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Messages - wshawkins

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Eastern Sierra Forum / Re: Miracle
« on: March 22, 2018, 04:37:06 PM »
It’s been an impressive month so far, more than doubling the Sierra snow-pack.  I think were still below average precipitation levels but it sure took a chunk out of that stat!  As of now, eleven feet of snow has fallen so far on Mammoth Mountain in March and still coming down. 

I recall The “March Miracle” comes from 1991 when that winter was  similar (If not worst) to this year, then upwards of 20 feet of snow fell in March alone, saving the state of California going into a severe drought.

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 22, 2018, 06:03:55 AM »
The Palisades

One last photo of me looking back at “The Palisades” on my hike out to my truck.  Thanks to all for those who took time to leave a positive comment for this trip report.

The Palisades – One Last Look

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 22, 2018, 06:02:18 AM »
Great post thank you!
That juve cutt threw me!

Yeah, I thought that Cutt would have thrown everybody, but we have some savvy fisher folks on this forum.  There were two lakes up there with Cutts in them that I saw.  Just a nice mix of different trout in most lakes, never really knew what I had on the line until I brought then in, which made it more fun and interesting. :fishing3:

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 22, 2018, 06:01:45 AM »
What an excellent post! Really enjoyed reading and re-reading the entire post! I have never been to that part of the Sierras!  Thanks so much for sharing. And did I mention what an excellent post it was?

Thanks 12440!  Enjoy sharing and reliving one of my favorite backpacking trips.

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 16, 2018, 10:12:37 PM »
Was it Tiger trout they were playing with at the little reservoir near Kirman Lake out of Bridgeport? It was dry the last time I was there.

Have not heard of that one bj.  Kirman Lake is one of the best trophy trout fisheries in California.  Football sized Brookies when I fished it last in 2016.  Nice Cutthroats too.  But being as Tiger Trout are sterile, that could make it interesting! 

There was talk of Kirman Lake being managed as a fishery for triploid rainbows gleamed from another Board, but looking at CDFW latest fish plants still shows Kirman as Brookies and Cutthroats, so don’t know for sure what’s happening there.

But Fish Springs Hatchery was experimenting with cross breeding these two species some years back to breed the Tiger Trout.  But to my knowledge they never were stocked locally.  They are raised in other states, with Utah and Colorado coming to mind.

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 16, 2018, 10:11:18 PM »
WSH - WONDERFUL completed post and great follow up addition with the photos of the gorgeous fish found in the area!  Thank You!

I'm with BJ on his selections.

My additional guesses:

7 - A darker/stream-based Rainbow/Golden Hybrid or even possibly a Kern River Rainbow/Golden ( based on the profusion of black spots as well as Parr Marks, yet with the white tipped fins not normally found on Rainbows)

8 - the unique and 'relatively new' TIGER Trout - a Brown/Eastern Brook Hybrid primarily bred in hatcheries over the past 30+ years.  They are sterile, and are the combination of of male brook trout milt with female brown trout eggs. 

PS - I keep searching for the story about a Piano being hauled in to the LC Cabin.  I know I saw it somewhere in the past - maybe it was in an old article in a document somewhere up in the actual Big Pine Area, like at the Glacier Lodge or Pack Station or other place of business, or in some other old marketing brochure for the area.  I am now on a mission to find it.  I recall a hand drawn picture supporting the story with an image of LC  appearing as if dressed in one of his costume roles and with a 'monstrous facial expression', standing up, playing the Piano with an audience of 2 or 3. 

Thank you again for sharing your journeys and experiences with us. :clap:

All the Best!  P A C

Very impressive P A C!  #7 is a Rainbow/Golden Hybrid.  There are so many variations of this hybrid, just depends what % is Rainbow and Golden.

#8 is indeed the Tiger Trout!  Rare in the backcountry.  This was caught in Black Lake, full of Browns and Brookies.  This Tiger Trout was a very aggressive fighter.

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 16, 2018, 10:10:26 PM »
My Guesses are:


Nailed the first 6 guesses.  Thought that Cutt might throw you off bj.  Nicely done!

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 16, 2018, 10:35:10 AM »
The Palisades

One last post for the fishing in the Big Pine Lakes.  What’s unique in the Palisades is the opportunity of catching five different species of trout!  Very few places like this exist.  Many of the trout species also had varied color patterns and add to that the many hybrid trout you can catch in this valley.  Some hybrids were very unusual and one was somewhat rare.  Thought I would share some of the photos I took of them. 

Feel free to speak out if you think you know what species or hybrid they are .  Others may disagree, but it’s all in good fun.  Any guesses of what they might be???

Very common trout but many get it wrong due to the spots and bright belly.  Check out the different colors of the same species of trout.
#1a   Trout?   

#1b   Trout   

Love the colors on this one!
#1c   Trout

Very common trout and a favorite for many fishermen/women.  Also comes in many different variations.
#2a   Trout?   

#2b   Trout?

#2c   Trout?

Many get this trout wrong.  This is an adolescent trout so don’t have the adult markings yet.
#3    Trout?

This trout gets confused with #1 a lot.  The color usually will darken with age.
#4a   Trout

Light Colored
#4b   Trout

Adult Trout
#4c   Trout

My favorite trout to catch and possible the most colorful.  Many variations to this trout too.
#5a   Trout


The smallest one I ever caught, maybe 3” but still has great color.

Very common hybrid, usually in lakes above 10,000 feet.  This is an excellent example with being 50/50 with great colors.
#6   Hybrid Trout

Any guesses on this hybrid?
#7   Hybrid Trout

First one of these I caught in theses lakes and only the third one caught in the last decade. 
#8   Hybrid Trout

That’s it for now.  As you can see the trout variety is endless in The Palisades.  Take a guess if you like or just enjoy the photos at your leisure.  No Pressure, this is all in fun!  Heading to the Hawaii Islands for a family vacation soon and in June will be my first Eastern Sierra trip that’s planned.  I have some great (I hope) trips planned for summer and fall 2018 too.  Best Regards!

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 14, 2018, 11:02:30 AM »
Outstanding report! I finally got to Black Lake. :clap:

Thanks bj!  Black Lake was a joy to fish.  You could possibly day hike to Black Lake, but the final mile has a tough 1,000 ft. elevation gain.   :hiking2: :fishing3:

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 14, 2018, 06:35:57 AM »
The Palisades

Last Post – Hike Back to Trailhead

After slaying the trout in Black Lake, it was time to head down the trail.  Past Black Lake the path leaves the shade of the trees and begins the sharp descent back to the head of the main canyon, near First Lake.  I would hate to hike up this trail as its real steep.  Less than 2 hours later I was back to the Trailhead and to my truck and my backpacking trip was history.

Black Lake Loop Trail

Trail down Black Lake Loop Trail looking down at Big Pine Lakes #1 & #2

My favorite trip for 2017, best fishing trip (Over 100+ trout plus 5 different species caught plus a few odd Hybrids) and loved the warm weather (Shorts and t-shirt most days), light jacket during afternoon showers and chilly but sleep good weather at night.  As for crowds, there were none.  After leaving 3rd Big Pine Lake, I didn’t see another single person until back to my truck.  The way your backcountry experience should be.

One last photo…….Standing on the northern side of Big Pine Basin, visitors are given a spectacular view of the Palisade Glacier and surrounding peaks framed perfectly right above the lake.  These impressive peaks viewed from this photo from left to right are: 
Temple Crag 12,976 ft, Mount Gayley 13,510 ft, Mount Sil 14,153 ft, North Palisades 14,242 ft, Thunderbolt Peak 14,003 ft, Mount Robinson 12,967 ft, Mount Winchell 13,775 ft and Mount Agassiz 13,892 ft.

The Palisades – Zoom Photo

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 14, 2018, 06:27:10 AM »
Awesome Pictures

Thanks Stream Fisher!  Hard to take a bad picture in The Palisades.

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 13, 2018, 07:11:12 AM »
The Palisades

The reason I love to fish Black Lake is for the Brown Trout.  They’re not huge (about 13-14”), but plentiful.  Easily caught double figures Browns in Black Lake.  A real fishermen’s paradise if you enjoy catching Brown Trout!

Black Lake Brown Trout

Black Lake Brown Trout

Black Lake Brown Trout

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 13, 2018, 07:08:03 AM »
The Palisades

Summit Lake is where the official path ends.  Strangely, there is no trail from Summit Lake to Black Lake.  But it’s only a ¼ mile away reached cross-country by following Summit Lake’s outlet creek to Black Lake.

Looking down from Summit Lake, it’s easy to see how Black Lake got its name.

Black Lake from Outlet of Summit Lake

Black Lake is also beautify tree-lined and quite sheltered, which was nice as the winds did kick up some.  The northern edge of the lake is bordered by the smooth and more open slopes of a ridge extending east from the Inconsolable Range. 

Black Lake

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 13, 2018, 07:05:42 AM »
Spectacular read! Thank you so much for sharing :clap: :clap: :clap:

Thanks damer419!  It was a spectacular trip.

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 12, 2018, 07:31:24 AM »
The Palisades

What’s really special about Summit Lake for the fishermen is that it holds the elusive beautiful Golden Trout.  Not easy to catch but worth the effort!

Summit Lake Golden Trout

Summit Lake Golden Trout

Summit Lake Golden Trout

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 12, 2018, 07:29:00 AM »
The Palisades

Summit and Black Lakes Then Going Home – Day 4

On my final day in the Big Pine Lakes Basin, I packed up and traveled to Summit Lake.  This lake feels like the least frequently visited lake in the whole area, primarily because it is fairly high up the mountain on its own unmarked side trail. I thought the views from Summit Lake were some of the best of my trip.

Summit Lake

Summit Lake

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 10, 2018, 07:15:53 AM »
The Palisades

Also built nearby what was the so called “Movie Set”, built in the 1920’s.  Still partial standing today, several movies was made in the day from this stone Lodge/Cabin.  Upper Lodge from above was also used in several movies.  No ideal why the Forest Service didn’t dynamite this structure?

Movie Set Remains 

Movie Set Remains 

Also have a “Frashers Photo” from 1926 and photo from me from 2017, 91 years later so you can see the changes over the years.

“Movie Set” from Frashers Photo 1926

“Movie Set” remains from 2017

Next I’ll heading to Summit and Black Lakes…………………………………..

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 09, 2018, 11:41:41 AM »
Thanks Gypsy Wind!  This is a steep and rocky trail and all uphill.  There are a few creek crossings that can run pretty high depending on the season.  The first half of this trail is fully exposed and can be very hot in the summer, so hit the trail early if it’s a hot sunny day.

As for elevation gain, its 2280 ft. to 1st Lake, 2350 ft. to 2nd lake and about 2800 ft. to 3rd Lake.  I usually shoot for 2nd Lake at the dam & bypass gate on day hikes and start fishing there then hike down to 1st Lake later on.

As for hiking times to the lakes, that varies with each individual.  If I’m by myself, its 2 hours up and 1 ½ hours back.  If with friends or family, figure 3 hours hike up and about 2 hours back to the trailhead for a comfortable hike for all.  3 hours fishing is about what I average, 1 hour at 2nd Lake and 2 hours at 1st Lake.  The rest of the time I’m exploring, resting or eating lunch.  Hope this helps.

Dam & Bypass Gate @ 2nd Lake – Interesting to look around here and good place to start fishing!

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 09, 2018, 06:58:25 AM »
The Palisades

The Upper Lodge was located on the north side of Fourth Lake on a large granite cliff facing south towards The Palisades.  Easy to locate as this large area is level and now a favorite camp spot for large groups.

Upper Lodge Location

With the implementation of the 1964 Wilderness Act, which calls for the restoration of natural conditions in wilderness areas, The Forest Service dynamited the Upper Lodge and all the stone cabins and other structures.  You can still see the blast marks on the resulting rubble.  You can see why Glacier Lodge built here, the views are incredible!

Rubble from Upper Lodge site

Fourth Big Pine Lake looking towards the Palisades from Upper Lodge Site

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 09, 2018, 06:54:48 AM »
The Palisades

Upper Lakes and Historical Tour – Day 3

I always find it fascinating what we humans will build way out in the boonies if money and time are no objects.  So I’ll start with the Upper Camp, which was located above fourth Big Pine Lake overlooking The Palisades.  This was provided and maintained by Glacier Lodge allowing first class tent camping with full cooked meals, horses for the guests and so on.  This was first class service in its day.

Frashers Photo of Upper Camp Overlooking the Palisades (about 1930)

Eventually, Glacier Lodge built a Fourth Lake Lodge (also known as Upper Glacier Lodge) and stone cabins in the same location where the tents were set-up.  Upper Glacier Lodge was mostly made from granite rock found nearby, allowed guests a much nicer lodging experience.  The stone lodge and eight stone cabins were built in the 1920s.

Fourth Lake Lodge (From Postcard)

Looking out of the dining room towards the Palisades in Fourth Lake Lodge (From Postcard)

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 08, 2018, 06:39:53 AM »
The Palisades

From 5th Lake, I head cross-country to 6th Lake and then on to 7th Lake.  It’s only about 1 mile from 4th Lake to 7th Lake following the North Fork Big Pine Creek that ties these lakes together.  The 6th and 7th Lakes are fishless, so I’m only here for the beauty of these pristine lakes.  6th and 7th Lakes used to hold Goldens, but the trout have been removed from these lakes due to the Yellow-legged Frog program.

Fifth Big Pine Lake – Heading to 6th and 7th Lakes

Cross-Country Route to 6th Lake

Sixth Big Pine Lake

There is actually a trail to 6th and 7th Big Pine Lakes if cross-country travel is not your thing.  It’s a little difficult to find and the sign leans a bit, but it’s there.

6th & 7th Big Pine Lakes Trail Sign

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 08, 2018, 06:36:33 AM »
The Palisades

After I set-up my tent, I head NW cross-country and after a short descent I reach the shore of Fifth Big Pine Lake, perhaps the most impressive lake as it sits in a large granite bowl, enclosed on three sides by steep rocky slopes, and filled by deep, clear bright turquoise water.  The hike from 4th Lake to fifth Lake is maybe 0.2 miles, so a very easy hike.  5th Lake is one of the better fishing lakes too.

Fifth Big Pine Lake contains Brookies and Rainbows that run up to 12” for Brookies and up to 14” for Rainbows, decent size for a back-country lake. 

Trail Junction – To Fifth Big Pine Lake

Fifth Big Pine Lake



Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 07, 2018, 06:30:40 AM »
The Palisades

The next fork you come up to is a four-way junction.  Here I’m continuing straight, and the path that very soon arrives at Fourth Big Pine Lake.  4th Lake is encircled by thick pine forest without the stark granite scenery of the earlier lakes and no turquoise water, just crystal clear alpine water.  This is where I set-up camp for my second night.  Very nice campsites available at fourth lake.

Fourth Big Pine Lake – Where I set up camp

Fishing is good for mostly Brookies and some Rainbows in Fourth Big Pine Lake. 

Fourth Big Pine Lake


Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 07, 2018, 06:27:14 AM »
The Palisades

Last time I backpacked the Palisades, I went to Palisades Glacier.  A difficult hike but well worth it if you have the stamina but this year access was difficult from Sam Mack Meadow to the Glacier due to lots of snow this year according to the backpackers I met.  This time it’s all about the fishing (mostly) so I’m heading toward 4th lake.

Along the Trail

Trail Junction – Palisade Glacier/Fourth Lake

Trail to Mack Meadows

Eastern Sierra Fishing / Re: The Palisades
« on: March 06, 2018, 06:32:50 AM »
The Palisades

The Upper Lakes – Day 2

After breakfast and morning fishing at First Big Pine Lake, I rejoin the trail that climbs quite high above the west shore of the first three lakes via a short but steep series of switchbacks, and leads on through the pine forest to a junction with a spur path to the base of Palisade Glacier.

Leaving 1st Lake

Passing 2nd Lake

Leaving 3rd lake

View of 1st, 2nd and 3rd Lakes

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