Virginia Lakes Backcountry-Eastern Sierra

Virginia Lakes Backcountry

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Virginia Lakes Backcountry

Suggested Flies for the Virginia Lakes area:
Eastern Sierra Hatch Selection

Other Local Favorites:

Stillwater Flies:
Woolly Bugger #8-10
BH Krystal Buggers Black #12
Hornberg #10
Doc's Twin Lake Special Olive, #12
Olive Matuka #8

Copper John #14
Hares Ear Nymph #16
Prince Nymph #16
Pheasant Tail #16
Zebra Midge #18-20

Cutter's Perfect Ant, #16-18
Olive Caddis, #16-18
Black Gnat, #16-18
Yellow Humpy, #16-18
Parachute Adams, #16-18


Virginia Lakes Directions

From the town of Lee Vining on Hwy 395, go north to Conway Summit. Turn left and go east on Virginia Lakes Road for about 5.5 miles.

Big and Little Virginia Lakes Entering Virginia Lakes, you first pass Trumbull Lake(12 acres) . This lake is at 9,700' and has Rainbows and Brookies. Camping facilities are available there. The lake was named after John S. Trumble who owned the land adjacent to the lake in the 1880's. Someone misspelled his name on the Bridgeport Atlas and thus the lake was named Trumbull instead. Virginia Lakes has a Big (27 acres) and a Little (10 acres). A small store is at Little Virginia. These two lakes are at 9800' and contain Kamloop Rainbows, Brookies, and Browns. There are weekly plantings of 10-12 inch Rainbows with some holdovers reaching 15-16 inches. Red Lake is a small nearby lake (9 acres) about 1.5 miles from Little Virginia at 9,400'. Red Lake has Brookies and Rainbows. All of these lakes are good for float tubing as gas motors are not allowed. The season is the last Saturday of April to November 15th. The roads are usually closed due to snow up to the end of May.

There are two ways to enter the Virginia Lakes Backcountry. The first way is the trailhead at Virginia Lakes (ele: 9,800) itself. From here, you can access 4-5 lakes within 4 miles. The first lake you reach within 0.5 miles is Blue Lake (11 acres) at 9,886' with Kamloop Rainbows but mostly Brookies. Just beyond Blue Lake is an old historic miners cabin. The trail branches off to Moat Lake ( 8 acres) which is a strenous hike up to 10,575' and about 1.5 hours of hiking from the trailhead. Moat has Brookies but is rumored to have Goldens as well. The next lake on the main trail is Cooney Lake (11 acres) with Rainbows and Brookies at 10,100' and it is about a 1 hour hike from the trailhead. The Frog Lakes are right next to it within a tundra basin. It consists of three lakes where two lakes are about an acre in size and the larger one is 5 acres. All of these lakes hold Brookies.Summit Lake (47 acres) is 4 miles from the trailhead at 10,240' elevation. Summit Lake is unique in that there are two outlet streams that go to each side of the Sierra Crest. This lake has Brookies.

The other way to access the lakes is to take Green Creek Road off Hwy 395 for about 10 miles and reach the Green Creek Trailhead. The road will take you past Dynamo Pond at the 5 mile mark. This pond contains Rainbows and some Browns. Most of these fish are from upstream plantings. Hatches come off the pond providing some good dry fly action. Above the pond, Green Creek is a slowly meandering stream with Brookies, Rainbows and Browns in the 14-15 inch class. The water is quite clear and a stealthy approach is mandatory. At the end of the road is the Green Creek Trailhead. This trail will take you 2 miles along the West Fork of the Green Creek to Green Lake.

Green Lake (54 acres) at 9000' elevation is centered between West and East Lake. Green Lake contains both Brookies and Rainbows. West Lake has Browns and Brookies . East Lake (75 acres) lies within a rocky basin with a few campsites at the lake outlet and along the northern shore. It is a poopular area to set up a base camp to explore the area. East Lake contains Brookies and Rainbows. Both are an additional 600' elevation gain from Green Lake. Generally, the brookies tend to be larger at these lakes than those centered around the Virginia Lakes. The smaller, Nutter Lake, between Gilman and East Lake contains Rainbows. The Par Value Lakes (3 and 8 acres) also have Brookies, although Upper Par Value Lake is being managed as a "Fishless Lake" by DFG. These two lakes are about 1.5 hours hiking from Green Lake at 10,300'. Gilman Lake (16 acres) at 9,500' is south of East Lake along the trail and contains Brookies and Rainbows. A little further up the trail is the two Hoover Lakes (7 and 11 acres) at 9,800'. Both of these lakes contain Brookies.

Lundy Lake (ele. 7,800') is home to some very large Brown Trout and is stocked with about 26,000 Rainbows each season. Most of the large browns are caught in the Spring after "Ice-out". The lake covers 100 acres and is 1 mile long and 1/2 mile wide. The lake is nestled within a steep canyon and was originally formed by glacial debris.The lake was named for William Lundy who harvested timber within the canyon in the 1880's. In 1910 a rock-filled dam was created greatly enlarging the lake. Many of the stocked Rainbows holdover the following season in the 16-18" class. The lake record is 13 Lbs. 12 oz. The best areas to float tube are the shallower waters around the inlet and the launch area. The lake is known for strong winds during the afternoon, so morning is the best time to flyfish. The season is the last Saturday of April to November 15th. (Click Lundy Lake on Map for more detail)

Mill Creek offers good flyfishing opportunities using both nymphs and drys. The DFG plants about 2700 rainbows within the 3 mile section of the creek below Mill Creek Campground. This section is also heavily shaded with Pines and Aspens. Try the section above Lundy Lake. Beavers were introduced into the area in the 1940's and created a series of beaver ponds. A trailhead exists at the dam which takes you for about a 2 hour hike up a very steep, strenous trail to some upper lakes in the Lake Canyon area. There are four lakes in this area: Oneida Lake at 9,656' is the largest lake (29 acres) containing Brookies. Crystal Lake has Brookies and Rainbows. Blue Lake has Brookies. At Lundy Lake Resort is the trailhead to the 20 Lakes Basin area.

Fishing Regulations (Effective March 1st, 2021)

Virginia Lakes:

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

Lundy Lake:

Last Saturday in Apr. through Nov 15. 5 trout per day. 10 trout in possession.

All Lakes and Reservoirs in Inyo and Mono Counties (except Bridgeport Reservoir and tributaries; Convict Lake; Crowley Lake; George Lake; Grant Lake; Gull Lake; Horseshoe Lake; June Lake; Lundy Lake; Mamie Lake; Mary Lake; Rock Creek Lake; Sabrina Lake; Silver Lake; South Lake; Twin Lakes (Mammoth); Twin Lakes, Lower and Upper (Bridgeport); Virginia Lake, Lower and Upper):

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

All 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.
Par Value Lake East Lake Summit Lake Lundy Lake Northern Yosemite Twin Lakes Hoover Lakes Moat Lake Blue Lake Big Virginia Lake Saddlebag Lake Green Lake Lundy Lake