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TR Carson Iceberg 8/24-8/28

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TR Carson Iceberg 8/24-8/28

Postby gochicagobears! » Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:44 pm

Ventured into Carson Iceberg for the first time with my annual hiking group this year for three nights/four days of exploring. We loaded two cars in Petaluma at 10:00 AM Wednesday, and headed over Echo Summit to Markleeville and got into town at around 2:30 or so. We made a bit of conversation with the owner of the only gas station in town and he was pretty open about some of the large fish in the nearby stream. After hearing him speak of recent 10# fish being pulled out I thought, "That stream can't possibly hold fish of that size." Well, of course within five minutes of my utterances a guy drives up to the Markleeville General Store in a 'Benz station wagon and unloads two huge fish he'd just caught in said stream.

The one picture I took was just as he was lifting it up to be weighed inside, and my foot's on the left of the picture to give it some scale. We estimated the fish to be in the 6-8# range, and it resembled a salmon! Truly amazing...
rainbow from efcr.jpg

We got to the Silver Creek campground at about 3:30 and were set upon almost immediately by mosquitos, however they dissipated as the evening wore on and it was nice enough for me to sleep outside in the back of one of the trucks.

At 9:00 Thursday we headed to the Ebbett's Pass TH to begin the hike. Some nice folks from the Sun City- Lincoln Hiking Group were nice enough to take a "before" shot of the group.

From Ebbett's we headed towards our first day's target, Asa Lake. The flowers seemed to be in spring bloom, the temperature was great given that it was late August, and the breeze was a welcome friend.


After stopping for lunch at Noble we headed over the pass to the left of Tryon Peak, I believe. Highland Lakes were in the distance, clear and blue and appealing. The wind was howling as we decended back into the trees towards Asa Lake, our first night's destination. Unfortunately, this lake was far less appealing that we'd thought: green with tons of mosquitos that had plenty of tree protection from the wind, and thus would be a bane of our night-time existence. We huddled up and decided to walk an additional 1.8 miles to Highland Lakes, which we'd seen from the pass. We knew prior that it was car accessible, and were a bit disappointed to see so many in the parking lot as we walked in with backpacks to find a place to bed down for the evening.

We found an area suitable for camping, although there were dried cow patties everywhere, the black ants were a constant, irritating presence, and the mosquitos were something out of the Book of Revelations. I fished that evening at the closest of the lakes, but only had one strike.

The following day we hiked down the Arnot Creek trail a few miles and one of our group hooked into a few brookies.

Saturday morning we packed up all our stuff and headed back towards Asa, then took the Wolf Creek trail down into the valley. It was a stunning section of trail, with no one else out there, Aspens shimmering and several creeks and springs to make crossings interesting.

After crossing Bull Creek we missed the trail junction due to a lack of visible signage, but ran into some nice folks with horses and mules heading the same direction as us, so they gave us a clue as to where the junction was/is.

We then headed up, up and up a bit further. When I thought I'd just about had more than I could possibly take I found myself at a beautiful lake. I was exhausted and didn't have the energy to do anything more than unpack and set up my tent.

My buds had all congregated near the water to wash up and as I approached I saw a few rises, and went back and got my gear. What followed over the next 1.5 hours is without a doubt the best trout fishing I have ever experienced. I landed somewhere between 20-30 fish, missed a few more when they came off the barbless hooks and I avoided several hook ups by reeling fast when I saw a smaller sized fish going after my lure. Most were Lahontan Cutthroats in the 10"-12" range, with a few outliers of 14". Awesome way to end a gruelling and energy sapping day. (It appears this TR has exceeded the allotment of pictures so I'll post some of the pictures in the Fishing Hole section.) Dinner, sleep by 9:30 and dreams of tight lines.

We headed out by 8:00 Sunday on the same trail, opposite direction to head back in the direction of Noble Lake and within one mile the trail disappeared in a marsh area. What happened after that was an hour or so of bushwacking thru steep scree, high bushes and angled hillsides trying in vain to find the trail. Finally, the more fit of our group found the trail and we all made it over the top of the trail summit, where we could immediately see Noble Lake about 1 mile in the distance. The hike out from that point on was pretty uneventful, although it seemed to me to be much longer than I'd anticipated.

After a Double-Double animal style/fries animal style outside Placerville, got back to the 'Luma by 7:30 with over 40 mosquito bites, 34 miles on the trail, and the best fishing day to date in my hiking career. A good time with good people.

Happy trails everyone!

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Last edited by gochicagobears! on Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: TR Carson Iceberg 8/24-8/28

Postby windknot » Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:36 pm

Thanks so much for the report! I was planning to visit that lake last month but ended up having to push that trip aside. Glad to know there are lots of cutts in there. Looking forward to the additional pictures!
Last edited by windknot on Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
A few backcountry fishing pictures: http://wanderswithtrout.wordpress.com/
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Re: TR Carson Iceberg 8/24-8/28

Postby Troutdog 59 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:18 pm

Very nice TR Bears fan!!! Its been awhile, but I visited that lake back in the early 90's. We arrived early and saw many fish spawning in the small inlet streams on the south (?) side of the lake. We left those fish to themselves and the bite was slow at the lake in mid day, but the dusk bite was just tremendous!!! An interesting note, Its the only place in the Sierra where Ive wittnessed a bear feeding on fish. I guess the fish were just such an easy a source (being in about 6 inches of water in a 2 to 3 foot wide channel), the bear couldnt pass it up. Looking forward to the pics. Although Highland lakes are reachable by vehicle, I still think the scenery is gorgeous and it makes a good place for day hikes and adventures to other nearby lakes like the Kinneys, etc.
"Don't accept that what's happening
Is just a case of others' suffering
Or you'll find that you're joining in
The turning away"
D. Gilmour, Pink Floyd
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Re: TR Carson Iceberg 8/24-8/28

Postby gochicagobears! » Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:18 pm

Thanks, guys.
I've been trying to post the pics for the last 1/2 hour and I keep getting a message saying I've exceeded the max limit of 2.0 mb. I've tried to post under separate entries under the fishing hole and here as a reply to your messages to no avail...
I've started to search under the tech ?'s section of HST, but haven't found anything yet. Will post as soon as I can figure it out.

Troutdog: Highland Lakes were very pretty, but the sound of a diesel engine rev'ing up when I'm fiddling with my Snow Peak definitely lessened the moment,,, :soapbox: It is stunning scenery, though, especially on our day hike down the Arnot Creek trail.

Windknot: that place was full of them... healthy, feisty and clearly hungry for anything that hit the water...
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Re: TR Carson Iceberg 8/24-8/28

Postby SSSdave » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:58 pm

Yeah looks like most of your group was dressed without adequate mosquito protections (long nylon pants/nylon shirt/neck drape cap). Month ago was up at Highland Lakes and made plans to backpack some weekend to the lake you didn't name. Would prefer others had not mentioned the actual name as small lakes like that can easily be fished out in a few years.

I'm guessing you are posting unprocessed images directly out of your digital camera because the file sizes are huge. Only because this board's forum software downsizes the images for forum display does the result not cause hated usual browser scrolling issues one would otherwise face on many other forums. Large images also take longer to load for those loading a web page. What you need to do is downsize ALL images posted on web forums to no more than about 700 pixels in width. If you would like to give your audience an option to see larger sized images, you can always post besides a small image on threads, additionally a link to another website where they reside. Note there are many public image sites on the web for that. I do believe Eric has a old sticky rimg thread somewhere here explaining how all this ought be.
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Re: TR Carson Iceberg 8/24-8/28

Postby mokelumnekid » Mon Sep 05, 2011 6:55 pm

SSSdave- didn't appreciate that you got into this "low Sierra" neck of the woods. I've spent too much time there, but the volcanic geology always has a few puzzles to interest me (I don't fish). Peak bagged everything between Sonora and Carson Pass as a teenager in the '60's early '70's and mapped a lot of the geology in the early '80's (hence the avatar name). Glad to see a post on this area. It may not have the soaring high altitude granite vibe of the true 'Range of Light' but has better wildflowers and geological variety (if you subtract the cows....Stanislaus and Toyiabe Nat'l Forests manage them as stock yards).
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