Revered as one of the most beautiful trout in the world, golden trout have made the bucket list for many anglers, myself included. 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? The hike is relatively flat. 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. Here's everything you need to know to load a stringer with slabs under the lights. The Golden Trout Wilderness was designated by Congress in 1978. 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. 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. 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. At an elevation of 11,200 feet, Cottonwood Pass serves as a gateway to the Golden Trout Wilderness and Sequoia National Park.The pass is reached via a 3.5-mile one way trail from Horseshoe Meadow, which has an elevation of 10,000 feet, making this is one of the easiest passes for hikers to reach in the Eastern Sierra. To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine. Mostly flat with more aggressive switchbacks at the end which actually is much better, since it's less boring. Instead, cut a 4-foot length of light fluorocarbon line as your leader. Breathtaking trail and plenty of close mountains to … The entry point and home base for the Golden Trout Wilderness and Cottonwood Lakes is the campground, Horseshoe Meadows. Each trip reaffirms the fact that the road sucks. The TripThe Golden Trout Wilderness is more open and gentler than the better-known areas of the Sierra to the north. 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. I recommend a full-sinking fly line and just a few common wet-fly and nymph patterns as the single, most effective method. It's easier than you think — and will put more big bass in your boat. However, their populations have been imperiled since the early 1900s. The Season is in full swing and our wranglers are working hard and playing hard. Please note that the gate leading to this trailhead is currently closed (06/04/2020). With some pre-trip planning and research, striking gold in the Treasure Lakes, or other areas of the Sierra Nevadas, is easily attainable. 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. A permanently shadowed, remnant snow pack, dusted gray by the wind, was feeding the lakes. I quipped that James Bond would have loved this road. From the west, various roads stem from Hwy 190 near Giant Sequoia National Monument. Sizing up Lake 3, I tied up a size 14 Hare’s Ear wet-fly on my 4-weight. (Photo by Brad Trumbo). Stepping down onto a boulder along the lake’s edge, I rolled the olive-green sinking line into the depths. 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. Cottonwood Lure patterns such as Panther Martin, Rooster Tail, Super Duper, and Daredevle spoons are reliable classics, but use the smallest size available. Please note that the gate leading to this trailhead is currently closed (06/04/2020). This campground is located 45 minutes up from Highway 395 at an elevation of just over 10,000 feet. Generally you can’t just do a quick day trip for these ornate fish. Fishing is available in Maggie and Twin Lakes. 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 … Southwestern Venison Chorizo Quiche Recipe, 6 Steps to the Perfect Trigger Pull on Your Compound Bow, The South's Best Waters for Trophy Catfish, 10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About, 10 Best Long-Range Rifle Cartridges Ever Made, Work the Night Shift for After-Dark Crappies, Precision Slow-Motion Techniques for Reservoir Catfish. Watching fish approach the fly from more than 20 feet away is a remarkable experience. Golden trout are most often found in remote, alpine drainages over 9,000 feet in elevation. The trail arrives at Lake 1 to the northeast. A narrow fisherman’s path follows the Treasure Lakes drainage from the southern end of Long Lake, traversing a long boulder field as it climbs. The gray walls of the high peaks reflected off the deep blue of the lake. There are a number of golden trout lakes in the Sierra Nevada range, but the Treasure Lakes in the Little Lakes Valley are by far the most productive, in my experience, and are managed under the general fishing regulations for the Sierra District of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. 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. Backcountry fishing also requires thrift in gear selection. 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. First make sure to obtain a fishing license. 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. 8/31/2016 3:29:29 PM. 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. Accessing the wilderness via the Mosquito Flats-Mono Pass Trailhead provides a generally modest hike into some of the most scenic wilderness the Western U.S. has to offer. Head up the trail across a well made log bridge, rock hop one more creek and come to a junction. 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. It is celebrated for its expansive meadows, flowing creeks, and the fish for which the wilderness is named. 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. Swedo, Suzanne, Hiking California’s Golden Trout Wilderness. For now, the north eastern part of the Golden Trout Wilderness on the Inyo remains open, which keeps the Pacific Crest Trail and trails at Cottonwood Pass, Trail Pass, and Cottonwood Lakes open as long as those itineraries avoid the closure areas on the Inyo and the Sequoia National Forest (as a rule itineraries heading north from these trails). Packing light with a water filter is a viable option. Two subspecies of golden trout are recognized; South Fork Kern golden trout and the Little Kern golden trout. Falcon/Globe Pequot Press. Fly-fishing for golden trout is a time-consuming, obsession-creating adventure of a time. Let your line sink at least 6 to 8 seconds before beginning your retrieve. The Fishing Spots section is dedicated to letting you know where the fish are for all the lakes in the Golden Trout Wilderness. At no time in my life have I felt worse than amidst the dire clutches of altitude sickness. 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. Includes details of wilderness areas, latest sierra wilderness news, resources for planning your trip, and notes from professionals in the field. To get to Golden Trout Lakes, head north out of Big Sky on highway 191 for 5.1 miles. 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. An awesome spectacle — its rich auburn belly, buttery yellow flanks and olive-sized parr marks — in a small package. The first step is perfecting your release. Both are found in this wilderness. Approximate hiking time to the lakes is 5-6 hours. 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 drainage from Golden Lakes is barely visible of the left-ish. If quick strips don’t work, slow the retrieve. A number of common trout-fishing techniques with flies or lures coax these little beauties into a strike, but prepare to work for the goldens, particularly if fishing later in the season. #1 - Cottonwood Pass / New Army Pass Loop. In the 1960s, the State of California embarked on an intense conservation program to conserve the species and their habitat, which was historically damaged by heavy livestock overgrazing. 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. Like Cottonwood Lakes, the portion of the Kern River where golden trout can be found is extremely tricky to get to. You may need to vary retrieval speeds, and if a simple reel-in retrieve doesn’t produce with the Daredevle or Super Duper, try pausing or twitching randomly. Please be aware that the Cottonwood Lakes trail passes through Sequoia National Park and only service animals are allowed there, no pets. A very nice trip into the lesser used Golden Trout Wilderness in the Southern Sierras. The hike isn't very stenuous at all. Golden trout are native to the Kern River watershed in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, more specifically the Kern Plateau. 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. 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. 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. The trail begins to gain elevation and you will want to avoid a turn off toward Golden Trout Camp. Please note that the Cottonwood Lakes trail passes through Sequoia National Park and only service animals are allowed there, no pets. Kneeling on the flat boulder, rod tip held high overhead, I softly cradled my first golden trout in the frigid alpine waters. Below the shimmering surface of the crystal-clear depths lay pure California gold. Your source for Sierra wilderness information. Most of the fish were golden trout, which are not native. If backpacking this trail, you will need a wilderness permit from Lone Pine. Golden Trout Creek is a designated Heritage and Wild Trout Water. Simplify breakfast or brunch for a crowd by making this savory venison chorizo quiche recipe. 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. The trail follows the Kern river until you reach an absolutely stunning meadow to make camp in. His martini would have been extremely well shaken. Fly-fishing offers the best opportunity for success, in my experience. There are a few places to get water, but 3-5L for the entire hike is good enough. The Season is in full swing and our wranglers are working hard and playing hard. Each rock threatens to jar the fillings out of ones teeth. Michael Cassidy and Paul Pluff talk about their elk hunt in New Mexico using the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter. In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt recommended a biologist to be dispatched to study the plight of California’s golden trout. Prior to heading out to catch The Big One, you will need to know a few things. The trip begins on a mostly sandy trail leading you North into the Golden trout Wilderness. It is beautiful and a hard to get to area that is first come first serve and has about 10-15 camping spots. While some larger fish may be lurking in the depths, the majority of your catch will likely measure 12 inches or shorter. 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