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Bear lakes basin - Sep 29 - Oct 1

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Bear lakes basin - Sep 29 - Oct 1

Postby tory8411 » Mon Sep 25, 2006 10:07 am

I need advice from the experts. First of all, I want to thank all of you that provide such great information and entertainment (Marksor) with your constant posts and updates. This by far, is the most comprehensive and informative forum I have found for the Sierras. Thanks to giantbrookie, buck, snownymph and the many others for the plethora of topics and informative descriptions. I guess what amazes me the most is the commitment to putting up your conditions/experience/pictures so quickly upon your return. Priceless.
After thoroughly examining the different threads on the subject (and getting sidetracked often I might add due to the great stories) I want to bag my first Golden. I know it might not be the best time of year, but it's what I've got. To begin with, I hope I have the right basin, out of Bear diversion, just off PCT near Lake Italy? This seems to be the most accessible spot for a three day trip. The plan is to hike to one of the first lakes on day 1, day hike or move camp to a couple others, then come out Sunday, maybe fishing the creek on the way out.
As it stands, I am currently going alone. My first solo. I know it's not long but it has my wife a little nervous. And because it is a little late in the year, I'm a tad nervous myself. But, after reading Marksor's great adventures (printed them all out) I think it is time. (But if anyone wants to come along, I'd love to meet you)
Sorry for the longwinded request, but I feel a bit guilty stealing knowledge with not much to contribute myself. I hope to someday repay the debt. Confirmation of the area would be great as well as any suggestions for a better, more accessible, whatever locale.
Also, do you think I will have any trouble, it being a little late in the year, with leaving my truck at bear diversion and being able to get out if there is an early storm?
Thanks in advance,
Tory :nod:



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Postby copeg » Mon Sep 25, 2006 10:52 am

Tory, I just visited this area for the first time and it truly is a special place. You may or may not have seen my trip report thread, but here it is. Not sure which way you plan on entering (ie via lake italy trail, seven gables trail, etc..). I entered via the seven gables lakes trail and HIGHLY recommend it, esp. a trip to Vee Lake. Great fishing for goldens along Bear Creek, Seven Gables Lakes, and Vee Lake environs. Unfortunately I never made it to the upper lakes given time constraints. As for parking at the dam, watch and check the weather just before going. For a 3 day trip with a good weather forecast I personally wouldn't worry about it.
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Thanks tb!

Postby tory8411 » Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:39 pm

Thanks for the help!
Great pic's. A couple questions for you:
How's the trail? I know it is all uphill, it looks pretty gradual, but I doubt I'll be able to convince my wife to go up Thurs night and stay near the trailhead to acclimate.
What time did you set out and how long did it take you to get there?
I am trying to give my wife a good idea of when to expect me.
When did you get back? Was it getting pretty cold at night?
Thanks again!
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Postby Buck Forester » Mon Sep 25, 2006 2:36 pm

Whew doggy, that's a looOOOoong way to backpack for a three day trip! If you're in superb shape and are looking for a serious adventure, go for it! If you're simply looking to get up in some beautiful high country and catch some goldens, you can do so with a less ambitious trip for only 3 days.
It's all about the WILDERNESS!!!

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Hey Buck!

Postby tory8411 » Mon Sep 25, 2006 3:52 pm

Thanks for looking, I know it is a bit aggressive, what else would you recommend?
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Postby copeg » Mon Sep 25, 2006 4:01 pm

Buck brings up an excellent point I didn't even consider in my first post. I made it to just below Vee Lake in 7 leisurely hours including breaks and lunch. On the way back it took about 7 hrs from Vee Lake (this includes breaks, lunch, and many pauses to fish along the way). My backpack was very light, I am in great shape and, as my name suggests, I hike kind of fast. If you don't meet any of these criteria, you might want to reconsider - perhaps camping along Bear Creek and dayhiking to the upper basin or Marie Lake area as an alternative. I'm sure other's will chime in with alternatives as well. On the way back in the afternoon the lower parts of the trail were hot, so going up I'd get a relatively early start. This trip was 3 weeks ago, it was quite warm but according to weather reports the weather has changed and gotten much colder recently.
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Postby giantbrookie » Mon Sep 25, 2006 4:10 pm

Three days is indeed a very brisk pace which demands fitness and also cuts down on the amount of fishing time owing to the amount of time spent hiking. If your goal is your first golden, there may be better options to consider that involve less hiking (and hence give you more fishing time). An easier option would be pounding various lakes out of the Cottonwood trailhead, all of which have goldens (note special regulations in this basin, though). French Canyon/Humphreys Basin is harder to get to than Cottonwood, but easier than Bear Basin for a 3 day trip and there are good golden possibilities in some of the lakes there.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Postby markskor » Mon Sep 25, 2006 5:18 pm

Tory,
Got to agree with Giantbrookie here about the Cottonwoods and Goldens.
In fact, I have learned to never disagree with his expertise on anything fishing - he knows about these things better than most.
Just to fill in a few gaps:
Taken from the Cal fish and game regs …
See: http://www.fgc.ca.gov/html/regs.htmla)

a) Cottonwood Lakes 1, 2, 3, and 4 and their tributaries (Inyo County)-
July 1 through Nov 15. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used – 0 kept

b) All remaining Cottonwood drainage lakes – (same as above, but you can keep 5 in possession). This seems to mean that at only at Lake # 5, you can keep 5.

That being said, I agree that on a solo hike (your first solo?), maybe it would be better to go somewhere a bit closer...not as isolated.

In regard to the wife...I also have one too and she also freaks out when I go this way, but a man has to do what a man has to do. Anyway, try the Cottonwoods first for Goldens...5 hours in, relatively easy except that you are at 10,000 ft...prepare for the cold...and you will be fine.
May I suggest dragging small barbless Panther Martins (gold and black), or small Z-rays at these lakes.
Let us know how you did.

Oh, thanks for the kind words.
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Postby Snow Nymph » Mon Sep 25, 2006 6:49 pm

Tory, I'm not a fast hiker, but we made it to Bear Creek Meadow the first day (don't remember how long, but we got there before dark). The second day we did some xctry to get to Bear Lakes Basin, climbed Seven Gables and came down the other side (long day). Vee Lake was a short distance away (http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/1185 ... 4790GsiIsv as seen from Seven Gables summit), so it might be doable. I don't fish, so I'm no help.

Like Markskor suggested, maybe do a shorter trip if fishing is your main goal?
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Postby hikerduane » Mon Sep 25, 2006 7:26 pm

If you are only a days hike from your wheels I wouldn't get too worried. Pooch and I have been in around 14 miles from the TH in mid Oct. and had it start snowing on us a little. No lunch that day and we had to climb over a pass with no trail. Can you say tired doggies?

Temps should be in the teens to more likely the mid 20's at least when we have gone out in Oct. Where I live at 4000', the temps are in the upper 20's already. At the Silver Lake/Rush Creek TH by June Lakes, I have seen it a miserable 15 degrees and had it only get to 24-25 at Thousand Island Lake at around 10,000'. I go with the theory that cold air sinks. Up to a point.:) Plus, with the days getting shorter, your activity falls off early so it seems colder as you wait for chow time or for it to get dark so you can hit the sack. I'm headed out for yet another solo the second week of Oct. for just 5 nights. I hope this trip gives you some confidence and you wife some confidence, as I have gained much over the years.
Piece of cake.
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Postby giantbrookie » Mon Sep 25, 2006 9:05 pm

Everyone has their own pace, but the first golden-bearing lake out of Cottonwood is about 5 mi and 1000' of gain from the car vs ~13 mi (for Lou Beverley that only has small fish anyway; considerably further for Bear Basin) and 4000+' gain from the Diversion Dam. No question Bear Basin is doable in 3 days, but most of the days would be spent hiking instead of fishing unless one is a much faster than average high country hiker. Remember too that the days are rather short this time of year.

Regarding what to use (if lure fishing), everyone has their own favorites, but my personal favorite lure for goldens is the 1/4 oz "Z-hooker" pattern Z-Ray. That is my designated golden lure, but I admit it may be difficult to find in Cali (I order it in bulk from the manufacturer). On the other hand, I've seen folks do very well with Mepps Aglia Longs and Panther Martins. Of course fly fishers have their own favorites for goldens as well.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Postby freestone » Mon Sep 25, 2006 9:21 pm

If you live in Fresno, and can drive to the diversion dam, then Bear creek is a good choice. The problem with Cottonwood is precious time is wasted driving from Fresno to the Owen's Valley. Day one gets you to Kip Camp where the JMT meets the Bear Creek Diversion Dam trail. Day two, fish for goldens in the creek, or day hike to Seven Gables Lakes. Day 3, fish in the morning, then make your exit and be home for a late supper with your wife. Bear Creek above Kip camp is perfect this time of year and you will not be disappointed. BTW, I have never seen a bear in this area!
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