These drainages are within the Golden Trout Wilderness in the Sequoia National Forest. You’ll find Convict Lake just a couple of miles south of the resort town of Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierra. AllTrails has 28 great hiking trails, trail running trails, views trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Driving the June Lake Loop is a must when you are in the area: you’ll be charmed by the beauty of all four lakes that you will see on the loop. Access to this area is absurdly easy. Still others are in the backcountry, and relatively untouched. Little Lakes Valley had been on my radar for some time, but it wasn’t until the tail end of last summer that I finally made it up here. Drive up to Donner Pass for an aerial view of the lake. What you may not know is that the golden trout was also stocked in Colorado back in the 70s and 80s. You can do a tufa walk or a bird walk with a naturalist to learn more. In those brilliant blue puddles reside brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout and even the elusive golden trout, California’s state fish. There are many trails in the area, and you can hike or go mountain biking or horseback riding. Swim in Silver Lake, go boating or kayaking, or fish. Hatchery-origin rainbow trout strains have been widely stocked across California for over a century. The golden trout is also related closely to two rainbow trout subspecies. There are several hiking trails near the shore, and a boardwalk trail to a viewpoint from where you can see the lake. Once the Cook Lake fishery was established, it served as the brood stock for Wyoming, providing eggs for Wyoming and other Rocky Mountain states from 1936 through 1954. At a Glance. You can also just go boating. In volume, only the five Great Lakes surpass Lake Tahoe, and in depth, it is second only to Crater Lake in Oregon. Sand Harbor Beach is great for swimming, as is Pope Beach in South Lake Tahoe. Isaac’s trout measured 14-7/8 inches and weighed 1 pound, 2.88 ounces, a lunker by golden trout standards. The Eastern Sierras themselves are full of adventures to be had, with some only 30 minutes off the main Highway 395. You can go boating or jet ski on Upper Lake, and go kayaking on Lower Lake. Golden trout are native to the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains of California and they are California's state fish. It makes for one of the easiest day trips from Santa Barbara you can do! The resort town of Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierra is blessed with a number of beautiful lakes, all within easy driving range of the town. That fish was 28 inches long and weighed in at 11 pounds. About a one-hour drive from Los Angeles in the Angeles and Los Padres National Forests, you will find beautiful Pyramid Lake. Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful trout in the world. Caples Lake Resort: Caples Lake is one of the best in the Sierra for trout fishing. There is a swim area at North Beach, and you can take a boat out on the water. The golden trout is a California species that was introduced in Montana in 1907. Golden trout creek. At Vaquero Beach, you can swim, or go paddleboarding. This trail is steep, rugged and difficult to follow. My friend Thomas and I found many beautiful fish in a few small pools in the lakes outfall before it sunk underground. South fork kern river California. With a picture postcard setting, Lake Sabrina offers boating and fishing. A classic view of the basin taken a short way up Little Lakes Valley Trail. Look for wildlife, and enjoy wildflowers in the spring. You will find campgrounds at or near most of the lakes we have listed here. You can swim and boat in Mono Lake. Sunset on our last evening in the backcountry. We were on our way to see the almond bloom near Los Baños when we came upon this beautiful body of water and had to stop! Still others are in the backcountry, and relatively untouched. He caught his 1st golden trout! Planning to explore more of California’s natural beauty? Hiking trails allow you to explore the surrounding forests and wilderness, and there are birding and wildlife viewing opportunities. Here’s the view looking back down Little Lakes Valley, with Chickenfoot Lake, the site of our basecamp, visible amongst the evergreens and granite. It is just that spectacular in the fall. (Photo by Ron Sinfelt) The fishing outlook is promising, and these California trout destinations have been producing great angling action. This large reservoir was created by the damming of Putah Creek, and is a popular water recreation area in Northern California. There are currently about 20 golden trout populations in the high mountain lakes of western and southcentral Montana. As we passed along the water’s edge, we were stoked to see big trout cruising the drop offs and rocky shoreline, rising to whatever insects manage to survive up here. Take the Pine Creek-Lake Italy Trail for 11 miles, gaining 6,000 feet, into rock-rimmed Granite Park. Fortunately for anglers targeting a golden trout, extensive stocking did occur in numerous lakes and rivers outside the fish’s native range. Success! They are native to California, but even there they are not nearly as common as they used to be. It’s interesting how two lakes in the same valley just a couple miles apart can feel so different. Idaho has tried on a couple of occasions to develop their own egg source but it has proven to be too expensive for the small number of eggs (less than 100,000) we need for our mountain lake stocking program. Surrounded by the San Jacinto mountains, Lake Hemet is a popular Southern California recreation area. In the summer, you can go swimming, boating, windsurfing, and waterskiing. We ate beef stroganaf and watched rings appear then vanish as trout fed in Checkenfoot Lake. Located on the fringes of Angeles National Forest and under a one-hour drive from Los Angeles, Castaic Lake is one of the largest water reservoirs in the state. Keep in mind, golden trout are rarely found at elevations below 10,000 feet, so you're going to have to … What they eat and when. Particularly popular with anglers and photographers, Tioga Lake offers fishing and picnic spots. ), but of course we have many more on our must-visit list! Why not rent an RV and spend a few days at one of these beautiful lakes? Mosquito Flat Trailhead sits at around 10,200 feet, so once you step out of the car and start hiking, you’re facing only a few hundred feet or so of elevation gain, depending on where you’re going. How (AND Where) to See the Mono Lake Tufas! Those that have been transplanted to lakes get somewhat larger. You can also hike or go mountain biking. Check out some of our other articles for inspiration! Starting from Onion Valley, Golden Trout Lakes Trail ends at Golden Trout Lakes, in the John Muir Wilderness. California’s beautiful lakes make for excellent getaways into nature, whether you are traveling solo, as a couple, or as a family. You can cruise Lake Tahoe, go kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding, take a boat out, go parasailing, jet ski, scuba dive, or fish. Notably, the fish were transported and proliferated within a number of lakes in Wyoming’s Wind River Range, though the species has since been largely hybridized with other trout species outside its native territory. Golden Trout Like High Elevations. And of course, enjoy water activities: fish, go wakeboarding or waterskiing, or take a boat out on the water. Fishing is a popular activity at San Luis Reservoir, and you can also windsurf. Lake Tahoe is so stunning that it is a must-stop spot on any California road trip itinerary that includes the eastern portion of the Golden State. Carrizo Plain National Monument in San Luis Obispo County: The Complete Guide! Anglers head to Donner Lake for the trophy-sized lake trout. There are so many beautiful lakes in the Eastern Sierra! CALIFORNIA GOLDEN TROUT INFORMATION LEAFLET RECOVERY PROGRAM 2009 HISTORY The Kern River drainage is unique in that golden trout evolved here and nowhere else. California record: 9.8 lb landed in Virginia Lake in 1952. All these trout rise with gusto to dry flies, but spook easily, so tread with stealth and caution when angling in this dreamy mountainscape. Located off the scenic California SR 154, about a 30-minute drive from Santa Barbara, Cachuma Lake is a reservoir created by the damming of the Santa Ynez River. Early 1900s Kernville resident Ardis Walker wrote, "Many of the pioneer visitors to golden trout waters reacted with a desire that was almost compulsive; they shared a common missionary urge to spread the golden beauty and life of this native habitat to the barren waters of more elevated and more easterly and northerly lakes and streams." Mono Lake is a magnet for photographers. Native to the California Sierra Nevada (and the state fish of California), the species was transplanted to several other states, including Montana, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. Jet ski, or go wakeboarding or waterskiing! Coloration is spectacularly bright: the belly, opercula, lower jaws, and lateral line are a vivid red to red-orange. The freshwater lake has a gorgeous setting in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and looks beautiful in every season. But the next morning he was all trots, tail wags and smiles as he led the way down the trail, making friends with every human and dog he passed. Robert Lusardi is the California Trout/UC Davis Wild and Coldwater Fish Researcher focused on establishing the basis for long-term science specific to California Trout’s wild and coldwater fish initiatives. You can also walk the trail around the lake. These fish hybridize with native redband, rainbow, Golden, and Cutthroat trout, and their offspring replace genetically pure populations in the limited habitats they still occupy. My mind went back nearly 40 years to my first visit into that marvelous area of California, a visit that began a career-long involvement in an effort to keep that unique resource intact. About the Eastern Sierra Golden Trout Other Names for Golden Trout. The first 20 or so fish I caught were brook trout, but then I landed one that wasn't as dark. But no matter the location, every single lake in California we have visited so far has been an experience to treasure. Many of the trails offer panoramic views, including aerial views of Lake Sonoma. 25 Most Beautiful Waterfalls in California (+ Map! If you enjoy wine, there are many vineyards in the vicinity of the lake. You can see anglers on the shore with their lines in the water, but you can also rent a boat to fish deeper into the lake. There are several picnic areas, so bring a meal to enjoy! Golden Trout. All these trout rise with gusto to dry flies, but spook easily, so tread with stealth and caution when angling in this dreamy mountainscape. The lake itself was dimpled with hundreds of rising trout in the mornings and evenings. Golden Trout are native to high elevation streams and lakes of the southern Sierra Nevada mountains in California. Cachuma Lake has a beautiful setting against the backdrop of the Santa Ynez and San Rafael mountains. The Donner Memorial State Park runs along the east and south shores. No wonder it is one of the most famous lakes in California, and one of the most popular! Lake Mohave. You can rent a houseboat on Lake Shasta! Near the town of Bishop, you will find Lake Sabrina, created by the damming of Bishop Creek. Be Kind to These, the Last of the Tallest Trees. Horseshoe Lake offers a beach for swimming and for launching paddleboards or kayaks. And if the water level is high enough, you may see the “Glory Hole” in action! It is an especially beautiful walk in the fall. Oak Shore Parks is a popular day use area, and there are several marinas where you can rent water craft. Lightning trout, a variation of rainbow trout, is being made available at four East Bay lakes, just in time for Thanksgiving. Others, like Tenaya Lake, are protected inside a national park. In fact, much of the South Fork of the Kern River is only accessible to the dedicated outdoorsmen who are willing to ride in by horseback. The distance to the lakes is approximately 2.2 miles, and the elevation gain is approximately 2,200 feet. Located in Yosemite National Park about two miles north of the Tioga Pass entrance to the park, Tioga Lake is a tranquil retreat if you want to escape the more crowded Yosemite Valley. As we ambled up to Long Lake, we could see plenty of brook trout cruising in the shallows near the outlet, so we stopped to take a rest and do a little fishing. These fish are native only to California’s southern Sierra Nevada mountains. If you drive the approach road to South Lake in the fall, as we did, you will want to stop every few feet to take photos.

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