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fishing the jmt
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eric schultz
(schultz104) - F

Locale: phoenix
fishing the jmt on 12/16/2013 16:37:42 MST Print View

I am planning on fishing part of the JMT next summer. I do not fly fish. Is there any light weight options avaiable for me and my 2 kids?

Ben Wortman
(bwortman) - M

Locale: Nebraska
tenkara on 12/16/2013 19:44:36 MST Print View

I highly recommend tenkara. I used to bring a spinning setup and it worked well in lakes but not so well on streams. Once I switched it was much easier to fish streams and it still worked good on lakes. The best part is how easy and simple it is to get set up and fishing.

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: tenkara on 12/16/2013 20:07:04 MST Print View

If you're trying to do it on the cheap for your kids, you could try one of the options in this thread:

I bought a knockoff telescoping carbon rod somewhat resembling a tenkara setup on eBay for very little, and it worked reasonably well for me last summer in the Sierra.

Kyle Meyer

Locale: Portland, OR
Re: fishing the jmt on 12/18/2013 11:21:05 MST Print View

On day seven of our JMT thruhike this year, our trail family of 5 found a nice campsite at the south end of Rosalie Lake. We were headed into Red's the next day for resupply so everyone was running somewhat low on food.

The lake was boiling with fish. I ran out to a small rock at the lakeshore and pulled in three sizeable trout within a few minutes. We filleted them and had a lovely dinner. As the sun went down, the fish only got more aggressive. It was so easy to catch fish and so fun to fight 12" brookies on a tenkara rod that after I landed ten or more and threw them back, I handed the rod off to each of the other four people I was hiking with and let them catch a fish. They each landed a fish within 15 minutes. Everyone was super happy to supplement their diet with fresh fish.

This is only one day. I caught over 300 fish on the trail, of which we ate a little more than 50.

I carried a 13' Fountainhead Stonefly Rod, a TrailLite Designs Ebira (cuben tenkara rod sleeve), an altoids tin with about 50 flies (only two patterns, an elk hair caddis and a sakasa kebari, both size 14), a small spool of tippet, and a fillet knife.

Total weight was 9 ounces. The California fishing license is steep but bringing a tenkara rod is definitely worth the weight.

Waiting for the ferry? Fish the inlet of Thomas Edison Lake.

There be giants in Marie Lake.
marie lake

Lots of fishes in Rae Lakes.

I let this giant back at Silver Pass Lake. Couldn't kill such a beautiful fish.
silver pass

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
JMT on 12/19/2013 04:20:05 MST Print View

The fish were very plentiful and hungry on the JMT when I was there. I took a 9' 4wt fly rod rather than my tenkara. My pack weight was still at 15 pounds plus food and water. I felt it was worth taking the fly rod, but the streams suit tenkara well so that is certainly an option. If I were buying a rod for the trip I would probably go with a short (6'?) 3 or 4 wt fly rod.

An ultralight spinning rod would work well too. You could fish spinners or flies with a bubble.

I didn't have any luck in the lakes, but caught fish in pretty much every stream. I didn't see or hear of anyone else having much luck in the lakes. I found the fish in the streams to not be very particular about fly selection and just used an elk hair caddis most of the time. They might have liked the little black ant that I briefly tried better, but it was harder for me to see so I went back to the elk hair caddis. I suspect that they would have hit just about any fly that was presented reasonably well, but the elk hair caddis was one that worked and was easy to fish, so if going again I'd take a bunch of them.

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Re: Re: fishing the jmt on 12/28/2013 12:22:39 MST Print View

It's hard to tell but that last fish looks like a Golden / Rainbow hybrid... I don't eat those either. They're somewhat rare. For every 20 rainbows I catch I will catch 1 golden or a hybrid.

They're amazingly beautiful in person.

Jeffrey Pelz

Locale: Tri-Valley
Fishing on 12/29/2013 20:36:27 MST Print View

I am going to try a Tenkara outfit this year. But for the last, well three decades, I have fished with a spinning rig, with 2 lb. test and a fly bobber from Plastilite #23C. With bushes or rocks behind you can cast or flip this bobber, the bobber will release it line pinch and slide towards the hook once you set the hook. You can learn to guide that bobber down current into the feeding zone with a little practice. Enough weight for those long lake side cast as well. You do know the bigger ones are out in the middle. Hah,hah!
Last season a 9 year boy who was on his first backpacking trip, caught his first stream trout using this setup. Normal access for fly cast was very limited with the all bushes and trees. And throwing spinners was a waste of money in the stream.


Kyle Meyer

Locale: Portland, OR
Re: Fishing on 12/30/2013 10:45:27 MST Print View

The biggest fish may be in the middle, but they're also at the bottom and probably not eating what you're throwing. In these high mountain lakes, fish circle the shores near the bugs waiting for mosquitoes, ants, and other stupid insects to fall in the water. During July and August, the mountain lakes along the JMT are extremely easy to fish with tenkara.

brian H
(B14) - M

Locale: Siskiyou Mtns
help me help you on 01/30/2014 22:41:18 MST Print View

help me help you by disclosing:
how versed are you at:
catching WILD trout?
fishing smallish trout streams?
using lures in streams?

the stream fishing is consistent & predictable
the lakes are less consistent, sometimes moody

to deepen your enjoyment of the whole experience, i recommend the bible on this subject,
Sierra Trout Guide by Ralph Cutter

Jim H
(jraiderguy) - M

Locale: Puget Sound
@Brian on 01/31/2014 09:13:48 MST Print View

Hi Brian. Just curious what Sierra Trout Guide looks like inside. Is it a primer on high mountain fishing in general, or a guide to specific streams and lakes in the Sierra? Thanks for the recommendation!

brian H
(B14) - M

Locale: Siskiyou Mtns
Re: Cutter on 01/31/2014 15:12:54 MST Print View

It is both of those. A soup-to-nuts study & natural history of trout in the range. It's not so much a how-to. It's very thorough on trout foods, and will enlighten you with the concept - for example - of "up-slope blow-in".

How qualified is Cutter? He has spend literally hundreds of hours observing trout while swimming alongside them in scuba gear in back country lakes! Sometimes making 2 trips from the trailhead to pack in the gear. "NUL" = non-ultralight ;)

And the quality of the photography is coffee-table-worthy. The index contains a species breakdown for most of the [named] lakes in the high sierra, itself a major undertaking.

Jim H
(jraiderguy) - M

Locale: Puget Sound
Re:Re:Cutter on 01/31/2014 15:22:41 MST Print View

Thanks - much better info than the description of amazon. Sounds like it would make a great Valentine's Day gift to myself.

Rick Adams
(rickadams100) - M
Cutter on 01/31/2014 17:02:35 MST Print View

+1 for Ralph and Lisa Cutter

His Sierra Trout Guide is priceless. His book "Fish Food" helps simplify and understand fish behavior. I have been on Sierra lakes using his advice and caught 10 in an hour while 3 others on either side got skunked. All you need is a couple of knots, I use double surgeons and uni-knot, learn to roll cast and your set. It doesn't have to be pretty. Tried Tenkara and went back to my western rig.

google california school of fly fishing

eric schultz
(schultz104) - F

Locale: phoenix
help me help you on 02/07/2014 07:39:27 MST Print View

I am a novice at fishing. My fishing consists of an annual trip in the Pacific or the Gulf. I am open to any type of fishing. I am looking for lightweight gear that will not break the bank. My son and I took a fly fishing lesson. I realized how difficult that is. Any suggestions will be welcomed. I will pick up the recommended book.

brian H
(B14) - M

Locale: Siskiyou Mtns
spinning & grinning on 02/07/2014 21:20:29 MST Print View

i would think the easiest, low maintenance approach is to use small spinners, like mepps or rooster tail or panther martin, in the 2 smallest sizes. with LW gear it will become clear whats works - retrieve upstream, let the current spin the blade, vary the speed / depth of retrieve, dont be shy about positioning yourself in the right spot, so that your cast and retrieve route cover the juicy spots. anything more than 4-6 lb test is overkill. smash down the barbs on the hooks, they'll be much easier to remove from fish and shirts, and since you will release many [too small etc] their mouths will be much less torn up. multi-piece or telescoping rods, the lighter the better, would be great. this is a much shorter learning curve than the flyrod.

** a golden from headwaters of the Kern near Forrester Pass, ~11,000 ft:]-o

eric schultz
(schultz104) - F

Locale: phoenix
spinnig and grinnig on 02/09/2014 09:44:56 MST Print View

Thanks! Again I am a novice. What is an LW and any specfic sites to purchase.

Edited by schultz104 on 02/09/2014 09:48:50 MST.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
re: fishing the jmt on 02/09/2014 09:52:38 MST Print View

LW = Light Weight

. Kirby
(Kirby805) - F
RE: specfic sites to purchase. on 02/11/2014 10:37:04 MST Print View

Yes, please.

I have experience fishing with traditional fly and spinning rods, but no experience with tenkara. Looking for a good beginner tenkara setup that would be light enough to take on the JMT this summer.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: RE: specfic sites to purchase. on 02/11/2014 11:14:57 MST Print View

Tenkara Bum Starter Kit.

Lots of info and a wide variety of gear.

Mainsteam Tenkara in the USA.

Unlimited Lifetime Guarantee. Higher cost. Limited choices. Good traditional tutorials.

Teton Tenkara The best "Rod Review" around.

There are a Lot of tenkara sites, but between these three, you will know what to look for.

Edited by greg23 on 02/11/2014 17:11:04 MST.

. Kirby
(Kirby805) - F
RE: specfic sites to purchase. on 02/11/2014 12:04:09 MST Print View

Muchas gracias!