Piute Canyon

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Piute Canyon

Suggested Flies for Piute Canyon area:
Eastern Sierra Hatch Selection

Other Local Favorites:

Stillwater Flies:
Woolly Bugger #8-10
Mohair Leech #8-10
Matuku #8-10

Dry Flies:
Parachute Adams #16-18
Olive Caddis #16-18
Royal Wulff #16-18
Yellow Humpy #14
Griffith's Gnat #16-18
Black Gnat #18
Henrys Fork Hopper #14
Chernobyl Ant #16
Mosquito #18

Nymph Flies:
Pheasant Tail Nymph #16-18
Prince Nymph #16-18
Copper John #16-18

Directions: Piute Canyon can be accessed from the Pine Creek Trailhead in Round Valley. The trail passes through Pine Creek Pass and drops down into French Canyon where it meets Piute Canyon at Hutchison Meadows. This is a total of about 10 miles with a gain of 3500 feet to the pass (the halfway point). The other Eastside access is from North Lake by way of Piute Pass. The trail goes through Humphries Basin and drops into Piute Canyon, a total of 7 miles. This way has only a 2000 feet gain . Westside access is from Florence Lake (7.5 miles, if you take the Ferry across the lake) following the South Fork San Joaquin River along the Pacific Crest Trail. Piute Creek meets the San Joaquin at the Kings Canyon National Park border. It is only a 1500 ft. gain to the confluence of Piute Creek.

Notes:
Piute Canyon begins at the confluence of Piute Creek and the SF San Joaquin River at the border of Kings Canyon National Park. A steel bridge spans the creek allowing safe passage during high water flow. Most of the creek contains Golden/Rainbow hybrids in the 8-9 inch class. There are some Rainbows that some up the creek from the San Joaquin as well as some Brookies. There are no trails to the local lakes, so you have to go off-trail from the Piute Creek Trail that follows the canyon.

Local Lakes are:
Lower Turret Lake : (25 acres) at an elevation 10,771 feet. Rather than following Turret Creek up to the outlet, there is an easier seasonal drainage to the south that is an easier climb for 2.25 miles and a 2500 foot gain. Contains Goldens and Golden/Rainbow hybrids. Middle and Upper Turret can be accessed from above Lower Turret and may have Goldens but they are being managed as "fishless" by DFG.

The next series of lakes are best accessed by the same route as getting to Lower Turret since the West Pinnacles Creek is very steep into the canyon. After getting to Lower Turret Lake, follow the contours to the east and northeast arriving at the nearest lake, Pendant Lake.
Pendant Lake: (8 acres) About a 3.3 mile hike along the route from Piute Creek via Lower Turret Lake. It is at 10,750 feet elevation. Pendant is being managed as "Fishless" by DFG.
Spearpoint Lake: (12 acres) This lake is about 1/4 mile to the east of Pendant at an elevation of 10,740 feet. It contains Goldens and Golden/Rainbow Hybrids.
Big Chief Lake: (20 acres) Another 1/4 mile north of Spearpoint Lake at an elevation of 10,770. Also contains Golden and Golden'Rainbow Hybrids.
Old Squaw Lake: ( 10 acres) at an elevation of 10,970 feet. Consists of Goldens and Golden/Rainbow Hybrids. About 1/4 mile north of Big Chief Lake..
Wampum Lake: ( 10 acres) at an elevation of 11,070 feet. Consists of Goldens and Golden/Rainbow Hybrids. About 1/4 mile north of Old Squaw Lake or a total of 4.75 miles from Piute Creek by way of Pendant Lake.

It's a somewhat easier hike up to the lakes of Pinnacles Creek. A 1 mile hike up the creek with a 1700 ft. gain will take you to the following lakes:
Little Moccasin Lake: ( 3 acres) at an elevation of 11,000 feet. 1.0 miles from Piute Creek. Consists of Golden and Golden/Rainbow Hybrids.
Big Moccasin Lake: ( 15 acres) at an elevation of 11,100 feet. 1.2 miles from Piute Creek. Consists of Goldens and Golden/Rainbow Hybrids.
Negit Lake: ( 7 acres) at an elevation of 11,200 feet. 1.7 miles from Piute Creek. Consists of Goldens and Golden/Rainbow Hybrids.
Paoha Lake: ( 5 acres) at an elevation of 11,250 feet. Consists of Goldens and Golden/Rainbow Hybrids.
Council Lake: (12 acres) at an elevation of 11,220 feet. Consists of Goldens and Golden/Rainbow Hybrids. About 2 miles from Piute Creek.
Jawbone Lake: (18 acres) at an elevation of 11,420 feet. Consists of Goldens and Golden/Rainbow Hybrids. About 2.3 miles from Piute Creek.
Aweetasal Lake: (18 acres) at an elevation of 11,380 feet. Consists of Goldens and Golden/Rainbow Hybrids. About 2.7 miles from Piute Creek.

Other lakes with the Canyon include:.
Lower Honeymoon Lake : ( 10 acres) at an elevation of 10,400 feet. Consists of Goldens and Golden/Rainbow Hybrids. About 6.3 miles from confluence of Piute Creek and SF San Joaquin. A trail spur takes you up from Piute Creek about 0.7 miles.
Upper Honeymoon Lakes: (10 acres) At an elevation of 10,800 feet. It's about a 1/4 mile above Lower Honeymoon Lake. Consists of Goldens and Golden/Rainbow Hybrids.
Ramona Lake: ( 30 acres) at an elevation of 11,150 feet. Consists of Goldens and Golden/Rainbow Hybrids. It's about 0.5 miles west of Upper Honeymoon Lake. It's probably best accessed from this route also since the outlet creek is very steep.
Knob Lake : (12 acres) At an elevation of 11,040 feet. Managed as "Fishless" by DFG. Must go off-trail about 0.5 miles off Piute Creek.
Lobe Lakes: Two adjacent lakes (8 acres each) at an elevation of 10,800 feet. Consists of Goldens and Golden/Rainbow Hybrids. About 1 mile from Piute Creek following the outlet stream. The lake above Lobes Lake is being managed as "fishless" by DFG.

Within French Canyon, there is:
Merriam Lake: (20 acre) lake at an elevation of 10,950 feet. Consists of Goldens and Golden/Rainbow Hybrids. Follow the trail about 1.4 miles west from Piute Creek within French Canyon. The two smaller lakes above Merriam Lake also have Goldens and Golden/Rainbow Hybrids..
Alsace Lake: (50 acre) lake at an elevation of 11,060 feet. Consists of Goldens and Golden/Rainbow Hybrids. Go off-trail about 1 miles east from Piute Creek within French Canyon. The two smaller lakes above Merriam Lake also have Goldens and Golden/Rainbow Hybrids..


© 2013 Steve Schalla
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