Rattlesnake Crossing

Rattlesnake Crossing

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Margaret Lakes

Suggested Flies for the Rattlesnake Crossing Area:
West Side Sierra Hatch Selection

Other Local Favorites:

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

Parachute Adams #16-18
Olive Caddis #16-18
Royal Wulff #16-18
BWO Sparkle Dun #18-20
BWO Parachute Dun #18-20

Directions: Rattlesnake Crossing DirectionsFrom Fresno, take Highway 168 up to Huntington Lake, about 65 miles. At Huntington Lake take Kaiser Pass Road about 9.7 miles. Turn left on the road 7S05 and travel 2 miles to the Rattlesnake Creek trailhead. The trail will go to Rattlesnack Crossing in about 4 miles.

Notes: South Fork San Joaquin

Ths South Fork of the San Joaquin is within a steep narrow gorge that is impassable except within a few locations. One of these locations is Rattlesnake Crossing. Rattlesnake Crossing provides access to the SF San Joaquin river with a bridge providing access to a remote portion of the Ansel Adams Wilderness. The Rattlesnake Crossing also provides access to the Theodore Solomons Trail (TST) which is a low elevation trail that mimics the John Muir Trail for 255 miles. It was developed by Dennis Gagnon in 1974 and named after Theodore Solomons, who helped designed the John Muir Trail that was constructed in 1914 with the Sierra Club and State of Calif. The trail crosses the Cassidy Bridge near Rattlesnake Lake to get access to the western side of the SF San Joaquin. The trail is not maintained and much of it is difficult to find. Rattlesnake Crossing is a suspension bridge 106 feet long. Much of the trail was improved by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936. The area became a Wilderness area known as the Minarets in 1964 and later renamed Ansel Adams in 1984. Rattlesnake Crossing also provides a westerly approach to the Margaret Lakes by way of the Rock Creek trail.

Rattlesnake Lake (elevation 5585'): This lake has a geothermal influence that does not allow the lake to freeze over in the winter. It is actually an old volcanic crater. The lake is surrounded by moist wetlands and the shoreline has a large number of lily pads and cattails. There were reports of very large rainbows up to 6 lbs residing within the lake but they may be absent at this time due to poor spawning areas. Latest reports are that the lake is fishless.

Heitz Meadow has an old Forest Service cabin that has been allowed to degenerate due to very little demand to use the area.

Rock Creek Lake at 9350' elevation. Had a burn through the area in 2020. Status unknown but was reported to have Brookies.

SF San Joaquin will have both Rainbows and Browns. These are wild fish that were introduced and stocked into the South Fork since the 1930's. At this time, only the areas above Mono Hot Springs are stocked with rainbows. Annual stocking is about 10,000 rainbows each year in the 8" class. A survey conducted in 2002 showed that the mix was 33% Browns and 67% Rainbows. The size noted for both species was 4-8".

Fishing Regulations (Effective March 1st, 2021)

Rock Creek Lake:

Open all year, five trout daily bag limit, 10 trout in possession.

SF San Joaquin and all other creeks and tributaries:

From the last Saturday in April through November 15, 5 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.
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