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Kaiser Wilderness, June 2019

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in the Sierra Nevada and elsewhere outside Yosemite National Park

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Kaiser Wilderness, June 2019

Postby huynguyen1 » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:17 pm

I've read that the west side of Kaiser is less crowded than the rest; Is that true? Do I even need to worry about crowds in early June? Any suggestions for a good basecamp at that time? Good fishing lakes? Any feedback would be much appreciated!
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Re: Kaiser Wilderness, June 2019

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:44 pm

I am trail crew in Sierra NF and Kaiser will be our first destination for clearing trails probably starting in June. This year we anticipate that the higher side of the loop (northern) will be under snow, however the lakes (Nellie Lake on the west, Twin or Idaho on the eastern side) are lower. Going to Twin Lakes will involve climbing over Potter Pass which at 9k may retain snow. Going to Nellie you are hiking steadily uphill for about six miles, but not steeply until the last half mile. There will not be as many people until the snow is melted off, I suspect as people tend to equate snow with it being cold. Last year there was patchy snow in the trail on the way up the final hill to Nellie. You will cross a few small creeks along the way but nothing treacherous.

Fishing in Twin Lakes is good if you want to catch fish, not so good if you like big fish. Most of the lakes have brook or rainbow trout, neither will get very large. Nellie manages to have some 9-10 inchers.

The dirt road to the Billie Creek trailhead was rutted and worse than I'd ever seen it last year, btw. Not sure what that will look like this year.
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Re: Kaiser Wilderness, June 2019

Postby huynguyen1 » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:22 pm

Thanks. I think we'll try Twin Lakes. Is there a preference btwn trailheads Potter Pass Cutoff and Potter Pass?
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Re: Kaiser Wilderness, June 2019

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:23 pm

The cutoff is steeper and less used, I think. The main trailhead has a restroom and paved parking.
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Re: Kaiser Wilderness, June 2019

Postby huynguyen1 » Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:24 pm

Never fished for trout in my life, so any suggestions for set up, line weight, lures, etc. in Kaiser? I have a small rod and reel, and all I know is I can't have barbed hooks (or is that just Yosemite?). Where should I dispose of fish guts, bones, etc.? Any thoughts on a good knife for dressing in the backcountry? And I assume I should do this far from camp so as to not attract bears and critters. Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated!
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Re: Kaiser Wilderness, June 2019

Postby AlmostThere » Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:32 pm

I use a cheap spincast setup and usually carry a few flies, a bobber, and some small spinners. When you clean trout Sierra NF prefers for anglers to toss the guts up into trees. Leaving them on the ground or burying them can lead to dogs ingesting them, and there are at times bacteria in salmonids that can kill a dog in a few days. Another common disposal method is to throw them into a deep part of the lake.

Trout are very easy to clean - remove the guts, scrape out the bloodline, and cook in foil in a small fire. I usually burn the oils, fins, bones, leftover skin off the foil after eating, then fish the foil out and put it in the trash ziploc, in the bear canister, to carry out for disposal. Never leave trash of any kind in a fire ring. Pack out used TP in a ziploc. Bear canisters are the easiest most effective way to store food in the Sierra Nevada, with all the dead trees that never had long enough branches to begin with.

Barbless hooks are generally required where you can't keep the fish - catch and release only. Kaiser is not one of those places.
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Re: Kaiser Wilderness, June 2019

Postby huynguyen1 » Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:48 pm

Should I try 2 lb test line? How heavy are your lures? Know of a good starter set so I don't have to spend too much on individual lures? The sets I see on Amazon seem to have varying sizes and I'm wondering if some of the heavier ones wouldn't be wasted on small trout.
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Re: Kaiser Wilderness, June 2019

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:58 am

I use 4 lb test as there are lakes elsewhere with bigger fish that I visit more frequently, and take a small collection of Z rays (which are out of production), Tasmanian Devil (Wigson makes very effective lures), smaller Mepps spinners, a Panther Martin rooster tail, and smaller Kastmasters. There is to my knowledge no collection of those brands. If I had to narrow it down to a couple of lures I would take the Wigsons and a couple Panther Martins.

The smaller size of this kit is what you'd do best with in those particular lakes.
https://www.amazon.com/Panther-Martin-B ... oster+tail

The Tassies are sold on Amazon under many names, but this is the pattern that worked better for me. The little one, not the big one.
https://www.amazon.com/Tasmanian-Devil- ... evil+lures

Line weight also makes it easier or harder to cast, particularly if there is wind. And the reel/rod is usually specific to the weight of the line. My Shakespeare pack rod is for 2-6 lb test, and my reel is rated the same. 2 lb would make it harder to recover lures from snags and harder to cast well.

I also use flies more than spinners in those lakes where there tend to be many tiny fish, as the hooks are smaller and it's easier to release tiny fish. I use the forceps and a file to take the barb off the hooks as well, so I'm not slaughtering the three inchers turning them loose. There are a lot of tinies in Twin Lakes. Bigger fish in George or Nellie.
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Re: Kaiser Wilderness, June 2019

Postby huynguyen1 » Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:49 pm

Extremely helpful info. Thank you very much. What's the smallest size you generally eat? Is it not worth cooking several small trout in foil over coals? Hope I can give you a respectable trip report after all this feedback!
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Re: Kaiser Wilderness, June 2019

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:43 pm

It's a matter of how much effort you expend for the potential gain - cleaning, cooking, and then taking the meat off the very teeny tiny ribs of the fish is hardly worth it for anything smaller than six inches, imo. Trout that's cooked is fairly straightforward to peel the meat off the ribs and spine. But you'll still get a few very fine slivers in the meat that are easy to spit out.
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Re: Kaiser Wilderness, June 2019

Postby balzaccom » Mon Feb 18, 2019 8:13 am

A six inch trout is really tiny. If you grab the fish in your hand, and there are not at least two inches sticking out on either side, I wouldn't both trying to eat it.

Trout are relatively easy to clean and de-bone. If they are cleaned and cooked properly, you can pretty much peel the fillet off the bones on each side. Just make sure you avoid the fins...as they are quite bony.
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
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Re: Kaiser Wilderness, June 2019

Postby huynguyen1 » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:38 pm

Any suggestions for a good knife or blade length for trout?
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Re: Kaiser Wilderness, June 2019

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:47 pm

I have used a 1 inch blade in the handle of a Leatherman Micra to clean trout. But your average Swiss army knife does the job well. A 2-3" blade is fine, sharper is better. You don't need to scale or filet them.
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