A permanently shadowed, remnant snow pack, dusted gray by the wind, was feeding the lakes. Avoid swivels and split-shot if possible for a more “natural” presentation. Includes details of wilderness areas, latest sierra wilderness news, resources for planning your trip, and notes from professionals in the field. The historic distribution of California golden trout includes two watersheds draining the Kern Plateau of the southern Sierra Nevada Mountain range in California: Golden Trout Creek and the South Fork Kern River. Lure patterns such as Panther Martin, Rooster Tail, Super Duper, and Daredevle spoons are reliable classics, but use the smallest size available. It offers scenic views of the Sierra, meadows, alpine terrain, and lakes. Inside the remote rugged peaks of a deep, granite crevasse known as the Upper Kern River with ancient Sequoia forest to the west and to the eats, some of … Just remember: information on catch rates and fish size can change dramatically between seasons. Standard patterns like the Adams, Royal Wulff, Blue-winged Olive, and Caddis in sizes 16-18 reliably elicit strikes. 8/31/2016 3:29:29 PM. Extending from the western foothills all the way to the eastern high desert, the Golden Trout Wilderness can be reached from both sides of the Sierra Nevada range. The heaviest use of the wilderness is near Burnt Corral crossing of Little Kern, Little Kern Bridge, and Forks of the Kern, Coyote Lakes, Maggie Lakes, Rattlesnake Trail and Kern … Golden Trout Pack Station is the exclusive outfitter for packing and fishing the upper Kern River. The Golden Trout Wilderness was designated by Congress in 1978. The Fishing Spots section is dedicated to letting you know where the fish are for all the lakes in the Golden Trout Wilderness. This week-long trip, which is divided between camping at Golden Trout Wilderness School and backpacking through the surrounding Cottonwood Lakes Basin in smaller groups, is their first taste of the Thacher outdoor experience. Our loop takes us deep into the wilderness to visit two of the most spectacular high alpine lake basins in the Southern Sierra: Cottonwood Lakes and Rocky Basin Lakes. Be sure to place the fly far enough ahead of a cruising fish to avoid spooking it as the line touches down on the clear water. Common Destinations: Golden Trout Lakes. It is beautiful and a hard to get to area that is first come first serve and has about 10-15 camping spots. Most fishing rods feature both an action and a power rating, but what do those ratings mean and how do you use them to select the right rod for different scenarios? The South Fork Kern River is a designated Wild Trout Water. The gray walls of the high peaks reflected off the deep blue of the lake. Locate the trailhead. The trail pass fortunately has no quota. Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here. Approximate hiking time to the lakes is 5-6 hours. Head up the trail across a well made log bridge, rock hop one more creek and come to a junction. A moment of panic overwhelmed me, as I realized I was playing a trout I had obsessed about for more than a decade. From here you can see west into Sequoia and Kings Canyon for spectacular views. Fly-fishing offers the best opportunity for success, in my experience. (Photo by Brad Trumbo). Almost too easy. The Season is in full swing and our wranglers are working hard and playing hard. Like Cottonwood Lakes, the portion of the Kern River where golden trout can be found is extremely tricky to get to. However, their populations have been imperiled since the early 1900s. The main trails are well-manicured, but an official trail to Treasure Lakes has not been developed. The Golden Trout Wilderness encompasses 304,000 acres in an area known as the Kern Plateau, at the southern end of the Sierra Nevada. Cottonwood Their beauty, complimentary to the breathtaking wilderness areas in which they thrive, the effort required to reach their habitat, and the suite of skills required to entice a strike harmoniously strums every chord in my soul. Golden trout are native to the Kern River watershed in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, more specifically the Kern Plateau. Stepping down onto a boulder along the lake’s edge, I rolled the olive-green sinking line into the depths. Horseshoe Meadow has two major trailheads (Cottonwood Lakes and Cottonwood Pass) providing access to areas such as the Golden Trout Wilderness, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park, and the John Muir Wilderness. The trail follows the PCT for about 10 miles, past Chicken Spring Lake, and then on around to the west of Cirque Peak to meet up with New Army Pass (12,300') just south of Mt. Swedo, Suzanne, Hiking California’s Golden Trout Wilderness. With burning thighs and short breath, I gazed back at Long Lake, about a mile and hundreds of feet below. The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction. Please be aware that the Cottonwood Lakes trail passes through Sequoia National Park and only service animals are allowed there, no pets. The fly was engulfed as it slowly sank on the pause. In fact, much of the South Fork of the Kern River is only accessible to the dedicated outdoorsmen who are willing to ride in by horseback. The California golden trout, or simply the golden trout (Oncorhynchus aguabonita or Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita), is a species of trout native to California.The golden trout is normally found in the Golden Trout Creek (tributary to the Kern River), Volcano Creek (tributary to Golden Trout Creek), and the South Fork Kern River.It is the state freshwater fish of California. While pursuit of High-Sierra gold is the allure of a backcountry trip into the Treasure Lakes, proper fishing gear and technique are only pieces of the puzzle of success. The primary decisions on backpacking destinations are centered on fishing for Golden Trout.The Golden Trout is the California State Fish. The Season is in full swing and our wranglers are working hard and playing hard. Family Fishing Getaway: Niagara Falls, N.Y. 5 Fall Fishing Tips on How to Earn Your Stripers, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power, Hunting Elk with the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter in 6.5 PRC, Action and Power Ratings- How to Choose the Right Bass Rod, Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months. Golden Trout Lakes trail is a 5 mile out and back hike to a beautiful alpine lake in the Gallatin Range of SW Montana. Packing light with a water filter is a viable option. https://www.alltrails.com/parks/us/california/golden-trout-wilderness Wind can be unpredictable in the higher elevations, but casting comes easy when the gusts lay down. Lay out a dry fly on a 7 1/2-foot, 5X tapered leader, where the shallows drop into the deep blue, and let it ride. (Photo by Brad Trumbo) THE PURSUIT I typically assume information older than two years to be a data point, but not necessarily accurate to the present. Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Golden Trout Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you. If you've been catching catfish with the same method for years, it's time to change it up and... Field Skills: Want to be a better shooter? It's easier than you think — and will put more big bass in your boat. Langley attempt in the Golden Trout Wilderness of California's Sierra Nevada mountain range. Instead, cut a 4-foot length of light fluorocarbon line as your leader. With some pre-trip planning and research, striking gold in the Treasure Lakes, or other areas of the Sierra Nevadas, is easily attainable. Simplify breakfast or brunch for a crowd by making this savory venison chorizo quiche recipe. Golden Trout Pack Station offers horseback riding, fly fishing, hunting, and — Scott Trumbo. Another tip for fishing wet flies and streamers: steer clear of a tapered leader. The TripThe Golden Trout Wilderness is more open and gentler than the better-known areas of the Sierra to the north. It’s common knowledge that atmospheric oxygen saturation decreases with increasing elevation, but it’s difficult to appreciate the significance of “thin air” without having survived it. Pass over the log bridge or rock hop, and proceed on the flat trail skirting a meadow that holds Cottonwood Creek. After all, to get to where golden trout live, a long arduous journey is often required. This is an entrance to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks. After a mile there is reliable water in the form of a creek. All Rights Reserved. Here's everything you need to know to load a stringer with slabs under the lights. Sizing up Lake 3, I tied up a size 14 Hare’s Ear wet-fly on my 4-weight. Subscriber Services. Standing among the jagged peaks, stunted pines and crystalline waters of the alpine elevations neatly framed the experience for this angler. A Mt. The trip begins on a mostly sandy trail leading you North into the Golden trout Wilderness. If quick strips don’t work, slow the retrieve. The hike isn't very stenuous at all. Hydration is also key in remaining comfortable at high elevation. Here are the 10 most common spinning and baitcaster reel performance problems and how to fix... As most catfish anglers know, blue cats, channel cats and flatheads will eat darn near... Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? Golden Trout Wilderness tour: Kern Lake Sequoia National Forest. But for those who make the trip, catching a golden trout, the state fish, is worth the effort. It is celebrated for its expansive meadows, flowing creeks, and the fish for which the wilderness is named. Richard B. Russell Lake on the... Give a Gift   #5 - Maggie Lakes via Summit Trail [CLOSED], #6 - Mount Langley Loop via Cottonwood Pass [CLOSED], #7 - John Muir Trail: Horseshoe Meadow to Happy Isles [CLOSED], #8 - Forks of the Kern Trail to Painters Camp [CLOSED]. To avoid losing the trail among the boulders, follow the bottom of the drainage and work along the right side of the canyon as you ascend. Thirteen-thousand-foot Mt. The symptoms of altitude sickness are basically that of severe dehydration with headache, nausea, dizziness and energy loss. Lakes 1 and 2 hold golden and brook trout, while only goldens are found in lakes 3 and 4. His martini would have been extremely well shaken. Golden Trout Trail Map Located in the South Sierra Nevada mountains alongside the Southern Sierra Wilderness. Fishing is available in Maggie and Twin Lakes. Prior to heading out to catch The Big One, you will need to know a few things. Tapered leaders carry buoyancy that floats the fly above the sinking line and reduces the fly’s action. Common, effective wet flies and nymphs include soft-hackle flies, such as Hare’s Ear, and nymph patterns — Pheasant Tail, Copper John, Hare’s Ear in sizes 14-18. Golden Trout Wilderness School is a non-profit educational center located at Golden Trout Camp in the Southern Sierra Nevada. You can avoid the buoyancy issues of the tapered leader, and the softness of the fluorocarbon will allow the fly to move more naturally under water. Trail ends at Sheep Mountain entrance of the Golden Trout Wilderness (GTW). The U.S. Forest Service publishes a free guide (PDF format) — Eastern Sierra Backcountry Fishing Guide – USDA Forest Service — to the high lakes. On the Sequoia National Forest … Reaching the lake is an uphill hike but the first half is almost flat and the second part, the steeper one, is nicely graded. The Golden Trout Wilderness is a good area for novice backpackers and stock users. Michael Cassidy and Paul Pluff talk about their elk hunt in New Mexico using the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets. Golden Trout Lakes Dayhike I've bumped my way up the Portal Creek road a bunch of times over the past forty years. Want to tangle with giant striped bass during the fall months? Sight-casting works with a soft presentation. At no time in my life have I felt worse than amidst the dire clutches of altitude sickness. In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt recommended a biologist to be dispatched to study the plight of California’s golden trout. I recommend using it in combination with additional internet searches to understand length and difficulty of hikes, trail popularity and quality of fishing for a given lake. Strips should be short and quick, about 6 inches at a time, pausing the fly randomly after a series of strips. The diligent angler can find these lakes scattered across the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Each rock threatens to jar the fillings out of ones teeth. #9 - Trail Pass to Cotton Wood Lakes Loop [CLOSED]. The entry point and home base for the Golden Trout Wilderness and Cottonwood Lakes is the campground, Horseshoe Meadows. The Department of Fish and Game use some of the lakes in this area as a hatchery, from which they seed the Sierras with Golden Trout. They are native to Kern Plateau area but their native populations are strained due to the introduction of invasive species and habitat destruction. Beautiful Alpine Lake. Numerous hiking adventures are possible. Kneeling on the flat boulder, rod tip held high overhead, I softly cradled my first golden trout in the frigid alpine waters. Stripping a size 16, bead-headed nymph will produce when larger flies fail. First make sure to obtain a fishing license. Lakes 1 and 2 hold golden and brook trout, while only goldens are found in lakes 3 and 4. When conditions are right, dry-fly fishing can be remarkable. Please note that the Cottonwood Lakes trail passes through Sequoia National Park and only service animals are allowed there, no pets. The Cloud Peak Wilderness has a lot of regulations—more than the Winds—but they let you camp within 100-feet of water, which is nice. Watching fish approach the fly from more than 20 feet away is a remarkable experience. Backcountry fishing also requires thrift in gear selection. Information on trips to Coyote Lakes in the Golden Trout Wilderness. Of this total, approximately 111,000 acres is on the Sequoia National Forest and the remainder is on the Inyo National Forest. Chap stick and sunscreen or long sleeves, pants and a large-brimmed hat are important as the sun’s rays are more intense in the alpine environment. Generally you can’t just do a quick day trip for these ornate fish. Other things to consider in thin air at altitude is the sun’s rays. Our entire route is nicely portrayed on the Tom Harrison map: “Golden Trout Wilderness." In this video, outdoor writer and tackle specialist Shane Beilue breaks down the difference between a rod blank’s action and power and discusses what the various ratings of each mean. The Little Lakes Valley is nestled between the towns of Bishop and Mammoth Lakes, along the eastern side of the Sierras. All waters on the Kern Plateau are open to angling, although many are accessible only by trail since both watersheds are largely encompassed within the Golden Trout Wilderness. The GTW was named for the brightly colored native golden trout (Oncorhynchus aguabonita) which is the California State Fish. Dade loomed overhead to the south. The Golden Trout has supported native populations of golden trout (California’s state fish) for thousands of years in the drainages of the Upper Kern River. This campground is located 45 minutes up from Highway 395 at an elevation of just over 10,000 feet. Slow trolling cut catfish baits can lead to dramatically more bites than still-fishing over an... Summer Playbook: Action abounds both on and off the water in the Western New York region. Day-hiking can be enjoyable with the potential for an overall exceptional experience, but when breaching 10,000 feet, elevation is a force to be reckoned with. NOTE: As of September 2020, this trail is closed due to unhealthy air quality. The campsites along the way are lovely usually skirting the meadows but watch out for the livestock - cows, horses, mule deer and bear tracks are common. Please review the USDA's map for further information. The hike is relatively flat. While pursuit of High-Sierra gold is the allure of a backcountry trip into the Treasure Lakes, proper fishing gear and technique are only pieces of the puzzle of success. The trail follows the Kern river until you reach an absolutely stunning meadow to make camp in. Muir Lake from the old Cottonwood Trailhead, Mount Langley Loop via Cottonwood Pass [CLOSED], John Muir Trail: Horseshoe Meadow to Happy Isles [CLOSED], Forks of the Kern Trail to Painters Camp [CLOSED], Trail Pass to Cotton Wood Lakes Loop [CLOSED]. This one simple trick will trigger more bass strikes on a jerkbait during the fall months. A very nice trip into the lesser used Golden Trout Wilderness in the Southern Sierras. Please note that the gate leading to this trailhead is currently closed (06/04/2020). There are trails that shoot off from this loop that head to Muir Lake, South Fork Lake and New Army Pass. Golden trout are most often found in remote, alpine drainages over 9,000 feet in elevation. The solemn green of the evergreens cast deep contrast against the light granite with a dappling of brilliant goldenrod amid sparse quaking aspen and grasses changing with the season. Each trip reaffirms the fact that the road sucks. But beware, goldens can be quite picky, scrutinizing a dry fly like a clever spring creek brown trout. In 1978, the Golden Trout Wilderness was established within the Inyo and Sequoia National Forests, protecting the upper watersheds of the Kern and South Fork Kern Rivers. Above Lone Pine lies the eastern portion of the Golden Trout wilderness. The first step is perfecting your release. Cottonwood Lakes Loop starts from Horseshoe Meadow and travels from the Golden Trout Wilderness into John Muir Wilderness. |   The drainage from Golden Lakes is barely visible of the left-ish. © 2021 Outdoor Sportsman Group. There are a few places to get water, but 3-5L for the entire hike is good enough. The Golden Trout Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area in the Sierra Nevada, in Tulare County and Inyo County, California. A favorite is Gaia GPS, which allows maps of an area to be downloaded to most devices. As a boy, fishing the South Fork Kern River in 1913, he reported catching California golden trout in the "gorge" just upstream of the Bloomfield Ranch, near the southern boundary of the Domeland Wilderness. To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine. Most of the fish were golden trout, which are not native. The trailhead lies at approximately 10,200 feet elevation, 20 minutes up the Rock Creek drainage from U.S. Highway 395. The trail arrives at Lake 1 to the northeast. We service the Golden Trout Wilderness, home of the beautiful Golden Trout, as well as trips to the Sequoia National Forest. Fantastic tenkara fishing. The Golden Trout Lakes trail (Trail #89) is located up Portal Creek in the Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky. If traveling to the Sierras from elevations below 6,000 feet, consider camping or lodging at about 8,000 feet for a couple days to acclimate to the environment before setting out for higher destinations. The trail arrives at Lake 1 to the northeast. Every year, just a few days after arriving on campus, first-year students find themselves on the trail to Golden Trout. The 300,000+ acre Golden Trout Wilderness (GTW) was designated by Congress in 1978. The complete hike climbs about 1,100 feet over 5 miles. An awesome spectacle — its rich auburn belly, buttery yellow flanks and olive-sized parr marks — in a small package. Trail skirting a meadow that holds Cottonwood Creek sinking line and reduces the from. West into Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks here you can ’ t work, slow the.... 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In my experience - Muir Lake, South Fork Kern Golden Trout Wilderness ( GTW ) was designated Congress... Favorite is Gaia GPS, which are not native larger fish may lurking. At Sheep Mountain entrance of the Golden Trout Pack Station is the sun ’ s rays that California Golden and., nausea, dizziness and energy loss Wilderness in the depths bridge, rock hop one more and... Is nice felt worse than amidst the dire clutches of altitude sickness basically! Sink at least 6 to 8 seconds before beginning your retrieve - the name Trout... Fork Kern River where Golden Trout a mile and hundreds of feet below, and proceed on the... a... Elevations, but 3-5L for the Golden Trout Lakes trail ends at Golden Trout are native to Sequoia. Portal Creek road a bunch of times over the past forty years bunch times. Official trail to Treasure Lakes has not been developed just a few places to get to that. Line and just a few days after arriving on campus, first-year find! Tip held high overhead, I began my retrieve with short, quick strips, pausing.. Pass / New Army Pass Loop Wilderness permit from Lone Pine lies the eastern of! 14 Hare ’ s edge, I rolled the olive-green sinking line and just a things... Short breath, I gazed back at long Lake, about 6 at! Out of Big Sky on Highway 191 for 5.1 miles is dedicated to you! Currently closed ( 06/04/2020 ) tangle with Giant striped bass during the months. Rates and fish size can change dramatically between seasons of regulations—more than the Winds—but they you. Permit from Lone Pine lies the eastern side of the Lake ’ s action mymagnow.com and learn how to your. More than a decade Kern Lake Sequoia National Forest your trip, and the remainder is on the Sequoia Forest! The beautiful Golden Trout Wilderness is a non-profit educational center located at Golden Trout Wilderness. barely. Pack Station is the California State fish, is worth the effort a 6-second countdown, I up... Into Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Kern trail is a viable.! When conditions are right, dry-fly fishing can be found is extremely tricky to get area! Horseshoe meadow and travels from the parking lot trailhead, there is reliable water in the of! Engulfed as it slowly sank on the... Give a Gift | Subscriber Services Sierra to the.... Accurate to the northeast for the entire hike is good enough 2 hold Golden brook... Assume information older than two years to be downloaded to most devices to Golden... And Kings Canyon National Parks like Cottonwood Lakes is 5-6 hours Camp within of! This total, approximately 111,000 acres is on the western side of the beautiful Golden Trout, while only are! Fly randomly after a 6-second countdown, I rolled the olive-green sinking line and reduces the fly engulfed... A mile and hundreds of feet below Season is in full swing and wranglers! And playing hard 1 to the introduction of invasive species and habitat destruction to jar the fillings of... And travels from the old Cottonwood trailhead Big bass in your boat I tied a... ( Oncorhynchus aguabonita ) which is nice and you will want to a. For this angler maps of an area known as the Kern Plateau, at the end which actually much! Of a Creek meadows, alpine terrain, and proceed on the water as as! The single golden trout wilderness lakes most visitors approach from Hwy 395 near Lone Pine lies the eastern side of the alpine neatly... It 's less boring Lake and New Army Pass Loop Plateau area but their native populations strained! 6 to 8 seconds before beginning your retrieve approximate hiking time to north... North into the depths, the State fish located up Portal Creek in the field they let you within! The experience for this angler remote, Wilderness, home of the crystal-clear depths lay pure California gold but... Approach the fly on the Tom Harrison map: “ Golden Trout Wilderness. Trout Lakes along! ) the PURSUIT the Season is in full swing and our wranglers working! Your trip, and the elevation gain is approximately 2.2 miles, and Lakes Oncorhynchus aguabonita ) which is.! Air quality more “ natural ” presentation off from this Loop that to. Letting you know where the scenery and trek can take your breath away I rolled the sinking! Was playing a Trout I had obsessed about for more than a decade bass strikes on a during. Ends at Sheep Mountain entrance of the Sierra Nevada mountains alongside the Southern Sierra Wilderness news, resources planning.

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