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Backpacking TO or ALONG a river?

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Backpacking TO or ALONG a river?

Postby strollinbones » Sat Feb 20, 2016 7:29 pm

Hey folks,
Been a long time since I dropped by this site. I sure have missed it.
Anyway, I have a window open in late June of 2016 to spend 4-5 days in the backcountry. I am an avowed fly fisherman who would love to hike to or along moving water. Preferably, this would be something in the "river" category, not a tiny stream (although these terms don't always match size expectations). I'm not a huge fan of lake fishing.

Any suggestions? Most rivers in the Sierra are paralleled by highways or other developed stuff. Where can a guy go to hike along or near a river in a less busied area? I know there's the San Joaquin, but I know ZERO about it. And the Kern seems to go straight north into the lower Sierra, but it's quite far from me. I am in the Bay Area.

All thoughts welcome!
thanks in advance, and here's to more rain & snow...
StrollinBones



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Re: Backpacking TO or ALONG a river?

Postby balzaccom » Sat Feb 20, 2016 9:15 pm

There's a trail from Ebbetts Pass down the Mokelumne River that leads into some lovely stretches.

This pool was just a mile from the trailhead...

Image

The Toulumne below Hetch-hetchy, while certainly not a wild river, is also an option... or the Tuolumne ABOVE the reservoir--which is the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne

This is just above Glen Aulin

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The Kings River has a couple of different options--the North Fork ut of Courtwright Reservoir:

Image


Or you can really have an adventure and head to Tehipite Canyon

Lots of options!
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Re: Backpacking TO or ALONG a river?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Feb 20, 2016 10:20 pm

Cherry Creek from Cow Meadow Lake to Cherry Reservoir, Emigrant Wilderness. Classic wild off-trail adventure. Water may be too high end of June for good fishing. You did not say how gnarly off-trail you are willing or want to do.
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Re: Backpacking TO or ALONG a river?

Postby ksenn » Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:54 pm

What about TO and ALONG a river? N. Fork of the American River can feel pretty out there. Mumford Bar Trail from Foresthill Rd down to and east along the river, or Big Granite Creek trail down from the Loch Leven area off of I-80. I know there's some nice pools if you take the Big Granite Creek trail down. Lower elevation, so snow will most likely not be too much of a problem. I don't really know anything about fishing, is it possible for the river to be too full to fish?
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Re: Backpacking TO or ALONG a river?

Postby k9mark » Sun Feb 21, 2016 12:09 am

The American would be nice and is really desolate for being fairly close to civilization. However, caution is warranted in this area due to Marijuana groves and the errant method cooker. Chances are you won't run into this,but chances are you could so plan accordingly.
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Re: Backpacking TO or ALONG a river?

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:04 am

ksenn- have you been on that route since the big fire? I did two years after the fire, and it is nearly impossible to get upriver from Mumford Bar. The deadfall was horrible. Really sad because that was such a nice hike upriver. We used to do it in the winter - really fun- you would ski up the road, drop down until out of snow, stash skiis, hike along the river - so green and lush.

I forgot to mention in my Cheery Creek suggestion - it is really hard to do at peak runoff, if not impossible. Last year would have been fine since peak runoff was so early. This year may be different. You have to be able to cross Cherry Creek at Lord Meadow. At high flows you cannot do this. I do not know if the fishing is worth the effort. I have fished the upper lakes in Emigrant and they are pretty good but never tried Cherry Creek.
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Re: Backpacking TO or ALONG a river?

Postby dave54 » Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:48 am

Look a little further north. Middle Fork Feather River.

Mill or Deer Creeks in the Ishi Wilderness.
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Re: Backpacking TO or ALONG a river?

Postby SSSdave » Sun Feb 21, 2016 11:07 am

The best wilderness stream fishing in the range is probably the Middle Fork of the Kings River since that large stream is difficult to reach. Too much for 4 or 5 days.

Simply put, a large stream can support more and larger fish. If a stream has small minimum flows, there is more chance fishermen will have fished out most of the larger fish. Worse are the many stream that every few years have zero minimum flows leaving small unaerated pools that cannot support larger fish. Many Sierra streams and rivers that seem to have sizeable flows say mid summer, actually have rather small flows during fall, especially during drought years. That is especially the case with streams that are not sourced from areas with permanent snow and glaciers or slow to drain volcanic soils. Thus we have many streams with rather small pan sized trout especially west slope streams that do not reach the Sierra Crest. Along the Eastern Sierra there are many streams with decent minimum flows due to permanent snow fields at crest areas and large areas of talus that slowly drain off. However few are conducive to fly fishing due to all the willow, alder, cottonwood, and aspen usually along their banks.

The San Joaquin River above Florence Lake and its major tributary of Piute Creek has some of the most extensive summer snowfields of any basin in the range and thus has larger minimum flows. Before the late 80s drought, the lower section about Blaney Meadow had some huge brown trout over 20 inches but were fished out at the end of the decade. There still are a lot of small trout below the meadow if one can climb down pools to where the river goes through the hot granite bedrock section. Within a few miles of the trail camp tend to be fished out. However it is the river starting a few miles above the Blaney Meadows trail camp where one will likely find better trout especially in places horse folks cannot easily reach the river edges. Generally the more difficult it is to climb down to pools the more likely one will find good fishing.
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Re: Backpacking TO or ALONG a river?

Postby Tom_H » Tue Feb 23, 2016 4:22 pm

Nevada Point Trail to confluence of Pilot Creek and Rubicon River:

http://caltopo.com/m/6M4J

You can't continue on Rubicon Trail far beyond turnoff to Nev. Pt. Tr. as avalanche wiped out the road long ago.

Blue Hole on the Mokelumne:

http://caltopo.com/m/227C

You can also hike or kayak up Salt Springs Reservoir to reach Blue Hole. Above Blue Hole on the Moke is hellish cliffs draped with Poison Oak, ledges and holes full of rattlesnakes. It is not High Sierra, but IMHO, it is the most rugged and desolate place in the Sierra. Some people have bushwhacked from the source to Blue Hole and they say it is one wild expedition. When the water is right, some people kayak/camp/and fish their way down it.

I have a friend who likes to fish the Upper Kern and its tributaries.
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Re: Backpacking TO or ALONG a river?

Postby Fly Guy Dave » Wed Feb 24, 2016 7:37 am

One trip to avoid: I hiked/camped/fished on the Rubicon River from the Ellicott Bridge down to the Mosquito Ridge Power Plant. I can sum up that trip in three words: NOT WORTH IT.
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Re: Backpacking TO or ALONG a river?

Postby balzaccom » Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:21 pm

Note the Cherry Creek pretty much dries up each summer, and the fishing (which you mentioned as being a top priority) is not great because of that...
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Re: Backpacking TO or ALONG a river?

Postby TehipiteTom » Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:33 pm

SSSdave wrote:The best wilderness stream fishing in the range is probably the Middle Fork of the Kings River since that large stream is difficult to reach. Too much for 4 or 5 days.

Tehipite Valley is doable in a 5 day trip--2 days in, one layover.
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