High Sierra Fishing Trip Report - Oct 1-4 Humphreys and French Basin

#1
My friend and I visited high sierra two weeks ago for three nights and four days of great backpacking, cross-country hiking then of course fishing. Smoke from Sequoia chased us time to time but we managed to have a good time. We started at North Lake Camp Trailhead near Bishop. Went up Piute Pass then traveling around Humphreys Basin and French Basin. I sampled various alpine lakes and creeks connecting them with my Tenkara outfittings - a Japanese fixed-line fly fishing tackle that is lighter, cheaper, and easier (so funner). One of our goals was for me to teach him how to fish with it, which we managed alright. Above treeline, things are pretty dry. No snow. We saw Golden Trout, Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout, White-tailed Ptarmigan, Frogs but much less humans. Below are some photos from the trip. I hope you enjoy them!
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The fall high sierra just looks gorgeous with these colored aspens and brushes. This is near where we started our trek at North Lake Campground 30 min drive south west from Bishop.

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Lock Leven looking pretty. This is before we hit Piute Pass to get into the western side of Sierra Divide.

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First fish to entrained me was this Rainbow trout. Color is very yellow and it is possible that this has some hybridization with golden trout....

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This is how I camp. No tent just tarp and map. With a good Down sleeping bag. It is surprisingly comfortable. No bugs around this time of year which helps.


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Brook Trout from Golden Trout Lake in Humphreys Basin, High Sierra.

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#2
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My friend surveying the way ahead. We cross-country traveled Humphreys Basin scrambling our ways without trails. This is a common way of traveling in this part of the High Sierra.

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Bumped into this pretty grouse called White-tailed Ptarmigan. Introduced by CADWG in 70's to High Sierra from Toulume to Kings Canyon. It's hunting season is only in two specific weeks in September. Anyone has hunted them?

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Me at Puppet Pass. We scramble down the field of talus below.

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There is a secret pyramid in high sierra. UFO came and built it in 50s. (Called Pilot Knob).

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Golden Trout at Elba Lake
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#3
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This is how smokes from Sequoia rolled through randomly all of sudden. We may be enjoying a typical fall sierra weather then boom. Wind direction changes and they roll in. This happened right after we pitch our tarp/tent so we did not want to leave. So we stayed.

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Smoke doing a magic of making Japanese black ink painting...

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Beautiful Lower Honeymoon Lake's outlet pond. This is listed as one of the heritage wild trout waters by CADFW. One of the goals of this trip was to visit here. Hike up was short but tough 1 hour of non-stop climbing. Reward was huge though.

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Reward #1. Chunky Golden.

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Reward #2, Pretty Golden.
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#4
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A view of the mighty Mount Humphreys above Lower Honeymoon Lake

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Nice looking Brookie from Golden Trout Lake (!?)

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Final day of the trip was different. Smoke was everywhere in AM. Past days, smoke rolled in only in PM. We woke up coughing. But it made a beautiful looking sunrise disguising itself as a sunset.

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So I have been scratching my head thinking, how come the golden trout lake only has Brookies.... Well, searching harder got me this one. and some few more.


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Smoke making some random art at Piute Pass.

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Another view from Piute Pass, Elevation of about 11k feet up. Quite desolate. The mountain in the center is the Mount Humphreys.


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Summit Lake, the first alpine lake west of the Piute Pass.

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Piute Lake in Marsian environ. It was really like walking on Mars in that light.

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Nice Brook at North Lake inlet.

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This is where the above Brook came from.
 
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#8
Looks like a great trip.

Thanks for posting.

A suggestion if you do not mind. Some description below or above the not-so obvious pictures would be helpful.
Thank you Mahigeer! I agree and in fact I started to comment a little for each picture. Then at almost end of writing all that, my browser crashed and I lost all of them. I did not have my patience to try the same for the second time so I just put photos. I will now try to put some captions to help you Mahigeer. FN
 

Mahigeer

Well-Known Member
#12
What a difference with captions.

I wish I could join you, but I am too out of shape with bad knees. Thus, I will assume I was there with you pictures.

My favorite type of fishing is hiking next to a river, and casting flies. Then camping when it is dark.
I have done it several times when I was much younger.

Please post more such reports.
 
#14
Few things make me wish I were young again. This report does. Miss those beautiful little wild Sierra trout on ultralite gear! Miss the hikes, too. The Oregon Cascades aren't shabby, and easier on the back and knees, but it's mostly brownies.
 
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#15
Few things make me wish I were young again. This report does. Miss those beautiful little wild Sierra trout on ultralite gear! Miss the hikes, too. The Oregon Cascades aren't shabby, and easier on the back and knees, but it's mostly brownies.
Thank you for your comment! Oregon cascades are those places that are in my bucket list to visit for hiking and fishing. For fishing, I have been planning to visit more of the low lands there to find native redband trout and bull trout. That would be my dream come true. I wonder if you had seen them....
 
#16
Thank you for your comment! Oregon cascades are those places that are in my bucket list to visit for hiking and fishing. For fishing, I have been planning to visit more of the low lands there to find native redband trout and bull trout. That would be my dream come true. I wonder if you had seen them....

I've seen but not caught either. Redband are like desert rainbows... I had always wondered why they were called redband until I saw one up close. Got it. Beautiful. Those and bull trout are usually off my beaten path, so to speak, as I rarely venture east of US 97. Bull trout are a threatened species now, but still allowed for C&R. But I would not put off my trip too long if I were you. Best of luck. Arid, tough country, but you are up to it.
 
#17
Thanks so much for sharing your experience with them. Seven years ago, I went to Modoc Co in CA south of those areas in OR to search CA redbands. There were three subspecies of those redbands in CA then and still I believe there are (Warner Lakes, Goose Lakes, and McCloud Rivers). No more bull trout in CA water after McCloud lost it. You are right in that I should not put off my trip too long. The recent fires there could have destroyed the watersheds and also made some spots unaccessible..... Anyways, great chatting with you Mr. The Happy Wanderer! My pleasure to meet another soul here who loves freshwaters as much as our deep love for the salts!