Crowley Lake/Rock Creek Fishing Trip, Part 4 of 5
Our last day at Rock Creek started with our packing for a high along Upper Rock Creek in pursuit of more wild trout. We struck out from the trailhead, which is at 10,255 feet, about nine o’clock. According to what I had learned, the Mosquito Flat Trail offered plenty of opportunities to fish along the creek and the numerous lakes it created while meandering out of the John Muir Wilderness. Unfortunately, the best way to gain access to these fish was to be wading. And we didn’t bring our waders. But we ventured on, leaving quite a few hikers and fisherfolks behind after cresting a steep grade. At Long Lake, about two miles down the trail, we found a few small brookies willing to look at our flies, but no takers. Near the far end of Long Lake, I offered Christopher the option of going on or turning around. After some discussion about golden trout being a possibility in Chickenfoot Lake, the next lake on the trail, and a comment from another fly fisher that it was just ahead, we struck out for Chickenfoot. It was a relatively strenuous climb, but the scenery was incredible…for good reason. I learned later that Chickenfoot is at about 11,000 feet!
The fish in Chickenfoot Lake must have been enjoying some underwater scenery as Christopher and I saw only a few rises to our dry flies, and I missed a single strike to my nymph. Funny thing about hiking, though, it’s the return trip that kicked my b**t. We made it back in relatively short order, getting back to the car about one o’clock. After leisurely cleaning up (including showers!), Christopher and I headed to Bishop for a break, including dinner out and lingered longer than usually in the welcome chill of air conditioning.
Being out last day at Rock Creek, I had formulated a plan for that evening based on my previous experiences. About five thirty I waded into the water at “the ponds.” With some cajoling, Christopher had joined me. Starting with a Copper John (a fly designed as a nymph with a reflective bright red body) underneath an Elk Hair Caddis, I cast into a likely pool below riffles. A fish hit on the second cast, and a six-inch brook trout was soon in my net. The rest of the evening was much the same, with Christopher and I picking up wild trout on both nymphs and dry flies. (The fly struck changed as the evening wore on and the food source changed from midges to mosquitoes and other unseen insects.) In the end, I caught and released another ten trout and LDR’d maybe another ten. I blame this mostly on the fact that these smallish trout were trying to strike my too-large Elk Hair Caddis fly. I also missed a few strikes as well. I don’t know how many fish Christopher pulled in, but I did have to convince him to get off the water. So I think he also had fun.