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Recommendations on how to get to lakes below Granite Dome

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Recommendations on how to get to lakes below Granite Dome

Postby gochicagobears! » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:44 am

Hi everyone,
Heading back out to the Emigrant Wilderness again this weekend to see if I can get eaten alive by mosquitos :crybaby: Alas, the a(lure) of a fish tugging on my line is calling!
Question: what is the safest route to get to the lakes below Granite Dome (Sardella, Iceland, et al)?
I will be heading out from Kennedy Meadows with my girlfriend and another couple this coming weekend. We'll likely stay near/past Relief Reservoir on the first night and our approach will likely be from the Saucer Meadow area unless there's a better route coming from the direction of Lower Relief Valley. (FYI: I am using these points of reference from a Tom Harrison map. I've never been to this area of Emigrant before.) Anyway, I'd like to fish those lakes, but don't want to do any off trail hiking that might be dangerous for the four of us. Any recommendations on a safe approach to them?
Thanks so much!

al



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Re: Recommendations on how to get to lakes below Granite Dome

Postby TahoeJeff » Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:11 am

I took 3 guys with little or no backpacking experience to those lakes about 10 years ago. About a half mile above Saucer Meadow, below the confluence of the creek from Lewis lakes and Summit creek hang a right off trail, over the creek. Head West for a saddle due East of Iceland, North of Sardella. The route is pretty easy over smooth granite for the most part. The fishing wasn't too good for us though. We saw not a single rise at Iceland or Ridge, and couldn't get a bite, throwing a variety of lures at 'em. We did the whole hike in from Kennedy meadow to Iceland in one day, and 2 of my buddys hit the sack the minute we got there!
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Re: Recommendations on how to get to lakes below Granite Dome

Postby gochicagobears! » Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:34 am

Thanks, Tahoe Jeff!
Looks to be about 1.25 miles from the creek. Do-able... Still a novice at navigation and don't want to have any "issues" out there. Been backpacking for years, but never gotten around to basic compass navigation, but sense that i'm missing something out there always staying on-trail. Anyway, I've read a couple different reports about the fishing at those lakes and have read that goldens are supposed to be in Sardella, hence my wish to get there!
Thanks so much!
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Re: Recommendations on how to get to lakes below Granite Dome

Postby rlown » Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:08 am

Here's a response i got last October on an inquiry into that area from Curtis Milliron at the DFG:

Lewis Lakes have brook trout, with the middle Lewis (largest lake) having the largest fish - up to 12"
Ridge lake has golden trout to about 10".

The other lakes appear to be fishless, even though Iceland has been recently stocked.

Hope this helps - good luck.
Curtis
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Re: Recommendations on how to get to lakes below Granite Dome

Postby gochicagobears! » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:00 am

Thanks, Russ!
We'll see if it works out! Got to be better that the trip last month with all those pesky mosquitos...
It'd be nice to hook into a 'golden.
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Re: Recommendations on how to get to lakes below Granite Dome

Postby giantbrookie » Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:26 pm

There are several possibilities to get into that region (more on this below), but even before the recent management changes (see Russ' post) the fishing was iffy for goldens. It seemed to me when I was there in the early 90's with my wife that there were more rainbows than goldens in Iceland, Ridge and Sardella, which may have indicated natural reproduction following an accidental air drop (similar to the accidental rainbows in Birch L). There was spotty rainbow fishing in all three and I only saw one golden (which I caught)--a 6-incher in Ridge; the best rainbows were in Iceland (to 13") at that time. For goldens I would certainly consider other targets. We found small brookies in the upper lake, medium sized (10 inch) brookies in the middle lake, and dead brookies (had apparently winterkilled) in the lower lake.

We entered the area by following a route that approximately followed the Iceland outlet stream. The only tricky thing about this was that you had to find this bench that surmounted a cliff band--this was a wide bench that narrowed for a short stretch to a 3-foot-wide ledge with a bit of exposure--still class 2 in my estimation. On the way out we bailed by descending from the Lewis': there are many alternatives to get in and out via this approximate approach. With regards to scenery I think that Middle Lewis is hands down the most beautiful of the lakes. The combination of the big cliffs above the lake and its deep blue waters are very stunning.

In any case, if I was headed to Emigrant for fishing, I would head for other lakes in central Emigrant, rather than the Granite Dome lakes, given that you can catch much bigger fish 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: Recommendations on how to get to lakes below Granite Dome

Postby rlown » Tue Jul 28, 2009 2:44 pm

To be honest, Curtis' report was why i decided not to go there. I was looking for areas that looked nice in Google Earth (that stood out as scenic), and then i bounce them off resources that might be able to give me insight into fishing, DFG or otherwise.

I agree with GB.. If you want bigger fish in Emigrant, you have to go deeper into the wilderness.
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Re: Recommendations on how to get to lakes below Granite Dome

Postby gochicagobears! » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:14 pm

okay...duly noted on the fish, or lack thereof...
we won't be able to go in that far on this trip, but perhaps later in the year when i have more time to explore... still learning my way around Emigrant, and the posts/replies are a great help. thanks, guys!
al
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