Big Pine Lakes

Big Pine Lakes

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Big Pine Lakes

Suggested Flies for Big Pine Lakes Area:
Eastern Sierra Hatch Selection

Other Local Favorites:

Dry Flies:
Parachute Adams #16-18
Olive Elk Hair Caddis #16-18
Royal Wulff #16-18
BWO Sparkle Dun #18-20
BWO Parachute Dun #18-20
Griffith's Gnat #16-18
Henrys Fork Hopper
Chernobyl Ant

Nymph Flies:
Hare's Ear #16-18
Prince Nymph #16-18
Pheasant Tail Nymph #16-18


Big Pine Lakes Directions

15 miles south of Bishop is the town of Big Pine on Hwy 395. Take Glacier Road for 11 miles to the trailhead. Glacier Lodge burned down, but Kathy (the Owner) still has about 8 cabins and will rebuild the Lodge soon. The store has been relocated into one of the cabins. The trailhead is at 8,300 feet and it is a 3.5 miles hike going up 1,700 feet to reach the first lake at close to 10,000 feet.

Notes:first, second, third big pine lakes
Big Pine Lakes has seven numbered lakes in it's system. In addition to these lakes there are a number of other ones worth visiting. Big Pine #1 is 7 acres at an elevation of 9,975. It contains Rainbows, Browns, and Brookies. Expect a 2 hour hike from the Trailhead. There are a number of areas where you can fish while hiking along the North Fork of Big Pine Creek. One good area is in front of the USFS Wilderness Cabin about 1 mile below Big Pine Lake #1. This was actor Lon Chaney's cabin, built in 1929. Chaney died at the age of 47 in 1930 and the USFS took possession of it in 1980 when the lease expired. The cabin was designed by Paul Revere Williams, the first African American architect granted Fellowship into the American Institute of Architects. Basically just one large room with a kitchen. The floor is tongue and groove pine and a large granite fireplace. The exterior granite walls are 2 feet thick. Chaney was a passionate fly fisherman who practiced catch and release. Chaney and his family often camped within this area prior to when the cabin was built. He got a special use permit from the Forest Service to build the cabin and leased 1/2 acres on which it was placed. The cabin was sold in 1932 and 1955. As of 1964, the cabin resides within the John Muir Wilderness. It was spared destruction and has been proposed for Registry of Historic Places. The stream contains Brookies, Browns, and Rainbows below BP#1.
The next two lakes, BP#2 contains Brookies and BP#3 contains both Rainbows and Brookies. These lakes are 28 and 12 acres, respectively, at about 10,100'. Some large Browns might still be within BP#2, as a 8Lb 12oz Brown was caught there in 2003. Big Pine Lakes #4 and #5 contain Brookies and Rainbows, 6-8". These lakes are 8 and 10 acres, respectively, and sit at about 10,800'. Big Pine Lake #6 (8 acres) and BP#7 (4acres) lie at 11,050' and 11,150', respectively. The trout have been removed from these lakes due to the Yellow-legged Frog program. Going from where the trail turns off to BP #1, the northern leg will bring you to Black Lake at 10,690' This is a 9 acre lake with Brookies and Rainbows. Further up at 10,700' is Summit Lake (2.5 acres) with Rainbow-Golden Hybrids. A BWO hatch is known to occur here. Sam Mack Lake can only be reached cross-country leaving the trail between #3 and #4 Lakes. It is 9 acres at 12,000' and contains Brookies.

Along the South Fork of the Big Pine Creek , there are three lakes, each containing Brookies in the 6-8 inch class. Willow Lake(2 acres) is at 9,650' about a 2.5 hour hike from the Trailhead. The main trail goes on to Brainard Lake about an hour away, 10,500'. Elinore Lake(6 acres) is at 11,450 but there is no trail available. The lakes are surrounded by five peaks, all over 14,000 feet. Below the peaks, Palisades Glacier resides at about 13,000-14,000 feet. It is the most southern glacier within the United States.

Fishing Regulations (Effective March 1st, 2021)

Big Pine Lakes:

Open all year. 5 trout. 10 in possession. No gear restrictions.

All Lakes and Reservoirs in Inyo and Mono Counties (except Bridgeport Reservoir and tributaries; Convict Lake; Crowley Lake; George Lake; Grant Lake; Gull Lake; Horseshoe Lake; June Lake; Lundy Lake; Mamie Lake; Mary Lake; Rock Creek Lake; Sabrina Lake; Silver Lake; South Lake; Twin Lakes (Mammoth); Twin Lakes, Lower and Upper (Bridgeport); Virginia Lake, Lower and Upper):

Open all year. 5 trout. 10 in possession. No gear restrictions.

All creeks and tributaries:

From the last Saturday in April through November 15, five trout daily bag limit, 10 trout in possession; and, from November 16 through the Friday preceding the last Saturday in April, 0 trout bag limit, artificial lures with barbless hooks only and trout must be released unharmed and not removed from the water.


©2021 Steve Schalla
This page is not to be copied without my explicit permission.
Big Pine Seventh Lake Big Pine Sixth Lake Summit Lake Big Pine Fourth Lake Big Pine Fifth Lake Black Lake Big Pine Second Lake Big Pine First Lake Big Pine Third Lake Palisade Glacier Brainard Lake Lon Chaney Cabin Bishop Creek South Lake Backcountry Big Pine Creek Palisades Le Conte Canyon