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Catherine and Ritter Lakes fishing beta?

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Catherine and Ritter Lakes fishing beta?

Postby markskor » Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:23 am

I have heard some tall tales about, and am looking for best route to/ beta on fishing prospects/ general camping at Catherine Lake and the various Ritter Lakes – the many lakes behind Mount Ritter…elevation ~ 11,000 ft. I will be approaching from 1000 Island Lake trail, but am open to other route suggestions too.

From my Topos, it appears Catherine might be an “easy” slab climb up the saddle, (North Glacier Pass) just over the ridge…other lakes then look accessible X-country…class 2 -3. Is this a talus field?

Anybody been up this way…how is the fishing in July?
Any other pertinent camping/route information/ red flags welcome.
Thanks
Mark
Mountainman who swims with trout



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Re: Catherine and Ritter Lakes fishing beta?

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:26 pm

My guess is that the lakes are fishless. The DFG beta of their fishing guide (the one made available to us on this site) does not include the area on the west flank of the Ritter Range, so that doesn't help us (but it does help with another mystery--read on). There is no mention of fish in any edition of Sierra North. Cutter lists a "Ritter Lake" (no Catherine) as having fish at an elevation of 9840 which is way too low for any of the Ritter Lakes (10800-11040+), although elevation errors are fairly common in the Cutter tables. This "Ritter Lake" appears to be one of the lakes just off the SW end of Thousand Island Lake, according to the DFG guide which does indeed show it to have fish. "Ritter Lake" is apparently a DFG name, and the elevation of 9840 listed in Cutter would be about right. Cutter does not list either Catherine or the other Ritter Lakes.

I was there in 1973 to climb Ritter and Banner (did Ritter via the west face hence the route through the Ritter Lakes). Glacier Pass is very easy (class 1 to 2), although you pass this ominous gravesite on the way up "Here lies Conrad and Anna Redenbacher". I didn't know what that was all about until reading Allsup's excellent "Missing in the Minarets". Apparently they were a couple killed in 1934 on the east face of Banner (whose bodies, like Starr's, were found by Norman Clyde). I vividly remember Catherine and especially Ritter Lakes as having been the most beautiful lakes I had ever seen up to that time. Unbelievably deep blue. Walking from Catherine around the corner to the Ritter Lakes was trivial--mixed talus (not particularly hard as I recall) with some easy bedrock--all class 1 to 2 stuff. Although I was much more of a peak bagger than fisherman back then, I always had an interest in fishing (did not bring gear there, though) and I didn't see any sign of life in any of those lakes. It may be that they were deemed to low in food production to justify stocking them with trout. In any case, I don't seem to recall anything resembling a spawnable inlet or outlet to any of them (that may have sustained fish after any early "experimental" plant), but it's been a very long time. By the way, to continue to the "spooky" thought, I recall being further spooked out by several additional unmarked graves around the Ritter Lakes. I wondered if they may have been the bodies of the Sierra Club peak baggers who perished when trapped high on the mountain in a sudden spring snowstorm on Ritter in 1970 (?)--one of the worst Sierra Nevada mountaineering disasters I recall reading about in my childhood years ("...then another one froze to death, and the rope was cut..."--one member of the party survived to tell the tale).
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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Re: Catherine and Ritter Lakes fishing beta?

Postby markskor » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:15 pm

Thanks GB, I knew you would jump in here.
Appreciate beta and thoughts of route - IE Glacier Pass and the rest. Looks pretty easy once ensconced up at 1000 Island.
However, about Catherine being fishless, this differs from recent conversations with some locals...maybe they were pulling my leg...saw a picture, but enough of that for now...
Guess I might just have to take a look for myself...looks like a great July trip whatever...one of many planned this year.
BTW, any other good, prime fishing lakes not to be missed in the area (please PM me if too secret...lol)?...trip also includes a day or two at upper and lower Marie.
Mark
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Catherine and Ritter Lakes fishing beta?

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:26 pm

I'd be happy to give out fishing info if I knew if but the only time I've ever been at that area was in '73 (and before) to peak bag, so I can't say I know that much about fishing 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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Re: Catherine and Ritter Lakes fishing beta?

Postby hikerduane » Sun Jan 18, 2009 5:44 pm

Pooch and I traversed above Thousand Island from Lost Lakes and frozen Marie Lakes quite a few years ago in Oct, heavy snow the previous winter. Had lunch above Catherine, she had only thawed out about a quarter over the summer looking at the ice and was froze over when we got there. Second trip around on a loop by Devils Postpile, Sheep Crossing thru Hemlock Crossing etc. we hiked up to the Ritter Lakes, skirted Catherine and beat the snow out to the TH at Silver Lake. Camping prospects didn't look too good at Catherine either time. We hit the sun cups the first time up, after having to come down in elevation from trying to traverse around from Davis Lakes. A rock in each hand coming down and aiming for rock islands, then spending the night at Thousand Island. Another grand adventure.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Catherine and Ritter Lakes fishing beta?

Postby Shawn » Sun Jan 18, 2009 7:43 pm

The one time I visited Lake Catherine we took Glacier Pass. I did see several guys fishing, one of them took something out of the lake (looked like a fish to me, maybe a shoe :D ).

Anyway, it was in '06, here are a few shots:

The grave....
Image

Glacier Pass from above Thousand Island Lakes ( a couple of people down low for perspective)........
Image

The Lake Catherine side of the pass...
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