Author Topic: Bishop Creek Canyon  (Read 82691 times)

wshawkins

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Bishop Creek Canyon
« on: January 27, 2015, 08:09:17 AM »
Bishop Creek Canyon



Well, the “Bishop Creek Canyon” fishing trip got the most votes with a whopping “9” (:lol2:) ) votes with 15 members voting.  Thanks to all who voted.  If you’re in to catching wild fish in beautiful back-country scenery, this trip report is for you.



Bishop Creek Canyon


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

wshawkins

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2015, 08:23:42 AM »
Bishop Creek Canyon



Bishop Creek Canyon comprises of three main forks that contain more than 100 lakes, dozens of streams, untold number of flower filled meadows and all with amazing scenery.  Most of the lakes are above or near timberline, cupped in granite basins with sheer cliffs and snowcapped peaks.  It would take all summer long to see everything they have to offer in this part of the Eastern Sierra.   I had but three days!



South Fork Bishop Creek




The reason I was up here was I was dropping off some friends at the Bishop Pass Trailhead at South Lake for their backpacking trip.  They were going to hike a section of the John Muir Trail for a week.  We stayed a night in Bishop to acclimate for the higher elevations. 



For breakfast the next morning, we went where the locals go for a home cooked meal.  The Eastern Sierra best kept secret is of course “Jack Waffle Shop”.  Lots of food, great service and a pretty waitress served us.  As a fisherman, I loved the large trophy fish lining the walls.  Highly recommend!



Jack’s




After a full breakfast, we drove up 168 to the Bishop Pass Trailhead at South Lake.  What a busy trailhead!  Must be over a 100 parking spaces here and most were already taken.  We found a parking spot and the guys got ready for their trip.  I got my daypack on as I was going with them as far as Bishop Pass before saying goodbye and turning around back to the trailhead.



Well by the time we were walking along Long Lake, I started feeling bad and developing a headache.  Altitude sickness is what they call it.  Was hoping the night in Bishop would help, but probably not high enough elevation to do me any good.  Said goodbye to my friends, who were feeling fine and took off back down the trail.  Anybody who had altitude sickness knows how it can make you very sick and weak very quickly.



Long Lake




By time I hiked down to the Bishop Pass Trailhead, I was feeling better but still had a headache.  On my drive down I stopped off at the South Lake dam where Parchers boat dock is to check out the level of South Lake.  It’s really low! 



South Lake




Met a couple of Parchers employees at the boat dock shack and they mentioned they had vacancy’s at Parchers if I needed to rest up for a few days.  Wasn’t planning on it but stayed at Parchers for the next 3 nights at one of their historic cabins that originally was a part of Paradise Lodge on lower Rock Creek.  How cool is that! 



Parchers





Original Paradise Lodge Cabin




After settling in at my cabin and resting a bit, I went over to the store and met Jared Smith (also known as Smitty) for fishing suggestions. I noticed when I asked that question all his employees rolled their eyes up, because Jared is a self-proclaimed fishing addict who loves to talk about anything to do with fishing.  Anyway, got some great suggestions and made my plans for the next three days. 



Parchers Store




Employees at Parchers were a great bunch of mostly collage age kids who really love the outdoors.  The young lady’s working here probably could out hike and out fish most guys I know!  Where were girls like this when I was growing up?  Having said that, I took their suggestions and made my plans for the next three days.  I decided on: 

Chocolate Lakes for my first day
Treasure Lakes for some golden trout fishing for day 2
Fun hike on a pipeline to Green Creek Basin on my last full day



Next up I head-up to the “Chocolate Lakes”.            :hiking2:     :fishing3:

 To be continued………………………………………………………………………

"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: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2015, 10:02:32 AM »
I know of Jared at Parchers from his posting on another board. I hear he does a great job up there. Acomlished fisherman as well. I actually saw him at Toms Place Sunday. I'll have to stay there sometime.

bj

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2015, 11:36:42 AM »
Jared used to post on this Board once in a while. He's the one that got me into mini jigs which I use a lot at RCL and the Cottonwoods. Now bring on the Chocolate trout. Very tasty as I recall.
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wshawkins

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2015, 02:54:52 PM »
I know of Jared at Parchers from his posting on another board. I hear he does a great job up there. Acomlished fisherman as well. I actually saw him at Toms Place Sunday. I'll have to stay there sometime.


I first met him years ago at a sportsman show that he was representing Parchers.  He even gave a talk of the fishing at Bishop Creek Canyon I recall.  Anyway, he is best guy for fishing advice.  He took the guesswork out of where to fish for me.  Just wish I had more time to check out the other lakes he recommended.
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2015, 02:56:01 PM »
Jared used to post on this Board once in a while. He's the one that got me into mini jigs which I use a lot at RCL and the Cottonwoods. Now bring on the Chocolate trout. Very tasty as I recall.


He was pushing mini-jigs to me too, but using my flies was off the charts this trip.  There was no reason to change, but may give it a try next year.  I'm going back!
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2015, 02:59:32 PM »
Thanks Trev Dog for the recommendation on "Jacks" in Bishop.  Can't beleave I drove through Bishop all these years and missed out on a great breakfast stop.  Thanks again! :clap: :clap:
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

Gary C.

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2015, 03:40:03 PM »
I can't believe this was your first time for Jack's. I'm looking forward to hearing about the walk along the pipe. I've always wondered what it's like.

fishpole

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2015, 04:31:57 PM »
Good report and beautiful pics wshawkins. thanks for the info  :chestbump:

Trev Dog

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2015, 05:49:15 PM »
wshawkins, cant believe you remembered that tip, as it was a long time ago. For anyone that hasn't tried Jacks the pancakes and waffles are great, the biscuts and gravy are the absolute best, and the chili is really good too. Sitting at the counter with the locals is the best way to eat there. Great start to another wshawkins adventure  :clap:

wshawkins

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2015, 10:24:55 PM »
I can't believe this was your first time for Jack's. I'm looking forward to hearing about the walk along the pipe. I've always wondered what it's like.


What can I say; Jack’s was never on my radar until Trev Dog suggested it.  I always went to Tom’s Place for breakfast, which I think is pretty good too!  Yeah, the hike on the pipeline is a classic and a lot of fun.  I think most people would like this hike.
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2015, 10:25:39 PM »
Good report and beautiful pics wshawkins. thanks for the info  :chestbump:


Thanks Fishpole.  I think the best pictures are yet to be showed.  Some beautiful country out there. 
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2015, 10:27:07 PM »
wshawkins, cant believe you remembered that tip, as it was a long time ago. For anyone that hasn't tried Jacks the pancakes and waffles are great, the biscuts and gravy are the absolute best, and the chili is really good too. Sitting at the counter with the locals is the best way to eat there. Great start to another wshawkins adventure  :clap:


Trev Dog, I don’t forget a good suggestion on where to eat!   ;D   I’ll have give the chili a try next time.
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2015, 08:26:51 AM »
Bishop Pass Trail to Chocolate Lakes



The Bishop Pass Trailhead at South Lake is the jumping off point for dozens of hikes in the canyon.  One of the most scenic areas in the Sierra, is not only an access point to reach the John Muir Trail and Pacific Crest Trail, but also an area boasting more than a dozen side trails leading to spectacular views and destinations for day hikers and backpackers alike visiting the canyon.


 
To get to the Chocolate Lakes, catch the Bishop Pass Trail as it leaves the lower end of the South Lake parking lot.  This is a busy trailhead, so get there early, especially on a weekends so you can get a parking spot.  The trail drops down into the open and follows above the shoreline of South Lake.  There are some nice views of the Sierra Crest and South Lake during this stretch.  Unfortunately, South Lake is drained due to our ongoing drought.



Sierra Crest





South Lake





The trail then moves into a draw before making a sharp turn back toward the lake.  At this point, the trail enters the John Muir Wilderness. There is a long straight stretch of trail through the forest before coming to the Treasure Lakes Trail Junction.



John Muir Wilderness

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

wshawkins

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2015, 08:31:18 AM »
At the junction, I take the trail to the left marked Bishop Pass.  The path slowly drops as it moves southeast.  I continue to follow the trail as it makes some gentle switchbacks.  The trail marker for Marie Louise Lakes Trail is near here.  The trail steepens here as it makes a sharp turn that soon provide a view down on Hurd Lake.



Hurd Lake




The trail then moves straight across a rocky outcropping before making many steeper switchbacks.  Look for the trail marker to Chocolate Lake.  The trail is to your left.  The first lake you come to is Bull Lake, which is only a few hundred yards away.   Bull Lake is probably one of the most photogenic bodies of water in Bishop Canyon with Chocolate Peak behind it. 



Trail Sign to Chocolate Lakes




Bull Lake with Chocolate Peak

 


Move up the trail on the north side of the lake and try your luck fishing.  Fishing was good at Bull Lake for up to 10” Brookies and Rainbows.  I caught equal numbers of Brookies to Rainbows here.  I had a fish on the line on my first 12 casts here, just crazy good fishing! 




Brookie from Bull Lake






Rainbow from Bull Lake

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

wshawkins

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2015, 08:34:49 AM »
When I was done, I moved up the trail and followed the trail as it extends along the creek above Bull Lake.  The trail crosses the creek and climbs steeply up the draw to the 1st Chocolate Lake.  This section of the trail is rather poor from Bull Lake, but it doesn’t last too long. 



Looking back at Bull Lake




Once I reached the Lower Chocolate Lake, fishing was good for small Brookies to 8”.  Lower Chocolate Lake is the smallest lake of the Chocolate Lakes but they get progressively larger as you gain elevation.  The trail beyond Lower Chocolate Lake becomes more of a use trail, but was still easy to follow.



Lower Chocolate Lake




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

wshawkins

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2015, 08:38:39 AM »
Looking back at Lower Chocolate Lake




Middle Chocolate Lake is just a short distance away; you will need to cross a stream in a marshy area below a small waterfall.  Middle Chocolate Lake is my favorite lake in this chain to stop for lunch or set up my camp site if I’m backpacking.  Beautiful Tree Line Lake with great views plus very good fishing can be had here.  There are small to medium brook trout in Middle Chocolate Lake to about 10”.



Middle Chocolate Lake




Brookie from Middle Chocolate Lake





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

wshawkins

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2015, 08:41:56 AM »
Upper Chocolate Lake requires a steep climb up a very little use trail to reach it shores.  At 11,100 feet, it’s the highest lake of the chain.  You’re also right next to the jagged Inconsolable Range’s highest point, Cloudripper.  If you’re lucky, you may see rock climbers going for the peaks during your visit.



Upper Chocolate Lake




Inconsolable Range





Brookie from Upper Chocolate Lake





It was a 3.2 miles hike in to Upper Chocolate Lake.  Fishing was good for brook trout up to 11”, the largest I caught on this chain of lakes.  My best fishing was also here at Upper Chocolate Lake at the outlet.  This was my turn-around point for the trailhead.




#3 Chocolate Lake at the outlet
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2015, 08:45:58 AM »
For hikers with more gas in their tanks, you can cross-country hike to Chocolate Peak, 11,682 foot crest for amazing 360 degree views.  No technical skills needed, just the will to get to the top.



View from Chocolate Peak




Another option is to take the loop around to Ruwau Lake and continue hiking down to Bishop Pass Trail where it meets up at Long Lake.  Ruwau Lake had some large rainbows in its waters last time I fished there.  Long Lake has rainbows, brooks and brown trout.  I mostly catch rainbows in Long Lake.  The loop option will add another 1 mile to your total day’s total.



Ruwau Lake




Well it was a great day.  Great hiking country with some wonderful views plus great fishing.  How great you ask, say about 70-80 fish this fine day.   This would be a great hike to take older kids or teenagers for some easy fishing.



Bishop Creek Canyon





View looking down from Upper Chocolate Lake





Next up I head-up to “Treasure Lakes” for some Golden trout fishing!         


To be continued…………………………………..



"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: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2015, 11:33:05 AM »
thank you for a great report and pictures wshawkins

okay so Terry and I have to do Jacks on one of our one day trips.

Gary C.

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2015, 12:08:43 PM »
Nice pictures and another great report. As for Jack's I highly recommend the chicken fried steak and eggs.

wshawkins

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2015, 02:01:04 PM »
thank you for a great report and pictures wshawkins

okay so Terry and I have to do Jacks on one of our one day trips.


Thanks ab-sn.  Jack’s for breakfast is worth the stop! 

When I was heading home south on the 395 recently, I was craving pizza but could not remember what pizza place you recommended or its location on your crazy one day trips?  Anybody remember?
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

wshawkins

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2015, 02:02:22 PM »
Nice pictures and another great report. As for Jack's I highly recommend the chicken fried steak and eggs.


Yeah Gary, that’s what I had for breakfast, was really good.  One of my buddies had the biscuits and gravy and the other two had pancakes with eggs and bacon on the side.  Once the food came to the table, it got real quiet for the next 20-30 minutes. ;D
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

Gary C.

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2015, 04:18:09 PM »

Yeah Gary, that’s what I had for breakfast, was really good.  One of my buddies had the biscuits and gravy and the other two had pancakes with eggs and bacon on the side.  Once the food came to the table, it got real quiet for the next 20-30 minutes. ;D

I'm sure that no one left there hungry that's for sure. They serve breakfast all day and it's a good thing because the rest of their food is OK but breakfast is the main reason to stop.

fishpole

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Re: Bishop Creek Canyon
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2015, 05:47:42 PM »
Sounds like the place to go.  :bowdown: