View Full Version : Cottonwood Lakes and Golden Trout Country 8/31 - 9/2

clem de la clem
09-06-2007, 11:41 PM
drove through thunderstorms and light rain to get to lone pine thursday evening. had dinner at the high sierra cafe. woke up early friday and drove up to horseshoe meadow which is around 9,000 feet... things seemed fine at that point. everyone was a happy camper.... this is around 10 am. pictured is dylan (the banana slug), rambo ryan, christina, and zina.

the hike was beautiful. pretty level with mild ascents. crossed several streams. things were going fine...

about mile four, we get closer to the pass and things start to get painful. air is thinner, packs heavier, legs more tired. clouds pass quickly and drop a few sprinkles keeping us cool....

once over the pass, things level off and we start to see the different lakes. this one here is just a pond but is surrounded by a nice meadow.

this is lake three. seven hours later now, this is where we end up camping. somewhere around 6.4 miles in and about 11,000 feet high. our heads are starting to hurt and the oxygen is thin so elevation sickness is definitely setting in....

but the lakes are too attractive and i have to wet the line. it must be around six pm. i am using a berkley spinner with black tail and 4 pound test. cast out and let the lure hit. count to three and give a big pull, bring it in erratically and eventually, whammo.... hook up. these golden really fight. and were bigger than i was expecting...

love the natural beauty of these fish. the red is really bright and at first, it seems like they are bleeding down their stomachs but this is all natural color. and the tail and fins were in perfect condition unlike those stocked fish whose tails are often bitten and torn...

keep casting and hook up a few more. i know people were fishing here before me so am surprised at the great action i am getting. no complaints from me. btw, these golden trout are protected so all were cnr.

here is a shot from the spot i was fishing. this is the north end of the lake. nice and quiet. i know there were other people somewhere but it felt like i had the lake to myself. maybe they were taking a nap... sure was quiet...

head up to lake five. this is probably another 100 feet up. doesn't seem like much but at 11,000 feet and with the four switchbacks i had to go up, i stopped twice to catch my breath. so get to lake five and again, i appear to have the lake to myself. nice rocks showing just beneath the surface so start by casting on either side. same action as before... and bendo! have a really good fight with this one....

here is another shot of the fish. sorry so blurry but i have altitude sickness. how about that coloring. a lot brighter than the others. almost radioactive... could it be a cross breed? i know they breed here cause i saw lots of fingerling trout here and even caught one. when i let him go, he was floating upside down... guess it was quite a fight. had to pull him through the water four or five times to get the water through his gills but eventually, he splashed around and swam on his own....

work to my left. same thing. nice big rock just beneath the surface, cast to the right and work it slowly along the edge and wham. another nice strike and again, sorry for the blurry shot. looks like it has a little rainbow in it but still had the distinctive red underbelly and perfect fins... i was told lake five you could keep fish but why, when it was a gift just to catch them...

also hit lake four. fish here were starving or something. threw in my lure and hits were on immediately but the fish would jump straight up and shake the lure right off of their lip! did that three times. it was rather exciting... but it was getting late and i am still light headed... ran into a marmot. always hear them but first time i came face to face with one. varmints always eating my snacks...

saturday we just rested trying to adapt to the altitude. i heard there was a heat wave in los angeles.... not here. just look at rambo's layers....

here is a shot of our camp. thanks to tut for the creative grinds. they were approved by le cordon bleu...

and here is a shot of the high county backpackers. never leave a mark. leave it cleaner than you found it. and pack out what you bring in.... from left to right, ryan, dylan, zina, christina and stefan. thanks for the great trip.... love the high sierras.

09-07-2007, 12:11 AM
Awesome report and great pics.

Got to love them golden trout.

Thanks for sharing on FNN


09-07-2007, 12:20 AM
Awesome report and beautiful fish. I am a huge fan and long time visitor of those areas and I love to see these types of high country reports!

BTW, were you using spinner lures? Did you have to pinch the barbs down too?

09-07-2007, 12:23 AM
Awesome report and beautiful fish. I am a huge fan and long time visitor of those areas and I love to see these types of high country reports!

BTW, were you using spinner lures? Did you have to pinch the barbs down too?

09-07-2007, 06:33 AM
Great pics! Thanks for the report....

09-07-2007, 06:47 AM
Awsome report!! Wow another reason to go high my friends.. That is where the good stuff is. Any Bears up there? Did you have to tie your food up in a tree? Always wonder about that..

City Dad
09-07-2007, 09:04 AM
Cool report. Pics are stunning. thanks for sharing.

09-07-2007, 09:22 AM
Beautiful pictures and fish, nice job! The sierras is my favorite place to fish, everything is beautiful up there.

09-07-2007, 10:24 AM
Sweet - packed up there 11 years ago when I was courting a woman who a year later became my wife. We both caught goldens - she was so excited! (So was I, but that's a story for a completely different forum...)

Thanks for the pics - what a place, eh?

09-07-2007, 10:33 AM
Fantastic report & pics! Great trip. :thumb:

09-07-2007, 11:54 AM
wow those colors are ex l ent!
so where in lone pine oes this all occur?
its just that im looking at rolling up real quick like and was thinking about making the hike on a double surgery left ankle. thanx

Nessie Hunter
09-07-2007, 01:26 PM
Outstanding report & pics.

Thanks. :thumb:

Kudos for the C&R and the "leave it cleaner" attitude..

Caught my first ever Golden this year, awesome High Sierra Grand Slam (4 Species). I was Stoked... At 62 yrs old, I was running out of time.... :lol: :lol: :lol:


clem de la clem
09-07-2007, 03:17 PM
thanks for all your comments!

mth 1997: i guess this is classified as a spinner, like a rooster tail. crimped the barbs as best i could. used a big hook to ensure no deep hooks and all were on the lip and easily removed! but i'm sure it still hurt the fish...

tpfishnfool: there were bear reports but none seen. because this is the "national forest" there was one camper that had dogs. maybe this kept them away? but we did have bear canisters and found a nice tree some distance away that had a natural split and a flat spot in the middle. we stacked the canisters there... just in case...

pole'npants: just drive up the same road as whitney portal, only make a left about a mile in. there is a sign for horseshoe meadows. its about a 30 minute drive. you can camp there to acclimate yourself to the height. the switchbacks were not too bad though... its a nice slow incline for your ankle...

tight lines everyone...

09-07-2007, 09:29 PM
great report!! man those goldens look amazing

09-08-2007, 01:30 AM
Beautiful place, beautiful fish. Great Job. :thumb:

09-08-2007, 11:28 AM
very nice

09-09-2007, 12:19 PM
Nice goldens.

09-12-2007, 10:08 AM
Nice pics and I I luv to see them goldens! This is a place to fish that is on my agenda and is not far from where I live. Lucky u didn't encounter any bears, and I know all about the issue with altitude. It takes awhile to get used to it up here. Anyways, thanks for those great pics! :D

Granny Fish
09-12-2007, 03:16 PM
Great report! Those goldens sure are pretty. Poor Rambo doesn't look very happy in his picture.

Greg Madrigal
09-13-2007, 09:46 AM
HEy, GREAT repor! I really enjoyed it. Man, those were some beautiful goldens, especially that realy bright one. You are one of the priveledged few, and I really appreciated teh High Country attitude at the end. You guys rock!


09-24-2007, 08:44 AM
beautiful place, i was up there last summer. probably my favorite place to pack into