Peninsula Fly Fishers
  

Sister Lakes Backpack 2009


by Mike McGuire

August 2009


The backpack fishout this year was to lakes on the north side of Yosemite National Park, reached from the trailhead at Leavitt Meadows on the Sonora Pass Highway (CA108).  The route went by way of Fremont Lake the first night, Cinko Lake, Middle Emigrant Lake, Twin Lakes, and Dorothy Lake on succeeding nights.

Map of the route
The Route (click to enlarge)

The participants were Gary Trott, Tony Plutynski, Rocky Ferraro and Mike and Pat McGuire. After a strung out start we straggled in at various times at Fremont Lake. Some of us were boggled to see Rocky arrive with a complete float tube setup in addition to a week's backpacking impedimenta. The effort paid off in fish for him at most of the lakes.

Pat Crossing The Carson
Pat Crossing the Carson River

Rocky in Float Tube
Rocky in his Tube

Fremont Lake was the poorest fishing of the trip. A thermometer told the tale. Hot weather a few days earlier had warmed it up to 70 degrees.  So in the morning it was on the Cinko Lake, fishing some prettty pools on the West Carson River along the way.

West Carson Pools
West Carson Pools

Cinko Lake was a bit buggy, but yielded some fish. The night was pretty windy. This was a start of a change in the weather. The next day it was on the Middle Emigrant Lake through meadows full of wildflowers.

Wildflowers
Lupines etc.

Rocky, Gary and Tony fished the Lower Emigrant Lake that day and scored big with several 18" fish.

Emigrant Fish
Emigrant Fish

Keeping a couple presented a problem to cook them.  Due to high fire hazard no campfires were allowed in theToiyabe National Forest, only gas stoves. Our usual method to cook fish was wrapped in foil on a grill over coals. However the engineering talent in the group rose to the occasion and lined up three gas stoves under the grill, which worked great.

Fish Grill
Three Stove Fish Grill

By the next morning the sky was getting pretty dramatic. Big lenticular clouds were stacked over the crest. Since it was about as far to go back as to go forward, we pushed on to Twin Lakes on the northwest side of Yosemite.  It was pretty well overcast by the time we got there. Because of this we hoped for good fishing, but it didn't happen. Rocky got a few from his float tube. The shifts in barometric pressure my altimeter indicated were the likely culprit.

Upper Twin Lake
Upper Twin Lake

The weather finally arrived the next morning--snow and sleet! Having sufficient good quality fleece and Gore-tex clothing this presented no great terror in pushing on to Dorothy Lake, but there was some misery to it.

Pat Girded for the Elements
Pat Girded for the Elements

Bigelow Lake was on the way, there was no temptation to test its good fishing reputation. After awhile we came to appreciate the beauty of the scene. The wildflowers in the snow with that light were spectacular.

Wildflowers in the Snow
Wildflowers in the Snow

Since Dorothy Lake was in the Park, a fire was allowed there and much appreciated.

Rocky, Tony and Mike Warming Up
Rocky, Tony and Mike Warming Up

It wasn't long before Rocky was out in his float tube and the rest of us fishing from shore.

Friar Trott ready to fish
Friar Trott Ready to Fish

The weather continued to put the fishing off, but as usual Rocky scored from his float tube. By the next morning the weather was improving. Mike and Pat headed out, but the other three pursued a rumor of trout of enormous size (TOES), at Mary Lake, a rugged cross country excursion away. The rumor was false, or at least they weren't biting but the scenery was worthwhile, discounting the death march all the way out to trailhead the next day.

Mary Lake Sunset
Mary Lake Sunset
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