Peninsula Fly Fishers

Kaiser Peak Lakes Fishout
June 6 – 15, 2003

by Tony Plutynski

Being retired, I was able to leave about nine Thursday morning so that I would have a chance to catch the ranger station open for the wilderness pass permitundefinedthe station closes at four-thirty. Then I slept on the Sample Meadows Road to help my body adjust to the altitude for the next day. I had arranged to meet Rocky and his twenty-one year old son at seven the next morning.

We planned to have breakfast and then climb the trail in the cool of the day. The temperature got down to the low forties Thursday night; there was frost on the stuff I had placed on the Explorer's hood. When I drove up to our rendezvous, Rocky and Nick were ready to go. They waited while I finished breakfast. Then we all headed to the trailhead.

When we arrived at the trailhead, we were happy to see that there were no other cars parked there. Not long into our climb up the trail we were starting to heat up. I knew that we had about two thousand vertical feet to go, so I suggested that we should stop and peel down to one layer. Soon we ascended to patches of snow that accounted for the brilliant red snow flowers that we had already seen. Then the mosquitoes found us, so we stopped again, this time to make ourselves repellent (to the mosquitoes). The hike to the lake took an hour-and-a-half.

We found plenty of snow patches, but no other people. We chose the same rough-hewn table which we had used the previous year and set up camp. After refreshing myself with cold Crystal Lite, I began to fish around the lake. The action didn't compare to last year's because the late snow was keeping the hatch down, but we caught six fish between us. Those six cooked with herbs in foil over the open fire made our lunch. Life was good.

In the afternoon, after a nap, we started fishing again. We had supper to worry about. Rocky was fishing with an innertube. Nick and I fished from shore. We agreed that three fish apiece would be enough for dinner, so we'd release the rest. All the fish caught were rainbows but oneundefined a brook trout. They ran from eight to twelve inches long.

Besides fish for supper, we had some soup, and I had some orange-flavored, Swedish cookies for desert. As the sun went down and the air cooled, the campfire perfectly accompanied some rum and cocoaundefinedfor medicinal purposes only. The day had been long and I was asleep by nine-thirty.

The next morning I was out fishing by five-thirty. By the time Rocky and his son arose, I'd released three trout of about the same size as the previous day and had covered the whole lake from shore.

Nick asked about getting up early for the walk over to Lake B. We assured him that it wasn't necessary for the lake was way underfished and that I had never been there without catching my limit. He didn't seem assured. He would see. (I just hoped that the Lake would deliver.)

We started for Lake B after breakfastundefinedabout eight-thirty . We took our lunches and I took my nap equipment. Rocky asked if we were going the right way. There is no real trail, just several series of ducks. I assured him that I didn't know that there was a right way, for the six times I had been there I had never gone the same way! I did tell him that if we got there, it was easier to come back and that I thought I had come back at least twice the same way. We got into some hairy cliff area where we had to rely on vegetation to support us (not usually a good idea) as we descended some of the cliffs. I knew that I wouldn't go back this way. This year Rocky had a GPS that could store the best route, so maybe the next time we will be able to go to the lake using the easier-to-find route back. We arrived safely.

On the first three casts I had three fish. The fishing was terrific. Almost every cast produced a strike, if not a hook-up. All the fish here were brookies. They were small (up to eight inches), but scrappy fighters and very willing.

More snow patches surrounded this lake than at the first. The grass was very green and lush, especially against the many patches of snow. A great waterfall poured into the lake. No sign that anyone else had been there yet this season showed. Although the fishing in Lake A was not as good as last year, the fishing here in Lake B was definitely better.

After napping, then cleaning some fish for dinner, we headed back, following the more distinct ducks. We had no problems and got back in half the time. I read some articlesundefinedwe needed some paper to start the fireundefinedand Nick relaxed while Rocky launched his innertube in order to terrorize more fish.

We dined on trout again, but in different herbs with slivered almonds. A soup course followed. Later that evening we continued our perscription of medicinal rum with cocoa. No sense in taking chances in the wilderness.

The next morning Rocky and Nick were to leave early to get back to the Bay Area for some Father's Day obligations. I fished around the lake one more time to catch and release two more ten-inch brook trout. Then I breakfasted, cleaned up the camp, and started down the three-mile trail. In an hour I'd reached my car. The drive home was uneventful except for the stop at the Fruit Basket in Madera for lunch. The Fruit Basket is a great local cafe where most of the entrées are homemade and the prices are right.

Overall, the trip was a great success. We each brought in twenty to thirty fish. The weather was excellent. We saw no others for the three days and we got along very well. The one minor problem was that Nick kept watching his pack so we couldn't get too much of our stuff into it.

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