Charlotte Lake

Charlotte Lake

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Charlotte Lake
Suggested Flies for Charlotte Lake area:
Eastern Sierra Hatch Selection
Other Local Favorites:

Dry Flies:
Parachute Adams #12
Elk Hair Caddis #14-16
Stimulator #12
Madam X #10-12
Royal Wulff #12

Nymph Flies:
Pheasant Tail Nymph #14-18
Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear #14-18
Prince Nymph #14-18
Bird's Nest #14-18
Bird's Stonefly Nymph #8-10
Copper John, Black #18-22

Streamer Flies:
Muddler Minnow #8-10
Woolly Bugger, Black or Olive #8-10


Charlotte Lake Directions

Kearsarge Pass can be accessed from the Onion Valley trailhead (elevation 9,200 feet) out of Independence by way of Hwy 395. Within Independence, turn left (west) on the Market Street, signed for the Onion Valley. Market Street turns into the Onion Valley Road in 0.2 miles. Follow the Onion Valley Road for 12.8 miles to the trailhead parking area. The trail head is located at the west end of the smaller parking area.

Notes: Charlotte Lake

The trail climbs a number of switchbacks up a headwall to the basin below Kearsarge Pass. At the bottom of this basin is Big Pothole Lake.

Big Pothole Lake: 7.5 acres lake at 11,341 feet consisting of Brookies. 4.2 miles from trailhead and must go off-trail the last 1/4 mile.

The trail ascends on long swithbacks within the talus slope of the north basin. The final long switchback brings you to the top of Kearsarge Pass (elevation, 11,823') and the boundary to Kings Canyon National Park, 4.8 miles from the trailhead.

The trail descends into the backcountry of Kings Canyon National Park connecting with the John Muir Trail/Pacific Crest Trail. The trail forks just below the pass with the lower fork going along the shores of Bull Frog Lake (Not shown on the map) just 3/4 miles below the pass. The upper fork maintains elevation and intersects with the JMT/PCT. However, the lower fork will also intersect with the JMT/PCT, just at a lower elevation. The tributary stream feeding Bull Frog Lake provides access to Kearsarge Lakes.

Bullfrog Lake: 8 acre lake at 10,660 feet. Consists of small Brookies. About 5.5 miles from Trailhead.
Kearsarge Lakes: Three lakes with the larger two about 6 acres each. Consists of Brookies in the 9" class. Follow the creek from Bullfrog Lake, the largest lake is about 1 mile upstream from Bullfrog at 10,900 feet.

The lower fork will intersect with JMT/PCT, Taking the JMT/PCT northward for .25 miles the trail forks with a side trail going to Charlotte Lake (not shown on map) and Gardiner Pass.

Charlotte Lake: 9 acre lake at 10,400 feet, about 6 miles from trailhead. Consists of Rainbows and Brookies. Rainbows were planted in the 1950's and have a sustained population with sizes up to 12". A ranger station is on site with camping areas.

Bubbs Creek: The trail out of Onion Valley hooks up with the Pacific Crest Trail just past Bullfrog Leg at 5.5 miles. Bubbs Creek is another 1.5 miles past that point.The creek consists of Rainbows and Browns below Vidette Meadow and Goldens upstream from Vidette Meadows. Near Vidette Meadows there may be Browns 8-10 inches and Brookies 6-8 inches. Above Vidette Meadows, the creek has Golden Hybrids that are also mostly 6-8 inches but can reach up to 11 inches. The Center Basin of Bubbs Creek also has Golden Hybrids but this area has been scheduled for piscicide treatment within the near future. The headwaters of Bubbs Creek upstream from the confluence with the Center Basin is fishless. Some of the marshy areas within this section of the stream is scheduled for piscicide treatment.


Fishing Regulations (Effective March 1st, 2021)

Lakes within John Muir Wilderness on Kearsarge Pass:

Open all Year. No restrictions. 5 trout per day. 10 trout in possession.

Kearsarge Lakes and all other lakes within Kings Canyon National Park:

Open all Year. No restrictions. 5 trout per day. 10 trout in possession.

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.
Painted Lady Dragon Peak Rae Lakes Kearsarge Pass Upper Bubbs Creek Bubbs Creek Charlotte Lake Bubbs Creek Junction Meadow Bullfrog Lake Vidette Meadow Kearsarge Lake Big Pothole Lake Directions to Charlotte Lake