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Topics - Todd Johnson

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Eastern Sierra Trip Reports / Trip Report 8/8/15 - 8/15/15 Part 3
« on: August 24, 2015, 08:58:38 AM »
Day 5:
I got up just as the sun was making it appearance in LLV.  Got the camera out and took a few photos.  Also we took a small earlier morning hike over Morgan Pass.  It was amazing being up there at 8:00am in the morning what a view.  We made it down to the first lake for a look and then headed back to camp to pack and head down to base camp for showers and rest. 
The showers were wonderful after hiking two days in a row and not having showers up to this point.  After we got out of the showers and a quick bit to eat. We were getting ready to leave the resort and low and behold the stock truck drives by to stock the lake.  (There is the timing thing again!!!).  So we knew that they had stocked the creek, but we wanted to give them some time before going in to fish.  Also the campgrounds was not completely full and we did not expect that everyone would head down to hit them right off the bat. We were correct in the assumption as when we drove into camp, there was really no one out fishing.  So we got back, took a load off our feet and relaxed for a couple of hours.  Trinity was bushed and hit the tent for some R&R. 
We ended up after a little while taking the poles down to hit the stream. We happened to noticed that there were some fairly large size fish in the stream as well which seem to have been tagged with pink tags.  Later we found out after Scott caught one that there they stated “DFW Trophy – Do Not Report” Really!!!! Darn, we were hoping that they were money fish like we had seen a number of years ago near Tahoe Lake.
Anyways, both Scott, Trinity and I headed out to do a little fishing.  Scott headed one location right near camp that he and I had seen a tagged fish, and I headed down stream to fish another whole and to try to get Trinity a couple of fish. I went down towards the beaver dam with Trinity to find a good location to fish for her. As we came out onto a beach just about 50-75ft upstream from the dam, I heard a lot of snapping a splashing in the steam.  Well, I then proceeded really slowly to the bank and low and behold there was Mom and Cub playing in the stream. (wish I had the camera) So I stopped and slowly directed Trinity behind me, as we watch Mom and Cub. Mom was fishing in the creek and she saw me, but I just stayed still and watch her and the cub. At one point Cub made some load noise which caught mom’s curiosity, causing her to stand up on her hind legs looking over towards the dam.  We must have stayed there for about 5-10 minutes watching.  I was pretty cute seeing them interacting..  Mom decided to head back over to my side of the creek towards the dam, I lost sight of her, so I started moving back upstream and back into the bushes.  I was a little concerned as I could not see mom and didn’t know where she was headed, so as Trinity was making her way back upstream slowly, I took one last look out from the beach and came within about 25ft of mom. So the heart was racing and I started to yell at her.  What was interesting was this time she really didn’t move off like in the past.  So I backed off slowly and grabbed Trinity and got out of there.  We headed upstream about 500ft or so and stopped and waited to see if she continued.  Didn’t see her, but was not comfortable to fish, so we headed further upstream to meet up with Scott.  As we came back into the woods, we ran right back into Mom and Cub who also was on this side of the stream.  I yelled at her again and she and cub took off back across the stream around site 111.  I also called ahead to Scott on the radio and let him know they were headed his direction.  She and the cub ended up laying down somewhere over in between the creeks were they split.  Met up with Scott and told him that they were about 500 ft downstream and to keep an eye out.  He was also on the other side of the creek fishing in the hole with the tagged fish.  Trinity I decided to head back down stream again, knowing that Mom and Cub were not in the area.  Got back down towards the beach and beaver dam.  I wanted to let Trinity try to catch one all on her own from baiting and casting to hooking.  So sure enough not more than a minute in the water, she hooked a nice one. About 14”s.  Then a couple of minutes later, she got another one which was about the same size.  At this point she was very excited.  So then it was my turn to give it a shot. Threw into the same area and nothing.  Think they were all spooked by now as it took Trinity a couple of times casting out and also actually setting the hook when one was on.  She probably missed about three others.  Anyways, I started looking a bit further down the stream about 10ft or so and notice that there what seemed to be a large undercut within the bank. I drifted bait down under it a couple of times and all of the sudden a very large tagged trout showed up from under the bank.  This one was bigger than the other tagged one up the stream.  So I tried for about an hour and threw everything in my bag of tricks at this thing.  Caught all the other ones in the area, but this guy was not wanting anything.  As I was doing this, Scott on the other hand, had a much bigger event going on.  Guess that he was fishing for that tagged one up by him when all of a sudden, another fisherman starts getting his attention and point behind Scott saying bear!!!! Just as that had happened he hooks into a fish.  He looks behind him and sure enough the bear was very close.  About 15 -20 feet.  So he starts to head back across the stream with his pole bent over and drag just pulling out. He hadn’t realized at this point that he had the big one on, due to the bear being there.  So here he is, big fish on and bear at his back…….. At any rate, he gets this fish in after quite a struggle. Then sees it the big one and can’t believe his eyes thinking that he had just caught a money fish, while all at the same time watching the bear.
Im still downstream and hadn’t a clue on what was going on up stream.  I called him on the radio and told him to come down.  Wanted him to see the one I was looking at. When he arrived, I could tell that on his stringer was the big one.  He hadn’t been able to read the tag yet as it was too small of writing. So this is when I read to him what it said.  He was pretty disappointed that it wasn’t a money tag….

At this point Scott now had the biggest fish (no surprise) at 16 ¾”. They also looked a little more like a hybrid of a trout and salmon.  The heads and girth were monstrous. We all of us tried for two days to catch this other big one, yet it never came out …. We must have thrown everything in our bait box at it and not one bit.  All the other ones did, which we kept releasing.  Scott however did see another big tagged one upstream from where he was.

Morgan Pass

Fist lake over Morgan Pass

Trinity and Uncle Scott atop of Morgan Pass.

Gem Lakes

 Trinity Crashed out!!!

Scott’s Fish

My fish

Bear in relation to where I was on the beach

DAY 6:
Thursday was all about focusing on the stream.  We knew that the creek had been stocked and that there was tagged fish in it.  However we took our time in the morning as we were still a little bushed from the hike the day before. Got up to a nice clean air morning and made a trip down to Tom’s to get ice and look for kindling and to have breakfast. Then both Scott and I headed back up and out with Trinity to hit the creek. We knew that it would be good fishing as the campgrounds was still not very full and not a lot of campers to hit the stream.  Scott headed up the stream a bit from camp, and Trinity I headed down.  Trinity was more about watching and netting the fish this time around and wanted to just relax while I fished. We spent a good hour or so in one to two locations catching a releasing.  We knew of two tagged fish still and so that was our focus.  Neither one of us had much luck trying to catch the big ones.

We headed back down to Toms Place for dinner, which was the prime rib dinner special.  Yum it really hit the spot. Came back to camp and relaxed.

Got up and had banana pancakes and sausage for breakfast. Then headed up to the lake again to see how things were going. We looked at the dock area and it was not seeing much action, plus the wind had picked up and was a little too choppy.  We decided to head to the inlet and try our luck there.  Sure enough, after wadding out to the edge of the sand barge and casting out into the deep water, I hooked into one.  At first it was not fighting very much at all. It actually almost felt like I was stuck in the weeds.  So after a little more time, then my drag started reeling out. And then really reeling out.  Had to tighten a little and Scott came out with the net.  I was able to guide it right up to the net with ease.  As soon as Scott scooped it up, he noticed that this one seemed to be on the larger size and had to put his hand over the top of the net as it was filling the net and bouncing all around.  He handed me the net, reeled in his pole and casted right out to where I was….. LOL.  Anyways, after getting the fish on the stringer, Trinity and I measured it at 17 ¼” Well this was now the biggest.  But no tag….    Anyways Scott knew that not only did I have the first fish of the trip but now the biggest with it being the last day of fishing.  Obviously it was now crunch time for him…..  We fished at the lake up to about 1PM and nothing else really to speak of. Scott caught one, and if it wasn’t hooked so bad would have been released. 

We leave the lake and headed back down to camp. We get out of the truck and not more than five minutes later as I was trying to get stuff ready to clean the fish, Scott decides to go back to the creek.  “I’ll be back in a bit!” he says….. LOL, I knew what he was up to….  Wanted to try to catch the big one that he had also seen earlier and also was tagged.  So about 15 minutes later, here is Scott running down the trail with his pole in one hand and a net with the fish is the other.  The fish was still hooked in the lip….  So he is obviously very excited that he may have just redeemed myself in taking the lead once again.  We get it up on the table and measured it. First time it measured 17”, then 16 ¼” and then finally we got it nailed down to 16 ¾”. Scott kept trying to make the fish grow as much as he could…. It was pretty funny…..  At this point he runs it back down to the stream thinking that he could release it back in, but it was too late.  The fish had been out for about five minutes.  We ended up heading down into camp and giving the fish to a family that had had not much luck in catching fish that day.

So there it was…. This was one trip where I had won both categories… very very rare.  But it sure was fun.
Trinity and I had a great time, great bonding experiences.  I think trinity caught on this year why the Sierra’s have such a big influence on my life and what it does to one when they visit.  This trip was probably one of the best in many years as not only was the weather pretty good, but so was the fishing.

Eastern Sierra Trip Reports / Trip Report 8/8/15 - 8/15/15 Part 2
« on: August 24, 2015, 08:57:49 AM »
Day 4:
We had been planning this trip for about 6 months or so, and part of the plan was to hike back and stay a night or two in LLV.  First goal was to get to Gem with Trinity and a 25-30lb BP on her. Second was to make a day hike over Morgan which neither Scott or I had done in the past.  We got up at 7am and was at the trailhead by 8am. (That perfect timing thing again)  It was a beautiful morning.  Slight breeze though. It took us about 2.5 hrs to get back to Gem, which for an almost 10yr old was not bad at all. The hike out was just a good as it could be, great weather, not hot at all. Trinity impressed me on this hike on how well she could handle carrying that kind of weight for that long of a distance and the higher elevation.  We ended up setting up camp on the back lake up near the trail where you can go to Lake Dade.  It was quite and sheltered area with a number of good flat spots to setup camp.  We ended up heading down to the lake to do some fishing for a bit and watched these two young teen girls in bikini’s jumping into the lake about five separate times.  Wow it was a cold lake as I dipped my feet into for the relief of the hike.  I ended up catching a few nice looking brookies and I think Scott caught one or two as well.  Released them though as we were full from fish the night before.  We ended up fishing for several hours just relaxing and enjoying Gods great creation.  As the afternoon wore on, the smoke from the Rocky fire started showing its ugly head in the canyon.  Trinity also experienced for the first time what you have to do when there is no toilet around.  That was and interesting experience for her.  We must have scouted around for 20 minutes locating a decent area for her.  We headed back to camp to eat and hit the sack as the next morning was the plan to hike up Morgan Pass and then head back to camp as the smoke was getting bad.

Ready for the hike!

On the trail

Close to Heart Lake….

At Heart Lake!

Box Lake

Close to Long Lake!

Long Lake

 Break Time!!!

Made it to Gem!!!

Little Brookie and Gem Lake

 See the smoke from the Rocky Fire

Eastern Sierra Trip Reports / Trip Report 8/8/15 - 8/15/15 Part 1
« on: August 24, 2015, 08:56:32 AM »
My daughter Trinity and Brother Scott joined me on our trip this year to EF.  Everything about this trip was all about having the perfect timing.

Day 1:
It started when we arrived on Saturday morning after getting some breakfast at Toms around 9:30am.  We were expecting to have to find a spot in the back loop but got really lucky and found spot 59 which is close the rest rooms and just after you pass the gate to head to the back loop.  It were shocked. Couldn't believe that we got such a great spot right next to the creek and shaded.  So after setting up camp we went to the creek to scope things out. We were actually a little surprise to see the larger trout in the creek.  12-15" lurking around in some of our favorite honey holes.   We knew that we would be able to catch these with ease, so we let them be for now. This trip was to catch the big ones. After seeing on the FB page all the large ones come out of the lake, we decided that this would be a primary focus for fishing.  So we packed up our fishing gear and headed to the lake.  The weather was a little cloudy and dark clouds to the south heading in.  We started at the dock area and sure enough as almost every trip, I ended up catching the first one on a fly bobber setup. Shortly thereafter Scott caught one as well.  Neither one were larger than 14”s. But good enough to keep.  By the time we were done, we caught about 5 fish total.  We started hearing thunder off in the distant and decided that it might be a good idea to head back to camp to make dinner and get to bed.  Already had been up since 1:15am, so was a little bushed.  Got back to camp where we experienced some late evening showers for about an hour.  Headed to bed.

Breakfast at Tom’s

Trinity traversing the creek in EF

Trinity and Uncle.  See the dark clouds over Morgan?

Our fish story for Trinity

Trinity bringing in a fish
Day 2:
Started the morning off with some cereal so that we could head off to the lake bright and early. We decided to head to the other side of the dock area and try along the rocks in the deeper water.  Not a bite at all in this area, but we did have a beautiful view.

Just can’t beat a view like this in the am.  After the morning we decided to head down to look at Bishop Creek Canyon.  Drove down and grabbed a bite to eat for the road and headed towards Bishop Canyon.

We tried a couple of the power plant ponds first but had no real luck there.  Decided to head further back and got an amazing view of the Canyon. Neither Scott nor I had been up in this area.  It was definitely an area to come back to. We saw how low Lake Sabrina was.  Also really enjoyed going up to North Lake which we are looking at doing a backpacking trip out of next year. Caught a few fish there as well.


Both below Lake Sabrina

Below North Lake

We also noticed how the smoke was from the Hume Lake Fire (Rocky Fire).  I was starting to make its present known in the canyon.  After fishing at North Lake for about 2 hours, we head back to EF to do dinner and a camp fire.

 North Lake

Lake Sabrina

Day 3:
Focus was to stay at the Creek, go up to Pie in the Sky for some Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and MUD Pie!!! Fished the stream and Trinity caught two all by herself this time.  Was an excited daddy about this!!!  She had so much fun bringing those two.  However it took about three or four attempts before she decide to listen to daddy about letting the fish play with the bait for a bit first then set the hook.  At any rate. We ended up with five more fish to take back for dinner that night.  We also packed our BPs to get ready to head to Gem the next day.  Also the temp got down to about 36 degrees, so it was a cold night.

Lunch at Pie in the Sky and MUD Pie!!!


Eastern Sierra Forum / LLV Campfires
« on: July 27, 2015, 01:11:30 PM »
Just wanted to check and I think I know the answer to this questing anyways.  But I figured I would ask.  Are you allowed to have campfire in LLV under the tree line?  Say Long Lake or Box?  I think Gem is right at the tree line. 

Eastern Sierra Trip Reports / Aug 9-15
« on: July 16, 2015, 09:47:43 AM »
Anyone going to be up there during the second week in August?

Eastern Sierra Trip Reports / 2nd Week in August
« on: June 24, 2015, 11:10:42 AM »
can't come soon enough!!! So looking forward to making the trip up there.  Don't quite know for sure if we are going to EF or if try Bishop Creek Canyon area.  It all depends on my brother Scott.  If he can go, then we are going to check out Bishop Creek and head to Long lake out of the South lake canyon area to backpack.   If Scott is not able to make it, then my Father daughter trip will be to EF and backpack to Gem through LLV.  I really don't want to hike in unfamiliar territory with only my daughter.  I know LLV by the back of my hand....

Either way.... I am still very excited to go.

I know the snow fall was not that great this year, but it was sporadic , so my question is how is the creek running is Rock Creek canyon.  is it low at the beach in EF?

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Marble Fork Kaweah River Fishing
« on: April 13, 2015, 02:15:35 PM »
Looking at doing a family vacation in early June to Lodgepole and wanted to know what to expect as far as fishing.  Has anyone recently been there to fish? 

Eastern Sierra Trip Reports / Planning Trip for Father Daughter
« on: January 06, 2015, 06:38:17 AM »
I know.... its been a while since I have posted on here!!! A long while.  Been keeping up on FB Page though.  At any rate, plans are in the works for my 9yr Daughter Trinity and I and my brother Scott to hit LLV this summer in August sometime.  This year for Christmas, Trinity got a backpacking sleeping bag, mattress and backpack.  The year before last when we made a F&D trip up there, she was able to hike no problem to Gem.  So the plan is to stay a night or two back there this time.  Can't wait.  We are also thinking of hiking over Morgan for a day hike with her also.  At any rate, I thought I would share.   

Eastern Sierra Trip Reports / Trip Report - 8-5 - 8-10
« on: August 12, 2013, 09:06:36 AM »
This trip was no exception as it comes to making it up to RCL.  Had such a great time taking my daughter and exposing her to what I love.  This was her first true father daughter trip that I have done with her.  She is at the right age (almost 8) to really instill the love for the Sierra's.  Even though her Uncle Scott came along (which made it even more special for her) we got to do some good bonding.  We left SD at 3AM got up there on Monday morning around 9AM after we stopped in Bishop for cold foods.  Couldn't believe all the CHP's that we saw on 395 at that time in the morning.  Anyways, did our traditional morning horn blowing as we passed Mikki's place at around 6:30AM..  The smoke from the fires could be seen from Lone Pine.  It wasn't to bad, but started smelling it in Bishop.  We got into EF and ended up in spot 89 which seems to be the spot we get the past few times we have been up there.  We were hoping to get into one of the first few spots but come to find out this year those became reserved spots (don't get me started about that)  Gee take 4 reserved OK spots from the previous years that weren't being used that much and swap them for those... arggggg.  Anyways enough with that rant. 

After camp was setup we were off to see what the creek looked like to make our game plan for the week.  Creek was very low at the beach.  About 2ft lower than normal.  Our honey hole that we get to with waders was now accessible by everyone, plus the hole was not very deep anymore.  There was only a few brookies that we saw.  So we look around at the other holes and found a few 10" ers.  Decided to drop a line in for my daughter Trinity and see what she could catch.  Well as it happens, she caught the first one.  That made her day right off the bat.  We went up the creek to Upper Pines CG and look around at the creek there.  There were some beautiful holes and views up there, smoke though was thicker and photo taking was not the best.  Didn't see much there either as far as fish. Then we decided to go to the lake and see how the fishing was up there.  Fished the inlet for a few hours with only a couple of hits.  We were pretty tired at this point, so decided to head back down the hill and eat dinner and relax.

Tuesday:  Our whole game plan this year was to locate some new spots and find the bigger ones.  We headed down the hill around 9AM to see about PVR. We had seen videos on youtube and heard that the fish there were on the larger size.  Was also told to get there before 10am as thats when the plants starts up.  Well when we got there at 9, it had already started.  We went down a ways to see if it was worth trying.  Saw some really nice spots there. I caught one and had about five hits.  Scott also caught one or two but nothing of size for either of us.  So we left as it was getting a little toasty.  Headed back to the lake and tried the Outlet this time and moved over to the rocks on the West shore.  Caught a few, but again nothing of significant size (10-13")  They stocked this day also.

Wednesday:  Rented a boat in the AM which I haven't done there for years...  Got to talk to Jim at the store for suggestions. Headed to the inlet and tried to hit the deep holes off the shelf, but the wind that morning was pushing us all over and the anchor was not heavy or long enough to keep us in one location very long.  (boat 6)  We tried all over the lake, even trolled for a little while, but other than followers to a few lures, we got nothing.  Tried our whole arsenal  of bait, lures and flies.  Trinity however still managed to have a great time.  Our main highlight of the trip was watching the Bald Eagle fish.  Been going up to the lake for 30+ years and this was the first time I had seen it.   After getting off the boat we went to have some Pie in the Sky (Mud) and lunch and also to get showers. Saw a coyote along the road on the way back down the road.

Thursday:  Went to LLV for our hike to Long Lake, well at least that was the original plan.  We were just going to play it by ear as far as Trinity and her energy.  As we approached Long Lake, she seemed pretty good.  So we suggested to keep going up to Chicken ( Well at least that is what we told her to keep the motivation going (hehehe).  So we passed by Chicken and kept going to onto Gem.  That was our hope at least.  Upon arriving to Gem,  Trinity happened to see the sign stating Gem Lake.  She had this weird look on her face.  So I caved in and said to her "welcome to Gem Lake Trinity!  She was completely confused and said where is Chicken Foot?   Well long story short.  She made it all the way with a 10lb bag on her back and no what so ever complaining.   Was very proud of her.  Made sure I let her know that also.  Anyways, the weather was beautiful, the smoke was gone, and the fish was not to exciting.  But that was not the point of the hike for me at least.  I wanted some new landscape photos.  So that's what I did.  She made it back all the way also with no problems.  What a trooper.  We went down to Tom's for Prime Rib and then back to camp.

Friday:  Decided to head out to June Loop and check out Rush Creek.  Our eyes were wide open as we discovered some new holes.  Also this was the most productive day of fishing.  Most were around 12-15" and watch one guy catch and loose the lunker that was also in the hole.  Poor guy, the fish was at least a four to five pounder, but was in a really bad area to not have a net..... His buddy tried to hand catch it as it was on the hook, and ended up hooking himself which release the fish back...  Ahh the look on his face.....  Anyways, we look up and down Rush from north lake all the way back to June.  Saw some really good prospective hole all through out.  Fished the whole day for the most part then went to Lake Mary and George to finish off the day.  Headed into Mammoth for a bite to eat and ended with a meet up with Snow Nymph (Corey) who used to visit this board 5-10yrs back.  It was great catching up with her and hearing about how the 500 lb rolled over her a couple of weeks back on a hike.  We both have been friends on FB and through here for a long time, but had never met in person.

Saturday:  Packed up and left.  Not much else to say other than it was a great trip and well worth the father daughter bonding.  I hope to continue this tradition in the years to come... I also have my youngest (16 month) Sierra to start with in a few years also.

You can see some of the photos here:

Eastern Sierra Forum / test
« on: July 26, 2013, 07:47:10 AM »

Eastern Sierra Trip Reports / Getting Ready
« on: July 03, 2013, 10:55:04 AM »
Well after about three years of not making it to RCL,  I finally get to go...  This trip will be a special one, as it will be a Father Daughter trip with my oldest.  She is turning 8 in Sept. So I think this will be an awesome experience for her.  Thinking of going up either on Sat. 8/10 or Sunday 8/11.  May be having another friend and his daughter tag along also. Planning on staying four or five nights in EF.  I sure hope the fishing is still in full force.  Can't wait to get the waders on and hit my honey hole that I never get skunked out of..   Also looking forward to some hiking up in LLV and taking some late afternoon evening photography.  If you know me, and seen other photos I have posted before, you'll completely understand.  If any of you are going to be up there around the same time.  Let me know.  Always like putting a face to a name.    Oh can't forget about Mud Pie..... just drooling about that.

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