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Fishing the JMT.
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Paul Davis
(FauxRealz) - F

Locale: East Coast
Fishing the JMT. on 02/15/2011 23:51:56 MST Print View

I would not describe myself as an avid fisher by any means, but was intrigued by the idea of catching some fish for some extra sustenance along the trail.

I'd like to hear everything that I have to know about this:
-What permits are required
-What type of rod is best
-What fish I'd plan to catch
-How often/Where, etc.

I'd love to hear your advice and please be nice. =) I've never ventured into this territory before.

James DeMonaco
(jdemonaco) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco
RE: Fishing the JMT on 02/16/2011 13:48:19 MST Print View

Well, I THINK I can answer at least two of those for you.

I'm fairly sure that you will just need a california fishing license (obtained pretty much anywhere that sells fishing stuff, walmart included).

as for the type of fish you'd be seeing, I would venture to say trout, lots and lots of trout. You may see different types of trout, from rainbow to golden, but I would venture to say you'll be seeing only trout.

I've never hiked the JMT before though, so I'm not sure about where you can fish, I just know I've done a lot of trout fishing in the area over the years.

Asking what the best fishing setup is like asking what the best jacket is, here on the forums. There are going to be a lot of different opinions. Most will probably say a fly fishing setup because thats what they do around here, but I like spinning reels and telescoping rods. You can read a lot about both types here on the fishing forums, and sort of see what the benefits and cons are of each.

Edited by jdemonaco on 02/16/2011 13:50:38 MST.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Fishing License on 02/16/2011 15:05:20 MST Print View

Hi Paul,

you can purchase a California fishing license online here
As a non resident you will have to pay for a ten day license as much as us Californians pay for an annual license.
Last year on the JMT my sons and I used two expensive flyfishing poles and a cheap spin fishing pole with small Mepps and Thomas lures. The spin fishing pole got on average twice as many trout as the flyfishing poles together. Having said that I will nevertheless take this year a Tenkara Hane (a flyfishing pole without a reel) to save weight. Given our experience from last year it should be sufficient to provide me with that extra protein.

Good Luck on your hike,


Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Fishing the JMT on 02/16/2011 17:03:18 MST Print View

There are plenty of places to fish on the JMT and two years ago I met two men that were fishing the JMT. They were spending a couple of months and when I ran into them heading up to Muir Pass they were happy as can be. They certainly weren't in a hurry.

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
How often and where ... on 02/16/2011 20:02:54 MST Print View


I answered only your first three questions in my original response. The answer to your last is basically -- all the time, everywhere.

We ate almost every day trout for dinner (sometimes we were to high up to have a fire). The trout are not very large, but there are plenty to catch. Have a look at the last seven pictures at this link to see the size of the trout and what our dinners looked like. Those were were caught at Heart Lake and Selden Lake.

Enjoy the JMT!

Paul Davis
(FauxRealz) - F

Locale: East Coast
Re: How often and where ... on 02/16/2011 20:12:50 MST Print View

Oh my goodness. This making me more and more excited at an alarming rate.

Thanks a lot guys.

Any suggestions on a moderately priced lightweight spinning reel rod?

Manfred Kopisch
(Orienteering) - F
Shakespeare Excursion 4'6" Telescopic Fishing Kit on 02/16/2011 21:24:40 MST Print View

We got that kit at Big 5 at a sale for $15. The pole weighs 2.35 oz and the reel with line weighs 6.4 oz. The collapsed length of the pole is 13.5 inch. The kit comes in a protective case (which we left at home due to its weight of 13 oz).

It is a totally cheap pole, but for the little trout it was very efficient.

Any kit like that should do on the JMT.

Paul Davis
(FauxRealz) - F

Locale: East Coast on 02/17/2011 09:47:19 MST Print View

Anyone ever used or heard about these rods?

"Pen fishing rod extreme" @

They look perfectly small and light and surprisingly good quality.

Edited by FauxRealz on 02/17/2011 09:47:52 MST.

Paul Davis
(FauxRealz) - F

Locale: East Coast
Repeat thread... on 02/17/2011 10:09:20 MST Print View

I've found a couple of threads on this subject. NM.

Joseph Raymundo
(jlrray) - F

Locale: Pacific Southwest
Insight on rod /tackle setup... on 02/18/2011 00:13:39 MST Print View

Since you're going to be using a spinning rod/ reel combo... I would suggest a few other things to make your life happier...having said this you can probably buy the stuff off the shelf and still have a good time....

Use no heavier than 4lb test. 2 lb will work even nicer ;). The stuff that comes on the reels is generally 6lb and its been sitting on th rod for ages. Trout have extremely good eyesight and you will get more strikes with 2lb than even 4lb but you'll lose more lures. Take the lures as recommended above. When using spin gear my favorite all time lure is a kastmaster. Try in 1/8oz or so.. If you're catching to eat, pink power TROUT worms will work wonders. Also try some black woolybuggers in the fly fishing section and hook it up on the same rig. ThAt can be like trout candy.

Look into using a water filled bubble to get some distance in casting...But you may wnt to stick to 4lb test if you do...



James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: on 02/18/2011 03:32:01 MST Print View

Anyone ever used or heard about these rods?

"Pen fishing rod extreme" @

They look perfectly small and light and surprisingly good quality.

Yeah. The wife got me one several years ago as a joke. I got a UL spinning reel and reworked the seat to make it fit. I caought a bunch of average sized trout (7-12") on it. I nailed one really nice fish, ~18-22" but broke the tip. Even with two pound, it is not up to helping much with casting or playing a larger fish...too short. And too fragile, considering I broke the tip with two pound test. It appears to be solid at the tip section. I repaired it with an older graphite section and used it for several outings, since. For $10, it is worth the slight weight hit because of the ultra small size. The reel was larger, even though it was the smallest available at the time. The crank is larger than the reel.

Scott Van Doeselaar
(vandoe) - MLife

Locale: Southern CA
Re: Re: on 02/23/2011 22:23:31 MST Print View

I have the 61 " version and really like it. I take a fly reel and spinning reel for about 8 oz. The rod is delicate but you can catch large fish. I caught a 20" + trout on 2 lb line. You set the drag low and take your time. I especially like the fact that I can keep my fly set up intact and just collapse the rod. In under a minute I can have it out and be casting.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: on 02/24/2011 05:18:57 MST Print View

The one O am using is just about 1m (39") in length.

Dan Magdoff
(highsierraguy) - F

Locale: Northern California
JMT fishing on 05/04/2011 00:00:59 MDT Print View

I have been backpacking all over the sierras around the JMT for years, with the main reason being to fish. You can fish juuuuust about anywhere along the route as long as you have a California fishing license.

As far as the type of will catch only trout. Brown and rainbow trout in the lower elevations, brooks in the middle elevation (7,000 and up) and there are golden trout in the higher elevations (above 9,000) in the southern parts of the trail. There will be trout in just about every stream and lake....some better than others. You will know if they are can see them, and at sunrise and sunset they feed on the surface and you will see the rings on the water they make.

It is not unusual to catch several dozen fish in a day if you are trying and in the right spots. The average size of a trout you will be catching is around 6-12 inches. The higher the elevation, the smaller the trout...typically.

I would recommend a Shakespear 4'6'' telescopic rod. Like this

Its really light weight and packs small. I get a small cardboard postal tube from the post office and it fits the rod perfectly to protect the rod.

Match that with the smallest spinning real you can find, and put no more than 4lb test on it.

I use flys with that set up. If you get a bubble that you can fill with water and then tie a barrel swivel with a 3ft leader. Use a size 14 size fly. My favorite is a tan elk hair cadis.

The fly is good because it is single hooked, not a treble (triple)hook. its easier to get out, and they dont swallow it so you can easily throw them back if they are too small or ya just wana have some fun and do catch and release.

Fill the bubble with water...the more water, the more weight the further you will cast. So fill accordingly (stream vs lake).

Whatever you wana keep just clean and cook directly on the fire. I like to get a hot bed of coals going....lay a row of sticks (each about a quarter inch thick) on top of the coals. Cook the trout on both sides till the skin chars. If cooked right the spine and all the bones will just peel out like butter.

Hope that helps a little. PM me if you have more questions

Marc Shea
(FlytePacker) - F

Locale: Cascades
+ 1 on the Shakespeare Travelmate on 05/04/2011 09:01:45 MDT Print View

I have used one of the Shakespeare Travelmates for a number of years. Despite their low cost they have actually held up very well over time. I like a spinning rod for the versatility. If the fish are biting flies, you can use the casting bubble method of fly fishing. This is especially helpful when fishing lakes where you won't have much room to backcast.

Michael Bachman
(rivrfox) - F

Locale: Western Slope, Colorado
check out this link too... on 06/03/2011 13:28:15 MDT Print View

Josh Christensen
(jpc44) - F

Locale: NE
Re: check out this link too... on 06/03/2011 15:50:03 MDT Print View

Thanks for the link. Has anyone tried hand fishing that's mentioned in the article? I'll be doing the JMT in 15 days so I'm not sure how much time (or skill) I'll have to fish. But if I wind up at a campsite and see the fish tauntingly close I could at least amuse myself with it. Seems easy enough to just bring some line and flies.

Francis DeRoos

Locale: Mid Atlantic
Re: Re: check out this link too... on 06/11/2011 12:00:13 MDT Print View


At some point it's almost not worth it. Keeping track of some line and flies so you may throw it out there for a few minutes one evening is more of a hassle than it's worth. It's also just not that fun fishing with only a line in your hand. That's fun when your a kid on any water (especially if you found the line and lure) but a lightweight rod is so much more versatile and enjoyable. I'd truly say if you're trying to see if you like fishing, the sierra backcountry is a great place to try that out. for 8 oz (and little in investment (I'd try to borrow a rod/reel combo from a neighbor or family member personally) you can have all you need to really see if fishing is for you.

David W.
(Davidpcvsamoa) - MLife

Locale: East Bay, CA
JMT Golden on 09/02/2011 10:04:34 MDT Print View

I just finished up a section of the JMT and I found a little time to fish near Sapphire Lake and the Middle Fork of the Kings River. I brought a 12' Iwana, 2 dry flies, 1 wet fly, and some tippet.

Below are pictures of Grouse Meadow and a Golden Trout caught with an elk hair caddis: