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Topics - John Harper

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Eastern Sierra Fishing / Fishing the Sierra San Pedro Martir
« on: April 13, 2017, 07:27:54 AM »
This is for you, Warren!

Left for Mexico early on Palm Sunday.  Stopped to get my FMM (Mexican tourist visa) just before crossing, I was the only person at the border at 6:15 AM.  When I picked up my FMM and left, there were two cars in front of me, and two Mexican cops at the secondary.  They each grabbed one of those cars for inspection and I just sailed through with a smile and a wave.  Nice to be third in line at that time.

We left from my friend Cathy's place at K55, Campo Lopez.  Just below the Halfway House on Hwy 1

After going in circles in Ensenada for about an hour, we finally found Hwy 3 east toward San Felipe.  A couple hours later we arrived at the turnoff to Mike's Sky Rancho.  I stopped to drop the air pressure in my tires (to 25 psi) for the 20 mile dirt road into Mike's.  Pretty easy and lowering tire pressure really made the ride smoother, for sure.

Found some interesting plants, not sure their botanical name, Beercanus Yuccai, I think. This is the entrance to a small rancho (San Javier) on the way to Mike's.  Looks like a fun place to me.  I wish those beer plants grew in my yard.

An abandoned rancho further along the road, built of stone.

Not sure what they used to grow, but Cathy called it "cattle corn" but it looks like mule ears or something like that to me.  Maybe someone can identify?

Arriving at Mike's Sky Rancho, after 18 miles on my odometer.  No one here but us at 1 PM Monday.

This place is a very famous stopover for offroaders, racers, and adventure riders.  Soon after a group of Razors, some moto tour group with KTMs,  a couple guys on Huskies, and some Jeeps showed up.  It went from two guests to about 40 within hours.

This place can handle 70 guests.  It's $70 a night for a room, dinner and breakfast.  I was going to camp out, but it would have saved me $10, so I got a room of my own.  They let us drink the beer we brought, and even offered to let us use the refrigerator.  How cool is that?  I love Mexico!  Here's the pool/patio area.  Pool not used until summer so it's left low.

Okay, so here's the part you all waited for.  It's a long hike to get the the "cascada" probably 3 miles.  I left at about 6:30 and got back at noon.  I tried nymphs and had no luck, was about accept the skunk.  Then, I tied on a parachute black ant and got some interest.  Got a small fish to at least give me some hope. 

I backtracked and tried to get above the falls, but as you can see, it was pretty brutal.  I was by myself, no one can help me, and I'm no fool.  I'll save it for the next trip.

Found this bigger model on the way back down, which gave me at least two Nelson's trout, good enough for me.

(Oncorhynchus mykiss nelsoni)

I'm going back next year, anyone interested let me know.  I'm backpacking above the falls from the old dirt road.


Eastern Sierra Fishing / Five Days in Mammoth 7/31 - 8/6
« on: August 07, 2016, 08:26:42 AM »
Headed north on Sunday 7/31, light traffic, got real lucky and scored the prime campsite at Big Springs CG!

Got things settled in and ready for five days of activity.

Monday - I decided to check out McCloud Lake.  I've been there only once before, on my very first fly fishing attempt.  Obviously I was completely clueless at the time, and as some would say, not much improved since then.  I was told to fish the dropoffs, but having forgotten my surf fishing booties, was left trying from shore.   I fished off the small promontory to the left as you reach the lake for a few minutes and got a surprise!
My very first Lahontan Cutthroat trout!  As I worked my way around the lake, I saw that there were many fish feeding right up near shore at the back of the lake.  I could actually sight fish to them, no wading or dropoff fishing.
Here's Lahontan #2:
And, a really nice one to complete the hat trick:
I returned to my truck about noon, and decided to check out a "blue line" between Laurel Creek and Sherwin Creek that the DFW webmap says harbors golden trout.  We'll see.  I found the creek running through the YMCA camp, so I walked a little ways up and down, such small water!  Unbelievably, I spooked one tiny fish!  Hmm, I need to come back and do a little more exploring.  But, time for lunch and an afternoon siesta.

Day Two - I decided to fish the outlet creek for Parker Lake.  Left the trailhead at 7AM and I was already in a tee shirt, it was gonna be hot.
Fished the creek from just before it drops all the way to the mouth of Parker Lake.  Caught 10 small browns, biggest was probably 9" or so.  I was worried about dropping my cellphone in the creek while trying to handle everything in tight quarters, so no pics.  Befriended a single mom with two kids, and I had her eating out of my hand in minutes!
Got back to the truck about 1PM, and was amazed a the number of people hiking up to the lake in brutal heat, with barely any water to boot!  Who are these people?

Day Three - Decided to finally sight in my new Ruger 10/22 Takedown, which I've had for almost a year but had yet to even fire one round.    I found a well used shooting area I was told about by Retired96.  Thanks for the information, a great spot to shoot!

Here's my new toy:

Please note that I am using iron sights, and I can barely see the sights at all at age 58.  Just tried to hold the rifle steady on the truck, exhale, and squeeze the trigger.  Fundamentals.

First 10 shots:A little to the left and high.  Note the "flyer" off the target, I assume that was the first round fired from a new rifle.

After moving the sight to the right a bit, I left the elevation alone.  I can live with it shooting a inch high.  Here's the next 40 rounds.

Used up another 150 rounds firing at different targets, then headed for the Upper Owens, below Benton Crossing to a spot a fellow camper told me was really good.  Meh.  I caught two small rainbows on what I saw flying around, yep, the good old blue damsel fly.  Forgot the cellphone in the truck, but they were only about 6-8" each, nothing special.

Day Four -  I decided to return to the "blue line" and see if I could find something worth catching.  Here's the creek just above the YMCA camp, not real promising.  You  can see a little water just right of center in this picture.Here's the really nice terrain I had to cover following the creek. A little further up, the creek is going subterranean on me. I cross over on a well used game trail, and find this up ahead.Brutal and seemingly futile.  I decided to head back down on the heavily used game trail, and crossed paths with a really healthy 6 point buck coming up the trail.  He sure startled me.

I then decided to fish Sherwin Creek and lower Laurel Creek. 

Perhaps I could pick up a golden trout from Laurel and a brook trout from Sherwin.  Well, all I got was another half dozen of these little rainbows! 
It was especially nice that Thursday was overcast and kept the temps along Sherwin Creek reasonable.  But, my day was gonna finish on fire!

After returning to camp, I took a short siesta, came out of the tent to see this just north of me.  Yep, the Clark Fire in all it's glory!

Here's another pic a few minutes later.

Then, the Forest Service put on a spectacular air show, right above my campsite.   
CH-46 Chinook, Sikorsky Skycrane, two big jet firetankers, air controller aircraft, etc.  They were attacking from midafternoon until dark, what an awesome display.

Day Five - Long Ears section of the Upper Owens.  I really like this spot, so beautiful and serene.

Fished for about four hours, until it got too damned hot.  Caught probably a dozen fish, a mix of small browns and rainbows.  Most about this size.

Broke camp early Saturday and headed home, traffic was ugly from Elsinore all the way into San Diego County.


Eastern Sierra Fishing / LO and the Gorge 4/3 - 4/6
« on: April 08, 2016, 11:56:12 AM »
Got into the Gorge at two places on Monday 4/4.  What a spectacular place, unbelievable rock formations.  I thought I was on an alien planet.  First look down was amazing!

Walked the upper plant road to the end and fished back.  Got my first fish of 2016 on my very first drift with a nymph!! Ended up working back down the road to where it was a little too steep to come back up to the road, without struggling further down to a very steep rock climbers trail just a few hundred yards down from the gate.  Finished with 4 browns and 1 ldr in that section.  But, the fun wasn't over.

We then drove down to the "Horseshoe", and fished there for a while.  Got three down there, including one feisty brown on a parachute black ant dry fly!  Was going to go through the "tunnel" but I did not have a light, and did not want to bang my head on a rock, nor step on a rattler in the dark.  Next time for sure.

Tuesday I explored the upper part of the Gorge below the dam to the first powerhouse, but only saw a trickle of water, not enough to even hear it flowing.  I did not really see any trails down, as the terrain was angular boulders choked with sagebrush.  I also found a trail further down by the penstock leading to the middle powerplant in addition to the middle plant road you can walk down (much longer than the upper road it seems).  Drove to the penstock above the upper plant too.  There was a plaque commemorating four buddies who worked on constructing it in 1951!!!!

Well worth a visit, but be ready for some steep hiking or long walks.   Will post up some photos if I can figure out how to get off my phone.  My camera died before I even got one shot off on Monday.  I had to drive back on Tuesday to shoot pictures of where we were.  Tossed the camera in the recycling bin.  Here's a few more:

Fished the LO for naught, as they raised the flows to 350cfs on Tuesday morning.  I fished a couple times for nada, packed up and came home Wednesday.


Eastern Sierra Fishing / Owens Gorge Trip 4/3 to 4/8
« on: March 14, 2016, 03:47:54 PM »
Planning to camp out at PVR beginning April 3.  I have never hiked down into the Gorge, but have done some research, gotten some tips and examined Google maps for access points.  It looks like two ways in are on (gated) DWP roads, another by hiking down a promontory at a sharp horseshoe bend in the river.   I've been told the northern access road has some trails down, but it looks like it also drops way down close to the river for a long ways till you come to an upper powerstation.  The lower access road looks like a long slog to the river, from what someone told me, again ending at a middle power station.  Then, the lower power station at the start of PVR I've driven to before, just exploring at the time.  I know you can walk down the road into PVR from there.

Can anyone provide some advice, first hand experiences?  You can PM me if you want, I'd appreciate any help.  I'm planning on going in on Monday (4/4) with a member of, but have a few more days that I would be hiking solo.  I'll be hitting the LO for sure, flyfishing, and I practice C&R.  I climbed up Chalk Bluffs last year to see some petroglyphs, so I assume it's about the same kind of ascent/descent.

Thanks for any tips.


P.S. If anyone has a spot I can shoot my new Ruger Takedown 10/22, I would appreciate that advice as well.  I know one of the members shoots near Bishop, IIRC.

Eastern Sierra Forum / Ursack approved for Inyo County?
« on: February 12, 2014, 08:51:00 AM »
I have been interested in these Ursacks for while, but i thought they were banned.  Came across a post somewhere, HST maybe that they are banned in Yosemite but not Inyo County?

Anyone have knowledge of this product and whether it is approved?


Eastern Sierra Forum / Deadman Creek Campground
« on: May 20, 2012, 10:09:04 AM »
It was closed last year, and pretty flooded when we checked it out.  I've always wanted to fish up Deadman Creek since I have never heard any reports.  I have fished it down by 395 and there are some nice fish if you can drift your fly down under the bushes. 

The campground is open again, has anyone stayed there?  I did not see any bear boxes when we checked it out, but it has some nice shady sites from what I could tell.


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