Kaiser Pass In Early Spring

by Tony Plutynski

Rocky, Bob and I finally agreed upon a weekend that we all could make it to the hinterlands for an early spring hike to Lakes A and B. Bob had been at these lakes last year with me and we had done well. Rocky hadn't been there before.

We used separate cars since Rocky had to be back early on Sunday. Rocky also wanted to use his flyrod. He was bringing a float tube, for Lake A has plenty of timber around it, and it is only about a three-mile walk to Lake A. Lake B can be fished from shore since it is about at timberline. We left Thursday after work and agreed to meet at the Forebay Campground. Bob and I would camp on the road that goes to Sample Meadows to sleep higher.

Rocky was there waiting for us. We had breakfast at a picnic table, then went to the Ranger Station to get our Wilderness Permit. Someone had sued the Forest Service for allowing people to hike in without checking that they had proper equipment. This meant that they had to issue all the permits in person instead of people being allowed sign up when the ranger wasn't there.

We got to the ranger station at about 7:30 AM, but the Ranger Station didn't open 'till 8:00 AM. I was anxious to get going before the sun warmed it up to make the climb too hot. Bob agreed to wait for the ranger, so Rocky and I started hiking up the straight forward trail.

It took us about an hour and a half to make the lake, and Bob showed up about a half an hour later. On my first cast I was able to yell, "Fish ON!" while Rocky was busy blowing up his tube. Bob soon had a fish on, and we were soon all fighting fish. They weren't large, about eight to ten inches, but the rainbows jumped and there was plenty of fun for everyone. We each caught thirty fish and I must admit that Rocky was catching larger fish with his tube out in the lake.

Now, Bob is a fly tier and had tied about three hundred flies for the trip. I only had about twenty in my box and it was a little annoying that Bob had this huge choice. I was determined to limit my selection as much as possible to see if I could do as well. I was able to stay with my black mosquito for the whole weekend. I think that Bob and Rocky caught about ten percent more fish, and my mosquito was plenty bedraggled by the end of the weekend. I think I did fairly well and I am sure that had the fish had been more selective, the spread would have been greater.

The weather was magnificent with the typical blue Sierra sky and maybe a few clouds in the late afternoon. That evening we ate some fish cooked in spices and foil. They were very good. No one came to the lake all day. We also had some hot cocoa spiced with rum as the night cooled down. It had been pretty much a perfect day except for the mosquitoes, but that is what made my fly work and the fish grow. You really needed the repellent.

The next day we packed lunch and fishing gear to walk over to Lake B. The fishing was even better, but for smaller brook trout. It was hard to make a cast without getting a strike. There was snow in the shadows to cool our drinks. There was an older couple staying there, but there were plenty of fish for everyone.

Sunday Rocky left about 9 AM and we walked out about 10 AM.

Bob and I, after having lunch at Mono Hot Springs Resort (very good), decided to day hike into a lake near Kaiser Peak which had no trail to it. The lake is in the middle of heavy forest and I have gotten lost before getting there. Bob came up with a perfect phrase from last year when we got lost going in: "Circle till death!"

This year we used GPS and ended up within one hundred feet of the lake. On our return we ended up at the car with a GPS reading of 00. I was kind of proud because I had worked on the early development of GPS. Bob estimated that we had each caught about a hundred fish. It was a very good trip.