Please note that the gate leading to this trailhead is currently closed (06/04/2020). Cottonwood https://www.nps.gov/maps/full.html?mapId=1a3dabe6-06e2-4766-ac55-a7d41b37ea14 The Golden Trout Wilderness was designated by Congress in 1978. I recommend a full-sinking fly line and just a few common wet-fly and nymph patterns as the single, most effective method. The South Fork Kern River is a designated Wild Trout Water. Just remember: information on catch rates and fish size can change dramatically between seasons. 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. Standard patterns like the Adams, Royal Wulff, Blue-winged Olive, and Caddis in sizes 16-18 reliably elicit strikes. The trail pass fortunately has no quota. Approximate hiking time to the lakes is 5-6 hours. Common Destinations: Golden Trout Lakes. All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. 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? Falcon/Globe Pequot Press. Fly-fishing for golden trout is a time-consuming, obsession-creating adventure of a time. The Forks of the Kern Trail is a wonderful out & back 2-3 day backpacking trip. A favorite is Gaia GPS, which allows maps of an area to be downloaded to most devices. 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. Tapered leaders carry buoyancy that floats the fly above the sinking line and reduces the fly’s action. Stepping down onto a boulder along the lake’s edge, I rolled the olive-green sinking line into the depths. There are many phone navigation apps. If backpacking this trail, you will need a wilderness permit from Lone Pine. Thirteen-thousand-foot Mt. 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 Golden Trout Wilderness is a good area for novice backpackers and stock users. #2 - Muir Lake from the old Cottonwood Trailhead. 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. 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. However, their populations have been imperiled since the early 1900s. When conditions are right, dry-fly fishing can be remarkable. Want to tangle with giant striped bass during the fall months? The area is traversed by several hundred miles of scenic trails and two wild and scenic rivers (North and South Forks of the Kern River). It is located 40 miles (64 km) east of Porterville, California within Inyo National Forest and Sequoia National Forest. The drainage from Golden Lakes is barely visible of the left-ish. But beware, goldens can be quite picky, scrutinizing a dry fly like a clever spring creek brown trout. I typically assume information older than two years to be a data point, but not necessarily accurate to the present. 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. 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. Note: Parts of this trail are closed on the western side of the route. Each rock threatens to jar the fillings out of ones teeth. © 2021 Outdoor Sportsman Group. Richard B. Russell Lake on the... Give a Gift   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. With burning thighs and short breath, I gazed back at Long Lake, about a mile and hundreds of feet below. A very nice trip into the lesser used Golden Trout Wilderness in the Southern Sierras. #9 - Trail Pass to Cotton Wood Lakes Loop [CLOSED]. Lakes 1 and 2 hold golden and brook trout, while only goldens are found in lakes 3 and 4. It is thought that California golden trout may have extended downstream of Lake Isabella prior to the construction of Isabella Dam. Numerous hiking adventures are possible. Information on trips to Coyote Lakes in the Golden Trout Wilderness. Fly-fishing offers the best opportunity for success, in my experience. Each trip reaffirms the fact that the road sucks. 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. We service the Golden Trout Wilderness, home of the beautiful Golden Trout, as well as trips to the Sequoia National Forest. Beautiful Alpine Lake. 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. They are native to Kern Plateau area but their native populations are strained due to the introduction of invasive species and habitat destruction. The feeling of amazement and blessing, as I gazed for the first time upon the overall masterpiece of a true golden trout in the Sierra Nevada backcountry, will not soon depart. 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. All Rights Reserved. There are trails that shoot off from this loop that head to Muir Lake, South Fork Lake and New Army Pass. The Golden Trout Wilderness encompasses 304,000 acres in an area known as the Kern Plateau, at the southern end of the Sierra Nevada. #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]. Michael Cassidy and Paul Pluff talk about their elk hunt in New Mexico using the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter. Includes details of wilderness areas, latest sierra wilderness news, resources for planning your trip, and notes from professionals in the field. The 300,000+ acre Golden Trout Wilderness (GTW) was designated by Congress in 1978. The TripThe Golden Trout Wilderness is more open and gentler than the better-known areas of the Sierra to the north. 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. Fishing is available in Maggie and Twin Lakes. Breathtaking trail and plenty of close mountains to … Prior to heading out to catch The Big One, you will need to know a few things. The Fishing Spots section is dedicated to letting you know where the fish are for all the lakes in the Golden Trout Wilderness. It provides excellent location and species information. Golden trout are native to the Kern River watershed in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, more specifically the Kern Plateau. On the Sequoia National Forest … Golden Trout Trail Map Located in the South Sierra Nevada mountains alongside the Southern Sierra Wilderness. Sizing up Lake 3, I tied up a size 14 Hare’s Ear wet-fly on my 4-weight. Stripping a size 16, bead-headed nymph will produce when larger flies fail. 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. Subscriber Services. https://www.alltrails.com/parks/us/california/golden-trout-wilderness NOTE: As of September 2020, this trail is closed due to unhealthy air quality. The trail follows the Kern river until you reach an absolutely stunning meadow to make camp in. The entry point and home base for the Golden Trout Wilderness and Cottonwood Lakes is the campground, Horseshoe Meadows. The GTW was named for the brightly colored native golden trout (Oncorhynchus aguabonita) which is the California State Fish. After a 6-second countdown, I began my retrieve with short, quick strips, pausing randomly. Cheyenne - The name golden trout conjures up images of pristine, remote, wilderness, spectacular, sore knees and an aching back. A Mt. Please note that the Cottonwood Lakes trail passes through Sequoia National Park and only service animals are allowed there, no pets. The first step is perfecting your release. The trail arrives at Lake 1 to the northeast. 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. 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]. In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt recommended a biologist to be dispatched to study the plight of California’s golden trout. I quipped that James Bond would have loved this road. Both are found in this 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. Standing among the jagged peaks, stunted pines and crystalline waters of the alpine elevations neatly framed the experience for this angler. Starting at Horseshoe Meadows parking lot (10,000') on the left S, you head up some soft incline and a few switchbacks to hit the PCT. From the west, various roads stem from Hwy 190 near Giant Sequoia National Monument. Golden Trout Wilderness School is a non-profit educational center located at Golden Trout Camp in the Southern Sierra Nevada. A moment of panic overwhelmed me, as I realized I was playing a trout I had obsessed about for more than a decade. Golden Trout Wilderness tour: Kern Lake Sequoia National Forest. Every year, just a few days after arriving on campus, first-year students find themselves on the trail to Golden Trout. Please review the USDA's map for further information. To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine. 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. Simplify breakfast or brunch for a crowd by making this savory venison chorizo quiche recipe. 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 … 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. Below the shimmering surface of the crystal-clear depths lay pure California gold. Golden trout can be as finicky as they are beautiful – especially late in the season. 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. Most of the fish were golden trout, which are not native. With some pre-trip planning and research, striking gold in the Treasure Lakes, or other areas of the Sierra Nevadas, is easily attainable. Lure patterns such as Panther Martin, Rooster Tail, Super Duper, and Daredevle spoons are reliable classics, but use the smallest size available. This trail is steep, rugged and difficult to follow. A permanently shadowed, remnant snow pack, dusted gray by the wind, was feeding the lakes. 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. 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. Please note that the gate leading to this trailhead is currently closed (06/04/2020). From the parking lot trailhead, there is a steep decent down to the river. — Scott Trumbo. My breath, still labored from the climb, or maybe just the elevation, was sucked away completely as the line jerked tight between my fingertips. 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. Wind can be unpredictable in the higher elevations, but casting comes easy when the gusts lay down. (Photo by Brad Trumbo). 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. The U.S. Forest Service publishes a free guide (PDF format) — Eastern Sierra Backcountry Fishing Guide – USDA Forest Service — to the high lakes. From the northeast to the south, and around to the northwest, the Treasure Lakes are numbered 1 through 4 on a map included in Eastern Sierra Back Country Fishing Guide, published by the CDFW. The hike isn't very stenuous at all. Lakes 1 and 2 hold golden and brook trout, while only goldens are found in lakes 3 and 4. Dade loomed overhead to the south. 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. If quick strips don’t work, slow the retrieve. Kneeling on the flat boulder, rod tip held high overhead, I softly cradled my first golden trout in the frigid alpine waters. Golden Trout Pack Station is the exclusive outfitter for packing and fishing the upper Kern River. (Photo by Brad Trumbo) THE PURSUIT The primary decisions on backpacking destinations are centered on fishing for Golden Trout.The Golden Trout is the California State Fish. Sight-casting works with a soft presentation. Keep the fly on the water as long as possible, allowing cruising fish to spot the fly. 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. The trip begins on a mostly sandy trail leading you North into 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. Instead, cut a 4-foot length of light fluorocarbon line as your leader. The Golden Trout Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area in the Sierra Nevada, in Tulare County and Inyo County, California. Once you reach the river, there is a relatively easy forging. 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