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  1. #11
    Member Dangatang's Avatar
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    Re: Beardsley Lake or Donnell Lake

    I was there a few years ago. You can hike into the northeast side of the reservoir from the vista on 108. Start by heading south, then abruptly north - following the path of least resistance (look at the contour lines on Google Maps). You’ll end up at the inlet where the creek feeds into the reservoir. Tough hike, but doable (1000’ elevation drop in 1 mile). Lots of eager trout - I caught rainbows and browns. Beautiful area. Be safe.
    “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars."

    - Kahlil Gibran

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  3. #10
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    Re: Beardsley Lake or Donnell Lake

    I do know of some folks hiking down from 108 to the inlet at Donnell(you wanna talk about a MAJOR MISSION!!)..I believe I've even seen a YouTube video of it...of course no boat on that end...and also there was a fire back there recently that may have changed the landscape and made it not safe or doable...IMHO I'd give Beardsley a try or Cherry..Cherry has good access with a spot to launch and doesn't get as windy as well..AND I know for a fact that there are some GIANT Trout in there(and Kokanee as well)

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  5. #9
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    Re: Beardsley Lake or Donnell Lake

    Quote Originally Posted by bigfin View Post
    Holy Smokes place sounds like Timbuk 2 . Sounds like the fish in there probably see very few lures or bait . So just outta curiosity if the water is low is there a permanent ladder on the dam or would you have to carry the ladder in too ? I had to google it just for the heck of it man there are like shear cliffs surrounding parts of it !!!! No thanks , I'll stop complaining now about the 10 foot boulders on the south fork . Tightlines BF
    There is a ladder on the dam, IIRC. You can also walk to the far side of the dam and access the water from the granite bank, but it is very, very steep. What makes Donnell challenging is that it is basically just a granite canyon....with near vertical walls on both sides....and the dam is built into the canyon.

    I love remote places like this....and I have been there a few times just exploring...but I have never fished Donnell by boat or kayak. Just not worth it. It is one place that will NEVER receive heavy fishing pressure.
    Last edited by Owlman2; 06-28-2019 at 05:33 AM.

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  7. #8
    Senior Member bigfin's Avatar
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    Re: Beardsley Lake or Donnell Lake

    Quote Originally Posted by Owlman2 View Post
    Donnell is so very tempting, but there are a lot of obstacles in your path.

    For one thing, last I heard the road in was indefinitely closed due to storm damage. Not sure if it ever reopened or not. You are aware the road in is a real grind, right? It is something like 10 miles long, but is so rugged and dangerous that it takes at least two hours in a 4WD to cover that distance. Don't try it if you have a fear of heights.

    Also, while there is no prohibition against boats on Donnell, they try to discourage it with a fence about 12 feet tall just as you get near the dam. There is a pass through for people, but boats won't fit unless you can somehow get them over the fence. Also, the closest parking to the dam is roughly 1/2 mile away....so if you have a plan to deal with the fence...you still have to carry the boat the 1/2 mile in.

    Also....yes there's more...depending on the water level...the water can be anywhere from 3 feet to 75 feet below dam level. At the lower water levels you have to lower the boat to the water with a rope, then climb down a ladder to water level and figure out how to get in.

    Donnell is definitely not for the casual "faint of heart" fisherman.

    Holy Smokes place sounds like Timbuk 2 . Sounds like the fish in there probably see very few lures or bait . So just outta curiosity if the water is low is there a permanent ladder on the dam or would you have to carry the ladder in too ? I had to google it just for the heck of it man there are like shear cliffs surrounding parts of it !!!! No thanks , I'll stop complaining now about the 10 foot boulders on the south fork . Tightlines BF

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  9. #7
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    Re: Beardsley Lake or Donnell Lake

    Quote Originally Posted by Manteca Steve View Post
    I heard the same thing . BigUninDaBoat gave me the same information. If enough people start calling and start asking Stanislaus Forest Service why is it taking so long ( over 2 yrs ) in getting started ! dparkus you might want to think this one over
    I called the ranger district and the road to the lake is open. But the road over to the day use area with the boat ramp is closed, and per the guy I talked to, it probably would be for several years (which is absolutely crazy). I have a pretty small boat, so I was hoping to get it down to the lake and row around for a bit and hook into something. Was hoping someone had some bites/caught something up there in the last year and could give a report.

  10. #6
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    Re: Beardsley Lake or Donnell Lake

    Quote Originally Posted by MtnFisher View Post
    Road closures extended. Read and weep:

    http://thepinetree.net/new/?p=81019

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
    I heard the same thing . BigUninDaBoat gave me the same information. If enough people start calling and start asking Stanislaus Forest Service why is it taking so long ( over 2 yrs ) in getting started ! dparkus you might want to think this one over

  11. #5
    Senior Member MtnFisher's Avatar
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    Re: Beardsley Lake or Donnell Lake

    Road closures extended. Read and weep:

    http://thepinetree.net/new/?p=81019

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

  12. #4
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    Re: Beardsley Lake or Donnell Lake

    Quote Originally Posted by Slvrsides View Post
    Beardsley is definitely your better option..like Owlman said Donnell takes some serious determination just to get to even IF the road is open...I haven't been up to Beardsley yet this year but I'm assuming that the lake is fairly full and there is access on the north shore near the campground (that is close enough to the water line)that you could carry a boat down...just be careful in small boats on this lake the wind can get blowing up that canyon and make it a sea of whitecaps..be sure to wear your life jackets and be prepared to pull the plug if things start to get rough
    Thanks for the info. I think we'll give it a try. Hopefully there are some resident trout in the lake as I see that DFG hasn't stocked it in several years. Did you catch anything when you went up there last? I'm assuming last year? Did you try last out on the lake or from the shore?

  13. #3
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    Re: Beardsley Lake or Donnell Lake

    Beardsley is definitely your better option..like Owlman said Donnell takes some serious determination just to get to even IF the road is open...I haven't been up to Beardsley yet this year but I'm assuming that the lake is fairly full and there is access on the north shore near the campground (that is close enough to the water line)that you could carry a boat down...just be careful in small boats on this lake the wind can get blowing up that canyon and make it a sea of whitecaps..be sure to wear your life jackets and be prepared to pull the plug if things start to get rough

  14. #2
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    Re: Beardsley Lake or Donnell Lake

    Donnell is so very tempting, but there are a lot of obstacles in your path.

    For one thing, last I heard the road in was indefinitely closed due to storm damage. Not sure if it ever reopened or not. You are aware the road in is a real grind, right? It is something like 10 miles long, but is so rugged and dangerous that it takes at least two hours in a 4WD to cover that distance. Don't try it if you have a fear of heights.

    Also, while there is no prohibition against boats on Donnell, they try to discourage it with a fence about 12 feet tall just as you get near the dam. There is a pass through for people, but boats won't fit unless you can somehow get them over the fence. Also, the closest parking to the dam is roughly 1/2 mile away....so if you have a plan to deal with the fence...you still have to carry the boat the 1/2 mile in.

    Also....yes there's more...depending on the water level...the water can be anywhere from 3 feet to 75 feet below dam level. At the lower water levels you have to lower the boat to the water with a rope, then climb down a ladder to water level and figure out how to get in.

    Donnell is definitely not for the casual "faint of heart" fisherman.
    Last edited by Owlman2; 06-27-2019 at 05:24 AM.

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