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Humphreys Basin TR - 9/10/10 - 9/13/10

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Humphreys Basin TR - 9/10/10 - 9/13/10

Postby Herm » Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:16 am

Just returned from my first ever solo backpack trip. Many thanks to those who post here regularly, as you all have provided a ton of useful information and inspiration. I intend to contribute to this board where I can.

On the morning of Friday 9/10 drove from Anaheim to Bishop, obtained permit for Piute Pass Trailhead, and then parked at North Lake parking area. Hit the trail at 1PM, and struggled with lack of acclimitization for the fist couple hours. Camped just below Piute Lake outlet, and went to bed early. Awoke on Saturday 9/11 to the sun lighting the peaks on the south side of the canyon, with frost on my sleeping bag, and some ice forming in my water bladders. After packing my gear, fished the large pond below the outlet, and caught one small golden trout (~6 inches) using a mosquito fly (the only fish to be caught using a fly). Hit the trail at 11AM, and was at Piute Pass just before noon. By 2:30PM, I was at the outlet of Upper Desolation Lake, where I fished (without success) in the breezy/windy conditions for about 45 minutes. Set off across the outlet at 3:30PM, and was settling into a camp spot on the north shore of Mesa Lake just after 4PM. Southwest winds really seemed to bring smoke from fire in SEKI, making for hazy skies and smoky smell. After a cold and restless night, awoke on Sunday 9/12, and started fishing in the morning calm. Saw a few fish rising, but none would take the flies offered. Put away the fly rod, then set up my spinning rod with a silver Kastmaster. Got bit once, but nothing else. Noticed a pair of fisherman who were camped along the western shore - one of them was working his way around the lake in my direction. As he came near, we exchanged pleasantries. He looked familiar, and so I asked if he posted on High Sierra Topics - indeed, it was Russ (rlown), he said his beard must have given him away. We talked for a bit, then he continued around to the east shore, while I kept fishing the north shore. Russ passed by again on his way back to camp, and said he was heading over Puppet Pass to camp at Star Lake (and others). I then made my breakfast. At about 11AM, I went back to the lake shore, just in time to see Russ and his buddy cresting the ridge on their way to Puppet Pass.
To be continued.
I am not in a hurry, so don't be hasty.



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Re: Humphreys Basin TR - 9/10/10 - 9/13/10

Postby Herm » Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:07 am

Continuing on with the story.
Just as I saw Russ and his partner cresting the ridge headed for Puppet Pass, I hooked into my first fish. Landed and released a beautiful, healthy golden trout, the first of thirteen caught and released on this day. All caught on silver Kastmaster. Fish ranged from 10 to 14 inches, the bigger ones being maybe 2 pounds. All fought hard, some jumped. Took pictures of every fish I caught, but it was tough to get good pictures facing into the sun. I worked my way around to the west shore of Mesa Lake, and caught two nice fish right where Russ had been camped. From there I hiked up the ridge west of Mesa Lake to get a look at Square Lake and Tomahawk Lake. Returning to Mesa Lake, I worked my way around the southern outlet toward the eastern shore. Not much action in this area, as this was the shallowest part of the lake. When I reached the eastern shore, I fished one deep spot, where I landed three fish, one being among the largest caught. I returned to my camp, made an early dinner, then ventured northeast around Wedge Lake and then back to camp.
Another cold night, with the smell of smoke in the air. Monday morning (9/13) woke to frost on my bag and ice in my water. Frost on the ground crunched under my feet as I made my way to the lakeshore. Wind blew lightly from the north, then shifted to southwest. Caught a very healthy golden (14 inches, and 2 pounds), my final fish of the trip. Made breakfast, broke camp. A frog biologist stopped to chat as he made his way to set up camp on the slope above the north shore of the lake. I made my way over to Upper Desolation Lake, and tried casting along the western shore, but the steadily increasing west/southwest wind made conditions tough. Worked around the outlet to the southeastern shore, again tried casting without success. Noticed increasing cloud buildup to the west, along with increasing wind, and headed for the use trail back to Piute Pass trail. Except for chatting with the throngs of backpackers headed up the trail, did not stop until I was back at the parking area. Hit the highway, and was home by 11:30PM - a very long day.
A sucessful first solo trip.
Herm
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Re: Humphreys Basin TR - 9/10/10 - 9/13/10

Postby windknot » Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:39 am

Thanks for the report, and congrats on the first solo trip! I did a five-day trip out of Pine Creek as my second solo trip last month and hit up several of the lakes you fished during a side excursion into Humphreys Basin. Looks like you had great fishing at Mesa. I wish I had had time to fish this lake more thoroughly after getting a strike from a nice fish, but a few of the lakes under the Glacier Divide were calling so I kept moving. Guess I'll have to make a return visit some time.

Oh, and I may as well ask now before someone else (Russ) does: where are the pictures? :D

Matt
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: Humphreys Basin TR - 9/10/10 - 9/13/10

Postby Herm » Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:51 am

Matt;
It is a pleasure to post - thanks for your compliments. I have been lurking on this board for a long time, and speaking with Russ on Sunday tipped me over the edge, so now I am in the fray. Your earlier trip report was certainly inspiring. I wish I had the energy to go off on a big walk like you did that day, but I keep a pretty slow pace. Anyway, about the photos - I am right now in the process of uploading them (133) to my SmugMug account, then I will drop a few of them here, as proof. I snapped photos of every fish I caught, but tried to keep from touching the fish, as much as possible. Therefore, most of the fish pics are while they were still in the water, although I did get a few in hand.
Cheers,
Herm
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Re: Humphreys Basin TR - 9/10/10 - 9/13/10

Postby Herm » Tue Sep 14, 2010 1:58 pm

OK, so I think I have figured out the photo posting procedure, as a test photo worked in the Photo Testing thread.

Here is my campsite on the north shore of Mesa Lake, with Mount Humphreys to the east
Image

And here is fisherman's eye view across Mesa Lake, looking south toward Glacier Divide before the wind came up on the morning of Sunday 9/12/10
Image

And here is my first golden trout taken from Mesa Lake on Sunday 9/12/10, just as rlown was cresting the ridge on his way to Puppet Pass
Image

And another golden trout from Mesa Lake on Sunday 9/12/10
Image

Here is one in the hand, for scale
Image

A beautiful specimen from Mesa Lake, 9/12/10
Image

And finally, Herm the happy fisherman prowling the east shore of Mesa Lake on 9/12/10
Image

This is too much fun!
Herm
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Re: Humphreys Basin TR - 9/10/10 - 9/13/10

Postby maverick » Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:47 pm

Thanks for the TR and cool pic's of the fish.
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Re: Humphreys Basin TR - 9/10/10 - 9/13/10

Postby windknot » Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:56 pm

Nice shots! Thanks for posting them.

Matt
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: Humphreys Basin TR - 9/10/10 - 9/13/10

Postby Herm » Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:58 pm

Thank you, Maverick, the pleasure is mine. You are among several on this board who have provided me with inspiration to finally venture out solo. I always admire your photos, and could only hope to offer some views that others might appreciate.
Herm
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Re: Humphreys Basin TR - 9/10/10 - 9/13/10

Postby Herm » Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:03 pm

Matt;
Thank you. As I said to Maverick, you too are among those who have inspired me. I just wish some of the fish pics had turned out a little better, showing more scale. That is always tricky holding a camera that can't be dropped into the water, holding the fishing rod in the other hand, while trying to maintain balance atop rocks, and keeping the moving subject in the view of the camera.
Oh but so worth the effort.
Herm
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Re: Humphreys Basin TR - 9/10/10 - 9/13/10

Postby maverick » Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:25 pm

Thank you Herm for the comment, and the pleasure is mine.
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Re: Humphreys Basin TR - 9/10/10 - 9/13/10

Postby giantbrookie » Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:51 pm

Nice report. All of these great hiking fishing reports are driving me crazy, given that I'm likely shut out of going to those oh-so-close mountains until next summer.
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: Humphreys Basin TR - 9/10/10 - 9/13/10

Postby Herm » Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:30 pm

Thanks, GB. You certainly have posted a good number of your own reports. With patience, your rewards will continue to come.
I read in an earlier post that you may be able to get in some "field research" with one of your students. Interesting side note on my recent trip. I ran into a gentleman as I was hiking in, who teaches/taught geology at UCSB. My wife and I met in the geology program at CSUFullerton, taking many classes with the late Dr. John Cooper, as well as Dr. Diane Clemens-Knott, who has done a fair amount of research in the western Sierra around Lemon Cove. After we both obtained our Bachelor of Science in Geology at CSUF, my wife continued on in the masters program, and her masters thesis advisor was Phil Armstrong. The UCSB professor mentioned above (unfortunately, I did not catch his name), taught both Phil Armstrong and his wife Tish Butcher, while they were undergraduates at UCSB. My wife attended the recent GSA meeting in Anaheim, hosted by CSUFullerton, and I had hoped that she might make your acquaintence at the meeting.
Interesting the small world we live in.
Cheers,
Herm
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