Emigrant Wilderness

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Emigrant Wilderness

Suggested Flies for the Emigrant Wilderness area:
Westside Sierra Hatch Selection

Dry Flies:
Small Western Green Drake #14-16
BWO #16-18
Parachute Adams #12
Elk Hair Caddis #14-16
St. Vrain Caddis
Kings River Caddis #12-16

Nymph Flies:
Pheasant Tail Nymph #12-14
Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear #12-14
Bird's Nest #12-14
Prince Nymph #12-14
Kaufmann Golden Stone #6-8
Little Yellow Stone Nymph #12-14

Directions:

Emigrant Wilderness Directions

Two main acccess routes to the Emigrant Wilderness are from Kennedy Meadows and the Gianelli or Crabtree trailheads out of Cold Springs, off Highway 108.

Notes:Kennedy Lake, Emigrant Wilderness
The Emigrant Wilderness is over 100,000 acres with over 80 lakes within a granite basin filled with granitic domes, ridges, and small hills. Most of the lakes are surrounded by lodgepole pine. The streams are subject to heavy runoff from the winter snows and the streambeds are scoured leaving little habitat for much insect activity. Thus, many of the spawning opportunities for trout are limited. The area had been heavily planted for the past 100 years but many of these plantings have ceased since the year 2000. Where some spawning has taken place, the trout have been able to subsist. Limited nutrient sources have also kept the numbers of fish down but the surviving trout have been able to get to large sizes. The Department of Fish and Game estimates that 42 lakes in this basin have rainbows, 28 have brookies, 6 have goldens, 2 have rainbows and brookies and 1 has rainbows and brown trout.

Using the Kennedy Meadows trailhead you can access the following areas:

Relief Reservoir: 189 Acres at 7246' elevation. It is 3.5 miles from the trailhead with a 1000 foot gain. The reservoir was created in 1910 with rockfill dam on Summit Creek, a tributary of the Middle Fork Stanislaus River. It gets drawn down during the late summer and fall for hydroelectric power. The reservoir is planted with rainbows.Easiest access to the lake is to hike past the dam to Grouse Creek and make your way down Grouse Creek to the Relief Reservoir shoreline.
Sharon Lake: A 5 acre lake at 8,699' elevation. About 5 miles from the trailhead. It is a strenuous climb utilizing an unmaintained trail just past the footbridge on Kennedy Creek. It is a 1000 foot climb but the trail is used quite regularly by the local pack train. Contains Brook Trout, some in the 12-16" range.
Kennedy Lake: This is a 45 acre lake at 7,839' ele. It is 7.5 miles from the trailhead following Kennedy Creek with a 1400' climb. Contains Browns up to 17".
Lewis Lakes: There are three lakes that can be accessed off-trail, each containing Brookies. The smallest lake is 2.3 acres at 8379', the middle lake is the largest at 22 acres at 9083' elevation, and the uppermost lake is 9 acres at 9543' elevation. The lakes are about 8 miles from the trailhead, taking the last mile off-trail following the stream outlet to Summit Creek.
Ridge Lake: From the uppermost Lewis Lake you can reach Ridge Lake which contains Golden Hybrids. The numbers of fish may be declining, however. This is a 15 acre lake at 9217' elevation. About 10 miles from the trailhead. The last 3 miles being off-trail.
Iceland Lake: This lake is fishless.

From the Gianelli Cabin trailhead you can access the following areas:

Powell Lake: This 7 acre lake used to be known for large Brookies. However, over the last decade, fish populations have declined that it is considered fishless. It remains a beautiful lake with good campsites and a short hike of 1.5 miles from the trailhead.
Chewing Gum Lake: Covers 7 acres at 8697' elev., 3.5 miles from trailhead. This lake suffers the same as Powell. At one time it supported Brookies, today it is fishless.
Y Meadow Lake: This lake is fishless. 4.7 miles from trailhead.
Granite Lake: Can be reached from Y Meadow Lake, off-trail. 6 miles from trailhead, last 1.5 miles are off-trail. Lake is 7 acres at 8653' ele. and contains rainbows.
Toejam Lake: 6.5 acre lake at 8453' elevation. Contains both Rainbows and Brookies. 7.25 miles from the trailhead.
Leopold Lake: 8 acre lake at 8856' elkevation. This lake is fishless. Another 1 mile past Toejam Lake off-trail.
Wire Lakes: There are three lakes within this system. The upper lake is 9.2 miles from the trailhead at 8839' elevation. The lake contains some rainbows up to 13". The middle and lower lake are fishless. The three lakes were once planted with Brookies up until 1999. Since that time, fish populations have decreased and only the upper lake has fish.
Long Lake: 75 acre at 8696'. This lake used to be stocked with Rainbows but was planting was discontinued. 9.75 miles from Gianelli Trailhead. Lake is fishless.
Deer Lake: 19 acre lake at 8461' elevation. Contains rainbows up to 13". About 10.3 miles from the trailhead.
Jewelry Lake: 4.2 acre lake at 8399' elevation. 11.3 miles from the trailhead. Lake was last stocked in 2014 with rainbows.
Gem Lake: 4.2 acre lake at 8224' elevation. 12 miles from the Gianelli Trailhead. Lake was last stocked in 2014 with rainbows.
Buck Lakes: This group consists of three lakes, all containing rainbows. The largest of the three lakes is Upper Bucks, 41 acres at 8279' elevation. Upper Bucks is 12 miles from the Gianelli trailhead. The middle lake is known as Bucks #2. It is 12 acres at 8315' and the most southern lake, Lower Bucks, is 22 acres at 8302'. Upper Bucks is the preferred fishing lake with more and larger fish than the other two.
Wood Lake: This 24 acre lake is southwest of Lower Bucks Lake at 8298' ele. It has a reputation of having large rainbows up to 16". 11.6 miles from the Gianelli trailhead.
Karl's Lake: This lake is south of Wood Lake and is fishless.
Red Can Lake: 4 acres at 8296' elevation. About 13 miles from the trailhead with .5 mile going off-trail. Contains rainbows.
Cow Meadow Lake: 55 acres at 7840' elevation, 14 miles from the trailhead. Cow Meadow contains rainbows but fishing can be iffy. A dam was removed that had allowed large brookies within the shallows and large rainbow within the deeper sections. Since the dam has been removed the fishing habitat has deminished.
Emigrant Lake: 140 acres at 8827' elevation, about 15 miles from the trailhead. The lake is considered a premier destination for the Emigrant Wilderness. The lake is nearly 2 miles long with good camping on either end. Contains rainbows and brookies, some in trophy size.
Middle Emigrant Lake: 23 acres at 9335', 20 miles from the trailhead. Contains both rainbows and brookies.
Emigrant Meadow Lake: 48 acres at 9404, 21 miles from the trailhead. Contains both rainbows and brookies.
High Emigrant Lake: 15 acres at 9706' elevation, contains brookies. About 23 miles from the trailhead. Must go off-trail to reach from Emigrant Meadow Lake.
Maxwell Lakes: 34 acres at 8635' elevation, about 21 miles from the trailhead. Take the spur trail from the north end of Emigrant Lake. Contains Brookies.
Black Bear Lake: 24 acres at 9260' elevation, about 23 miles from the trailhead. Contains rainbows.
Bigelow Lake: 50 acres at 9589' elevation, 23.5 miles from the trailhead. Contains rainbows.
Snow Lake: 44 acres at 9355' elevation, 25 miles from the trailhead. Contains Brookies.

Taking the Crabtree Trailhead, just south of the Gianelli trailhead, you can reach the following:

Camp Lake: 6 acres at 7618' elevation. 2.5 miles from the trailhead. Contains rainbows.
Bear Lake: 25 acres at 7688' elevation. 3.7 miles from the trailhead. Contains Brookies and Rainbows.
Grouse Lake: 9 acres at 7098' elevation. 3.7 miles from the trailhead. Contains Brookies and Rainbows.
Chain Lakes: 5 small lakes less than 7 acres each at 7586' elevation. 4.5 miles from the trailhead. Contains small Rainbows and Brookies but difficult to fish due to the shallow nature of the lakes.
Rosasco Lake: 6 acres at 7902' elevation. 8.5 miles from the trailhead. Contains Rainbows, last planted in 2014.
Pingree Lake: 40 acres at 8093' elevation. 10 miles from the trailhead. Used to contain Rainbows, now fishless. Stocking was discontinued for amphibian habitat restoration. Very poor spawning capability.

 

Fishing Regulations

Rivers and Streams within Emigrant Wilderness:

Last Saturday in Apr. through Nov. 15. No restrictions. 5 trout per day. 10 trout in possession.

Lakes within Emigrant Wilderness:

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

Lakes within Mono County:

Last Saturday in Apr. through Nov. 15. No restrictions. 5 trout per day. 10 trout in possession.

Other Lakes and Reservoirs:

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

Other creeks and tributaries:

Last Saturday in Apr. through Nov. 15. No restrictions. 5 trout per day. 10 trout in possession.

 

© 2018 Steve Schalla
This page is not to be copied without my explicit permission.

 

Kennedy Meadows Relief Reservoir Powell Lake Chewing Gum Lake Bear Lake Chain Lakes Granite Lake Long Lake Buck Lakes Emigrant Lake Mosquito Lake Emigrant Meadow Lake Middle Emigrant Lake Latopie Lake Leavitt Lake Kennedy Lake Iceland Lake Lewis Lake Blue Canyon Lake