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St._Denis
02-26-2008, 06:38 PM
* *I thought I would mention a favorite pass-time of mine since I was boy in Kennedy Meadows , and that is backcountry ice fishing . A few weeks back I snowshoed *into stoney ridge lake and spent *a couple days ice fishing . 9 fishing hours total produced 2 hits with one 25 inch german brown and one 34 inch *"eel like" big mack. I released both fish back down thier holes as it occured to me they might be the only fish left in there. This was a 5 day trip. Does any one else, have any winter secret lakes that ward off cabin fever? I was not refering to lakes next to the highways either. * * Fish On *gst * Blueribbonfishing *:)

Captain Compassion
02-26-2008, 07:34 PM
* *I thought I would mention a favorite pass-time of mine since I was boy in Kennedy Meadows , and that is backcountry ice fishing . A few weeks back I snowshoed *into stoney ridge lake and spent *a couple days ice fishing . 9 fishing hours total produced 2 hits with one 25 inch german brown and one 34 inch *"eel like" big mack. I released both fish back down thier holes as it occured to me they might be the only fish left in there. This was a 5 day trip. Does any one else, have any winter secret lakes that ward off cabin fever? I was not refering to lakes next to the highways either.


That's hard core. A couple of day ago I had to walk 100 yards down to a lake and back in 2 feet of snow. Darn near killed me. Sounds like a neat trip. Perhaps I could do something with a helicopter. 8-)

CC

fishlipd
02-26-2008, 08:11 PM
I love the Kennedy Meadows area. I would like to fish Levitt if I was willing to snowshoe like 5 miles in. Brookies in there and boy are they good on the grill. I wish I had every day to fish Tahoe and get to know her more intimintly. I would be a happy man. 8-) Thanks for the report Gene.

Chadzilla
02-26-2008, 08:16 PM
Wow, that is awesome.... a bit crazy, but awesome none the less. At least the 2 fish were lunkers.

HOOF
02-26-2008, 10:05 PM
Where u go levitte? Actually I doubt that if you hiked from kennedys.Hmm Iced over lake-off 108-4 how bout some clues? I mean you can roll from 108 to 4 if you have snowmolbiles etc...Stony ridge hmmmmmmmmmmm

windknot51
02-26-2008, 10:27 PM
If you're not pulling any legs, this is one of the most amazing reports I've ever seen. :o That's crazy man, I can't imagine snowshoing in 6+ miles to go ice fishing and I thought I was obsessed with backcountry fishing!

Matt

wolfden
02-27-2008, 05:57 AM
Where u go levitte? Actually I doubt that if you hiked from kennedys.Hmm Iced over lake-off 108-4 how bout some clues? I mean you can roll from 108 to 4 if you have snowmolbiles etc...Stony ridge hmmmmmmmmmmm

Give the guy some slack....What is so unbelievable about snowshoeing 6 miles or even 15???? If you are into that it is not beyond belief ;)

St._Denis
02-27-2008, 06:48 AM
*When, I was younger 30 40 years ago I *grew up in kennedy meadows with a fishing rod in hand and river rat shorts . My favorite fish were golden trout , german browns, and rainbows *(courtesy the california fish truck). I am a retired (or retarded) Alpine-Ice / big wall climber and have worked with navy and federal agencys in SAR OPS. Now, I am a old broken down fisherman/ Dad. *I have known and have had a little wine around the campfire with Chounard, Harding, Smith, Kaulk, Bridwell, Braun, Mc Kinney, Stretch, Schultz, and other Fine Mighty " Son's of the Sierra's". My past trips into the High Sierra are 1 week to my longest without resupply at 48 days . Long range recon and Big Walls was my forte (I have been up Several routes up El Cap & Half Dome, incredable Hulk, Keeler Needle, Mt. coness North wall, Mt.Morrison North buttress, Winter solo ascent East face -Mt. Whitney, Mendal Ice Chute- Mt. Mendel, *and many , many,many, others . Now days, a little ice fishing in the winter backcountry sounds nice as a diversion from guideing on lake tahoe. * P. S. *I did't mention the death trips either. * *Fish On *gst * *Blueribbon *:)

Fish_Bully
02-27-2008, 07:15 AM
This is a bit extreme but indeed achieveable. I'm a pretty hard core backcountry traveler but I never have had the urge to winter ice fish. I do a lot of showshoeing, in fact my daughter and I did a trip out to Dewey Point this winter.

Did you pull a sled? You know the ones with the pole handles (made for winter traveling)? I have been on some rather long showshoe trips but we ALL had backpacking sleds, especially for a multi-nighter. I cannot imagine a 5-night winter trip wihout pulling a sled, but hey, you are indeed an outdoorsman. I will pull my sled if only a one night trip.

I'll bet brandy is aweful good fishing bait!

Tight lines,

Flip

Cal.Kellogg
02-27-2008, 07:24 AM
Well, Well, Well...Mr. Gene St. Denis has joined the party....Gene is one of most tallented trollers I've ever met and is a certified "Sierra Rat"....Some of his expertise and exploits are cronicled in my new book, The Trout Fishing Handbook.....Great to see you on the forums Gene, Cal Kellogg.....

St._Denis
02-27-2008, 08:54 AM
No sled, just manage your pack weight than then add the 9 pound ice auger,shovel, tent, sleeping bag, stove / fuel, food, cloths, fishing gear, and your troubles and see if you can pick it up and walk for any distance. If you cannot then ice fish red lake or caples. P. S. Cal K. , I will try this picture e- mail thing to you soon, what size is best to send to you and were ? Fish On gst Blueribbon :)

Washoe_Pirate
02-27-2008, 09:42 AM
St.

This is great stuff. I am planning on taking my son back a little way on skis to ice fish this weekend. In this day and age of 12 inch planters programmed to hit what ever hot item is on the market I applaud the efforts of folks who put a little energy into a chance to catch even one good fish. For me, when I go back into the wilds and expend the energy to catch a golden trout, or shoot and pack out a mule deer or whatever, it makes me feel human. Things are way to easy for people today, and we are generally removed from the great things found in nature (not next to the highway). I bet you had a great time in the snow!! By the way, I see you have been up just about everything in the area, have you ever climbed the Pole Plant ice wall down from Ellery Lake on Tioga Pass :o?

St._Denis
02-27-2008, 10:09 AM
We- talking Lee Vinning Canyon North side with ice for beginner to challege the best ice climbers around , the answer is yes- many years and many routes there. If I remember the closest and best pizza and beer joint is in June Lake Ski Lodge. In 78' we carried/dragged out a climber from L.A. that had his ice climbing leader fall directly down on him while he was doing a hanging belay below and it was a gastly bloody mess from the crampons and an ice ax stuck in his thigh. It took about 8 to 10 of us to get him off the wall and all the way down to the trailhead and the ambulance that had just pulled up. Remember, it is a ways back in there and try to lead to the side of the fall line of your belayer. Fish On gst Blueribbon :)

TahoeJeff
02-27-2008, 02:34 PM
I've snowshoed in to Round Lk. from the Big Meadows trailhead for cutthroat. It's about 3.5 miles in, and not too steep. This year however, the snow could be so thick as to prohibit fishing. Granite lake above Emerald bay in the Desolation wilderness is not too far, and the Brookies there will usually hit anything you drop down. Lastly, there is almost always a groomed trail from the snow park in to Echo lakes, for hold over rainbows through the ice.

MacDaddy
02-27-2008, 03:12 PM
u guys r all really hard core ive never heard of anyone going that drastic to catch fish or even be in the wilderness you guys are crazy fish addicts like the helicopter idea

Washoe_Pirate
02-27-2008, 03:32 PM
St. you've got it. That wall in Lee Vining Canyon is awesome :o. Where did you drag that climber out from. If you were assisted by the local search and rescue there is a good chance you met my old man. Ice freaks me out and I stay off the big walls ;). Back in high school my friends dad had an entire slab release and squash him (he was very experienced and local). This was the June Lake wall on Carson Peak, and the guys body was stuck up there for weeks. Back to fishing.... too bad you cant ice fish in Mono Co. I imagine that some of those big Alpers trout would be hungry about this time of year. I am looking forward however to taking part in an expedition to Canada for scientific purposes in the next couple of weeks and have been promised great ice fishing in remote places. We will see how this fishing trip plays out. Big Macks through the ice????

Sin_Coast
02-27-2008, 10:37 PM
Awesome report man!
I have spent a lot of time alonmg Sonora Pass too. Beautiful country up there. Summit creek above Relief Res in early May can be epic, as the 'bows and hybrids move into the creek to spawn. Or the inlet to the lake in April.
Thanks for the great report,
PK

St._Denis
02-28-2008, 07:34 PM
* *Azure lake and Snow Lake have excellent Brookies. Be careful of the outlet log jam area of azure lake as you can be snowshoeing along and break thru the ice and logs and sink to the bottom with your pack( I carefully go around this area on the shoreline as it never freezes up well ), the rest of both lakes is basically sound but procede with the usual fear and dread ...it just might keep you alive! *When you get there to ice fish, you will see what I am talking about. Most of the fish are in 8 to 15 feet useing kastmaster to jig or worm/powerbait combo. The Brookies were 8 inches to 18 inches * However , *they are very thick , colorful, and tastie! *We also pulled up thru the ice in azure- cutthrout,goldens and one 2 pound brown( he must have got lost). Middle Velma Lake is my favorite Ice Fishing Lake in Desolation Wilderness for Rainbow trout(we have gotten them 1 to 5 pounds) and Gilmore Lake is my favorite Desolation Wilderness lake for all around Icefishing -Bass, Rainbows(1 to 4 pounds), Goldens( small and scarred), Browns(up to 8 pounds), Cutts, and Mackinaw Lake Trout up to 15 pounds. Cup Lake is the best Golden Trout Ice fishing Lake in Desolation (we have gotten them up to 15 inches thru the ice) . P. S. * That Winnemucca Lake might be a fun - cool ice fishing trip since it has lots of cutts and is away from the carson pass snow park crowd. I have not ice fished it yet. * Fish * On * gst * Blueribbon :)

SlamminAmador
02-28-2008, 11:42 PM
* *Azure lake and Snow Lake have excellent Brookies. Be careful of the outlet log jam area of azure lake as you can be snowshoeing along and break thru the ice and logs and sink to the bottom with your pack( I carefully go around this area on the shoreline as it never freezes up well ), the rest of both lakes is basically sound but procede with the usual fear and dread ...it just might keep you alive! *When you get there to ice fish, you will see what I am talking about. Most of the fish are in 8 to 15 feet useing kastmaster to jig or worm/powerbait combo. The Brookies were 8 inches to 18 inches * However , *they are very thick , colorful, and tastie! *We also pulled up thru the ice in azure- cutthrout,goldens and one 2 pound brown( he must have got lost). *Middle Velma Lake is my favorite Ice Fishing Lake in Desolation Wilderness for Rainbow trout(we have gotten them 1 to 5 pounds) and Gilmore Lake is my favorite Desolation Wilderness lake for all around Icefishing -Bass, Rainbows(1 to 4 pounds), Goldens( small and scarred), Browns(up to 8 pounds), Cutts, and Mackinaw Lake Trout up to 15 pounds. Cup Lake is the best Golden Trout Ice fishing Lake in Desolation (we have gotten them up to 15 inches thru the ice) . *P. S. * That Winnemucca Lake might be a fun - cool ice fishing trip since it has lots of cutts and is away from the carson pass snow park crowd. I have not ice fished it yet. * Fish * On * gst * Blueribbon :)

I have had luck at Azure lake...great brookies there, never ice fished it though, must try it sometime...thanks Marty

steveo79
02-29-2008, 06:45 AM
You win the closest I got to ice fishing was Hathaway Pines Lake which is about 1-1/2 mile from Hy 4 in Arnold

Could you have meant White Pines lake?

Fish_Bully
02-29-2008, 09:14 AM
St._Denis,

When is the last time you fished the Velmas and Gilmore or any other lakes in the general area such as Heather, Susie, Half Moon or Grass?

Flip

St._Denis
02-29-2008, 06:57 PM
I used to do them alot in the winters past, say 20 years. I ice fished middle velma lake last month. Gilmore Lake is one of the long riders of icefishing and last year feb. I drilled holes there. Heather Lake is the best for brown icefishing in desolation wilderness and I have not icefished her since 2006. Susie Lake has some nice brookies still in there and I icefished her on the way into heather in 2006. Half Moon no. Grass Lake and Lily Lake Years and Years ago . Crater Lake off of Carson Pass is full of stunted, tasty ,colorful, Brookies just use little ice jigs tipped with worm pieces or maggots. Star Lake by Freel Peak is also full of the eastern Stunted brookies as well (similiar to granite lake). Fish On gst Blueribbonfishing :)

Fish_Bully
02-29-2008, 09:14 PM
Simply awesome St._Denis, that's recent information on these backcountry waters. Things have changed so much in the last ten or so years.

Out of all the Sierra wilderness areas, I have kicked Desolation with my left foot for many years. To remedy that, I have scheduled a late spring multi-day trip to visit all the lakes in the area of Gilmore and Heather. One of many backcountry adventures I will 'take in' this year.

Gilmore is huge, and the mackinaw are thriving in this perfectly round lake. I fully expect the golden fishing to be nonexistent. Late spring is also not the perfect time to target the shopping mall sized browns, but the quality of the other species should more than make up. Being in the upper streches of the Rubicon during the mosquito laden springtime should also be an unforgetful adventure. The river harbors rainbow, goldens, brookies and the occasional brown, but with the past years of harse drought-like conditions, I don't know what to expect. I guess I'll see what I can see.

You referred to a Cup Lake?? Where in the cat hair is that?

I want to say welcome, and thanks for joining the Sniffers but damn, you're not helping my severe case of cabin fever right about now. *;D

Tight lines,

Flip

mrsockeye
02-29-2008, 09:33 PM
Mr. St. Dennis, I'm not as familiar with the central Sierras as I am with the Eagle Lake Platuea area. The lakes are a little more spaced out in that area, as it is drier high desert country. In the summer time, some of the more accessibel lakes are fished by Susanville locals. You will not find any 32" macks, no cutts, and the brookies haven't been stocked in many of the lakes lately. The brookies have lost favor to the native Eagle Lake fish in that area. Right now you could snow mobile into Crater Lake off highway 44, roughly 7 miles, or snowshoe if that's your bag. The Caribou Wilderness is also up that away, and there are a selection of lakes up there. You will encounter mostly rainbows. Almost nobody goes up there at this time of year. There is snowmobile activity around Bogard. Not as extreme as Desolation Wilderness, but probably lesser known. Good luck if you decide to go. Hope this may help.

St._Denis
03-02-2008, 07:01 AM
Cup Lake is by Ralston Peak Ridge across from Sieera Ski Ranch turn off Highway 50 ( this is an expert , double black diamand rated snowshoe trip to get there). Saucer Lake is east on the ridge and is loaded with stunted brookies. Good planning and hunting! Fish On gst Blueribbon :)

St._Denis
03-02-2008, 08:12 PM
FYI, I drove around emerald bay yesterday and saw that cascade lake is frozen. However, the ice and snow looked extremly and totally unsafe to be on ( the lake has never frozen very well at any time in the past) and that with the warming temps and snow melt runoff the lake has rised weakening the already unstable ice snow layer covering the lakes visabley weaked surface....be warned stay off... Fish On gst Blueribbon :)

St._Denis
03-03-2008, 12:40 PM
It is good to here that some of you guys are on the same level of outdoor skills! These are fast becoming lost arts and survival skills are a requirment for any one leaving the security of the urban enviroment. So, let me explain the "High Sierra Nevada Ice Fishing Thickness Rules" 1. - The ice thickness is 2 to 6 feet and it will support the weight of a truck with ease. Fish On Baby! 2. - 6 inches to 2 feet in thickness and is generally safe to ice fish except around shorelines and lake outlets or moving water that undermines the ice and weekens it to very thin levels or even open water. Fish On Baby! 3. 1 inch to 6 inchs Very dangerous and the likelyhood of a breakthru somewere is very, very, possible and should be considered not safe for the nivice and intermedit ice fishers. Do Not Go out on the Ice! Ice water rescues are commonplace in these thickness's and down at convict lake 15, 20 years ago, close to a dozen tourist fell thru the ice and many did not make it. They did not know that the lake was named for a group of convicts (that may have been escapeing) fell thru the ice around the 1900', and many froze and icey waters. 4. Trust your instincts ,if you are conserned and the animal in you does not like it, then abort your mission and relax on solid land! Good Hunting ! Fish On gst blueribbon :)

Fish_Bully
03-03-2008, 01:16 PM
What would you estimate your pack weight to be for a moderate 8 mile round trip where you spent about three nights? Why don't you use a sled??? The sled attaches to your waist and is much easier than a pack.

I have done a fair amount of winter backcountry travel but not for ice fishing. A few years ago we wanted to shoot video of extreme backcountry snowboarding. We did a few trips, 5-8 miles into the backcountry to a base camp, would XC to good locations and weather always rudely ended our trip. I got tired to it....so exhausing. I brought in more than one New Year on Mt Lassen. To this day there is a guy who lives in Anderson who makes multiple trips into Silver Snag right before New Years eve to cache liquor and firewood. He has a tipi with a tiny wood stove and whomever wants to bring in the New Year is more than welcome. He does this snow or shine.

How do you break or drill the ice? Maybe this is something I could get into, I just simply never thought of it, figured there would be no way to break the ice and even if I did, who's to say the fish are biting. Oh well, this is very interesting!

Do you make yourself a kitchen and furniture? Check out the recliners!

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b51/PAkers/SnowCamp1.jpg

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b51/PAkers/SnowCamp2.jpg

http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b51/PAkers/EldoradoSummit.jpg

I'll give one piece of advice to anyone thinking they want to attempt this ice fishing thingy - get yourself some good gear. Cotton kills and Walmart specials such as Coleman don't perform in the extreme conditions.

Please share some pics from your next adventure St_Deins.

Fish on with the fish on,

Flip

St._Denis
03-03-2008, 06:35 PM
Those are great pics and I feel right at home on the snow! Can I put my tent up over to the right? My pack weight for multiple day winter ice fishing trips is heavy, 50 to 65 depending on the trip difficulty and duration. Flat and/or stable terrain is required /very nice for sleds witch I have dragged around like a dog. The drawback is on steep slooping terrain like cup lake, gilmore lake ,stoney ridge lake, etc... once the sled goes =you go and it is like a rocket down without any control (we had one man hurt very baddly when training for Mt. Mckinley). It is not pleasure trip you are doing ,it is hard core winter backcountry travel and you have to take it seriously or you and your friends will not come home. Break down 6 to 8 inch ice augers "mora" etc. are good and are very sharp do not test the edges with your finger it will bleed like astuck pig. Keep the plastic guard on the cutting teeth. 8 inch is maximun auger diameter allowed in california f&b regulations. It is a test of your will and control/training against the forces of nature --just like the mountain men of old. In the winter deep in the sierra's you might as well be back in the 1800's . You have to remember -what I have fogotten, is what others have for a complete survival guide. And when they or an expert team calls for help on a failed Mt. Whitney or Mt. Morrision Winter trip they called us to rescue them and bring them home. These things are not to be taken lightly and we considered it an honor to help those in need of help. Good Hunting! Fish On! gst Blueribbon :)

HOOF
03-03-2008, 07:08 PM
This thread rocks

St._Denis
03-03-2008, 08:16 PM
I forgot the distance question (I was just reminded). How long does it take to go 8 miles? Well, it depends on "Geno's 10 Golden Rule's" 1. Your phycial condition and Frame of mind (are they clear and fresh). 2. Snow conditions of your planned trip and it's topography. 3. Start times early and stop times late. 4. Is your team on the same page together as a unit ( mentally and phycially). 5." Leave all mental baggage home "( focus on the task at hand ). 6. Skis or Snow shoes? (Split teams of skis and snowshoes have a strong tendecy to bee weaker and more prone to trouble.....try to all be the same ). 7. Take your summer time trip/distance Time for your winter trip and multiple it by 2 or 3 (So it depends,... drink more water than you think you need). 8. The Weather . 9. The Cold (always extra pair of gloves). 10. Packed trail in / or Unpacked .................................................. .. Good Hunting ! Fish On ! gst :)

Fish_Bully
03-04-2008, 10:23 AM
I took an early spring solo trout fishing adventure into the backcountry of the Mokelumne Wilderness. I explored the remote Mokelumne River between Mt. Reba and Hwy 4. Nobody ever goes here. While obtaining my backcountry permit and leaving my itinerary, the Rangers (who know me by name) thought I was nuts. “Flip, what about the cornice?” they cried as I walked out the door. Actually, I didn’t expect to encounter much snow but I was faced with a very large snowfield on the north face of a long and extremely exposed ridgeline. Thunderstorms were all around and there was no time to carefully think about anything. I quickly rigged a rope and lowered my pack to near the bottom of the snowfield. Lightning licked my a$$ as I used the rope to lower myself down. At one point I could feel the static in the air. Once near the bottom of the snowfield, I donned my 60-65# pack and started carefully down, no crampons, no ice axe and no more rope. Nothing to self arrest myself with and again, this was really steep! I only exaggerate when it comes to fish, this ridgeline was more than steep. Many thoughts raced through my mind during this part, mainly thoughts of this being the exact type of predicament I promise the wife I will never get myself into. I did okay the remainder of the way down until the point at which the snowfield ended and the soil began. Every tiny half step I took resulted in sinking knee deep and sliding in what I could best describe as heavy aggregate concrete. Luckily, I did have gators but I was a mess when I finally got down off the ridge and into Underwood Valley. I looked like I had been dipped in concrete. I left the rope and used it for my return two days later when I tied up my pack, ascended via the rope, then pulled my pack up. If you read my Sniffer report you know that the fishing was grand, but this is an extremely difficult trip into a very remote area that is never ever visited.

Henceforth, when I hear the term Sierra Concrete, I just smile and this trip comes to mind. To some, Sierra Concrete is a term for wet snow, not for me. Some call me crazy for the well planned, carefully undertaken trips I take but the true crazies are the mountaineers who attempt Whitney or Williamson in the winter or who are the first ones to bust through the cornices on Forester Pass. These folks are really adventurers.

I know many anglers ice fish Red, Caples and Donner and many use augers to drill holes. But how do you get through the ice of a backcountry lake? Do you use an auger, axe? I would think an axe would work just fine. I used to have to chop holes in iced over ponds for cattle to drink. Sorry for all the questions and interrogation, this ice fishing is an interesting topic and sure beats the normal ‘what color lure do I use’ topics. I could be talked into a remote backcountry ice fishing trip, well, uh, err….maybe. I’m bringing my sled though!

Tight lines,

Flip

St._Denis
03-04-2008, 06:34 PM
Well, if you do not have an ice auger -then the standard system for getting to liquid water in frozen lakes or rivers is as follows 1. bring shovel and dig down to ice base and clear away a good ax swing work zone. 2.-Then pickup ax and begin swinging and clearing ice chucks as you go ( eye protection is required). 3. -Stop when hole is big enough for your use. 4. Plan on doeing one hole maybe two if you are lucky unless the lake /river ice is cleared/ accessable and not several feet thick. gst :o