Author Topic: Up and over Mono Pass to Pioneer Basin?  (Read 7249 times)

fitness

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Up and over Mono Pass to Pioneer Basin?
« on: June 10, 2012, 06:57:15 PM »
Wondering if anyone else is planning to go up and over Mono Pass this summer and fish the backcountry lakes, like Pioneer Basin or others ? Wondering what the water flow and levels will be like late August - that's when I am planning to go. I was looking at a google earth map of the area last year and it showed snow even in July- wondering if anyone made it up there at all in 2011. This year seems to be the opposite...I went up Pioneer Basin some years back and the fishing there was really outstanding. 

Topwater Terry

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Re: Up and over Mono Pass to Pioneer Basin?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2012, 11:05:57 PM »
This year is the opposite of last year without a doubt.  The creeks will prolly be low late this year,  but who cares...go anyway!!  Pioneer Basin,  I have not been there but really want to some time,  creek levels would not deter me,  go over there and catch a fish :fishing3:
Once I arrive at Tom's Place...well,  you know...nothing else matters...

fitness

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Re: Up and over Mono Pass to Pioneer Basin?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2012, 07:52:57 PM »
Yea I definitely plan to go... probably just before memorial day.  I think it was August 2010 or 2009 when I went- it was outstanding. caught several 13' brooks from the lower lakes at Pioneer and some larger Goldens 12' at one of the upper lakes. The fishing is worth the hike and work to get over Mono Pass. Not too many people back in there as I recall.

IW

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Re: Up and over Mono Pass to Pioneer Basin?
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2012, 12:40:19 PM »
This year is the opposite of last year without a doubt.  The creeks will prolly be low late this year,  but who cares...go anyway!!  Pioneer Basin,  I have not been there but really want to some time,  creek levels would not deter me,  go over there and catch a fish :fishing3:

Last year my brother and his son started to go over Mono Pass and were prepared to walk down Mono Creek to Lake Edison.   They got above Ruby and the snow was so deep that they had second thoughts and stayed in that area overnight.   Talked to some others in the Ruby Lake area who said that they had also tried to go on over Mono Pass and gave up.   So this year is sure different than last.

I had posted this elsewhere but you might find this info interesting as well if you are walking over and into Pioneer Basin.   We used to camp in the sandy area below Dog Lake.   Out of the wind and convenient and easy to walk a short distance to Dog to fish.

Unfortunately Pioneer Basin though gorgeous and fun doesn't have nearly the king of fishing and large fish that it did in the early 1950s when we first fished there and across Mono Creek in the 4th Recess.  I can remember fishing in one of the upper lakes and with a spinning reel which was not widely used at the time had a fish on the line every cast and we released most of them though they were mostly 12 to 14 inches except for the 20 inch one I kept.

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Golden is a fun lake to go to however in the dozen or more times that I've been in that area and fished from the bottom of the rock slide at the lake around to the outlet, I've only seen fish in Golden once or twice and only a couple of quite small ones.   Even the time that we camped next to the outlet of Golden for late day fishing and early morning fishing we didn't catch any and we did go to the sandy area towards where Mono Pass trail comes down.   However I have seen some pretty nice fish once or twice that were caught there when people were getting them frozen at the Store.  (Yes, before it was called a "resort".)

I'd take 2 days and go on to Pioneer Basin and perhaps an upper lake or 2 in the Pioneer area.   There are some nice Goldens in some of those lakes.   I think my father caught the only fish, a Golden about 20 inches long from one of the highest up lakes.   Only fish seen in that lake on several trips there.

If you are reasonably able to read a map and are reasonably fit you can contour around from the creek out of Golden into Pioneer Basin without losing altitude to go to the trail to Pioneer which crosses Mono Creek at a much lower elevation.  You can head for Mud Lake or intersect the trail coming up from the creek a bit below.

The quickest way to get to Golden, much much faster than Mono Pass and can't be done with a horse, assuming the snowbank on the Rock Creek side is not very deep or nonexistent which is likely in this dry year this time of year is to go over Half Moon Pass, and through what we always called Webb Gap since it was my father's favorite path over the Sierra Crest.   Park in the area of the Pack Station and go up from there.   Look at a map and make sure you are heading towards the right rock slide.   The last several hundred feet is over a rock slide so don't take a small dog with you unless you want to carry it up the steepest part and down the other side as we had to do several times with our short legged Cocker/Corgy dog.  There often has been a fairly well traveled trail to the gap if you look for it in the sandy areas.

Once reasonably acclimated one of my brothers made it to the Sierra crest and the gap in less than an hour however I don't know that now 20 years later he could match that performance.

Half Moon was obviously an Indian way over the Sierra crest as I found a Hudson Bay light blue trading bead at the very top between a couple of rocks where you could see a small patch of sand.  I figure it must have been a trading route over the Sierra???  Even though I've looked I've never found any other sign of Indian items at the crest.

A bit of time with Google Maps may give you some more specific information about the upper areas of the mountain getting to Half Moon Pass.   However when I last looked it seemed that Google Maps lately were taken with snow in many areas and I didn't get the nice views that I got for some friends of both sides of the trail over Webb Gap.

fitness

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Re: Up and over Mono Pass to Pioneer Basin?
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2013, 12:38:41 PM »
this is an old thread from last summer, I forgot to report on the conditions so I'll post a brief report - Pioneer Basin lakes were unusually warm in August due to lack of snowpack- water felt close to 60 at even the higher lakes - trout just were not as active as in prior years.  Did not catch anything even worth mentioning.  Last April the snowpack was reported at 46% of average in April.  This year I  hear it was 54%.  Not much different, so I wouldn't expect stellar fishing this August.  Still, some fishing is better than no fishing.   

Topwater Terry

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Re: Up and over Mono Pass to Pioneer Basin?
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2013, 10:24:19 PM »
Like I said in the other post,  fish the creeks,  I bet the fishing will be outstanding...
Once I arrive at Tom's Place...well,  you know...nothing else matters...

wshawkins

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Re: Up and over Mono Pass to Pioneer Basin?
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2013, 11:09:51 AM »
I went up over Mono Pass to Pioneer Basin in 2007, a dry year similar to 2012.  A lot of brookie lakes, but Pioneer Basin still has about 8 lakes with goldens in them.  Several of the lakes have Goldens with up to 18, but most will average 12-14.  Its difficult to get to these lakes, but worth it.

Topwater Terry is right about fishing the creeks!  Outstanding fishing, especially at Mono Creek!


Mono Pass in July 2007.  Snow was almost gone at 12,000 feet!
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Sierraslam

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Re: Up and over Mono Pass to Pioneer Basin?
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2013, 08:54:11 PM »
I'm thinking June for the back country Spawn. By August the creeks back there will be dry. Not a good situation at all. That means that self sustaining lakes will not get the water the need.

fitness

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Re: Up and over Mono Pass to Pioneer Basin?
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2013, 03:22:06 PM »
might have been 2010 was up in Pioneeer Basin and I pulled a couple of 12'  Goldens out of the very highest lake in the chain at Pioneer Basin.  It was around 11,200 and I think on some older maps  it was referred to as Lake #6. Last year we went to the same lake, and nada.   It's a pretty good trek to get up there.  We were camped at the lowest lake ('Mud lake').  Nice lake for camping but it only had very small brookies.  I think generally fishing will be better earlier this year. By mid-late August the stream water levels will be low as well as the water being warmer.

wshawkins

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Re: Up and over Mono Pass to Pioneer Basin?
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2013, 12:43:32 PM »
I think it's about 3 miles as a crow flies from Mud Lake to #6 Pioneer Basin lake.  A poor spawning lake always (almost) equals to larger than normal trout!
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."