Tyndall Creek

Tyndall Creek

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Tyndall Creek
Suggested Flies for Tyndall Creek 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


Tyndell Creek Directions

From the East Side, there are two trailheads to access Tyndall Creek. One trailhead is Onion Valley (9,200'), it is a 15 mile hike climbing two passes, Kearsarge (11,823') and Forester (13,180'). The more direct route is taking the Shepard Pass trail from the Symmes Creek Trailhead (5,700'), 11 miles with a 6,000' gain to 12,050'. To reach the trailhead, turn west onto Onion Valley Road and travel 4.3 miles. Turn south onto Foothill Road and travel 3 miles to the Stock Trailhead. If you have high clearance, you can continue another .6 miles to 14S102 and drive west for 1.5 miles to the Hiker Trailhead.

Notes: Tyndell Basin
Sequoia National Park encompasses the Tyndall Creek area. Prior to 1973, many of the streams and lakes were planted with trout. This practice had some drawbacks to the native biota such as amphibians. After 1988, all fish planting within the park was discontinued. Park streams and lakes were managed for a sustainable fishery. Those streams and lakes that could not support a fishery were allowed to go fishless. However, by 1990, it was evident that certain amphibians such as the Mountain Yellow Legged Frog (MYLF) had not recovered enough and a management plan was implemented to eradicate certain lakes and streams of non-native fish. By 2013, 15 lakes and ponds were eradicated of fish. Over the next 25 years, the Park intends to eradicate another 70 lakes, streams, and marshes to reach a 15% level of fishless habitat. Most of these fish removals are within the higher elevations of the park and many are fishless due to the unsustainability of fish within these waters due to lack of food source, lack of spawning grounds, and shallow depths lacking winter survival during freezing periods.
Charles McDermand in 1940 (Waters of the Golden Trout Country) wrote that Tyndall Creek was "one of the finest trout streams in the world". He caught both Brookies and Goldens up to 11 inches. Within some of the deeper ponds and nearby lakes, Goldens could reach 16" or more. The fish are still there but usually much smaller and with greater numbers. The Tyndall Creek region was also known for it's amphibians and the pollywogs made a great food source for the introduced fish to this habitat. The gravel beds provided superb spawning and since this area had been fishless for literally millions of years, an ecosystem was not developed to balance the proliforation of an introduced species.
Below Forester Pass, the lakes along the PCT/JMT are fishless. However, the lakes on the eastern side of Diamond Mesa have Goldens and Rainbows up to 12". These fish are easily spooked and will hold deep if alarmed. If you make entry from Shepherd Pass, there is an unnamed lake just to the east of the trail below the summit. This lake contains Rainbows up to 12".

Tyndall Creek : Consists of Brooks and Goldens. The stream waters above the Ranger Station have fish in the 5-7" range.The larger fish are downstream of the Ranger Station. This freestone stream feeds into the Kern River and has a trail that follows it for two miles before it drops steeply into the Kern. Tyndall Creek is about 19 miles from either Onion Valley or Whitney Portal Trailhead. There is camping just upstream from the Ranger Station with a Bear Box available.

The lakes to the west of Tyndall Creek are the headwaters to the Kern River. Tyndall Creek feeds into the Kern about 8 miles below Lake South America. This is an important confluence as the State of California regarding the Kern has special fishing regulations from this point to the northern boundary of the Wild Trout area above the Johnsondale Bridge (Trail 33E30). The fishing season is from the last Saturday in April to Nov 15th. Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used and there is a 10 inch maximum size on Rainbow Trout within this section. The daily limit is 2 fish and 2 fish in possession combined. Sequoia National Park has an additional restriction to fishing within waters below 9000' elevation and more than a quarter mile from developed areas of the park. All native fish must be released, this includes Rainbow Trout, Sacramento Suckers, Kern River Rainbows, and Roach fish. Note that this does not include any of the fish above 9000' nor Goldens as these fish have been deemed non-native to the park.

Lake South America : Consists of Goldens and Rainbows. About 21 miles from either trailhead at Portal or Onion Valley. Elevation is 11,940 feet.

Multiple lakes west of Lake South America: Many of these lakes contain both Rainbows and Goldens. Some of the deeper lakes may have fish up to 12". Some lakes are fishless. The shallow lakes without good tributary feeds tend to be devoid of fish. The Park Service will be removing the fish from the waters directly west of Lake Sout America with either physical methods such as gill-netting or through the use of piscicides.

Milestone Creek: Consists of small golden hybrids. This area is also scheduled for fish removal.


Fishing Regulations (Effective March 1st, 2021)

Lakes within Tyndell Creek Basin:

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.
Lake 10790 Tyndall Creek Tyndall Tributary Lake South America Unnamed Lake Great Western Divide Wallace Creek George Creek Upper Bubbs Creek Unnamed Lake Tyndall Creek Basin