Southern Emigrant Wilderness-Westside Sierra

Southern Emigrant Wilderness

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Southern Emigrant Wilderness
Suggested Flies for the Southern 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


Access to the southern section of the Emigrant Wilderness can be from Box Spring trailhead and the Bourland Meadow Trailhead, east of Sonora Pass Road (Hwy 108) at Long Barn. These are both primitive trails that can be well traveled or not. Travel three miles east on Highway 108, take the Long Barn Exit to the right, and proceed approximately one mile and turn right on North Fork Road (3N01). Proceed approximately 20 miles on 3N01, cross Bourland Creek and turn left on 3N16, proceed 7 miles on 3N16 to designated parking, and pick up trail on the right. Another access is further south at Lake Eleanor at Shingle Springs trailhead. Take the Cherry Lake Road out of Rainbow Pools on Hwy 120. Cross the Cherry Lake Dam, the trailhead is on the eastern shoreline.

Notes:Hyatt Lake, Emigrant Wilderness
The Southern Emigrant Wilderness borders Yosemite National Park. It is a granite basin with many lakes. The streams incur heavy runoff in the Spring and are very thin during the late summer. A number of check dams were built throughout the Cherry Creek drainage in the 1930's. The presence of these dams increased the fish population by creating more favorable habitat through the retention of water. However, with the designation of "Wilderness", some have questioned the presence of dams within this watershed and have actually damaged some of these dams. In 2006, a federal court decision directed the USFS to not maintain these dams and most of the dams have been diminished. The Cherry Creek, including the East Fork and North Fork, contain small 4-7" Rainbows and Brookies. The best fishing within the Southern Emigrant Wilderness is within it's lakes.

From the Box Spring trailhead, you can reach the following lakes:

Chain Lakes: 5 small lakes less than 7 acres each at 7586' elevation.2.2 miles from the trailhead. Contains small Rainbows and Brookies but difficult to fish due to the shallow nature of the lakes.

From the Bourland Meadow trailhead, you can reach the following lakes:

Hyatt Lake: 44 acres at 7387' elevation. Must take a primitive trail used by packers, not maintained, but well marked. About 4.7 miles from the trailhead. Last planted in 2014. Contain Rainbows.
Big Lake: 61 acres at 7688' elevation. Must take a primitive trail used by packers, not maintained, but well marked. About 7.7 miles from the trailhead. Last planted in 2014. Contains Rainbows.
Yellowhammer Lake: 13 acres at 7757' elevation. 8.7 miles from the trailhead. Last planted in 2014. Contains Rainbows.
Rosasco Lake: 6 acres at 7902' elevation. 7.9 miles from the trailhead. Contains Rainbows, last planted in 2014.
Pingree Lake: 40 acres at 8093' elevation. 7.9 miles from the trailhead. Used to contain Rainbows, now fishless. Stocking was discontinued for amphibian habitat restoration. Very poor spawning capability.

From the Shingle Springs trailhead, you can reach the following lakes:

Kibbie Lake: (88 acres) at 6513' elevation. 5.9 miles from the trailhead. As early as 1877, this lake has been planted with Rainbow trout. The lake resides within Yosemite National Park and the park discontinued fish stocking in 1991. Kibbie has good spawning, despite the granitic nature of the streambeds and high runoff scouring, to maintain a stable popuation of rainbows. Some of these rainbows reach a decent size, up to 16 inches.

Many Island Lake, Boundary Lake, Little Bear Lake, Spotted Fawn Lake, and the Inferno Lakes are all fishless. This area is intended to remain as fishless habitat for frog restoration.

Huckleberry Lake: (200 acres) at 7,700 ft. ele. About 17 miles from the trailhead. A 51 feet deep alpine, glacial, granitoid lake with good productivity and excellent reproduction. One of the larger lakes in the area. Has a mixed population of eastern brook trout and rainbow trout. Constant flow release from dams on Snow and Bigelow Lakes provide fine spawning and nursery areas and make the lake entirely self-sustaining. A popular lake with larger groups of campers due to several large camp sites in meadow above lake. Ample firewood and stock feed. The East Fork of Cherry Creek has lengthy sections of splendid trout fishing.

Letora Lake: 79 acres at 8351' elevation. 19 miles from the trailhead is fishless.

Cow Meadow Lake: (55 acres) at 7,840 feet.19.75 miles from the trailhead. The construction of a lake-level retaining dam in the 1930's created several lagoons and connected the lake with Cherry Creek. The lake had a depth of 36 feet. Cow Meadow became a popular rainbow trout lake with excellent spawning areas in the stream. At times, fly fishing was excellent in the lagoons and stream with rainbow trout up to 15 inches. The dam was destroyed by storms in 1990 and the USFS was instructed by court orders in 2006 to not maintain or rebuild the dam. Since the dam has been removed the fishing habitat has diminished. Cow Meadow contains rainbows but fishing can be iffy.

Twin Lakes: Two lakes, Upper (95 acres) at 8906' elevation and Lower (200 acres) at 8659' elevation. 22.5 miles from the trailhead. Contains Rainbows up to 12"


Fishing Regulations (Effective March 1st, 2021)

Rivers and Streams within Emigrant Wilderness:

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.

Lakes within Emigrant Wilderness:

Open all year. 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:

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.

Chain Lakes Rosasco Lake Hyatt Lake Hetch Hetchy Cherry Lake Emigrant Wilderness Clavey River North Yosemite Big Lake Yellowhammer Lake 5 Acre Lake Cow Meadow Lake Huckleberry Lake Upper Twin Lake Edith Lake Bearup Lake Kibbie Lake Upper Twin Lake Kibbie Lake