle. It is not uncommon for trout to be sipping the smaller Baetis during a hatch of PMDs.

Salmon Fly / Stimulator

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Montana's favorite hatch calls for big bugs that hold up under heavy water conditions. They need to stay high and dry. The Salmon Fly pattern is constantly being reinvented and im-proved. During a Salmon Fly hatch, local shops have these flies displayed in tubs and buckets. The Salmon Fly hatch generally emerges late May and is essentially over by mid July. Water temperatures need to be in the low 50s.

Stimulator

The Stimulator represents a pattern for stone-flies in orange and yellow. When the trout quit hitting the big Salmon Fly patterns, they tend to strike at smaller stimulators long after the Salmon Fly hatch is over. The Stimulator is best used during a Golden Stonefly hatch.

Streamers and Wet Flies

Muddler Minnow: Sizes 4-8

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Popularized by Dan Bailey of Livingston, Montana, the Muddler Minnow should always be in your fly box. I have met fly fishers who fish al-most exclusively with Muddler Minnow patterns. Along with its offshoot, the Marabou Muddler, this pattern has probably taken more large fish than any other fly. The Muddler may also be greased up and used as an effective hopper pattern, and I have used it both dry and wet on the same cast with interesting results.

Presentation: Fish the Muddler slightly upstream or down-stream in a quartering action. Retrieve the Muddler by simultaneously pumping the rod tip and stripping in the line in quick, little jerks which imitates the darting action of a sculpin minnow. Allow for pauses, and add weight if necessary.

Woolly Bugger: Sizes 4-8

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This pattern is a must for late spring and early summer when the water is high and off-color and the hatches are sporadic. If you are fishing from shore, make short casts around all the rocks and boulders. Be sure the fly is actually sinking to the bottom. Add lead to your leader if necessary. Use a short 2X or 3X leader. Make short casts and keep the rod tip high so that you keep the Bugger bouncing along the bottom. Lift the rod tip when you feel a bump. Do not assume it is just a rock. If it is, lower the rod tip and let the bugger sink again.

Yuk Bug and Girdle Bug: Sizes 6-12

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I love this bug! I have caught so many beautiful fish during early summer when the water is still high but clear. I float along until I find a logjam or flooded backwater eddy. I usually select a size 10 Yuk Bug. The Yuk Bug has a dark body wrapped with grizzly hackle. Protruding from the body are white rubber legs. I find I generally have to cut back on the length of the rubber legs. I want them to pulse, and I want them to flare at the sides rather than collapsing backwards. I do not use weight. I fish it like a dry fly, allowing it to gradually sink. Most important, I cast from a kneeling position. I am always amazed at how adept large trout are at hiding. As the Yuk Bug sinks into quiet water, the trout will slowly emerge from its hiding spot. I have had large trout appear from under a small tree trunk in shallow water. They never rush to the Yuk. They take their time. It also works well in creeks and small streams. I love this bug!

Nymphs: Hare's Ear Nymph: Sizes 12-16

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In my opinion, this is the best of the small nymph patterns for spring creeks, beaver ponds and slow, flat stretches of river. When I fish high-elevation lakes, I always bring along the Hare's Ear Nymph and a Zug Bug in smaller sizes. They work wonders. If you have someone along who is not an accomplished fly caster, use a plastic water-filled bubble with as long of a leader as possible. Attach a Hare's Ear or Zug Bug and cast out as far as possible and retrieve with a spinning reel. If the fish are rising to the surface, be sure to cast way over them, as the splashdown from the water-filled bubble will spook the fish in the near vicinity.

Bead-head Prince Nymph

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This is perhaps the most popular nymph in the region! If you don't have any, head to the nearest fly shop. They work great as a dropper off a hopper pattern during the heat of August.

Pheasant Tail

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The Pheasant Tail Nymph is an excellent soft hackle nymph for slow water. The key to this fly is a slender silhouette and a sparely-tied hackle.

Terrestrials
Hopper
(Joe's, Dave's, Jay's, Dan's): Sizes 6-12

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As you can see from the partial list of Hopper contributors, grasshopper imitations are recorded in the "Who's Who of Terrestrials". Rarely, however, will you find such citations on the bins in a fly shop. For beginners I recommend a clipped deer-hair collar. This feature adds stability and superior floatation. Although the grasshopper is meant to have a low silhouette, without the deer hair the buoyancy is drastically reduced and the caster generally struggles with a sinking pattern.

Presentation: The best source of information on hoppers can be found in the September 1985 issue of Fly Fisherman. In this issue Dave Whitlock, in his article "Hoppertunity", discusses hopper behavior, pattern characteristics and Hoppertunity Techniques. Here are a few of his suggestions: Being a terrestrial insect, the grasshopper is on unfamiliar "ground" when he gets blown on the water. No gentle landings here. Make a splash with your hopper. Strip the hopper in with intermittent twitches from rod-tip action. Use a heavy tippet, and use a twist piece of lead to sink the hopper in those promising pools. Cast close to undercut banks and overhangs where trout hide during low water periods. Fish during the heat of the day. Carefully pick your targeted area. Although a smashing hopper on top of the water will trigger a strike, it also quite often spooks fish in the outlying area. Keep moving and practice stealth.

Beetle Patterns

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The deer hair patterns dyed black work wonders. Rick Hafele and Dave Hughes in their outstanding book, The Complete Book of Western Hatches, point out that the Woolly Worm is also a good pattern to imitate a water beetle in still or slow moving water.

Ant

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Although ant patterns are difficult to see in small sizes, ants are a staple diet for trout during the summer.

Bead-Head San Juan Worm

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I have always had a certain amount of disdain for the San Juan Worm, but I have a growing appreciation for this pattern during the spring and again late in the fall. I favor the bead-head version with the bead in the center.

Well, there you have it - the 20 patterns that I would never leave home without!

For more fishing tips, visit Dave's companion site, Fishing Tips 101.


Fly Fishing Basics: Step 4

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Casting

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Brook Trout

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A tennis player has to smash a tennis ball in mid air while stretching over a boundary line. The trajectory of the ball must be placed in a small rectangular area on the opponent’s side. A baseball batter has to assess the velocity, angle and drop of a ball fired sixty feet away at speeds upwards to ninety miles an hour. But for starters, all a beginning caster has to accomplish is to lift a fly line over his head and cast a fly twenty feet away with a somewhat soft landing. Like any skill one wants to become proficient in, there are rarely any short cuts. I would recommend viewing the 3M videotape, Beginning Fly Casting, with Doug Swisher. I also recommend a two week casting program on your lawn, which I will outline later in this unit, and finally I recommend reading Fly Fishing Strategy by Doug Swisher and Carl Richards.

The activities in this unit should not be skipped, as they will provide the learner with a visual framework as well as a mental conception of the basics of fly casting. Throughout this unit on casting instruction, the learner should demonstrate, in a freeze-stop action, all the basic principles of casting before, during and at the conclusion of each casting lesson.

Goal of the Basic Straight Line Cast

The goal of the basic straight line cast is to deliver a fly to a predetermined target with a gentle landing such as a real insect would do. Follow these three simple rules for dry fly fishing: 1. keep the fly high and dry, 2. cast in such a manner as to avoid line drag, which drags the fly at an unnatural speed, and 3. present your fly with a soft landing.

Once you learn the basic cast, you will be catching fish and ready for more efficient casting techniques. Almost everyone can learn to become a proficient caster for short distances. And speaking of distance, having fly fished for over forty years and guided for fifteen, I contend that ninety percent of the fly fishers catch ninety percent of their fish on casts less than thirty feet. Accuracy and presentation are far more important than how far you can cast a line. What follows is a discussion of the principles of casting.

The first step in understanding the basics of the straight line cast is to understand the power arc and loop control. With this knowledge, proficiency will be a matter of fine tuning. Too often, however, adult males fall victim to the mistaken belief that random trial and error will eventually pay off. Often the male ego takes over and the beginning male caster convinces himself that with more muscle power he can compensate for his lack of finesse. Nothing could be further from the truth. Let the rod do the work!

The Hand Grip

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It is the preferred grip for the beginner and advanced caster. Regarding the old bug-a-boo about use of the wrist, many of the experts stress the use of this hand grip and then cocking the wrist a split second before you reach the stopping point at one-o-clock. I have no quarrel with the experts; I have just never seen a beginner who could accomplish this feat. I recommend not using ANY wrist action initially until you experience what the rod is capable of producing through forearm movement only. From my experience, most beginners fail to stop on the invisible 1 o'clock and 11 o'clock mark primarily from use of the wrist. Learn the forearm movements and stop points before incorporating use of the wrist. If the rod is pointed back too far through over use of the wrist, the forward cast will be fraught with problems. During each casting lesson, look up and locate the 1 and 11 o'clock stop points.

A beginning caster can cast thirty feet with a rigid forearm cast; however, once you understand and can feel the dynamics of rod flex and loop control, the split-second wrist action to complete the stop points is essential in casting longer distances. Try both techniques to experience what is most comfortable, but do remember to stop where you are supposed to stop which is ________ o'clock on the back cast and _______ o'clock on the forward cast. Note: As you become a better caster, you will successfully break these somewhat rigid rules, especially in regard to the use of the wrist. Overuse of the wrist is the most common error of beginning casters. One of the best resources for learning to cast is in a local fly fishing club. Members are always enthusiastic at helping new members. Many clubs even have scheduled casting clinics. You may also attend a class sponsored by numerous organizations.

The Pickup

The starting point for any cast is with the pick up of your line as you move into your back cast position. Straight lines provide instant tension to the rod which "loads" up the rod similar to a pole vaulter. The more slack you have in your line, the more you are going to have to bring your rod back behind you. When you bring your rod back too far in the back cast behind you, your line will be directed downwards to the water or shoreline. In as much as possible, you are attempting to keep the line traveling in a straight line. If you miss your stop point or pause to long, your line collapses. The consequence for this is snagging bushes, popping your fly off or dumping your line in front of you, similar to plopping a pile of spaghetti in a bird bath.

Keep in mind that gravity, angle of the rod tip and line speed determine what type of forward cast you will make. Always begin your cast with a straight line pick up from the water. If need be, pull in those loose coils and false cast until you have regained your desired length of cast.

Loop Control

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The perfect loop is said to be tight, as the loop will be parallel with the top portion and the bottom portion of the loop. Such a loop can only be achieved by almost instantaneous stops at the two stop points in the power arc. This is followed by a pause as the line or loop extends. Just as the loop is about to extend into a straight line, the caster powers the line in the opposite direction. An open loop is created when the rod extends, in either direction, beyond the stop points which are _______ o'clock on the back cast and ______ o'clock on the forward cast. An open loop is wind resistant and results in a loss of energy. A tailing loop is when the loop is so open the fly at the end of the loop collapses and during the forward cast a knot is created somewhere in the leader. We sarcastically refer to these knots as "wind" knots. Keep in mind that a "wind" knot reduces the strength 50%.

False Cast

The false cast is a cast which repeats the procedure of casting the fly line backwards and forwards until the caster has accomplished one of the three following goals: 1. false casting to dry the fly off, 2. letting out line to increase the distance of the cast, and 3. false casting to change or shift to a new target area or to gauge the distance to your targeted area. Speaking of targets, always cast to a very specific spot. Eye and hand coordination and distance computation trains the brain.

Unlike a spinning rod and reel where the weight of the lure pulls out the monofilament line, in fly fishing the weight of the line is catapulted forwards or backwards through the bending and flexing of the rod. Think of pole vaulters of the modern era. It wasn't until the advent of the fiberglass pole that the 12 foot mark was surpassed. In the days of the rigid pole, the vaulter relied almost exclusively on speed and upper body strength. However, with the introduction of the fiberglass pole, vaulters could capitalize on the bend and flexing motion of the pole. In effect, the weight of the vaulter bending the pole backwards loaded up the pole for the forward thrust. This is similar to the weight of a fly line as it loads up the rod for the transfer of energy.

Review:

1. Demonstrate the hand grip.
2. Define a false cast.
3. Provide three reasons for using a false cast
4. Demonstrate the best starting position for a pick up.
5. Why is it important to pick up a straight line rather than loose coils?
6. Demonstrate the stopping position for the back cast and the forward cast.
7. Draw a picture of a tight loop, and then briefly explain why the tight loop is every caster's goal.

Activity 1: Rod Flex

With your partner, go out to a clear casting spot on a lawn. Pull out twenty feet of line behind you. The beginning caster should hold the rod with one or two hands in the 1 o'clock position, allowing the partner to pull back the line until the rod bends in a good bow. The partner should then release the line. Note how far the line traveled forward just on the stored energy in the rod. Next, the partner should yell "go" just as he releases the line. The caster should now follow forward with the rod. What was the result? From this activity you should get the feel for what the rod will do on its own when it is "loaded up" and ready to fire!

Activity 2: Pick Up

Extend about thirty feet of line out in front of you in loose, serpentine coils. Position the rod at the ten o'clock position. Quickly pull the rod backwards to the 1 o'clock position and allow the line to fall behind you. Describe the results. Now, extend the thirty feet of line out in front of you on the grass in a straight line. Position the rod so that the tip of the rod is almost toughing the ground. Quickly pull the rod backwards to the 1 o'clock position and stop on a dime! Allow the line to fall behind you. What were the results? How was this different from your first attempt?

Note: In order to be successful, you must stop at the stop points without shaking the rod or stopping momentarily and then continuing past the stop point. Just as no means no, stop means STOP!

Activity 3: False Cast

Pull out about twenty feet of line, and tie a small piece of bright yarn to the tippet. Or tie on a bright fly, but be sure to cut off the hook portion. Stand sideways and practice the false cast. Just as the loop is about to unfold behind you, push the rod to the forward stop position and vice-versa. Your goal will be to form a fairly tight loop. This can only be accomplished through brisk speed up and stop action of the rod. Remember, the more line you have out, the longer you will pause as you wait for the loop to uncurl. I would suggest four or five false casts at a time, and then start over. If you are learning on your own, invite someone to critique your cast. Explain the stop points and the goal of a tight loop.

Casting Lesson #1

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Now that you have experimented with developing a tight loop with a false cast, you are ready for the basic straight line cast. For this lesson you will need a level stretch of lawn with no obstacles to impede your casts. You will need two old plates. Find a starting point and place the two plates at a distance of twenty feet and thirty feet. Use a seven and a half foot leader with a 2X or 3X tippet. Tie on a #8 or #10 white wing fly. Be sure to remove the hook.

After you have practiced this lesson a few times, record your daily results on a Record Sheet. Practice twenty minutes every day for ten days and note your progress. Your goal is to be able to place your fly, in a straight line, within 12 inches of your target. Follow these directions:

1. Your first target will be the 20 foot target. This is a short cast which you will often duplicate on small streams or creeks. (Keep in mind that when fishing a small creek, you should wade right up the middle of the creek and make short casts right in front of you. In this situation, you don't even have to let the fly line drag on the water. ) Lay your rod down behind your border line. Pull out enough line so that the fly lies in the center of the plate. Return to the casting point and make a pick up and deliver cast to the center of the plate. Make no false casts. Make five casts and record the point value for each of the five casts.
1. Touching the plate = 200 points
2. Within 12 inches = 150 points
3. 12 inches to 2 feet = 100 points
4. 2 feet to 3 feet = 50 points
5. Beyond 3 feet = 0 points
2. Your second target will be the thirty foot target. Start out this cast with the fly lying somewhere between the two targets (plates). Holding your rod in the pick up position, lift your line up and false cast until you have the correct range. The fewer the false casts the better, as with each false cast you increase the odds of missing a stopping point. Drop your fly on the target. Make five casts and record the point value for each of the five casts. Remember, each of these five casts must include a false cast. Now, add up the point values for all ten casts and divide by ten.

95 - 100 = Expert -- Future tournament caster

80 - 94 = Hot Shot! Hurry up and get ready for the real thing -- you're ready!

70 - 79 = Good Sport -- You are a caster who may later proclaim, " It isn't how many fish you catch that counts, but how many casts you can make in day!"

50 - 69 = Back Cast Muffer -- Oops! More practice ahead!

Casting Lesson #2

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Now you are ready for casting on water. Practice casts with gentle landings. Vary your casting distances with false casts. Start each lesson with a review. Your goal should be an accurate twenty to thirty foot cast. Parents, a child's goal should be learning to master a very short cast on a creek with good line control.

Casting Lesson #3: The Roll Cast:

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In addition to the basic straight line cast, mastery of the roll cast is essential if you want to step on to the playing field against rocks, grass, logs, bushes and trees. Mother Nature impishly plays her tricks on the fly fisher. I imagine her whispering to the choke cherry, "Look, he even turned around to check his distance. Catch his fly on the next cast. Elderberry, be ready. A brown's feeding, and you can tell he's excited. You might be the one. Get ready...grab it." I swear I hear whispering chuckles in the underbrush when I snag a tree top.

So, how do you counter this backdrop of snagging opportunists who gleefully wait to steal our flies? The answer is a roll cast. And speaking of having your fly caught in a branch, here is a technique for retrieving the fly providing you can reach the fly with the end of your rod tip. Push the rod tip up to enclose the fly and shake.

When you are on a stream or brushy creek, and you have trees or brush or a steep bank behind you, roll out your fly in front of you. Pull in any excess line. Lift the rod, in a steady pull, up to the 1 o'clock position. At this point the line should start to lift out of the water directly in front of you and form a sagging curve beneath your arm pit. The line on the water should be straight as you pull it towards you. As your casting hand passes your head, speed up the ascent of the rod until your whole arm is extended upwards with the rod still maintaining the 1 o'clock stop position. (Do not pull all of the line out of the water as the surface tension of the water on the line creates the smooth turn over of the loop.)

When your arm is raised high, drive your forearm downwards and slightly forward using a little wrist action. Stop at the 9 o'clock position. This forward thrust creates a rolling loop which will completely turn over the line and fly. Longer rods make this cast easier as does a double-tapered fly line. Start out with short roll casts.

Casting Lesson 4: Mending the Line

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Earlier I espoused three dogmatic principles of dry fly fishing. Do you remember them? Just as you recalled, the three basic principles of dry fly fishing are 1. Make an accurate cast with a gentle landing, 2. Keep your fly high and dry, and 3. Keeps your fly floating at the natural speed of the water.

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Keeping your fly floating at the natural current speed provides opportunities to catch fish. If you have line drag, you will not catch fish. You may violate rule one and drown a dry fly and catch the occasional small fish. I am sure on the bell shape curve of fish intelligence, a few dumb fish are out there. I know that occasionally you can even smash down a tiny fly on a smooth surface of water and catch a fish. Nonetheless, it is a rare occasion when a trout will rise to inspect a fly traveling faster than the speed of the water.

Trout are creatures of their environment. Like all creatures, they must take in enough food to meet their daily needs as well as to build up fat reserves for the winter months. Survival is measured in calorie intake measured against energy expended. Trout hold in feeding lies and await the food to reach them. Only under slow water conditions will a trout roam the waters in search of food.

A trout is not going to expend more energy that what the food source will provide. Reaching the trout with an accurate presentation is imperative. Having been a guide many years, I am still reluctant to tell a client the truth when he says in exasperation, "I can't understand it. I'm casting right to them!" Missing a feeding lane by a foot is missing a hook-up by a mile.

No matter how difficult it is to catch them at times, trout are simple creatures. They are conditioned by their environment as to what they will eat and when they will eat. If they are selectively feeding on one hatch, they will rarely take anything else until the hatch has waned. Having said that, it is also true that they are often opportunistic and take a #12 Royal Wulff right in the middle of a trico hatch. To use the vernacular of my high school students, "Go figure!" Frequently, however, they do develop a selective feeding rhythm.

Picture the trout in a feeding lie looking up to the surface at his window of feeding opportunity. More than likely the position he holds is one which affords little expenditure of energy. Keying into a particular hatch, he slowly rises and slurps a floating dun or a struggling caddis fly. The current carries him backwards and he gently fins downwards to his previous position. Over and over he repeats this pattern. Suddenly, an unparalleled event takes place. A bug, for that he is sure of, speeds across his field of vision leaving a rooster tail wake. Shocked, the trout broods over the anomaly, becomes sullen and looses his appetite.

Mending the Line

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Exaggeration aside, an artificial which speeds faster than a natural floating insect will rarely trigger a reflex action from the trout. A fly will speed up when the faster current drags the mid section of the fly line downstream. This causes the artificial fly, which has just landed in slower water, to accelerate down stream. When this happens, the faster current pulls the line into an outline of a belly. The trick is to flip this "belly" upstream so that it delays interfering with the natural drift of your fly. Although an experienced fly caster can counter this condition with a specialized cast, the beginner can mend the line as soon as the line lands on the water.

To mend your line, pull in any slack line. Lower the rod to the point where you are almost touching the water with the tip of your rod. Flip up the belly of the line using a 3/4 circle motion with your wrist. The surface tension of the water on your line and leader generally keeps the fly from moving to any degree. Remember, when you provide a drag free float, you are fishing. When you are "fishing" with line drag, you are only traumatizing fish by altering the metaphysical laws of their universe.

(For fly fishing from a drifting boat, read …)

Slack Line Cast

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The slack line cast or S curve cast or snake cast is an effective cast when you are casting to a target downstream. In order to keep your fly from running out of line and being dragged under the water, use the slack line cast which leaves a serpentine or S curve effect on your line. This loose line then allows the fly to float naturally downstream to the targeted area before the line straightens out and drags the fly under the water. To accomplish the S curves in your line, abruptly stop your forward cast at 11 o'clock. Having already left some excess line dangling by your side, vigorously shake your rod side to side as you shoot out the slack line. Lower the rod tip to 9 o'clock.

Reach Cast

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After you have learned to mend your line, use the reach cast to essentially mend the line in the air. Picture yourself in the middle of a stream looking at a feeding fish up close to the bank where the water is very slow. The water is flowing from the left to the right of you. If you cast slightly upstream from this fish, the faster water in front of you will immediately begin to drag your fly too fast. The fly drops on target, speeds up, and the trout is spooked. The next time you will know that you have to flip the belly of the line upstream. In this manner the fly has a chance to float naturally over the targeted spot.

The reach cast changes the direction of the mid section of the fly line without altering the position of the landing fly relative to your target. To accomplish this nifty trick, you must cant your rod as little as possible during the forward cast. Stop the forward thrust at 11 o'clock. Rather than lower the rod to 9 o'clock, shift the upright rod across your chest in an upstream motion with a little wrist action. It sounds more difficult than it is. I did, however, give up on my attempts to illustrate this motion. The bulk of the line will land with the belly slightly upstream and to the left if you are a right handed caster facing the opposite bank. This maneuver will provide three or four seconds of extra drag-free drift.

Go to Step 5: Basic Fly Patterns and Presentation

Visit Dave's companion site, Fishing Tips 101.

Fly Fishing Basics: Step 3

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Leaders and Necessary Knots

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Brown Trout

This instructional guide is not meant to be the definitive guide to fly fishing. Many different knots exist for specific applications. I have covered only necessary knots to prepare the beginner for his or her first trek. However, it is also true that the knots covered below will suffice for the majority of your fly fishing needs. L.L Bean's Ultimate Book of Fly Fishing provides an excellent resource to knots, as do many other fine primers. If you bought a double tapered fly line, I would suggest tying on a leader butt at both ends. Having done this, you may now easily tie the braided backing directly to the perfection loop. When it comes time to reverse the line due to wear, a reversal of the line may be done in a matter of minutes.

Leaders

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Leaders are made of semi-transparent monofilament nylon, and they are tapered from the butt section all the way down to the tippet, which attaches to the fly. The importance of the leader is twofold; it serves to cast the fly in a tight loop because of the tapered design, and it keeps the fly away from the fly line, which under most circumstances will spook a fish. The tapered diameter also makes it easy to thread the tippet through the eye of the fly.

Leaders are hand tied into graduated sections, or they are manufactured knotless. If you buy a knotless leader, always give an experimental tug on the tippet. The tapered design is basically achieved through an acid process, and many times the entire tippet will break off with the slightest pull. Better to repair the leader on the spot than loose a good fish because of a weak spot in the leader. It wasn't many years ago that the cost of a tapered, knotless leader was so economical that the time spent building one seemed hardly worthwhile. However, with increased prices, tying your own leaders is both economical and advantageous. You have the opportunity to tie a variety of leader formulas for all occasions rather than butchering up a nine foot 4X leader for a heavy Woolly Bugger.

Generally speaking, a 4X (.007) tippet will serve you well under most trout fishing situations. For larger hopper patterns or salmon flies, you will need a larger diameter such as 2X or 3X. The primary reason for this is that a lighter tippet will not turn the fly over properly, and if the tippet is too small in diameter, the fly will jerk around which will cause abrasive weakening in the knot. The diameter is important as it will determine the measure of visibility and breaking strength. Regarding the length of the leader, I would recommend the following. Use a 4X, 7.5' leader on creeks and streams. When I am working with a child on a small creek, I sometimes cut the leader down to five feet. Use a 4X, 9' leader on moderately flowing streams. Use a 5X or 6X leader, 9'-12' on spring creeks or slow, flat stretches of water where trout can lazily rise to inspect your offering.

3X tippet, size 6-10 fly approximately 5 lb. test

4X tippet size 12-18 fly approximately 4lb. test

6X tippet size 20-22 fly approximately 2 lb. test

Making Your Own Leaders: Use a four foot pine board. Write down the leader formula of your choice on the board. Use two finish nails to hold each spool. Start with the butt section and work down to the tippet. A basic formula is 40% butt section, 40% midsection and 20% tippet. Be sure to cut off an additional two inches at each end of the individual piece in order to tie the blood knot. The distance below represents the distance from knot to knot.
Inches: 3x 4x 5x
25 .022 .022 .022
18 .020 .020 .020
11 .017 .017 .017
11 .013 .013 .013
11 .012 .010 .010
11 .010 .008 .009
(10 inch piece)
18 .008 .007 .007
(10 inch piece)
.005
(18 inch piece)

Important Knots / Set Up My illustrations are good enough to provide the basic concepts and steps. However, better steps and illustrations can be found on the web. One that I thought was very impressive is Killroys.

Knot 1: Duncan Loop Knot: Tying Backing to the Reel

knot1.jpg

knot1-A.jpg

Steps:
1. Wrap the backing around the reel spool spindle twice. Provide at least 7 to 10 inches of line past the reel for wrapping.

2. Lay a large loop across and over the two lines exiting the reel. This loop will now be wrapped. Hold and pinch the lines. Simply wrap the tag end over the two top lines threading it through the loop up and across the two lines again. Wrap four to five wraps as depicted in the photograph above.

3. This wrapped loop now needs to be pulled tight and secured against the spindle in the reel. Pull the taq end of the line to cinch. Once the knot is secure, trim any excess trailer. Alternate pulling each line until the line is cinched tightly against the reel spool spindle.

Knot 2: Tying Backing to a Fly Line

knot2.jpg
knot2-A.jpg

Steps:
1. This is the same Duncan Loop Knot. Form a two-inch loop by pulling the backing parallel to the line and then forming a 4 to 6-inch loop by crossing the line over itself and the fly line. This tag line will now be used to wrap the sagging loop beneath the fly line five or six times.

2. Make five or six wraps over the fly line and through the sagging line. Cross over the fly line for additional wraps.

3. Keep the wraps from overlapping each other. Carefully pull the wrapping end of the backing to snug up the wraps against the fly line. You may have to use a fingernail to keep the wraps snug against each other without overlapping.

4. Once the wraps are in place, pull both lines until the knot is firm and snug against the fly line. Trim the excess fly line and back, and add a drop of a flexible bonding cement. Your reel now has backing and an attached fly line. Now it is time to add a leader butt to the delivery end of your fly line.
.
The Leader Butt

All-knots.gif

The leader butt should be from twelve to sixteen inches and made from 25-35 pound monofilament. The knot which attaches the leader butt to the fly line is called a nail knot or a tube knot, as the nail or small plastic tube is essential in making this knot. Some of the commercial leader manufacturers provide the small tube for tying a leader directly to the line. You may do this for your first leader. After it is worn out, cut off everything but sixteen inches. Add the perfection loop on the end and you now have a leader butt for your next leader add on. The general rule of thumb is that the monofilament should be two-thirds the diameter of the fly line. If you are working with a youngster, skip this knot and go directly to the Perfection Loop Knot. The leader butt is a one time addition for a new line.

Nail Knot

NailKnot.gif

The nail knot is used to attach a leader butt to the fly line. After the knot is tied, coat the knot with a rubber based glue such as Pliobond which will give the knot a smooth surface. The smoothness allows it to glide through the guides on the rod. If you use a thin nail, cut the monofilament at an angle as a sharp point will thread its way under the wraps a whole lot easier than a blunt tip. Be sure to give yourself plenty of monofilament to work with as the final step in this knot is maddening if you come up short.

Perfection Loop Knot

PerfectionLoop.gif


It was not too long ago that leader manufacturers included a perfection loop on their leaders. All you had to do was thread the leader loop through the leader butt loop. The two loops should slide back and forth after you pull the tippet through. The advantage of changing leaders quickly more than makes up for an occasional tipped over fly. A more popular method is to tie the leader to the leader butt with a blood knot.

Blood Knot

Blood-Clinch.gif

A Blood Knot is used for joining leader material or adding a new section of tippet to the leader. The trick in successfully tying a blood knot is to be sure that after wrapping line A, you lay it in the V wedge you created and hold it firmly with your thumb and forefinger while you wrap line B. (Wrap line A and B five or six times.)

When you have finished wrapping line B around line A, you need to run the tag end of line B through the center hole you created, which is kept open with line A. Be sure to come through the hole from the opposite direction of line A, as when you pull the two lines in opposite directions, the left over pieces should be opposite each other. The easiest way I have found to pull this knot together is to hold the two short pieces between your teeth, wet the wraps with your tongue and pull evenly in opposite directions. The next knot you will need to learn is the improved clinch knot which attaches the fly to the leader tippet.

Improved Clinch Knot (See illustration above.)

This is a simple knot to tie your fly to the tippet. Do not work with so much tippet that you end up cutting off excessive tippet. If you do this too often, you will be tying another tippet section to your leader. Quite often I watch as beginning fly fishers laboriously wrap thinly tapered tippet one wrap at a time. You will find it much easier to thread the tippet through the eye of the hook, allow a couple of inches to lie up alongside of the leader and spin the fly to achieve five or six wraps. Now, run the short end piece through the large loop or opening you just created. Place the small left over piece between your teeth and cinch the wraps snug up against the eye of the hook. Dress your fly with floatant and cast over next to that log for that big brown!

Droppers and Trailers

Dropper.gif

How-to-books on fly fishing go back to the 1400's. Fishing with multiple fly offerings is nothing new. John Merwin in his book Fly Fishing notes that 150 years ago droppers were in favor in Walton's first American edition. Quiet often on those slow days of summer, you will be torn between fishing a nymph or continuing to fish with a dry fly. Some days you will want to do both. The simplest technique is to tie another short tippet right on the bend of the hook with an improved clinch knot. I recommend that you add on 12 to 16 inches of tippet of a smaller diameter if you plan on fishing a smaller dry fly behind a larger dry fly. If you tie on a nymph, stay with the same diameter tippet. This system works very well with large Stimulators and hoppers.

During a baetis or trico hatch, when the light is poor or I have to make a long cast, I tie on a #18 Parachute Adams trailed by a #22 trico spinner. If I see a sipping fish within a foot of the upright parachute, I set the hook. Most of the guides I worked with use a Hare's Ear Nymph, a bead-eye Prince or some other nymph as a trailer right off the bend of the larger dry fly, which is referred to as an in-line dropper. A couple of seasons ago I learned of one guide who had a successful spring day fishing Woolly Buggers with a light weight nymph tied out from the Woolly. A traditional set up fishing two or three wet flies utilized a hand tied leader. Instead of snipping off the excess tip on the blood knot, extra leader was tied into the blood knot so that one piece would stick out 6-8 inches which you would attach a smaller fly. At the tippet end, you would tie on the heaviest fly. Regardless of where you add the dropper, be mindful of the depth that you think fish are feeding in below. Probably the most popular dropper is the Hopper Dropper for late summer.

Go to Step 4: Casting

Fly Fishing Basics - Step 2

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Terminal Equipment and Paraphernalia

cutthroat.jpg
Cutthroat Trout

Leader Butt and Leader

flyline-tippet.gif

The leader butt attaches to the fly line at the tapered end. The leader butt ends with a perfection loop knot or a blood knot. Attached to this knot is the tapered leader. The leader butt is approximately twelve to sixteen inches long. The traditional choice, a perfection loop knot, affords quick and easy leader changes. Many fly fishers will assert that the use of a perfection loop knot can cause the fly to land askew. I ask you, do you think it is really the knot? I rarely have a poor turn over, and when I do, I don't blame the knot. I find also that beginners tend to waste a lot of line when they tie knots, and before long they have lost the twelve inches of leader butt length and have to go through the time consuming process of creating a new one. Go with a perfection loop initially. Echoes of Thoreau, "Simplify, Simplify, Simplify!"

Tippet Material

tippet-spools.jpg

After changing a number of flies or snagging your line on a branch, your once tapered leader has lost its original diameter and needs to be replaced. I generally recommend a 4X diameter leader tippet (.007 inch rated at approximately 4 pounds test breakage) for most of the early season. During the dog days or August, when the water becomes very shallow and slow, I drop down to 5X or 6X, which is a challenge. What you gain in invisibility and threading ease for small flies you lose to breakage. The larger the fly, the larger diameter tippet you will need. For repairs keep a spool of 2X through 5X tippet material in your vest.

Fly Dressing and Line Dressing

floatant.jpg

Fly dressing comes in many forms and substances from silicone sprays to dry crystals. The more common form, a silicone semi-fluid wax, is probably the most popular. Lightly applied to the fly, water is repelled from the fly materials enabling the fly to float high and dry. Eventually, the fly will soak up too much water which causes the fly to sink. For tiny dry flies, silicone liquid and drying crystals work most efficiently.

threepointlanding.gif

Finger nail clippers are used to cut off the extra piece of tippet which usually is present after you have tied your fly to the tippet. Be forewarned that many people have chipped their teeth attempting to bite off the little left-over piece!

nipper-hemo.jpg

The following list may be used as an inventory for items which I believe are essential:
_____ fly box
_____ Vest
_____ Forceps for extracting flies
_____ Net
_____ Hook sharpener
_____ pinch on floats for strike indicators and twist lead
_____ polarized sun glasses (a must!)
_____ Waders with felt soles or boots with felt
_____ Hat
_____ Insect repellent / head net

Go to Step 3: Basic Knots and Leaders

For a review of bass fishing basics, see Dave's companion site, Bass and Trout Fishing Digest.

Fly Fishing Basics - Step 1

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Identification and Function of Equipment

rainbowprint.jpg.jpg
Rainbow Trout

Selecting a Rod for a Beginner

rods-reel.jpg

Fly fishing rods start with the reel seat where the reel is attached, usually by a threaded ring. The next section is the handle which is traditionally made of cork. If you are looking at a fiberglass fly rod with a foam handle in a discount store, please don't purchase it as you are, more than likely, purchasing a bargain of troubles. They are extremely difficult to cast even for experienced casters. After the handle the base section of the rod will include the manufacturer's recommendation for the proper line weight as well as noting the length of the rod. You should also find a ring keeper to attach your fly while you are walking.

Temple-rod-use.jpg

The best fly rod for a young beginner would be a graphite rod purchased in a fly shop for under $200. I recommend Lefty Kreh’s Temple Fork Outfitters fly rods. (http://templeforkflyrods.com/index.html.) The most commonly recommended fly rod would be an eight foot rod for a number five or six weighted line; however, I started my sons out on an 8' rod for a 4 weight line. It is lighter and will not wear out a young boy or girl. One disadvantage of a light weight rod is that it is difficult to cast in the wind. Avoid purchasing a combination spin and fly rod as they merely compromise the best qualities of each design. Fly shops encourage customers to cast a number of different rods, as some rods have a faster tip action. It is strictly a matter of preference.

rod-dots.jpg

Selecting a Reel

reels-use.jpg


A single action reel will serve you best. This reel will have a detachable spool and a drag adjustment. The drag adjustment is used once you have caught a fish and all of your loose line has been reeled up on the spool. If the fish is an especially strong or large fish, he will want to run. When he does this, he will pull line off of the spool. If your drag is set too light, the fish will run too far and you may over play the fish. Although the newer reels have some sophisticated drag systems, the tried and true design is the common click-pawl system, which uses a triangular piece of metal (pawl) that clicks on the rotating teeth of a gear.

Do not over play a fish that you wish to release, as long after you have congratulated yourself on releasing the fish, the stress may later lead to death. If the drag adjustment is set too tight, the pulling fish may break the tippet leaving you with "the one that got away story."

Selecting a Fly Line

flylines.jpg

The weight of each fly line is based on the weight, measured in grams, of the first thirty feet of line. Somewhere at the base of every fly rod will be a recommendation for an AFTMA fly line (American Fishing Tackle Manufacturers Association). All fly lines are rated for taper, weight and function. Keep in mind that, in most cases, a rod may use a fly line one number heavier than recommended, although rarely can you use one line under that which the manufacturer recommends and still cast with ease.

Weights range from 1 to 12 with 5 and 6 being the most popular. Line numbers 1-4 are extremely limited in that they are designed for relatively short casting on calm, flat water with no real wind, and they are accompanied by long leaders and tiny flies for delicate casting. Line numbers 5-7 are the most versatile as they may be cast in moderate wind, and yet they still maintain delicate landings for small flies. The advantage of these weights is that they are also designed, in conjunction with the rod, to handle heavier fish in fast water. Practically speaking, there are no disadvantages for these weighted lines for the majority of fishing conditions with the exception of salt water fishing. If you are going to be limited to one rod, purchase a 6 weight.

Line numbers 8-9 are heavy lines for big water and forceful wind conditions. The advantage of these lines is that you may fish deep with large, weighted flies and make long casts. Line numbers 10 - 12 are designed for salt water conditions.

The next designation on the fly line package is an abbreviation for FUNCTION. You have a choice of floating, sinking and floating with a sink tip. The floating line is by far the most versatile. If you need to sink a fly, put on a piece of lead. How much should you spend for a line? If you want to save money, buy a cheap reel. If you want to limit your casting distance and watch your fly sink when it obviously should not, buy a cheap line. Stay with Cortland, Scientific Angler and Rio, and you won't go wrong. Fly lines deteriorate when they become dirty. They wear out from unnecessary abrasion. Periodically, clean your fly line in mild detergent, dry it off, and then take it out in the sun and gently stretch the coils out of the line. Warning: sun screen may block out the harmful rays of the sun, but it also melts fly lines!

Regarding color, Cortland Line Company in their publication, Fly Rod Fishing Made Easy, recommends a highly visible line for the fisher as it, naturally, is easier to locate your fly and control your line. Fluorescent lines do not spook fish -- poor casting does that! Cortland reasons that, "Looking upward, fish see objects against the light sky -- and it seems to us that a light colored line would actually be less visible than a darker one."

I highly recommend felt sole wading boots. Waders are a necessity unless you have a tolerance for cold water. I do not recommend cleats as they create underwater noise that spooks fish.

wade-boot.jpg

Go to Step 2: Terminal Equipment and Paraphernalia

For a complete on-line guide to Montana fishing and camping, go to Dave's companion site, Glacier to Yellowstone.

Fly Fishing Basics / Pre-Test

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Fly Fishing Basics: Pretest

Mastering the Basics of Fly Fishing

flyshop.jpg.jpg

Mastering the Basics of Fly Fishing was originally an outline that I followed when I taught classes on fly fishing. Working for an outfitter and fly shop owner in Hamilton, Montana, I taught a number of parent/child introductory classes. Later when I set up my Montana Fly Fishing site in the early 90's, I expanded this article for adults who wanted to learn on their own, as well as parents wanting to teach their children the skills of fly fishing. It continues to be one of the most visited sections on my Montana site. The instructional program is broken down into the following steps:

Introduction
Step 1: Pre and Post Test
Step 2: Terminal equipment and Paraphernalia
Step 3: Necessary Knots and Leaders
Step 4: Casting
Step 5: Basic Fly Patterns and Presentation
Step 6: Mastering the Basics of Creek Fishing
Step 7: Mastering the Basics of Stillwater Fly Fishing

boy.gif

Introduction and Pre / Post Test for Mastering the Basics of Fly Fishing

In thirty-two years of being a high school English teacher and fifteen years of being a fly fishing instructor and guide, I have learned a great deal about teaching and learning. Too often, I must confess, I departed from good instructional techniques with predictable results-- a loss of interest or frustration on the part of the learner. Through the years I have watched ardent fly fishermen attempt fly fishing "conversions" with family members and friends --often with the same predictable results.

Attempting to share one's boundless enthusiasm with a spouse or child evokes a host of clichés. Suffice to say there are minefields in all of our backyards that the skilled instructor must carefully clear away. Many families have stories about spouses stepping into the instructor or learner role with disastrous results. Sadly, the same may be said of parents attempting to teach fly fishing to their children.

Too often we expect our enthusiasm as instructor to motivate the learner or novice, and the ensuing frustration on the learner's part or the instructor's part creates tension, which sometimes leads to conflict or withdrawal. To avoid this quagmire, don't loose sight of the most important ingredients for success: fun and rewards.

Ideally, an instructor should be a skilled communicator, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, patient, constantly supportive and realistic in his or her expectations for the learner. Hopefully, the learner has not been "overly coerced", is genuinely eager, has good listening skills and is blessed with superior fine motor skills. If you or your learner lacks any of the above attributes, as most of us surly do, then I hope this manual will help both of you through a sequential skills program. The guiding principle for this manual is the basic philosophy that success needs to be recognized and rewarded, realistic goals need to be established, and instruction should be given in small increments. At all times the instructor and learner need to concentrate on having fun! With each skill lesson, determine how you can make the lesson fun. If you are working with a youngster, how will you reward him or her for mastering a particular level? I started out with flies and gadgets.

Each section provides basic information which should be learned before moving on to the next level of instruction. At the beginning of each skill lesson, a survey will test existing knowledge or skill acquisition. Additionally, practical advice may be offered to the instructor if the learner is a child. Tests are essentially used to review. Avoid using the tests to rate success. Use the test to reinforce and review. Success should be measured on the basis of whether or not you are having fun and enjoying each other's company.

Regarding the age to start children fly fishing, I would offer this advice. First teach them the joy of outdoor recreation. Introduce them to pond fishing for sun fish where they are sure to have success with a nymph and strike indicator. At about fourth grade, when their fine motor skills are sufficiently developed, begin instruction with the clear understanding that the goal is self-sufficiency. Start the program during the winter so that when the first family trout trek arrives, the instructor isn't impatiently giving the learner a crash course. Take them to a small creek. And speaking of small creeks, I would recommend buying the primer, The Curtis Creek Manifesto written and illustrated by Sheridan Anderson. This wonderful angling comic book is published by Frank Amato Publications in Portland, Oregon.

Having got "skunked" his first time out, my ten year old son turned to me and said, "Dad, I like casting to the hula hoops better, especially with all the prizes." It was a chilly May opener and a bungled first experience with a fly rod for a youngster. Later that summer Darin and my seven year old son, Brandon, caught a number of five inch Brook trout on a tiny creek high above Montana's famous Big Hole. Through the years I have seen many fathers completely turn off their children to fly fishing. My two boys were delighted with their catch, but they really didn't want to catch any more than a couple of fish. We had only been gone from camp twenty minutes. Fortunately, I was smart enough to reel in their lines and join them in their search for water snakes. We now share a common bond, a fellowship as fly fishers.

Pre and Post Test

If you are a novice, use these questions to determine areas that you will need to spend the most time. If you are teaching a child, be somewhat selective based on their age and how much they have been exposed to fly fishing.

Step 1: Identification of Equipment

1. If someone gave you just a rod, how would you determine what weight fly line to use with it?

2. What is the most versatile weight fly line for trout fishing?

3. True / False: Rod bend or flex is subjective and based on how slow or fast one's preference is in casting.

4. Although seldom used on small streams, the drag adjustment on a single action reel is valuable under what conditions?

5. Briefly discuss the advantage of a double tapered fly line and a weight forward line.

6. What is a leader butt used for? On a piece of paper, draw a leader butt and identify each of the knots used.

7. What is a tippet?

8. What is fly dressing?

9. What use does a fly fisher have of hemostats?

10. Which is the most common leader length?
3-5 ft
4-6 ft
7-9 ft
12-14 ft

11. What is the advantage of using Polaroid sun glasses?

12. If you are fishing with a floating fly line, and then you decide to tie on a nymph and fish the sub-surface or the bottom of the stream, what techniques can you employ without changing your fly line?

13. What two knots do you have to choose from to tie at the end of a leader butt?

14. Why would your dentist highly recommend that you carry fingernail clippers with you when you go fishing?

15. Look over the following knots to determine which of the six you will need to learn.

knots.jpg

Step 2: Basic Set Up

1. Name the four critical specifications found on all AFTMA fly lines.

2. Rods are designed to cast a particular weighted fly line. The lines are numbered 1 - 12. Which line(s) would be most practical for the majority of your fishing waters? Briefly explain your reasons.

3. Why is it both practical and potentially useful to first add braided backing to your reel?

Step 3: Necessary Knots (Name each of the knots pictured.)

All-knots.gif

clinch.gif

Step 4: Casting

Place a large plate, a hoola-hoop or a pizza box out on the lawn at a distance of 20 feet. Cast your fly so it lands within a foot with three attempts. (Be sure to remove the hook portion of the fly. You may also just tie on a little piece of yarn.) Cast your fly at a plate at thirty feet so that it lands within two feet of the plate with three attempts. Now you have a baseline to measure how much you will have improved after you start the casting program.

Multiple Choice and True/False Questions:

1. A fly fishing rod, reel and line is said to be balanced when:
A. The line weight matches the recommended rod weight
B. The outfit is color coordinated
C. You can balance or hold the rod level on an extended finger with the balance point usually close to where the grip stops and the rod begins.

2. T/F The forward cast is more important than the back cast for distance and presentation.

3. Generally, when casting, the caster wants:
A. An open loop
B. A swing loop
C. A tight loop
D. No loop

lineloop.gif

4. When a caster does not let the line land on the water and continues casting overhead, forward and backward, he or she is said to be:
A. Shadow darting
B. False casting
C. Air line
D. Wasting time

5. What are three useful reasons for the answer to question 4?

6. Viewing the caster from behind, which is the better cast and why?

cant-rod.gif

7. Line drag spooks the fish and frustrates the caster when the faster current pushes the belly or mid-section of the line downstream. This causes an unnatural drag or acceleration of the fly. This constant factor is the fly fisher's greatest challenge to over come. Trout are creatures of habit, and they are conditioned by their environment. Viewing an artificial fly pattern zoom by their lie will not trigger a strike, as it is an unnatural phenomenon; therefore, the fly fisher has to cast in such a manner so as to drift the fly in a natural float. Describe two types of casts or casting technique that may be used to counter this problem of line drag?

8. Which is more important in casting, distance or presentation?

9. A steeple cast or a roll cast is most useful under what conditions?

10. The basic power stroke or casting arc can be illustrated on the following clock. Draw two lines connecting the large dot with the smaller dot or number which will demonstrate where the rod stops on the back cast and forward cast.

blankclock.gif

11. Which lettered illustration depicts the proper pick up of line off the water prior to starting into your back cast? A, B or C?

pickup.gif

12. Which is the best loop for casting?

13. What is a "wind knot" and how is it caused?

14. You find your fly splashing on the water behind you or catching on the grass. What two corrections should you make?

15. What forward casting adjustment could you make if you see your fly smashing onto the water with a splat?

16. If on your forward cast, your fly line and leader drift back towards you dropping into an unsightly pile, what forward cast adjustment do you need to make?

17. If you snap your fly off in mid air on a "crack-the-whip" cast, what forward cast adjustment do you need to make?

18. If on your forward cast, your line hits another part of the line or the rod during the cast, you will want to make an adjustment by _____________ your rod.

19. Most fish are caught on casts of __________
A. 5-10 feet
B. 20-40 feet
C. 40-50 feet
D. 50-70 feet

20. How would you compensate for the wind while casting?

rainbowprint.jpg.jpg

21. Identify the fish in the picture above.

brown.jpg

22. Identify the fish in the picture above.

cutthroat.jpg

23. Identify the fish in the picture above.

brook.jpg

24. Identify the fish in the picture above.

Step 5: Basic Fly Patterns: Identify the following popular fly patterns. See Step 5 for 20 Recommended Fly Patterns.

RoyalWulff-MB.jpg

Adams.jpg

elkhaircaddis-MB.jpg


tf-redhumpy.jpg

tf-hopper2.jpg

beetle-MB.jpg

mudler.JPG

tf-woollybug.jpg


The L.L. Bean Ultimate Book of Fly Fishing by Macauley Lord, Dick Talleur and Dave Whitlock

If I had a nickel for every how-to-fly fishing book that has been published during the last 20 years, I'd be fishing around the world in some pretty exotic places. My article "Mastering the Basics of Fly Fishing" was begun hastily years ago when I was preparing an outline for an introductory course for fathers and sons. Recently I was perusing the shelves for a primer to double check that I hadn't left anything out of my article. The Ultimate Book of Fly Fishing may be an overstatement; nonetheless it is a wonderful primer for the novice or beginner. The book is divided into three sections: Fly Fishing, Fly Casting, and Fly Tying. The photographs and diagrams are exceptional, and I couldn't resist adding another fly fishing book to my collection.

Go to Step 1: Identification and Function of Equipment

For additional freshwater fishing tips, visit Dave's companion site, Fishing Tips 101.

Fly Fishing Basics / Pre-Test

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Fly Fishing Basics: Pretest

Mastering the Basics of Fly Fishing

flyshop.jpg.jpg

Mastering the Basics of Fly Fishing was originally an outline that I followed when I taught classes on fly fishing. Working for an outfitter and fly shop owner in Hamilton, Montana, I taught a number of parent/child introductory classes. Later when I set up my Montana Fly Fishing site in the early 90's, I expanded this article for adults who wanted to learn on their own, as well as parents wanting to teach their children the skills of fly fishing. It continues to be one of the most visited sections on my Montana site. The instructional program is broken down into the following steps:

Introduction
Step 1: Pre and Post Test
Step 2: Terminal equipment and Paraphernalia
Step 3: Necessary Knots and Leaders
Step 4: Casting
Step 5: Basic Fly Patterns and Presentation
Step 6: Mastering the Basics of Creek Fishing
Step 7: Mastering the Basics of Stillwater Fly Fishing

boy.gif

Introduction and Pre / Post Test for Mastering the Basics of Fly Fishing

In thirty-two years of being a high school English teacher and fifteen years of being a fly fishing instructor and guide, I have learned a great deal about teaching and learning. Too often, I must confess, I departed from good instructional techniques with predictable results-- a loss of interest or frustration on the part of the learner. Through the years I have watched ardent fly fishermen attempt fly fishing "conversions" with family members and friends --often with the same predictable results.

Attempting to share one's boundless enthusiasm with a spouse or child evokes a host of clichés. Suffice to say there are minefields in all of our backyards that the skilled instructor must carefully clear away. Many families have stories about spouses stepping into the instructor or learner role with disastrous results. Sadly, the same may be said of parents attempting to teach fly fishing to their children.

Too often we expect our enthusiasm as instructor to motivate the learner or novice, and the ensuing frustration on the learner's part or the instructor's part creates tension, which sometimes leads to conflict or withdrawal. To avoid this quagmire, don't loose sight of the most important ingredients for success: fun and rewards.

Ideally, an instructor should be a skilled communicator, knowledgeable, enthusiastic, patient, constantly supportive and realistic in his or her expectations for the learner. Hopefully, the learner has not been "overly coerced", is genuinely eager, has good listening skills and is blessed with superior fine motor skills. If you or your learner lacks any of the above attributes, as most of us surly do, then I hope this manual will help both of you through a sequential skills program. The guiding principle for this manual is the basic philosophy that success needs to be recognized and rewarded, realistic goals need to be established, and instruction should be given in small increments. At all times the instructor and learner need to concentrate on having fun! With each skill lesson, determine how you can make the lesson fun. If you are working with a youngster, how will you reward him or her for mastering a particular level? I started out with flies and gadgets.

Each section provides basic information which should be learned before moving on to the next level of instruction. At the beginning of each skill lesson, a survey will test existing knowledge or skill acquisition. Additionally, practical advice may be offered to the instructor if the learner is a child. Tests are essentially used to review. Avoid using the tests to rate success. Use the test to reinforce and review. Success should be measured on the basis of whether or not you are having fun and enjoying each other's company.

Regarding the age to start children fly fishing, I would offer this advice. First teach them the joy of outdoor recreation. Introduce them to pond fishing for sun fish where they are sure to have success with a nymph and strike indicator. At about fourth grade, when their fine motor skills are sufficiently developed, begin instruction with the clear understanding that the goal is self-sufficiency. Start the program during the winter so that when the first family trout trek arrives, the instructor isn't impatiently giving the learner a crash course. Take them to a small creek. And speaking of small creeks, I would recommend buying the primer, The Curtis Creek Manifesto written and illustrated by Sheridan Anderson. This wonderful angling comic book is published by Frank Amato Publications in Portland, Oregon.

Having got "skunked" his first time out, my ten year old son turned to me and said, "Dad, I like casting to the hula hoops better, especially with all the prizes." It was a chilly May opener and a bungled first experience with a fly rod for a youngster. Later that summer Darin and my seven year old son, Brandon, caught a number of five inch Brook trout on a tiny creek high above Montana's famous Big Hole. Through the years I have seen many fathers completely turn off their children to fly fishing. My two boys were delighted with their catch, but they really didn't want to catch any more than a couple of fish. We had only been gone from camp twenty minutes. Fortunately, I was smart enough to reel in their lines and join them in their search for water snakes. We now share a common bond, a fellowship as fly fishers.

Pre and Post Test

If you are a novice, use these questions to determine areas that you will need to spend the most time. If you are teaching a child, be somewhat selective based on their age and how much they have been exposed to fly fishing.

Step 1: Identification of Equipment

1. If someone gave you just a rod, how would you determine what weight fly line to use with it?

2. What is the most versatile weight fly line for trout fishing?

3. True / False: Rod bend or flex is subjective and based on how slow or fast one's preference is in casting.

4. Although seldom used on small streams, the drag adjustment on a single action reel is valuable under what conditions?

5. Briefly discuss the advantage of a double tapered fly line and a weight forward line.

6. What is a leader butt used for? On a piece of paper, draw a leader butt and identify each of the knots used.

7. What is a tippet?

8. What is fly dressing?

9. What use does a fly fisher have of hemostats?

10. Which is the most common leader length?
3-5 ft
4-6 ft
7-9 ft
12-14 ft

11. What is the advantage of using Polaroid sun glasses?

12. If you are fishing with a floating fly line, and then you decide to tie on a nymph and fish the sub-surface or the bottom of the stream, what techniques can you employ without changing your fly line?

13. What two knots do you have to choose from to tie at the end of a leader butt?

14. Why would your dentist highly recommend that you carry fingernail clippers with you when you go fishing?

15. Look over the following knots to determine which of the six you will need to learn.

knots.jpg

Step 2: Basic Set Up

1. Name the four critical specifications found on all AFTMA fly lines.

2. Rods are designed to cast a particular weighted fly line. The lines are numbered 1 - 12. Which line(s) would be most practical for the majority of your fishing waters? Briefly explain your reasons.

3. Why is it both practical and potentially useful to first add braided backing to your reel?

Step 3: Necessary Knots (Name each of the knots pictured.)

All-knots.gif

clinch.gif

Step 4: Casting

Place a large plate, a hoola-hoop or a pizza box out on the lawn at a distance of 20 feet. Cast your fly so it lands within a foot with three attempts. (Be sure to remove the hook portion of the fly. You may also just tie on a little piece of yarn.) Cast your fly at a plate at thirty feet so that it lands within two feet of the plate with three attempts. Now you have a baseline to measure how much you will have improved after you start the casting program.

Multiple Choice and True/False Questions:

1. A fly fishing rod, reel and line is said to be balanced when:
A. The line weight matches the recommended rod weight
B. The outfit is color coordinated
C. You can balance or hold the rod level on an extended finger with the balance point usually close to where the grip stops and the rod begins.

2. T/F The forward cast is more important than the back cast for distance and presentation.

3. Generally, when casting, the caster wants:
A. An open loop
B. A swing loop
C. A tight loop
D. No loop

lineloop.gif

4. When a caster does not let the line land on the water and continues casting overhead, forward and backward, he or she is said to be:
A. Shadow darting
B. False casting
C. Air line
D. Wasting time

5. What are three useful reasons for the answer to question 4?

6. Viewing the caster from behind, which is the better cast and why?

cant-rod.gif

7. Line drag spooks the fish and frustrates the caster when the faster current pushes the belly or mid-section of the line downstream. This causes an unnatural drag or acceleration of the fly. This constant factor is the fly fisher's greatest challenge to over come. Trout are creatures of habit, and they are conditioned by their environment. Viewing an artificial fly pattern zoom by their lie will not trigger a strike, as it is an unnatural phenomenon; therefore, the fly fisher has to cast in such a manner so as to drift the fly in a natural float. Describe two types of casts or casting technique that may be used to counter this problem of line drag?

8. Which is more important in casting, distance or presentation?

9. A steeple cast or a roll cast is most useful under what conditions?

10. The basic power stroke or casting arc can be illustrated on the following clock. Draw two lines connecting the large dot with the smaller dot or number which will demonstrate where the rod stops on the back cast and forward cast.

blankclock.gif

11. Which lettered illustration depicts the proper pick up of line off the water prior to starting into your back cast? A, B or C?

pickup.gif

12. Which is the best loop for casting?

13. What is a "wind knot" and how is it caused?

14. You find your fly splashing on the water behind you or catching on the grass. What two corrections should you make?

15. What forward casting adjustment could you make if you see your fly smashing onto the water with a splat?

16. If on your forward cast, your fly line and leader drift back towards you dropping into an unsightly pile, what forward cast adjustment do you need to make?

17. If you snap your fly off in mid air on a "crack-the-whip" cast, what forward cast adjustment do you need to make?

18. If on your forward cast, your line hits another part of the line or the rod during the cast, you will want to make an adjustment by _____________ your rod.

19. Most fish are caught on casts of __________
A. 5-10 feet
B. 20-40 feet
C. 40-50 feet
D. 50-70 feet

20. How would you compensate for the wind while casting?

rainbowprint.jpg.jpg

21. Identify the fish in the picture above.

brown.jpg

22. Identify the fish in the picture above.

cutthroat.jpg

23. Identify the fish in the picture above.

brook.jpg

24. Identify the fish in the picture above.

Step 5: Basic Fly Patterns: Identify the following popular fly patterns. See Step 5 for 20 Recommended Fly Patterns.

RoyalWulff-MB.jpg

Adams.jpg

elkhaircaddis-MB.jpg


tf-redhumpy.jpg

tf-hopper2.jpg

beetle-MB.jpg

mudler.JPG

tf-woollybug.jpg


The L.L. Bean Ultimate Book of Fly Fishing by Macauley Lord, Dick Talleur and Dave Whitlock

If I had a nickel for every how-to-fly fishing book that has been published during the last 20 years, I'd be fishing around the world in some pretty exotic places. My article "Mastering the Basics of Fly Fishing" was begun hastily years ago when I was preparing an outline for an introductory course for fathers and sons. Recently I was perusing the shelves for a primer to double check that I hadn't left anything out of my article. The Ultimate Book of Fly Fishing may be an overstatement; nonetheless it is a wonderful primer for the novice or beginner. The book is divided into three sections: Fly Fishing, Fly Casting, and Fly Tying. The photographs and diagrams are exceptional, and I couldn't resist adding another fly fishing book to my collection.

Go to Step 1: Identification and Function of Equipment

For additional freshwater fishing tips, visit Dave's companion site, Fishing Tips 101.

Sierra Trout Identification

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Trout Identification

Trout Identification / Salmonidae

Rainbow Trout / Oncorhynchus mykiss

Rainbow.jpg

Associated with the West Coast drainages, the Rainbow trout inspires reverence world wide since its stocked introduction to Japan, South America, the East Coast, Europe and New Zealand. Known for its fighting spirit and aerial acrobatics, the Rainbow trout is distinguished by its pinkish broad band along its lateral line and sometimes as far as its gills and cheeks. It is not uncommon for Rainbows living in deeper water to display orange and lavender hues at maturity. The other striking characteristic of this trout is the greenish bronze back and sides which are dotted with small black spots. The Rainbows underbelly is whitish or silvery. During the spawning period the males develop a hooked jaw, (oncorhynchus) and the rainbow pink darkens into a defining red. Also known by sportsman for its propensity for growth, especially in larger waters, the Rainbow has a sea-run member of its family in the steelhead of the West Coast. A variety of regional Rainbows are identified such as British Columbia’s Kamloop rainbow and specific drainage strains such as the McCloud River strain or the Kern River strain.

Habitat: Although the Rainbow trout has been cultured in breeding programs for a variety of water conditions, its preferred water is cold, clear oxygenated waters, particularly fast riffles and good flowing runs. It prefers water temperatures from 55 to high 60’s.

Food sources: Ranging from zooplankton to forage fish, Rainbows feed most heavily on insect life in streams and rivers.

Spawning: Depending on the geographical zone and water conditions, Rainbows begin spawning as early as March, but more typical are the months of April through June.

Cutthroat Trout / Salmo clarki

cutthroat.jpg

Covering a huge expanse of territory in the West, the Cutthroat is native to the southwest in the high plains and deserts of Colorado, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico to the over thrust of the Rockies to the Pacific estuaries and as far north as British Colombia. Although not noted for the fighting qualities of its close cousin the Rainbow, the Cutthroat is a revered trout in these regions so much so that in some parts of its range it is simply referred to as the native trout. The Cutthroat trout has many variants and sub-species, and it is known to cross-hybridize with the Rainbow trout. As its name implies, the Cutthroat has a bold, orange slash across the lower jaw which most easily identifies this as a singular trait of recognition. Marked with small black spots on its back and extending to the tail, the Cutthroat often displays a soft, golden or orange hue across its sides blending into a greenish, gray back. It too has a sea-going member in its family along the costal waters of British Columbia down to the Oregon shores. Unlike the steelhead, sea run Cutthroat tend to stay close to their home waters preferring the sanctuary of coastal estuaries.

Habitat: Cutthroats prefer colder water and do not adapt well to habitat degradation or competition from non-native species. Unlike Rainbows, Cutthroats tend not to grow as large as Rainbows in rivers or lakes. Although they can survive up to eight years, they rarely exceed eighteen inches in streams and rivers. They prefer deeper pools and good bank cover.

Food sources: Insect life

Spawning: Similar to the Rainbow, the great majority of Cutthroats spawn once in their lives. They spawn from March through as late as August. Like Rainbows they prefer shallow, fast water for their spawning beds in small stream tributaries. They do not reach sexual maturity for two to four years.

Brown Trout / Salmo Trutta (salmon trout)

brown.jpg

Closely identified with the Atlantic salmon and a native to Europe, the Brown trout is often associated with Germany and previously referred to as the German Brown, no doubt due to its importation by a New Yorker and a German immigrant in 1883. By 1889 the Brown Trout was being reared and stocked as far away as Montana. Initially the cries of protest were muted when opponents realized that the industrialized East had destroyed habitat for the sensitive Brook Trout. In its place the German Brown survived in warmer waters with some degree of pollution present. Pioneers in the art of fly fishing in Pennsylvania and New York discovered that the Brown trout rose readily to a dry fly, although it was more challenging to catch than a Brook trout, not doubt aided by the fact that larger Brown trout feed at night. Brownish overall, the sides are yellow-brown and are dotted with large dark spots towards the back, which in turn are ringed by a lighter hue. Along the lateral line are reddish-orange spots. The fins are clear.

Habitat: Brown trout prefer slower water, although they do survive and prosper in freestone rivers. They tolerate warmer water with greater silt concentrations than any other trout, but they too become stressed as water temperatures reach 70. They can live ten to twelve years in the wild and compete with the Rainbow trout for trophy status, especially in lakes and reservoirs.

Food sources: Aquatic and terrestrial insects, crustaceans and other fish.

Spawning: In drought sensitive Western states, Brown trout have a distinct advantage in that they spawn in the fall from October to February. Reservoirs are dewatered for irrigation and drawn down. By fall the irrigators have shut the gates. When the Brown trout move up the tributaries, they are spawning in running water that will soon be replenished. Instead of having their redds dry up during the late spring and summer, Brown fry have already emerged and begin moving to deeper water. Brown trout also have sea-run relatives both in Europe and the North Atlantic coast.


Brook Trout / Salvelinus fontinalis

brook.jpg

Called the Square Tail and the Speckled Trout, the Brook Trout is no trout at all. Rather it is a member of the char family, but science will not dissuade generations of anglers from early colonists on who call this favorite trout, just that, a trout. Much like the canary in the mine, the brookie, just like the Bull trout, is a bell weather warning against pollution and high levels of suspended sediment. Tending to be small in length, with the exception of Brookies found in Canadian lakes, the Brook trout, nonetheless, is admired for its beauty from Maine to California in the few remaining, unspoiled wilderness streams and creeks. The back tends to be a dark melding of brown and green with dark vermiculations from head to tail. Worm-like in appearance, the vermiculations resemble a maze all the way across the back. The sides are variations of green with some gray, along with distinct red dots surrounded by blue halos. The belly of the Brook trout ranges from pale yellow to pinkish orange and is muted with streaks of lead pencil shadings. The fins are lightly shaded hues of orange accented with white tips. The anal fin and the caudal fin display dark blotches.

Habitat: Found in cold, clear mountain creeks and spring-fed streams, Brook trout favor shore cover, especially where spring water filters in to the stream. Brook trout do not survive very well in water temperatures above 65.

Food sources: Aquatic and terrestrial insects, crustaceans and other fish. Preying on caddis worms and crustaceans, the Brook trout’s efficient digestive tract empties in less than a half hour. A pan size brookie won’t hesitate pouncing on small minnow.

Spawning: The Brook Trout spawn in the fall. Usually they spawn in their second season. In high elevation lakes and streams with very cold water, Brook trout tend to become stunted and may reach sexual maturity at five or six inches! They may also cross with a Brown trout creating sterile Tiger Trout.

For more fishing tips, visit Dave's companion site, Fishing Tips 101.

Bibliography

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Sources:

(1.)       Angler’s Guide to the Eastern Sierra – Bridgeport to Bishop by John Barbier, Trade Service Corporation, 1999. ISBN: 0-9651967-0-4

(2.)       Fly Fishing the Sierra Nevada by Bill Sunderland, Aquabonita Books, 1999, ISBN: 09-652566-0-x

(3.)       The Definitive Guide to Fishing in Central California by Chris Shaffer, Shafdog Publications, 2002.

(4.)       Eastern Sierra Fishing Guide for Day Hikers by John Barbier

 ISBN: 0-9651967-1-2

(5.)       Fly Fishing Mammoth – A Fly Fisher’s Guide to the Mammoth Lakes Area by Mark J. Hekett, Frank Amato Publications, 1994  ISBN: 1-878175-95-5

(6.)       California Fishing – The Complete Guide to More Than 1,200 Fishing Spots by Tom Stienstra, Avalon Travel Publishing, 2001  ISBN: 1-56691-287-3

(7.)       Yosemite Trout Fishing Guide by Steve Beck, Frank Amato Publications, 1995. ISBN: 1-57188-223-5

(8.)       Guide to Highway 395 Los Angeles to Reno by Ginny Clark, Western Trails Publication, 1997.  ISBN: 0-931532-26-4

(9) 2007 Eastern Sierra Fishing Guide (free), published by Bob Reitz

 

 

Parker Lake (day hike) / June Lake Loop

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Lake Name:  Parker Lake     Elevation: 8,350

Road condition:   Paved to dirt  road 

Day hike fishing: An easy to moderate grade, the trailhead to the lake is almost 2.5 miles.

Region: Mono Basin Scenic Area Ranger Station & Visitor Center 760-647-3044    Area/description: June Lake Loop day hike lake

Lake size: 23 acres    Species: Brook trout

Closest town or supplies: June Lake Village

Contacts: June Lake Chamber of Commerce (760) 648-7584; Mono Lake Ranger District (760) 647-3044

Nearest campground: June Lake

Fishing season: General     

Tips: Be sure to wet a line on Parker Creek, which parallels the trail at many junctures.

Favorite lures or bait: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)

Stocking information:

Additional information: Parker Lake is a popular hike-in lake for family picnics. It is a popular retreat from the heat of summer.

Nearby fishing: June Lake

Directions: From Highway 395 drive approximately 14 miles past the Mammoth Lakes junction.  Turn left at the sign for June Lake and drive 1.3 miles to Parker Lake Road. Drive to the end of the road to the trailhead.  The lake is approximately a 2.5 mile hike.

Walker-Rush-Grant.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

Rush Creek / June Lake Loop

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Name of creek: Rush Creek

Road condition:   Paved    

Region: June Lake Loop   Drainage: Silver Lake

Description: Rush Creek is a beautiful creek and receives as much attention as Bishop Creek.

Species: Stocked Rainbows

Closest town or supplies: June Lake Village

Contacts: June Lake Chamber of Commerce (760) 648-7584; Mono Lake Ranger District (760) 647-3044; Grant Lake Marina (760) 648-7539

Nearest campground: Silver Lake and Grant Lake

Fishing season: General      

Tips: I learned over 50 years ago to return to Rush Creek during low light hours.  The creek is clear, it is heavily fished and the trout dart away and hide at the first sign of humans or artificial lure bombardment.

Favorite lures or bait: Your best bet is to poke and dab using salmon eggs or worms.  Small weighted jig patterns, especially grubs and very small tube worms work very well, and do not over look live terrestrials if they are allowed.  If you are partial to lures bring along small Panther-Martins in a variety of colors. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: Woolly Buggers, Girdle Bugs, Yuk Bugs and terrestrial patterns always work well on creeks.  Dry fly patterns include Royal Wulffs, Parachute Adams, Humpies, Renegades, Stimulators, hoppers, ants, beetles and sometimes a Bead-head San Juan Worm. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques.  Also read the article on fishing creeks if you are new to the sport of angling.)

Stocking information: 19,000+

Nearby fishing: Reversed Creek, Silver Lake and Grant Lake

Additional information: The lake is so named as the water moves towards the mountains rather than downs slope and away from the mountains.

Directions: From Highway 395 drive approximately 14 miles past the Mammoth Lakes exit.  Turn left at the sign for June Lake.

Walker-Rush-Grant.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

Grant Lake / June Lake Loop

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Lake Name: Grant Lake     Elevation: 7,100

Road condition:   Paved  

Day hike fishing: Parker Lake

Region: Mono Basin Scenic Area Ranger Station & Visitor Center 760-647-3044          Area/description: June Lake Loop Lakes

Lake size:     Depth:      Species: Rainbows, Browns, Brookies and Cutthroats

Closest town or supplies: Lee Vining

Contacts: June Lake Chamber of Commerce (760) 648-7584; Mono Lake Ranger District (760) 647-3044; Grant Lake Marina (760) 648-7539

Facilities: Marina, bait and tackle, RV campground

Nearest campground: Grant Lake

Boating: Boat launch + water skiing

Fishing season: General   

Tips: What the lake lacks in scenery it makes up in fishing due to less pressure.

Favorite lures or bait: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)

Stocking information: 60,000+

Additional information:

Nearby fishing: June Lake, Gull Lake, Silver Lake, Reverse Creek, Rush Creek

Directions: From Highway 395 drive approximately 14 miles past the Mammoth Lakes exit.  Turn left at the sign for June Lake.

Walker-Rush-Grant.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

Silver Lake / June Lake Loop

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Lake Name: Silver Lake     Elevation: 7,500

Road condition:   Paved     

Day hike fishing: Parker Lake

Region: Mono Basin Scenic Area Ranger Station & Visitor Center 760-647-3044          Area/description: June Lake Loop Lakes

Lake size:     Depth:      Species:

Closest town or supplies: June Lake Village

Contacts: June Lake Chamber of Commerce (760) 648-7584; Mono Lake Ranger District (760) 647-3044; Silver Lake Resort (760) 648-7525; Ernie’s Tackle (760) 648-7756

Facilities: Resort, marina, grocery store, bait and tackle, RV campground, pack station

Nearest campground: Silver Lake Campground

Boating: Boat launch

Fishing season: General

Tips:

Favorite lures or bait: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)

Stocking information: 50,000 +

Additional information:

Nearby fishing: June Lake, Gull Lake, Reverse Creek, Rush Creek, Grant Lake

Directions: From Highway 395 drive approximately 14 miles past the Mammoth Lakes exit.  Turn left at the sign for June Lake.

JuneLakeMap.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

Reversed Creek / June Lake Loop

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Name of creek: Reversed Creek

Road condition:   Paved       

Region: June Lake Loop    Drainage: Gull Lake to Silver Lake

Description: A three-mile meadow type creek meandering through national forest, resorts and private property.

Species: Stocked Rainbows along with cruising trout from both Gull and Silver Lake

Closest town or supplies: June Lake Village

Contacts: June Lake Chamber of Commerce (760) 648-7584; Mono Lake Ranger District (760) 647-3044; Gull Lake Marina (760) 648-7539

Nearest campground: Gull Lake and Silver Lake

Fishing season: General       

Tips: Fish the waters close to both lakes.

Favorite lures or bait:

Favorite fly patterns:

Stocking information: 1200

Nearby fishing: June Lake, Gull Lake, Silver Lake, Rush Creek, Grant Lake

Additional information:

Directions: From Highway 395 drive approximately 14 miles past the Mammoth Lakes exit.  Turn left at the sign for June Lake.

JuneLakeMap.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

June Lake / June Lake Loop

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June Lake Loop: June Lake Loop is a 14-mile loop off Highway 395 beginning about fifteen miles north of Mammoth and exiting back on Highway 395 a few miles south of Lee Vining.  Noted for its scenic beauty and towering mountains, the loop winds through elegant summer homes, June Lake Village and four lakes: June, Gull, Silver and Grant Lake.  Reverse Creek, joining Gull Lake with Silver Lake, and Rush creek, joining Silver Lake and Grant Lake provide additional fishing and picnicking opportunities. For those who enjoy day hikes, Parker Lake and Walker Lake provide good fishing opportunities.  June Lake Loop is another Sierra scenic wonderland.

Map courtesy of http://mytopo.com/


JuneLakeMap.jpg



Lake Name: June Lake     Elevation: 7,650

Road condition:   Paved 

Day hike fishing: Parker Lake

Region: Mono Basin Scenic Area Ranger Station & Visitor Center 760-647-3044 Area/description: June Lake Loop

Lake size: 320    Depth: 140    Species:

Closest town or supplies: June Lake Village

Contacts: June Lake Chamber of Commerce (760) 648-7584; Mono Lake Ranger District (760) 647-3044; June Lake Marina (760) 648-7539; Ernie’s Tackle (760) 648-7756.

Facilities: Lodge, motels, marina, boat launch, grocery store, bait and tackle, RV campground

Nearest campground: June Lake Campground; Pine Cliff Resort

Boating: No motor restrictions

Fishing season: General        Best times:

Tips: Jeremy Ross, manager of Ernie's Tackle and Ski, recommends as his "First Choice Selections" the following bait and lures: Countdown Rapala lures in rainbow, brown, gold, fire-tiger and perch color patterns.  His first choice for Kastmaster lures is the Cutthroat, Metalic Perch followed by gold and silver; his next first choice selection is Thomas Buoyants in Gold-Red, Silver-Blue, Fire Tiger and Rainbow.  His first choice selection in bait is inflated night crawlers and Power Bait or Gulp.  His "Second Choice Selections" are original Rapala lures, Dare Devil lures in red and white and salmon eggs.  Jeremy recommends Power Eggs or Nitro Eggs as well as Pautske Red or Green label eggs.  Finally, he rounds out his recommendations with Mepps Aglia in assorted colors, Trout Teasers and Panther Martin and Tazmanian Devils.

Favorite lures or bait: Trollers do well on June Lake (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)

Stocking information: 85,000 + Alpers + fingerling plants

Additional information: June Lake offers a beach and swimming on its eastern shore

Nearby fishing: Gull Lake, Reverse Creek, Silver Lake, Rush Creek, Grant Lake

Directions: From Highway 395 drive approximately 14 miles past the Mammoth Lakes exit.  Turn left at the sign for June Lake.

Glass Creek / June Lake Area

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Name of creek: Glass Creek

Road condition:   Paved       Paved to gravel      Gravel or dirt  road         4x4 road

Region: Between Mammoth and June Lake Loop      

Description: A very small and shallow creek.  I hesitate in mentioning this one.

Species: Stocked Rainbows

Closest town or supplies:

Contacts: June Lake Chamber of Commerce (760) 648-7584; Mono Lake Ranger District (760) 647-3044; June Lake Marina (760) 648-7539; Ernie’s Tackle (760) 648-7756.

Nearest campground: Hartley Springs Campground

Fishing season: General    

Tips:

Favorite lures or bait: Most Sierra creeks are too small to fish effectively with lures and spinners.  Your best bet is to poke and dab using salmon eggs or worms.  Small weighted jig patterns, especially grubs and very small tube worms work very well, and do not over look live terrestrials if they are allowed.  If you are partial to lures bring along small Panther-Martins in a variety of colors. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: Using a poke and dab presentation, small Woolly Buggers, Girdle Bugs, Yuk Bugs and terrestrial patterns always work well on creeks.  Dry fly patterns include Royal Wulffs, Parachute Adams, Humpies, Renegades, Stimulators, hoppers, ants, beetles and sometimes a Bead-head San Juan Worm. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques.  Also read the article on fishing creeks if you are new to the sport of angling.)

Stocking information: 2900

Nearby fishing: Deadman Creek

Additional information:

Directions: From Highway 395 drive past Mammoth Lakes Junction for ___ miles and turn left on Glass Creek Road.  Continue a short distance to the campground and creek.

Glass-Deadman.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

Deadman Creek / June Lake Area

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Name of creek: Deadman Creek

Road condition:   Paved      

Region: Between Mammoth and June Lake Loop

Description: A small and shallow creek

Species: Stocked Rainbows and some wild Brookies

Closest town or supplies: June Lake Village

Contacts: June Lake Chamber of Commerce (760) 648-7584; Mono Lake Ranger District (760) 647-3044; June Lake Marina (760) 648-7539; Ernie’s Tackle (760) 648-7756.

Nearest campground: Deadman Creek Campground; Big Springs Campground

Fishing season: General       

Tips:

Favorite lures or bait: Most Sierra creeks are too small to fish effectively with lures and spinners.  Your best bet is to poke and dab using salmon eggs or worms or Power Bait.  Small weighted jig patterns, especially grubs and very small tube worms work very well, and do not over look live terrestrials if they are allowed.  If you are partial to lures bring along small Panther-Martins in a variety of colors. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: Using a poke and dab presentation, small Woolly Buggers, Girdle Bugs, Yuk Bugs and terrestrial patterns always work well on creeks.  Dry fly patterns include Royal Wulffs, Parachute Adams, Humpies, Renegades, Stimulators, hoppers, ants, beetles and sometimes a Bead-head San Juan Worm. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques.  Also read the article on fishing creeks if you are new to the sport of angling.)

Stocking information: 1600 in and around the campground

Nearby fishing: Glass Creek Campground; Deadman Creek Campground; Big Springs Campground

Additional information:

Directions: From Highway 395 drive past Mammoth Lakes Junction for ___ miles and turn left on Deadman Creek Road.  Continue three miles to the campground and creek.

Glass-Deadman.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

Owens River / Crestview / June Lake Area

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UpperOwens.jpg

Photo courtesy of David Neal, www.reelmammothadventures.com

Name of river: Upper Owens River – Crestview

Road condition:   Paved      

Region: Between Mammoth Lakes and June Lake   

Description: Meadow spring creek

Species:

Closest town or supplies: Mammoth Lakes or June Lake Village

Contacts: June Lake Chamber of Commerce (760) 648-7584; Mono Lake Ranger District (760) 647-3044; June Lake Marina (760) 648-7539; Ernie’s Tackle (760) 648-7756.

Nearest campground: Big Springs Campground

Wild-Iris.jpg






















Wild Iris on the Upper Owens River, May 2007.  Photo by H. Blackburn.  Courtesy  of Mammoth Mountain.

Fishing season: General       

Tips:

Favorite lures or bait:

Favorite fly patterns:

Stocking information: 24,000+

Nearby fishing:

Additional information: Access to the public is limited to the Big Spring area, which receives heavy pressure throughout the summer months.  The water is slow and clear requiring stealth, a low profile and light lines.  The small fish are privately stocked by Alpers Trout Farm nearby, but there are wild fish populations. Restrictions: Artificial flies and lures.  Another access point is from Benton Crossing Road

Directions: From Highway 395 drive past the junction with Hwy 203 another seven miles north to Owens River Road.  Turn right and drive two miles to Big Springs Campground.

CrestviewBest.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

Minaret Creek / Mammoth Area / Devils Postpile Area

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Name of creek: Minaret Creek

Road condition: Paved to gravel   Note: Read about the Mandatory Travel Restrictions noted on Sotcher Lake

Region: Mammoth Lakes Ranger District    Area: Devil’s Postpile / Red’s Meadow / Middle Fork, San Joaquin River

Description: A very small creek

Species: Small Brookies along with a few Rainbows

Closest town or supplies: Mammoth Lakes

Contacts: Red’s Meadow Resort and Pack Station (800) 292-7758 Stop! Here is a must see web site with video streams of pack trips offered by Red’s Meadow –

http://www.redsmeadow.com/

Mammoth Lakes Visitor Bureau (888) 466-2666 / (760)-924-5500; Rick’s Sports Center (760) 934-3416; The Trout Fitter fly shop (760) 934-2517.

Nearest campground: Minaret Falls Campground; Devil’s Postpile Campground

Fishing season: General       

Tips:

Favorite lures or bait: Most Sierra creeks are too small to fish effectively with lures and spinners.  Your best bet is to poke and dab using salmon eggs or worms.  Small weighted jig patterns, especially grubs and very small tube worms work very well, and do not over look live terrestrials if they are allowed.  If you are partial to lures bring along small Panther-Martins in a variety of colors. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: Using a poke and dab presentation, small Woolly Buggers, Girdle Bugs, Yuk Bugs and terrestrial patterns always work well on creeks.  Dry fly patterns include Royal Wulffs, Parachute Adams, Humpies, Renegades, Stimulators, hoppers, ants, beetles and sometimes a Bead-head San Juan Worm. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques.  Also read the article on fishing creeks if you are new to the sport of angling.)

Stocking information:

Nearby fishing: Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River

Additional information:

Directions: From Highway 395, turn west on Mammoth Lakes Road and drive three miles to Minaret Road.  Turn right on Minaret Road which leads to Agnew Meadow and the Devils Postpile Monument.

DevilsPostpile.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

Lake Name:  Starkweather Lake     Elevation: 7,800

Road condition:   Paved to gravel   Note: Read about the Mandatory Travel Restrictions noted on Sotcher Lake

Day hike fishing: Sherwin Lakes, Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River

Region: Mammoth Lakes Ranger District         

Area/description: Devil’s Postpile / Red’s Meadow / Middle Fork, San Joaquin River

Lake size: 3.5 acres     Species: Rainbows

Closest town: Mammoth Lakes

Contacts: Red’s Meadow Resort and Pack Station (800) 292-7758 Stop! Here is a must see web site with video streams of pack trips offered by Red’s Meadow –

http://www.redsmeadow.com/

Mammoth Lakes Visitor Bureau (888) 466-2666 / (760)-924-5500; Rick’s Sports Center (760) 934-3416; The Trout Fitter fly shop (760) 934-2517.

Facilities: Red’s Meadow Resort and Pack Station

Facilities: Resort and pack station

Nearest campground:

Fishing season: General     

Tips:

Favorite lures or bait: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)

Stocking information: 10,000+

Additional information:

Nearby fishing: Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River, Sotcher Lake

Directions: From Highway 395, turn west on Mammoth Lakes Road and drive three miles to Minaret Road.  Turn right on Minaret Road and travel nine miles to this shallow lake on the right.

DevilsPostpile.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

Sotcher Lake / Mammoth Lakes Area

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Lake Name:  Sotcher Lake       Elevation: 7,600

Road condition:  Paved to gravel  Note: Mandatory travel restrictions are enforced for the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River and the Devils Postpile National Monument area.  Only campers are allowed to drive on the road from 7:00 A.M to 7:30 P.M.  A shuttle bus operates repeatedly throughout the day from the Mammoth Mountain Ski area for visitors during these restricted travel times. “All visitors accessing the recreational opportunities and activities in the Reds Meadow Valley are charged a per-person transportation fee. Fees are collected during the entire open season and all hours of the day. Fees are used to operate the shuttle system. If visitors arrive when the station is closed, their fee will be collected upon their exit from the valley. Passes are available at the Shuttle Terminal at Mammoth Mountain Main Lodge Gondola Building and also at Minaret Vista Station for those few exceptions that are not required to ride the bus.

The shuttle service to Reds Meadow/Devils Postpile began in 1979. The shuttle was determined necessary to reduce the impact on the environment from vehicle traffic. The narrow road into the Reds Meadow area serves as the only access to the San Joaquin River Valley , the Devils Postpile National Monument , Rainbow Falls and 5 trailheads leading into the John Muir and Ansel Adams Wilderness Areas, including the Pacific Crest Trail and John Muir Trail. The road also allows access to 186 campsites (6 campgrounds), 4 nature trails, and 2 day use lakes, Reds Meadow Pack Station and Lodge, and Agnew Meadows Pack Station. Vehicle use and Exceptions

Excessive vehicle use is the reason for a mandatory shuttle bus. However, some exceptions are recognized. Following is a list of most exceptions:

  • Vehicles entering the valley before 7:00 am , or after 7:30 pm
  • Vehicles carrying passengers with a disabled placard (once in the valley visitors must hike to most sites)
  • Vehicles towing horse trailers or other livestock
  • Campers camping in the Reds Meadow area
  • Overnight Resort Guests
  • Administrative vehicles
  • Vehicles carrying car top boats, canoes, kayaks for use in valley

Exceptions are still charged the per person transportation fee.”

 http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/inyo/recreation/redsmeadow.shtml

Name of Lake: Sotcher Lake

Region: Mammoth Lakes Ranger District 760-924-5500          

Area/description: Devil’s Postpile / Red’s Meadow / Middle Fork, San Joaquin River

Lake size: 22 acres   Species: Rainbows and Brookies

Closest town: Mammoth Lakes

Contacts: Red’s Meadow Resort and Pack Station (800) 292-7758 Stop! Here is a must see web site with video streams of pack trips offered by Red’s Meadow –

http://www.redsmeadow.com/

Mammoth Lakes Visitor Bureau (888) 466-2666 / (760)-924-5500; Rick’s Sports Center (760) 934-3416; The Trout Fitter fly shop (760) 934-2517.

Facilities: Red’s Meadow Resort and Pack Station

Nearest campground: Agnew Meadows Campground; Red’s Meadow Campground; Devils Postpile National Monument Campground

Fishing season: General 

Tips:

Favorite lures or bait: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)

Boating: No gas-powered motors

Stocking information: 12,000 +

Additional information: This is an excellent small lake for float tube fishing.

Nearby fishing: Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River, Starkweather Lake

Directions: From Highway 395, turn west on Mammoth Lakes Road and drive three miles to Minaret Road.  Turn right on Minaret Road and travel almost twelve miles to a fork in the road.  Take the left fork and drive less than a half-mile to the lake. (See above information on Mandatory Travel Restrictions.)

DevilsPostpile.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

McLeod Lake (day hike) / Mammoth Lakes Area

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Lake Name:  McLeod Lake      Elevation: 9,250

Road condition:   Paved to Horseshoe Lake parking area

Day hike fishing: A moderate grade on a short half-mile hike to McLeod Lake

Region: Mammoth Lakes Ranger District 760-924-5500          

Area/description: Mammoth Lakes; trailhead from Horseshoe Lake to McLeod Lake

Lake size: 9 acres    Species: Cutthroat trout

Closest town or supplies: Mammoth Lakes

Contacts: Mammoth Lakes Visitor Bureau (888) 466-2666 / (760)-924-5500; Rick’s Sports Center (760) 934-3416; The Trout Fitter fly shop (760) 934-2517.

Nearest campground:

Fishing season: General   

Tips:

Favorite lures or bait: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)

Stocking information:

Additional information:

Nearby fishing: Mammoth Lakes

Directions: From Highway 395 turn west at the junction with Highway 203 and drive through Mammoth Lakes.  Turn onto Lake Mary Road and drive approximately five miles to Horseshoe Lake parking area.

Mamie Lake / Mammoth Lakes Area

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Lake Name: Mamie Lake     Elevation: 8,960

Road condition:   Paved   

Day hike fishing: T.J. Lake, Crystal Lake, McLeod Lake

Region: Mammoth Lakes Ranger District 760-924-5500   

Area/description: Mammoth Lakes

Lake size: 19     Species: Rainbows, Browns and Brookies

Closest town or supplies: Mammoth Lakes

Contacts: Wildyrie Lodge (760) 934-2444; Mammoth Lakes Visitor Bureau (888) 466-2666 / (760)-924-5500; Rick’s Sports Center (760) 934-3416; The Trout Fitter fly shop (760) 934-2517.

Facilities: Wildyrie Lodge, bike and boat rentals

Nearest campground: Lake Mary (See Category: Camping – Bishop to June Lake)

Boating: A fee launch ramp is provided, but no motors are permitted.

Fishing season: General        Best times:

Tips: Be sure to go to the outlet viewing platform to see the falls and Twin Lakes 250 feet down the mountain side.

Favorite lures or bait: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)

Stocking information: 13,000 +

Additional information: Long and narrow, the lake fishes well with a variety of methods.

Nearby fishing: Twin Lakes, Lake Mary, Lake George

Directions: From Highway 395 turn west at the junction with Highway 203 and drive through Mammoth Lakes.  Turn on Lake Mary Road and drive past Twin Lakes and Lake Mary to Mamie Lake.

MammothBasinLakes.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

Crystal Lake / (day hike) Mammoth Lakes Area

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Lake Name: Crystal Lake      Elevation: 9,600

Road condition:   Paved to trailhead parking

Day hike fishing: 1.3 miles with a moderate grade

Region: Mammoth Lakes Ranger District 760-924-5500

Area/description: Mammoth day hike from Lake George

Lake size: 13    Species: Rainbows, Brookies and Golden Trout

Closest town or supplies: Mammoth Lakes

Contacts: Mammoth Lakes Visitor Bureau (888) 466-2666 / (760)-924-5500; Rick’s Sports Center (760) 934-3416; The Trout Fitter fly shop (760) 934-2517.

Facilities: Lodge, marina, grocery store, bait and tackle, coin-laundry, coin-showers, RV campground

Nearest campground:

Fishing season: General        Best times:

Tips:

Favorite lures or bait: Use small lures such as Kastmasters, Daredevils and Panther-Martins.  Bring smaller lures, but have a variety of color combinations to entice both shallow and deep cruising trout.  (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: Fly & Bubble technique with small nymphs such as Hare’s Ear, Zug Bug, Bead-Head Prince Nymph, Pheasant Tail or a Tellico Shrimp; for larger trout be sure to have some good streamer patterns, particularly the Olive Matuka, Woolly Buggers and leech patterns. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)

Additional information:

Nearby fishing: Lake George, Lake Mamie, Lake Mary, Twin Lakes

Directions: From Highway 395 turn west at the junction with Highway 203 and drive through Mammoth Lakes.  Turn on Lake Mary Road and drive 3.5 miles to the lake.  From the parking lot, take the Crystal Lake Trail 1.3 miles to Crystal Lake.

MammothBasinLakes.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

Lake Mary / Mammoth Lakes Area

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Lake Name: Lake Mary  

LMaryCanoist.jpg


Road condition:   Paved   

Day hike fishing: Duck Pass Trail: Arrowhead Lake, Skelton Lake, Barney and Red Lake; T.J. Lake, Crystal Lake, McLeod Lake

Region:  Mammoth Lakes Ranger District 760-924-5500 

Area/description: Mammoth Lakes

Lake size: 140    Species: Rainbows and Browns

Closest town or supplies: Mammoth Lakes

Contacts: Mammoth Lakes Visitor Bureau (888) 466-2666 / (760)-924-5500; Rick’s Sports Center (760) 934-3416; The Trout Fitter fly shop (760) 934-2517.

Facilities: Lodge, marina, grocery store, bait and tackle, coin-laundry, coin-showers, RV campground

Nearest campground: Lake Mary Campground; Coldwater Campground; Pine City Campground (Refer to the Camping Category – Bishop to June Lake)

Boating:

Fishing season: General   

LakeMaryBoats.jpg

Tips: Lake Mary is a popular spot for fly anglers

LMaryTuber.jpg

Favorite lures or bait: Use small lures such as Kastmasters, Daredevils and Panther-Martins.  Bring smaller lures, but have a variety of color combinations to entice both shallow and deep cruising trout.  Bank anglers typically use Power Bait, night crawlers or salmon eggs suspended above the bottom with marshmallows. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: The Fly & Bubble technique with small nymphs such as Hare’s Ear, Zug Bug, Bead-Head Prince Nymph, Pheasant Tail or a Tellico Shrimp; for larger trout be sure to have some good streamer patterns, particularly the Olive Matuka, Woolly Buggers and leech patterns. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)

Stocking information: 33,000 + carry-over survivors

FishReport.jpg

Nearby fishing: Mamie Lake, Lake George, Twin Lakes

Directions: From Highway 395 turn west at the junction with Highway 203 and drive through Mammoth Lakes.  Turn on Lake Mary Road and drive 3.5 miles to the lake.

MammothBasinLakes.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com















Lake Name: Lake George     Elevation: 9,006

Road condition:   Paved  

Day hike fishing: T.J. Lake, Crystal Lake, McLeod Lake

Region: Mammoth Lakes Ranger District 760-924-5500 

Area/description: Mammoth Lakes

Lake size: 38    Depth: 200     Species: Rainbows

Closest town or supplies: Mammoth Lakes

LakeGeorge.jpg

Contacts: Mammoth Lakes Visitor Bureau (888) 466-2666 / (760)-924-5500; Rick’s Sports Center (760) 934-3416; The Trout Fitter fly shop (760) 934-2517.

Facilities: Boat launch, bait and tackle

Nearest campground: Lake George Campground

Boating

LKGeorgeDock.jpg


Fishing season: General        Best times:

Tips: Typically the lake is not ice free until June

Favorite lures or bait: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: Trolling or using the Fly & Bubble technique with small nymphs such as Hare’s Ear, Zug Bug, Bead-Head Prince Nymph, Pheasant Tail or a Tellico Shrimp; for larger trout be sure to have some good streamer patterns, particularly the Olive Matuka, Woolly Buggers and leech patterns. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)

Stocking information: 24,000 + Alpers

Additional information:

Nearby fishing: Twin Lakes, Lake Mary, Mamie Lake

Directions: From Highway 395 turn west at the junction with Highway 203 and drive through Mammoth Lakes.  Turn onto Lake Mary Road and drive 3.5 miles to the lake.

 

Twin Lakes / Mammoth Lakes Area

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Lake Name: Twin Lakes      Elevation: 8,600

Twin-Up-Use.jpg

Road condition:   Paved  

Day hike fishing: T.J. Lake, Crystal Lake, McLeod Lake

Region: Mammoth Lakes Ranger District 760-924-5500 

Area/description: Mammoth Lakes

Size: 30 acres  Species: Rainbows, Browns and Brookies

Closest town or supplies: Mammoth Lakes

Contacts: Twin Lakes Store (760) 934-6974; Mammoth Lakes Visitor Bureau (888) 466-2666 / (760)-924-5500; Rick’s Sports Center (760) 934-3416; The Trout Fitter fly shop (760) 934-2517.

Facilities: Lodge, marina, grocery store, bait and tackle, coin-laundry, coin-showers

Nearest campground: Twin Lakes Campground; Mammoth Mountain RV Park; New and Old Shady Rest Campgrounds; Pine Glen

Boating: Boat launch; no gas-powered motors

Fishing season: General        Best times:

Tips:



Favorite lures or bait: Use small lures such as Kastmasters, Daredevils and Panther-Martins.  Bring smaller lures, but have a variety of color combinations to entice both shallow and deep cruising trout.  Bank anglers typically use Power Bait, night crawlers or salmon eggs suspended above the bottom with marshmallows. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: : The Fly & Bubble technique with small nymphs such as Hare’s Ear, Zug Bug, Bead-Head Prince Nymph, Pheasant Tail or a Tellico Shrimp; for larger trout be sure to have some good streamer patterns, particularly the Olive Matuka, Woolly Buggers and leech patterns. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)

TwinAngler.jpg

Stocking information: 20,000 plus yearly carry-overs

TwinBridge-Use.jpg

Additional information: High pressure

Nearby fishing: Lake Mary, Mamie Lake, Lake George

Directions: From Highway 395 turn west at the junction with Highway 203 and drive through Mammoth Lakes.  Turn onto Lake Mary Road.  Drive 2.3 miles to Twin Lakes.

MammothBasinLakes.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

Mammoth Lakes: Permit an aging angler to wax nostalgic. As a young boy attending Bishop Elementary School as a third grader, I soon discovered the children’s only fishing area at one of the parks.  Borrowing my father’s South Bend fly rod, I headed for the park on a beautiful fall afternoon.  Using a stick to dig with, I soon pulled up a number of earth worms and grubs, which I deposited in my hinged worm can that could be worn from a belt.  Walking the bank, I soon found my elusive quarry fining below a large, swaying water cress plant. I had no idea how to cast an 8’ fly rod, and my frustration soon got the better of me when I saw the trout dart away to a new hiding place.  A few older boys gathered behind me on the bank.  I looked up to see one of Doc Wilson’s older sons.  “Do you need some help?” he asked.

            I lowered my rod with a dejected sigh.  “Yeah, but I want to catch a fish all by myself,” I replied.

            “Well,” the oldest boy grinned, “I can help you do that.  I’ll just get your worm out there in the water, but you’ll have to catch the fish.”

            “OK!” I said, eager to begin a fishing lesson that my father had failed to initiate after many requests.  I followed the older boy downstream to where a fence crossed the small channel.  We crawled on our hands and knees the last few yards.  Peeking through the grass on the bank above the water, we could see a couple of trout feeding right under the wire fence.  The older boy flipped the worm out in the water and handed the rod to me.  “Now, shake out some line.  Just lift your rod a little and point it downstream.  Shake it a little more.”

            I couldn’t believe my eyes.  The red worm, neatly skewered on an Eagle snelled hook, gradually worked down to the feeding trout.  One of the trout darted over to the worm and greedily swallowed it.  I didn’t have to be told how to set the hook.  I was on my feet running backwards.  The little Rainbow never escaped the hook until I had him half-way on to the playground.  The other boys laughed with glee, and so did I when I ran home to show my mom my first trout.  Later, when I was in junior high, I spent a week or more fishing Mammoth Lakes and Rush Creek.  I caught a dozen trout every day.  I probably had no idea what the limit was, but my mother’s imposed limit was simply you ate what you caught that day because she wasn’t about to let trout pile up in our camping ice box.

 

            In 1959 the mantra “Catch-and-Release” had not been coined.  I was in ninth grade, and I had just sold my bicycle, cleaned out my Piggy bank and bought my first boat.  It was a Fold-A-Boat, a leaky old plywood and canvass ten foot pram that I christened the “Twilight Wanderer.”  Each day I would row out on Twin Lakes with a peanut butter sandwich wrapped in wax paper, a water jug and a bailing bucket.  My spinning rod was a Berkley and my spinning reel was a Langley 777.  My only lures were red and white Daredevils.  When I saw my mother open up the trailer doors on our little 15-foot camper and let my sisters out to play in the morning, I knew it was time to head in with my catch for a hearty trout breakfast.  My father had died the previous summer.  This trip to my father’s home area was a trip we had planned with my father a year earlier.  My mother cooked trout as a side dish every night for me.  It was a glorious fishing trip.

 

TwinBoats.jpg

            Mammoth Lakes is a world class destination resort offering recreation all year.  Trendy shops, 4-Star restaurants, world class skiing and public camping nearby makes this community a fun place to visit.  Add great fishing and you will understand why it is LA’s favorite playground.  Mammoth Lakes comprises nine lakes in close proximity to each other.  Five of these lakes are reached by paved road, and the remaining lakes may be reached in short hikes or day hikes.  Lake Mary is the largest at 140 acres, and a road circles the lake with access to Mamie Lake, Horseshoe Lake and Lake George.  From Lake George hiking trails lead to T.J. Lake and Crystal Lake.  Barrett Lake is barren and Horseshoe Lake should probably be avoided due to the posted health warnings for high admissions of Co2 from volcanic fissures.  Sure, trout still survive in small numbers, but do you really want to spend time around an odorless gas that harms plant life and animal life?  McLeod Lake trailhead may be reached from the Horseshoe Lake parking lot.  McLeod Lake is a short half-mile hike up the trail.  My sentimental favorite, however, is Twin Lakes, the first lakes to be reached on Lake Mary Road.  The Mammoth Lake area also features Convict Lake, Crowley Lake and Laurel Lakes.  If your only association for Mammoth is world-class skiing, think again!

 

Laurel Lakes / Mammoth Lakes Area

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Lake Name: Laurel Lakes      Elevation: 10,000

Road condition:   Dirt road to 4x4 spur road that is best suited to high-clearance 4x4 vehicles with short axle spacing.

Day hike fishing: A challenging and steep 4.5 mile hike

Region:           Area/description:

Lake size: 2 and 8 acres    Species: Golden trout

Closest town or supplies: Mammoth Lakes

Contacts: Mammoth Lakes Visitor Bureau (888) 466-2666 / (760)-924-5500; Rick’s Sports Center (760) 934-3416; The Trout Fitter fly shop (760) 934-2517.

Nearest campground:

Fishing restrictions: Barbless flies and lures and a 14-inch minimum, two-fish limit

Fishing season: General        Best times:

Tips:

Favorite lures or bait: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)

Stocking information:

Additional information:

Nearby fishing: Sherwin Lakes, Mammoth Lakes

Directions: From Highway 395 turn west at the junction with Highway 203.  One of the first exit roads from Highway 203 will be the Sherwin Creek Road, which is a dirt road. Look for the Laurel Lakes Jeep Road and Trail at about a mile.  This demanding jeep road is approximately 4.5 miles to the lake, and it does require a high-clearance 4x4.

Mam-Sher-Laurel.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

                       

Mammoth Creek / Mammoth Lakes Area

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Name of creek: Mammoth Creek

Road condition:   Paved   

Region: Mammoth Lakes   

Description: A tiny, brushy creek with 10,000 stocked fish!

Species: Planted Rainbows

Closest town or supplies: Mammoth Lakes

Contacts: Mammoth Lakes Visitor Bureau (888) 466-2666 / (760)-924-5500; Rick’s Sports Center (760) 934-3416; The Trout Fitter fly shop (760) 934-2517.

Nearest campground:

Fishing season: General       

Tips:

Favorite lures or bait: Most Sierra creeks are too small to fish effectively with lures and spinners.  Your best bet is to poke and dab using salmon eggs or worms.  Small weighted jig patterns, especially grubs and very small tube worms work very well, and do not over look live terrestrials if they are allowed.  If you are partial to lures bring along small Panther-Martins in a variety of colors. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: Using a poke and dab presentation, small Woolly Buggers, Girdle Bugs, Yuk Bugs and terrestrial patterns always work well on creeks.  Dry fly patterns include Royal Wulffs, Parachute Adams, Humpies, Renegades, Stimulators, hoppers, ants, beetles and sometimes a Bead-head San Juan Worm. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques.  Also read the article on fishing creeks if you are new to the sport of angling.)

Stocking information:

Nearby fishing:

Additional information:

Directions: From Highway 395 turn west at the junction with Highway 203.  Drive 2.7 miles and turn left on Old Mammoth Road.  Within less than a mile, turn left on Sherwin Creek Road and park for downstream access.

 

Sherwin Lakes (day hike) / Mammoth Area

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Lake Name: Sherwin Lakes  (five small lakes each less than five acres with the smallest (mid-center) being barren.    Elevation: 8,600

Road condition:   Paved to dirt

Day hike fishing: The hike is a little over two miles on a well-maintained trail

Region: Mammoth Lakes Ranger District (760) 924-5500

Lake size: The largest two lakes at approximately 5 acres are the last in the chain. Species: Rainbows and Brookies

Closest town or supplies: Mammoth Lakes

Contacts: Mammoth Lakes Visitor Bureau (888) 466-2666 / (760)-924-5500; Rick’s Sports Center (760) 934-3416; The Trout Fitter fly shop (760) 934-2517.

Nearest campground: Sherwin Creek Campground

Fishing season: General   

Tips: Wading is difficult due to the terrain and steep drop-offs. 

Favorite lures or bait: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)

Stocking information: Back country stocking program

Additional information / Sherwin Creek: Sherwin Creek is a small creek that is planted with 5,000 + Rainbows in and around the campground

Nearby fishing: Mammoth Lakes

Directions: From Highway 395 turn west at the junction with Highway 203.  One of the first exit roads from Highway 203 will be the Sherwin Creek Road, which is a dirt road.  Drive approximately three miles to the Sherwin Lakes Trailhead.

Mam-Sher-Laurel.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

Hot Creek / Mammoth Lakes Area

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Name of creek: Hot Creek

Road condition:  Paved to gravel   

Region: Mammoth Lakes    Drainage: Owens River

Description: A classic and world famous catch-and-release spring creek with only one mile of access for the public.

Species: Browns and Rainbows

Closest town or supplies: Mammoth Lakes

Contacts: Mammoth Lakes Visitor Bureau (888) 466-2666 / (760)-924-5500; Rick’s Sports Center (760) 934-3416; The Trout Fitter fly shop (760) 934-2517.

Nearest campground: Convict Lake Campground; Crowley Lake Fish Camp; BLM campsites on Crowley Lake

Fishing season: General       

Tips: As typical on most spring creeks, use long leaders and 6 or 7X tippets.  Favorite patterns are Caddis imitations and small Mayflies.  Oops!  Did I mention single, barbless hooks? As the season progresses so too does the aquatic plant growth.  With prolific numbers of 12-inch fish and a fair number of Browns reaching 16-20 inches, it is no wonder anglers from all around the world come here to test their skills against educated trout who see more visitors than some theme parks.  Nonetheless, skilled anglers are fairly successful, especially during the evening hatches.

Favorite fly patterns: Caddis, Parachute Adams…. Check with a local fly shop

Stocking information:

Nearby fishing: Mammoth Lakes; Crowley Lake; Convict Creek and lake

Additional information: The creek, due to its warm water temperatures, does not freeze during the winter and provides a plethora of insect life that supports a large population of wild trout.  It is estimated that the creek supports upwards of 10,000 fish per mile! Hot Creek has two public access parking areas. Hot Creek Ranch offers private pay to fish access to Hot Creek.

Directions: From Highway 395 drive past Benton Crossing Road above Crowley Lake.  Look for Convict Lake Road on the left across the highway from Mammoth Airport.  Look for the Hot Creek Hatcher Road.  Turn right and follow the dirt road to the access parking areas and hike down to the creek.

HotCreek.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

Convict Creek / Convict Lake Drainage

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Name of creek: Convict Creek

Road condition:   Paved 

Region: Crowley Lake / Mammoth Lakes   Drainage: Convict Lake

Description: A small

Species: Stocked Rainbows along with some wild Browns

Closest town or supplies: Tom’s Place, Mammoth Lakes

Contacts: Convict Lake Resort (760) 934-3800; Crowley Lake Fish Camp (760) 935-4301; Mammoth Lakes Visitor Bureau (888) 466-2666 / (760)-924-5500; Rick’s Sports Center (760) 934-3416; The Trout Fitter fly shop (760) 934-2517.

Nearest campground: Convict Lake Campground

Fishing season: General       

Tips:

Favorite lures or bait: Most Sierra creeks are too small to fish effectively with lures and spinners.  Your best bet is to poke and dab using salmon eggs or worms or Power Bait.  Small weighted jig patterns, especially grubs and very small tube worms work very well, and do not over look live terrestrials if they are allowed.  If you are partial to lures bring along small Panther-Martins in a variety of colors. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: Using a poke and dab presentation, small Woolly Buggers, Girdle Bugs, Yuk Bugs and terrestrial patterns always work well on creeks.  Dry fly patterns include Royal Wulffs, Parachute Adams, Humpies, Renegades, Stimulators, hoppers, ants, beetles and sometimes a Bead-head San Juan Worm. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques.  Also read the article on fishing creeks if you are new to the sport of angling.)

Stocking information: 15,000 +

Nearby fishing: Convict Lake, McGee Creek, Crowley Lake, Mammoth Lakes

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Additional information: The outlet is the most heavily stocked area.

Directions: From Highway 395, drive 35 miles north of Bishop and turn left on Convict Lake Road.

Convict-McGee.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 


Convict Lake / Crowley Lake Area

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Lake Name: Convict Lake      Elevation: 7,580

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Road condition:   Paved  

Day hike fishing:

Region: Mammoth Lakes Ranger District 760-924-5500        

Area/description: Mammoth Lakes / Crowley Lake area

Lake size: Nearly a mile long    Depth: 140    Species: Rainbows and Brookies

Closest town or supplies: Convict Lake Resort; Tom’s Place, Mammoth Lakes

Contacts: Convict Lake Resort (760) 934-3800; Crowley Lake Fish Camp (760) 935-4301; Mammoth Lakes Visitor Bureau (888) 466-2666 / (760)-924-5500; Rick’s Sports Center (760) 934-3416; The Trout Fitter fly shop (760) 934-2517.

Facilities: Lodge, marina, grocery store, bait and tackle, RV campground

Nearest campground: Convict Lake Campground; Crowley Lake Fish Camp

Boating: Boat launching fee

Fishing season: General

ConvictStore.jpg

Tips: If you have a boat, head for the inlet at the back of the lake

Favorite lures or bait: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)

Stocking information: 43,000 + the resort stocks trophy Alper rainbows in addition to the stocking from Mono County Fishing Enhancement, which are also trophy Alper rainbows.  Each spring and on the last day of the season Convict Lake has a fishing derby.

Additional information: Convict Lake offers a wheelchair accessible fishing pier near the outlet.

Nearby fishing:  Convict Creek, Owens River, Hot Creek, Rock Creek drainage and Mammoth lakes.

Directions: From Highway 395, drive 35 miles north of Bishop and turn left on Convict Lake Road.

Convict-McGee.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

McGee Creek / 28 Miles North of Bishop

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Name of creek: McGee Creek

McGeeCreek.jpg


Road condition:   Paved

Region: Near Crowley Lake

Description: A small, shallow creek with few pools

Species: Stocked Rainbows

Closest town or supplies: Tom’s Place

Contacts: Crowley Lake Fish Camp (760) 935-4301; Mammoth Lakes Visitor Bureau (888) 466-2666 / (760)-924-5500; Rick’s Sports Center (760) 934-3416; The Trout Fitter fly shop (760) 934-2517.

Nearest campground: Gee Creek; McGee Creek RV Park

Fishing season: General       

Tips: Bait fishing downstream with salmon eggs, worms and Power Bait is popular.

Favorite lures or bait: Most Sierra creeks are too small to fish effectively with lures and spinners.  Your best bet is to poke and dab using salmon eggs or worms.  Small weighted jig patterns, especially grubs and very small tube worms work very well, and do not over look live terrestrials if they are allowed.  If you are partial to lures bring along small Panther-Martins in a variety of colors. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: Using a poke and dab presentation, small Woolly Buggers, Girdle Bugs, Yuk Bugs and terrestrial patterns always work well on creeks.  Dry fly patterns include Royal Wulffs, Parachute Adams, Humpies, Renegades, Stimulators, hoppers, ants, beetles and sometimes a Bead-head San Juan Worm. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques.  Also read the article on fishing creeks if you are new to the sport of angling.)

Stocking information: 10,000

Nearby fishing: Convict Lake, Convict Creek, Crowley Lake, Mammoth Lakes

Additional information: This little creeks gets much less pressure than surrounding creeks.  It is a good respite from summer heat or strong winds pummeling Crowley Lake.

Directions: From Highway 395 in Bishop, drive 28 miles to McGee Creek Road.  Turn left (west) and drive one-quarter of a mile south on Old Highway 395 to the McGee Pack Station Road.

Horton-McGee.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

Crowley Lake / 31 Miles North of Bishop

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Lake Name:  Crowley Lake      Elevation: 6,781

CrowlyLake-Distance.jpgCrowleyLake.jpg

Road condition:   Paved  

Day hike fishing: Mammoth Lakes area

Region: Mammoth Lakes Ranger District 760-924-5500          

Area/description: Mammoth Lakes area

Lake size: 5,000+ acres    Species: Rainbows, Browns, Cutthroats, and Sacramento Perch

Closest town or supplies: Tom’s Place, Mammoth Lakes, Bishop

Contacts: Bureau of Land Management-Bishop Field Office (760) 872-4881; Crowley Lake Fish Camp (760) 935-4301; Mammoth Lakes Visitor Bureau (888) 466-2666 / (760)-924-5500; Rick’s Sports Center (760) 934-3416; The Trout Fitter fly shop (760) 934-2517.

Facilities: Lodge, marina, grocery store, bait and tackle, coin-laundry, coin-showers, RV campground; fish cleaning station

Nearest campground: Crowley Lake Fish Camp; Crowley Lake Campground (BLM) Upper and Lower Pine Grove Campgrounds (BLM);  and primitive camping areas at the north end of the lake.

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Boating: No restrictions

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Fishing season: General        Best times: Opening Day and during the fall, although fly fishing anglers do well from float tubes all season. Note: Read the regulations carefully as Crowley Lake has seasonal changes and restrictions.

Tips: Fly fishers, in addition to Chironomid patterns and damselfly imitations, should have a number of streamer patterns in their fly box to imitate the Sacramento perch fry. One popular pattern is the Olive Matuka

Favorite lures or bait: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)

Stocking information: 700,000 plus!

Additional information: With shallow shorelines, abundant insect and plant life, many tributaries and the Upper Owens River as its primary source, it is no wonder that this man-made reservoir has been an outstanding trout producer since its creation in 1941.  Crowley Lake is renowned for trout growth, an abundant stocking program, yearly carry-over survival rates and trophy size fish.  Add a large and healthy population of Sacramento Perch, and it is no wonder that opening day sees upwards of three thousand boats.

West side of lake: Bait fishing from shore: Whiskey Bay, Beaver Cove and Hilton Bay; trollers work the west shore from Hilton Bay to McGee Bay around the north end of the lake in the Green Banks bay working the old riverbed channel.

North end of lake: Green Banks – popular with float tubers and bait fishermen

East side: Layton Spring and Alligator Point are popular spots for all methods

Bait: Power Bait; night crawlers, salmon eggs

Jigs and large Rapalas and lures representing minnows; popular lures also include Thomas Buoyant, Kastmaster, Panther-Martins, Red Devils and swim baits

Fly anglers generally work the west shoreline from McGee Bay to the Green Banks

Spring perch bite from late May through June in weedy, shallow areas during the spawn; use mini-jigs and small worms; no possession or daily limit.

Nearby fishing: Convict Lake, Convict Creek, Owens River, Hot Creek, Rock Creek drainage and Mammoth lakes.

Directions: From Highway 395 drive 31 miles north of Bishop to the Crowley Lake Road.  Turn right and drive a half-mile to the lake.  (Note: access to the northern part of the lake may be reached from Benton Crossing Road.  Turn right past the church and turn right again on the second dirt road after you pass Whitmore Hot Springs.  Continue through a cattle gate.  (Be sure to close it again.) Continue to the left until you reach the Green Banks, an area where the Upper Owens River enters the lake.  The City of Los Angeles allows access to the lake (no camping) on the eastern side of the lake a well.  Take the Benton Crossing Road until you cross the Owens River by the campground.  Continue on this road as it veers south until you see the parking area.

 

Owens River Gorge Section / Below Crowley Lake

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Photo courtesy of David Neal, www.reelmammothadventures.com

Name of river: Owens River / Gorge Section

From Crowley Lake outlet downstream to Pleasant Valley Reservoir, this section of the Owens River has been manipulated by hydroelectric dams and a scarcity of water in some parts of this stretch.  Successful litigation against the City of Los Angeles has insured minimum flows to 36 cfs, after almost fifty years of little or no water in the Gorge.  Access is limited, and I will have to report back on this stretch of river.  The bottom section of the Gorge may be accessed from a trail from Pleasant Valley Reservoir. Directions: From Highway 395, drive north of Bishop approximately ten miles.  Turn right at Gorge Drive at the bottom of Sherwin Grade.  (This entry will be expanded with text and photographs during the summer of 2008.

Tom'sPlace.jpgGorge.jpgMap courtesy of mytopo.com.

Ruby Lake / Rock Creek Lake Drainage

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Lake Name: Ruby Lake    Elevation: 11,121

Road condition:   Paved to trailhead   Hike difficulty: Mostly easy

Day hike fishing: 1.5 miles on the Mosquito Flat Trailhead above Rock Creek Lake

Region: White Mountain Ranger District    Area/description: Rock Creek Canyon / Little Lakes Canyon / John Muir Wilderness

Lake size: 35 acres    Species: Browns and Brookies and Rainbows

Closest town or supplies: Rock Creek Lakes Resort; Bishop

Contacts: Rock Creek Lakes Lodge (760) 935-4311; Bishop Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center (760) 873-8405

Facilities: Lodge, marina, grocery store, bait and tackle, coin-laundry, coin-showers, RV campground

Nearest campground: Rock Creek Campground

Fishing season: General        Best times: Late spring and fall

Tips: Fish the outlet

Favorite lures or bait: Use small lures such as Kastmasters, Daredevils and Panther-Martins.  Bring smaller lures, but have a variety of color combinations to entice both shallow and deep cruising trout. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: Good dry fly action or Fly & Bubble technique with small nymphs such as Hare’s Ear, Zug Bug, Bead-Head Prince Nymph, Pheasant Tail or a Tellico Shrimp. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)

Stocking information:

Additional information:

Nearby fishing: Rock Creek Lake; Mack Lake, Heart Lake

Directions: From Bishop take Highway 395 nine miles to the Rock Creek Road exit at Tom’s Place.  Proceed 8 miles to the lake. Follow the Mosquito Flat Trail 1.5 miles to Mack Lake.  Follow the Ruby Lake Trail from Mack Lake.

BigCreekLake.jpg

Map courtesy of my topo.com.

 

Heart Lake / Rock Creek Lake Drainage

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Lake Name: Heart Lake    Elevation: 10,500

Road condition:   Paved to trailhead   Hiking difficulty: Mostly easy

Day hike fishing: 1.5 miles on the Mosquito Flat Trailhead above Rock Creek Lake

Region: White Mountain Ranger District    Area/description: Rock Creek Canyon / Little Lakes Canyon / John Muir Wilderness

Lake size: 6     Species: Browns and Brookies and Rainbows

Closest town or supplies: Rock Creek Lakes Resort; Bishop

Contacts: Rock Creek Lakes Lodge (760) 935-4311; Bishop Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center (760) 873-8405

Facilities: Lodge, marina, grocery store, bait and tackle, coin-laundry, coin-showers, RV campground

Nearest campground: Rock Creek Campground

Fishing season: General        Best times: Late spring and fall

Tips: Note: Just before Heart Lake is a drainage lake named Marsh Lake.  It reportedly offers good fishing but is often over looked by anglers eager to fish Heart Lake and the fact that it is marshy.

Favorite lures or bait: Use small lures such as Kastmasters, Daredevils and Panther-Martins.  Bring smaller lures, but have a variety of color combinations to entice both shallow and deep cruising trout. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: Good dry fly action or Fly & Bubble technique with small nymphs such as Hare’s Ear, Zug Bug, Bead-Head Prince Nymph, Pheasant Tail or a Tellico Shrimp. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)

Stocking information:

Additional information:

Nearby fishing: Rock Creek Lake; Mack Lake, Ruby Lake (Ruby Lake at 35 acres and an elevation of 11,121 is reached from Mack Lake.)

Directions: From Bishop take Highway 395 nine miles to the Rock Creek Road exit at Tom’s Place.  Proceed 8 miles to the lake. Follow the Mosquito Flat Trail 1.5 miles to Mack Lake.  Proceed up the trail another mile.

Mack Lake / Rock Creek Lake Drainage

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Lake Name: Mack Lake     Elevation: 10,470

Road condition:   Paved to trailhead   Hike difficulty: Mostly easy

Day hike fishing: 1.5 miles on the Mosquito Flat Trailhead above Rock Creek Lake

Region: White Mountain Ranger District    Area/description: Rock Creek Canyon / Little Lakes Canyon / John Muir Wilderness

Lake size: 4     Species: Browns and Brookies

Closest town or supplies: Rock Creek Lakes Resort; Bishop

Contacts: Rock Creek Lakes Lodge (760) 935-4311; Bishop Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center (760) 873-8405

Facilities: Lodge, marina, grocery store, bait and tackle, coin-laundry, coin-showers, RV campground

Nearest campground: Rock Creek Campground

Fishing season: General        Best times: Late spring and fall; ice-out can be delayed after a bad winter.  A wilderness permit is required for over-night camping.

Tips: Fish the inlet and outlet

Favorite lures or bait: Use small lures such as Kastmasters, Daredevils and Panther-Martins.  Bring smaller lures, but have a variety of color combinations to entice both shallow and deep cruising trout. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: Good dry fly action or Fly & Bubble technique with small nymphs such as Hare’s Ear, Zug Bug, Bead-Head Prince Nymph, Pheasant Tail or a Tellico Shrimp. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)

Stocking information:

Additional information:

Nearby fishing: Heart, Chickenfoot and Long Lake

Directions: From Bishop take Highway 395 nine miles to the Rock Creek Road exit at Tom’s Place.  Proceed 8 miles to the lake. Follow the Mosquito Flat Trail 1.5 miles.

 

Rock Creek Lake

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Lake Name: Rock Creek Lake     Elevation: 9,682

RockCreekLake.jpg

Road condition:   Paved to trailhead 

Day hike fishing: 1.5 miles on the Mosquito Flat Trailhead above Rock Creek Lake

Region: White Mountain Ranger District    Area/description: Rock Creek Canyon / Little Lakes Canyon / John Muir Wilderness

Lake size: 55 acres     Species: Rainbows, Browns and Brookies

Closest town or supplies: Rock Creek Lakes Resort; Bishop

Contacts: Rock Creek Lakes Lodge (760) 935-4311; Bishop Chamber of Commerce and

Visitor Center (760) 873-8405

Facilities: Lodge, marina, boat rentals, grocery store, bait and tackle, RV campground

Nearest campground: Rock Creek Campground

Fishing season: General        Best times: Late spring and fall; ice-out can be delayed after a bad winter.  A wilderness permit is required for over-night camping.

Tips: Fish the inlet and outlet

Favorite lures or bait: Use small lures such as Kastmasters, Daredevils and Panther-Martins.  Bring smaller lures, but have a variety of color combinations to entice both shallow and deep cruising trout. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: Good dry fly action or Fly & Bubble technique with small nymphs such as Hare’s Ear, Zug Bug, Bead-Head Prince Nymph, Pheasant Tail or a Tellico Shrimp. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques)

Stocking information: 40,000 + 3 to 10lb. Alper trout. This is in addition to the private stocking program from the resort owners and the Mono County Fishing Enhancement Program. The record Brown for this lake is 15-lb., 8-oz.

Additional information: The paved road to the lake has the distinction of being the highest paved road in the state at 10,150 feet.  The lake does not receive as much pressure as Convict Lake, nor does it have the winds that Convict Lake produces.  It is a popular lake with float tubers.

Directions:  From Highway 395 in Bishop, drive 22 miles north.  Turn left on Rock Creek Lake Exit and drive nine miles to the lake.

BigCreekLake.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.

 

Rock Creek / Tom's Place

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Name of creek: Rock Creek

LowerRockCk-2.jpg

Road condition:   Paved   

Region: White Mountain Ranger District   Drainage: Rock Creek Lake

Description: A small creek with a variety of holding water

Species: Planted Rainbows with some wild Browns and Brookies

Closest town or supplies: Rock Creek Lakes Resort, marina, general store, bait and tackle, cabins, restaurant

Contacts: Rock Creek Lakes Resort, marina, general store, bait and tackle, cabins, restaurant (760) 935-4311; Bishop Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center (760) 873-8405; Barret’s Outfitters (760) 872-3830; Brock’s Flyfishing Specialists (760) 872-3581; Culver’s Sporting Goods (760) 872-8361; Mac’s Sporting Goods (760) 872-9201

Nearest campground: Rock Creek Campground; East Fork Campground; Palisade Campground; Big Meadow Campground; Iris Meadow Campground; French Camp; Tuff Campground

Fishing season: General      

Tips:

Favorite lures or bait: Most Sierra creeks are too small to fish effectively with lures and spinners.  Your best bet is to poke and dab using salmon eggs or worms or Power Bait.  Small weighted jig patterns, especially grubs and very small tube worms work very well, and do not over look live terrestrials if they are allowed.  If you are partial to lures bring along small Panther-Martins in a variety of colors. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Lures and Bait)

Favorite fly patterns: Using a poke and dab presentation, small Woolly Buggers, Girdle Bugs, Yuk Bugs and terrestrial patterns always work well on creeks.  Dry fly patterns include Royal Wulffs, Parachute Adams, Humpies, Renegades, Stimulators, hoppers, ants, beetles and sometimes a Bead-head San Juan Worm. (See Category: Fishing Tips – Best Fly Patterns and Techniques.  Also read the article on fishing creeks if you are new to the sport of angling.)

Stocking information: 36,000

Nearby fishing: Rock Creek Lake; Upper Rock Creek; Little Lakes Valley

Additional information:

Directions: From Bishop take Highway 395 nine miles to the Rock Creek Road exit at Tom’s Place.  Proceed 8 miles to the lake or creek.

Iris-BigMeadow.jpg

Map courtesy of mytopo.com.