Desolation Wilderness

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Desolation Wilderness

Suggested Flies for Desolation Wilderness:
Sierra Tahoe Hatch Selection

Dries:
Clark's Little Yellow Stonefly #12-16
Yellow Madame X #12-14
Stimulator #6-12
Royal Trude #12-14
X-Caddis,Olive #14-18
Elk Hair Caddis #14-18
Brown Comparadun #12
BWO Quigley Cripple #16-18

Nymphs:
Gold Ribbed Hares Ear #12-14
Birds Nest #12-14
A.P. Nymph #10-16
Caddis Emerger #14-18
Emergent Sparkle Pupa #14-18
Burk's Hunchback Infrequens #14-16


Zug Bug #12
Pheasant Tail Nymph #14-16
Golden Stone Nymph #6-8
Bead Head Twenty Incher #10-12
Kaufmann's Stone #6-8
Black Rubber Legs #6-8

Directions:The Desolation Wildnerness is just west of South Lake Tahoe. There are seven major trailheads to access the Desolation Wilderness from Highway 89 and Highway 50. Meek's Creek Trailhead is at the north end of the wilderness area along Hwy 89 at Meek's Bay. The Eagle Falls Trailhead is off Hwy 89 at the end of Emerald Bay. The Fallen Leaf Trailhead can be accessed from the southern end of Fallen Leaf Lake off Hwy 89 just west of South Lake Tahoe. The Echo Lakes Trailhead is off Hwy 50 at Echo Lake, south of South Lake Tahoe. The Pacific Crest Trail runs alongside the lake and provides the access to this area. Ralston Trailhead is southwest of Echo Lake along Hwy 50 and connects into the PCT for access to the same lakes and streams as the Echo Lake Trailhead. Wright's Lake Trailhead is from Ice House Road off Hwy 50. The Rockbound Trailhead is from the northern portion of the wilderness and can be accessed by way of Ice House Road off Hwy 50 to Loon Lake

Notes:
The Desolation Wilderness consists of 63,000 acres with over one hundred small- to medium-sized lakes within a subalpine environment of granitic peaks and glacially formed valleys. The area became a designated Wilderness in 1969 and is probably one of the most heavily used "Wilderness" areas within the U.S. Originally, the native fish were Lahonton Cutthroats found within the Fallen Leaf area from Lake Tahoe. Most of the waters within the Desolation area were barren. Trout planting, starting in the late 1800's, brought Rainbows, Browns, Brookies, and Goldens to the area.Today, Brookies are the most prevalent since they can spawn within non-moving waters. Rainbows represent the second most numerous fish. The area can be accessed after snow-melt from June through September.

Meek's Creek Trail: There are six lakes to consider along this trail. Trailhead starts at 6200 feet.
Genevieve Lake: 4.5 miles from Trailhead, 7350 feet. Mostly Brookies, some Browns. Shallow shoreline.
Crag Lake: 5.0 miles from Trailhead, 7400 feet. Brookies, Rainbows, and Browns. Some Browns up to 17".
Hidden Lake: 5.5 miles from Trailhead, 7300 feet. Brookies, Rainbows, some Lahonton Cuts. Rocky Points.
Stony Ridge Lake: 6.5 miles from Trailhead, 7820 feet. Brookies, Browns, and Rainbows. Deep Lake.
Rubicon Lake: 7.5 miles from Trailhead, 8500 feet. Brookies and Rainbows.
Phipps Lake: 9 miles from Trailhead, 8500 feet. Brookies, some Goldens.


Eagle Falls Trail: There are seven lakes to consider on this trail. Trailhead starts at 6600 feet.
Eagle Lake: 1 mile from Trailhead, 7200 feet. Browns, Rainbows and Brookies.
Azure Lake: 2 miles from Trailhead, 7625 feet. Brookies and Rainbows.
Upper Velma Lake: 3 miles from Trailhead, 7840 feet. Brookies and Rainbows.
Lower Velma Lake: 4 miles from Trailhead, 7760 feet. Brookies, Rainbows, and Browns.
Middle Velma Lake 4 miles from Trailhead, 7800 feet. Rainbows, up to 15".
Fontanilis Lake: 4.5 miles from Trailhead, 8400 feet. Brookies, some Rainbows.
Dick's Lake: 4 miles from Trailhead, 8420 feet. Brookies, some Rainbows.


Fallen Leaf Lake Trail: There are five lakes and one creek to consider on this trail. Trailhead starts at 6600 feet.
Grass Lake: 2 miles from Trailhead, 7200 feet. Brookies, Browns, and Rainbows.
Gilmore Lake: 4 miles from Trailhead, 8300 feet. Mostly Lake Trout. Some Brookies, Browns, and Rainbows.
Susie Lake: 4 miles from Trailhead, 7800 feet. Brookies up to 17", Rainbows, some Browns. Rocky Points.
Heather Lake: 5 miles from Trailhead, 7900 feet. Brookies and Browns up to 17", some Rainbows.
Half Moon Lake: 5 miles from Trailhead, 8150 feet. Brookies and Rainbows. Shallow Shoreline.
Glen Alpine Creek: 2 miles of Freestone Creek from Trailhead. Brookies and Rainbows.


Echo Lake and Ralston Trails: There are five lakes and one creek to consider. These areas can be accessed by either trailhead. If you take the Echo Lake trailhead you can take the water taxi and save 3 miles. Echo Trailhead starts at 7400 feet.
Tamarack Lake: 3.5 miles from Trailhead, 7820 feet. Brookies up to 17". This lake is planned to be gillnetted by DFG under the Yellow-legged Frog Restoration Program.
Ralston Lake: 4 miles from Trailhead, 7800 feet. Brookies.This lake is planned to be gillnetted by DFG under the Yellow-legged Frog Restoration Program.
Lake of the Woods: 5 miles from Trailhead, 8060 feet. Brookies and Rainbows up to 17".
Ropi Lake: 7 miles from Trailhead, 7600 feet. Brookies.
Lake Aloha: 6 miles from Trailhead, 8100 feet. Brookies and Rainbows.
Clyde Lake: 9 miles from Trailhead, 8200 feet. Headwaters of Rubicon River. Goldens.
Pyramid Creek: 5 miles of Freestone Creek below Lake of the Woods. Rainbows and Brookies.


Wright's Lake Trailhead: There are seven lakes to consider. Trailhead starts at 7000 feet.
Maud Lake: 4 miles from Trailhead, 7700 feet. Browns, Rainbows, and Brookies. Inlet stream for spawning.
Lake Lois: 6.5 miles from Trailhead, 8300 feet. Brookies. Rocky Points.
Lake Schmidell: 7.5 miles from Trailhead, 7900 feet. Brookies. Deep Lake.
Lawrence Lake: 5.5 miles from Trailhead, 7800 feet. Brookies up to 17".
Twin Lakes: 2.5 miles from Trailhead, 8000 feet. Brookies, some Rainbows.
Island Lake: 3 miles from Trailhead, 8200 feet. Brookies and Goldens.
Smith Lake: 2.5 miles from Trailhead, 8700 feet. Brookies.


Rockbound Valley:There are six lakes to consider as well as the Rubicon River. Trailhead starts at Loon Lake, 6400 feet.
Rockbound Lake: 6.5 miles from Trailhead, 6400 feet. Brookies, Browns, and Rainbows.
Rubicon Reservoir: 8 miles from Trailhead, 6500 feet. Brookies, Browns, and Rainbows.
Highland Lake: 18 miles from Trailhead, 7820 feet. Rainbows up to 17".
McConnell Lakes: 18 miles from Trailhead, 7750 feet. Goldens.
Horseshoe Lake: 16.5 miles from Trailhead, 7600 feet. Fishless due to cessation of air drops.
Zitella Lake: 17 miles from Trailhead, 7700 feet. Fishless due to cessation of air drops.
Rubicon River: 9 miles from Trailhead. 10 miles of wild river. Rainbows in lower section, Goldens in upper section.

© 2013 Steve Schalla
This page is not to be copied without my explicit permission.

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