Author Topic: 20 Lakes Basin - Planning Trip September 15-19  (Read 6161 times)

littlefish

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20 Lakes Basin - Planning Trip September 15-19
« on: July 07, 2014, 08:33:36 AM »
Ok Creekers I need all the help I can get on this.  Drove  to Saddlebag Lake last September while staying at the Tioga Pass Resort and this year want to pack the 20 Lakes Basin. Need to hear the do's, don'ts, campsites, fishing and anything else that would be helpful.  Still struggling with my computer (Win 7 crash and reload) for pictures of trip to NF Big Pine Creek.  They are coming.  thanks again to all.  f

wshawkins

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin - Planning Trip September 15-19
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2014, 06:25:30 AM »
20 Lakes is a great place to visit, even better to stay a few days and really see it all!  As for campsites, the ones around Steelhead Lake are the most popular.  If you’re looking for more privacy, try the campsites west of Steelhead Lake near Cascade/Potter or Towser Lakes. 

Fishing is fair to great in most of the 20 Lakes Basin.  Mostly brookies, but some rainbows, goldens and rainbow/golden hybrids.  A spinning or fly pole will get you into the fish there.  Light tackle is the order of the day.  Wet and dry fly’s is all I need for successful day of fishing, but small lures do work.  Surprising is that the goldens are the biggest fish in the 20 Lakes Basin.

If you’re looking for a medium hike, take the loop trail (5 miles) around 20 Lakes and try to fish all the lakes!  Another more challenging hike is to Upper McCabe Lake (Over Sheppard’s Crest) for nice fat rainbow trout fishery.  Skip Roosevelt Lake as DFG has gill-nets across the lake for trout eradication.

Do take the water taxi across and let them know when you’ll be back.  There hamburgers at the resort can taste mighty good after eating hydrated food for a few days.  Good luck and hope to hear back from you.
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ccgincali

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin - Planning Trip September 15-19
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2014, 01:42:18 PM »
Hopefully the resort will be open that late this year, due to drought and fire smoke, they closed early in September in 2013.   The boat taxi is definitely recommended as will shave off a couple of miles each way.

If you want a fun book, the resort should still be selling John Barbier's Guide to Eastern Sierra Angling, or his other book on Fishing for Eastern Sierra day hikers.  He mentions several lakes in the 20 lakes basin in each book.   Although supposedly due to his book, a couple of golden trout lakes in the basin have been cleaned out of fish due to heavy pressure although I was lucky to catch some at Odell Lake.   The only caveat is when you read his book, he makes it seem real easy to catch tons, although if you read between the lines, the key factor is fishing in "ideal" conditions.   If you are camping though, you have the opportunity to fish in the early morning before the day hikers arrive and in the evening after the day hikers are gone so it should be pretty amazing. 

Flies have worked best for me.   It will be brookies mostly although there are some hard to get golden trout lakes in there too.
Just please don't use bait.

The main hiking trail to the left gets busy so it would be best to get as far from the trail as possible.   If you really want to get some privacy, walk the trail around to the back of Greenstone (the first lake you will pass on the left) and hike up the slope to get to Conness Lakes.   There is a couple of patches of boulder climbing but it is mostly a pretty good trail with only about a 30 minute stretch of climbing from Greenstone.  Conness Lakes are strictly golden trout.   There are some sheltered areas around the first lake which should offer good campsites, you should see past remnants.

Wshawkins is correct on the loop hike, it is about 5 miles with some rocky talus sections on the back side but it is a nice hike and you will pass many lakes with biting fish.    I would get a map at the resort, it is worth a dollar or whatever they charge.

Have a great time.
 

TEX

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin - Planning Trip September 15-19
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2014, 08:24:09 PM »
There is no camping in and around any of the Coness Lakes. Park of the Harvey research area. Check your topo carefully.

You do not need a reservation for trips starting at Saddlebag Lake. Contact Inyo National Forest for information about walk in permits for non quota trails.
- Harvey Monroe Hall Natural Area is limited to day use. No Camping or Campfires. Hall Natural Area includes Mt. Conness and North Peak.
- Food and refuse must be stored so that animals cannot get into the food or trash.
- No Campfires in 20 Lakes Basin.
See INF Webpage:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsinternet/!ut/p/c5/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gDfxMDT8MwRydLA1cj72BTSw8jAwgAykeaxcN4jhYG_h4eYX5hPgYwefy6w0H24dcPNgEHcDTQ9_PIz03VL8iNMMgycVQEAIzTHkw!/dl3/d3/L2dJQSEvUUt3QS9ZQnZ3LzZfME80MEkxVkFCOTBFMktTNUJIMjAwMDAwMDA!/?ss=110504&ttype=recarea&recid=20652&actid=51&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&position=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&navid=110160000000000&pnavid=110000000000000&cid=FSE_003714&pname=Inyo+National+Forest+-+Saddlebag+Lake+Trail
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littlefish

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin - Planning Trip September 15-19
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2014, 12:35:08 PM »
I was at Tioga Pass Lodge (what a great little café!) last year when it closed, a terrible way to end a beautiful trip.  Thanks to all for the Saddlebag Lake Trail tips.  lf

gtom61

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin - Planning Trip September 15-19
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2014, 08:24:22 AM »
Great info.  Four of us are heading up here for the first time on 9/11 backpacking and hopefully getting in a lot of fly fishing.  I just learned the Resort doesn't have a working phone.  Does anyone know if they plan on being open at that time, or will they already be closed for the winter?  Sounds like dries and terrestrials could be the ticket  How's nymphing?  Dry droppers recommendations?  And lastly, should we bring bear canisters?

wshawkins

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin - Planning Trip September 15-19
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2014, 01:24:22 PM »
The Resort normally don’t close until the end of September, so you look fine if you want to use their water taxi service.  As one of the posters here said, due to drought and fire smoke, they closed early in September in 2013.  Think it might have been a medical problem with one of the owners too.  Of all the years I have been going up there in late fall, I seen them closed only one other time early and that was due to a big snowstorm, which also closed down Tioga Pass for a few days.  So keep an eye on the weather before you leave for your trip.

Can’t really go wrong on dries and terrestrials.  I would bring along some Black Gnats, Adam’s Parachute or EH Caddis.  All have worked for me in 20 Lakes Basin.  I also like the Hackle fly’s, wet or dry.  My favorite dry dropper recommendations would be a dry EH Caddis with a small bead head nymph such as a Prince Nymph, Hare’s Ear or Pheasant Tail on 12-18” of tippet material.   

Always good to have a bear canister but not required in 20 Lakes Basin.  Only trouble I’ve seen is a bear likes to hit the trash can the resort furnishes for its customer’s it ferries across at 20 Lakes Basin.  But very little bear activity otherwise that I seen or heard.

And welcome to the Message Board!!!
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

saudust

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin - Planning Trip September 15-19
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2014, 03:19:14 PM »
I knew wshawkins would have the info for you, gtom61.  ditto him, welcome to the board.
Let me wake laughing from a nap in the afternoon under the aspens in the fall.

gtom61

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin - Planning Trip September 15-19
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2014, 12:39:28 AM »
thanks both of you for the welcome and tips.  I have a buddy who has recommended this trip to me a few times, so i'm finally doing it.  Pretty excited.  Just spent a weekend dealing with the fires and 100+ weather at Hat Creek and Manzanita Lake two weeks ago.  Really excited about getting in some backpacking and fly fishing at a new place. 

gtom61

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin - Planning Trip September 15-19
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2014, 11:01:20 PM »
Can someone let me know if a bear canister is required for the 20 Lakes Basin?  If so, do they rent them at any of the ranger stations or visitor centers?  Thanks!

larry

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin - Planning Trip September 15-19
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2014, 05:24:50 PM »
I emailed Saddlebag Resort last Sunday regarding 2014 closing schedule, Steve Ernst emailed back they are closing the end of Sept. Just checked their website, shows Sept. 28th closing date. Taxi running 8-5 after Labor Day.

littlefish

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20 Lakes Basin - Trail to Lundy Lake
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2014, 08:41:55 AM »
Can anyone provide trail information from Saddlebag Lake to Lundy Lake.  Is it a worthwhile adventure or should I just loop around the 20 Lakes basin?  lf

Little Hardrock

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin - Planning Trip September 15-19
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2014, 08:52:33 AM »
I have heard/read that it is a very steep, tallus type trail....    not a fun one at all.    from the edge of the 20 lakes area, you can look down that canyon towards lundy lake, and it is a steep one...

here is a description with some great photos:

http://www.summitpost.org/lundy-canyon-trail/420084
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littlefish

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin - Planning Trip September 15-19
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2014, 07:59:44 PM »
Thanks HR, the "talus-filled chute that is precariously steep and unstable" trail description is enough for me.  Beautiful pictures and description of a trail that is beyond my abilities at this point, I'll stick to the basin. Thanks again. lf

Little Hardrock

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin - Planning Trip September 15-19
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2014, 08:16:24 PM »
lol!   and dont worry,, the loop trail in the basin offers enough scenery to keep you eyes a poppin!  :)
Hardrock, may his spirit live on in all of us.....

gtom61

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin - Planning Trip September 15-19
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2014, 08:33:57 PM »
Larry, thanks for the update on the Resort's schedule.  Much appreciated.