Author Topic: 20 Lakes Basin Fishing Report?  (Read 7475 times)

gtom61

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20 Lakes Basin Fishing Report?
« on: September 07, 2014, 01:46:41 AM »
Hi,  Getting ready for my trip on Thursday, thought i'd check in to see if anyone has a report for any of the lakes.  Packing in my 5wt travel rod with an arsenal of dries, nymphs, and some terrestrials hoping to have some good luck.  Suggestions on where to set up camp and any tips are welcome.  I mentioned in my earlier posting this is my first time up here and really looking forward to it.  From the posts and pics i've seen, looks like a beautiful area.  Weather looks clear and in the 80s i saw.  Thanks in advance.

John Harper

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin Fishing Report?
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2014, 02:43:40 PM »
Should be good fishing for brookies for sure.  Nights most likely chilly at that altitude, stay warm.  I have not seen a lot of reports from the area on any forums I visit.  There are definitely fish, and probably no fishermen.   I hear the inlet to Saddlebag is usually real good, should still be if there's water coming in.

John

saudust

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin Fishing Report?
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2014, 03:04:21 PM »
gtom61, sounds like your fly arsenal is perfect for there from what all I've been studying about it lately.  Lots of info floating about regarding which lakes have what fish and assorted files to use.  How many nights are you staying?  That might help the more knowledgeable members give you some tried and true routes to cover.

I hope you get to post a TR afterwards.  This will be my first trip to that area in October, though only for a day's hiking worth of fishing, so we're targeting a small area.  If we like it, we'll hike one more day there for some of the other lakes. 

Maybe you'll get the Sierra Slam!!!  Enjoy!!!
Let me wake laughing from a nap in the afternoon under the aspens in the fall.

wshawkins

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin Fishing Report?
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2014, 08:06:55 AM »
Sounds like youre ready to go, especially for fishing.  As for camp sites, I always liked the sites just north of Cascade/Potter and Towser Lakes.  Youll see a nice fairly level grassy area with trees.  Not many trees in the area so not hard to find.  I like the trees as it can protect you from windy conditions that sometimes happen in the afternoon.  But pick the site that best suits your group.  Lots of sites to choose from around the loop.

I was at 20 Lakes Basin only about two weeks ago and took the loop and fished 8-10 lakes.  I caught somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 trout that day, including several goldens.  Could have caught more trout but was hiking more than fishing.  I had many 40-50 fish days over the years.  Most this trip were brookies with a few rainbows.  Caught fish in all the lakes I tried, including the hard to fish Odell Lake.  Was in the area again the next day and caught a 12 brown among others, just missed having a Sierra Grand Slam by a day!  Great potential in this area.

One tip Ill give is to try a Sierra Bright Dot fly.  Was #1 fly this last trip around the 20 Lakes Basin loop.



"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

littlefish

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin Fishing Report?
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2014, 12:12:52 PM »
Wsh,
Thanks for such a great overview of that area.  I'll be up there next week and your image is the best one I've seen.  lf

wshawkins

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin Fishing Report?
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2014, 04:44:37 PM »
The lake on the bottom of the picture is Secret Lake.  Its 500 Feet higher and about mile away from the other lakes mentioned.  Poor choice for a campsite as there is no protection from the wind (no trees).  This picture was taken as I was traveling over Shepherds Crest.  Secret Lake is fishless.
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

gtom61

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin Fishing Report?
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2014, 11:31:47 PM »
John, thanks for the tips and we'll definitely keep warm.  I'll checkout the inlet.  Saudust, i'll definitely post some TRs.  Hoping for the Slam!  We're planning on three nights starting this Thursday, but might end up being two.  Wshawkins, thanks so much for the tips and camp site maps.  Very appreciated!  And i'll have to stop off and get some Sierra Bright Dots on my way up.  Closest thing I have right now in the goodie bag are probably Royal Coachmen.  Any particular size?  Is there a nice local fly shop on the way in?  I'm coming from San Francisco so i'll be coming through 120.  Hopefully the fire and smoke stay away. 

wshawkins

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin Fishing Report?
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2014, 07:28:07 AM »
John H is right about good fishing at Saddlebag inlet, but the bait dunkers are usually there all day.  I did have it too myself once this year and was great for catching 10-12" stockers.

Saddlebag Resort does sell Sierra bright Dot fly's (and others), but could be risky as they could run out.  Most lakes #14-16 sized flies works fine.  If you fish lower Twin Lakes, use a #18-20 (small fish but golden).  Your Royal Coachmen should work, but have some black Gnats, Black Gnat w/red tail, Black Ant, Adams, Mosquito, Gray Hackle Peacock, Sierra Bright Dot and Woolly Bugger (Olive size #10-12) and your good to go.

Tip of the day - The Sierra Bright Dot works great at Saddlebag Lake too!
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

Sierraslam

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin Fishing Report?
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2014, 01:31:27 PM »
Hey Hawk, I'm headed up Friday. What's the fishing like in McCabe Lake? I'm sure you fished if you went over Shepherds Crest. Thanks for any info. Going in search of Golden's Sunday. Wish me luck!

wshawkins

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin Fishing Report?
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2014, 04:50:33 PM »
I was up there 2-3 weeks ago.  Fishing was good for rainbows 9 to 14, good fighters too!  Also c&r a 12 brown, first one I caught in that lake in some time.  Everybody fished well in our group (four of us), I fished with a bubble/fly combo and the rest of the group used their favorite hardware. And good luck on your golden search.   :fishing3:
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

gtom61

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin Fishing Report?
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2014, 12:15:36 PM »
Just got back last night and we had a wonderful trip.  Got there on Thursday late afternoon and caught the 11:45am taxi back yesterday, just in time for the BBQ tri-tip lunch special at the grill.  It was cold on Thursday night, probably high 20s with frost/ice so you were right, John.  It was pretty windy on and off for most of our trip but lots of sunshine and probably in the 80s.  We caught all brookies, with the exception of a few rainbows that we caught at Greenstone.  Those little fish can be tricky to hook up!  But so much fun.  Most from 6" to 8" range.  We caught fish in every lake we tried, mostly using Black Ant, EH Caddis, Royal Coachman (shop totally out of Sierra Bright Dots), and Black Zebra Midge.  Nothing over #16.  Stayed west side and fished Cascade, Potter, Towser, Steelhead, and Greenstone.  Had a buddy totally new to both backpacking and fly fishing, and he hooked up his first brookie on a fly rod!  Pretty exciting for him.  I used a 5wt 9' rod with 5x and 6x.   Too windy for anything lighter.

Even with the low water levels, we got bit a few times in creeks barely 6" deep.  But what a majestic area!  I've never seen anything like this area and the stars are amazing to watch at night.  I will definitely be back.  Hawk, we stayed at the "good" camping site north of Towser.  Saudust, i have no doubt you'll have a blast.  So many different tempting spots on each lake kept us from getting too far...  Next time, we'll probably camp towards the back of Steelhead and try the uppers lakes.  I've also never tasted water this good in a long time.  I still used my PUR hand pump, but wow.

A couple of tips, because i got the wilderness permit at the Tuolumne Meadows wilderness permit center, they required me to rent the bear containers from them for $5.00.  I learned none of the other permit locations requires you to have the container and no one we spoke with on the trail had them either.  One person did tell me they flat out lied to the ranger at Tuolumne and they didn't check them either...fyi   Also, if possible work it out so you have plenty of gas still in the tank when you get to Saddlebag.  I barely had a couple of gallons, so I had two options, Lee Vining has a Mobil and inside Yosemite by Tuolomne Meadows.  Lee Vining was only 12 miles, so i took it.  Be prepared, $5.10 per gallon for Super, and $4.99 inside Yosemite.  I just bought enough to get me out of Yosemite.

Thanks to everyone for helping to make this trip pretty spectacular for my friends and I.

Gerry

saudust

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin Fishing Report?
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2014, 07:15:07 AM »
Sounds like you and your crew had a super good trip, gtom61.  Thanks for the TR. 
Let me wake laughing from a nap in the afternoon under the aspens in the fall.

wshawkins

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin Fishing Report?
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2014, 08:06:10 AM »
Glad to hear your trip was a success. If you go into this area again in the future, let me know and I'll steer you to larger trout. :fishing3:
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

SN

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin Fishing Report?
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2014, 09:24:12 AM »
thanks for the report gtom61.

Topwater Terry

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin Fishing Report?
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2014, 10:27:45 PM »
Nice report.  Yeah,  Lee Vining,  and especially Bridgeport,  are known for horrible gouging when it comes to gas prices...
Once I arrive at Tom's Place...well,  you know...nothing else matters...

gtom61

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Re: 20 Lakes Basin Fishing Report?
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2014, 09:11:30 AM »
thanks folks and thanks so much again for the tips...  already planning my trips for 2015, might make two now that I've gotten my feet wet and spoiled.  Hawk, i'll definitely post and let you know ahead of time.  When's the best time to start again, early summer?  have a safe and terrific new years!

Gerry