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Hiking and Fishing with Sally on Rock Creek

Sally and I had headed over to the east side of the Sierras for a few days, spending some of that at Rock Creek, experiencing fall with chilly temperatures, some rain and those leaves were turning color. And we caught some fish!

Where: Inyo National Forest
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Range: 9,373 – 9,700′
Date: September 11, 2013
Maps: Mount Morgan, Florence Lake
Highlights: Pictures that a friend of mine took while camping and fishing in Rock Creek earlier this summer had me wanting to visit this area in fall, hoping that the deciduous trees might be displaying some of their fall colors and the fish would be biting. All of this was true!

Sally and I had completed the long drive over the Sonora Pass on Hwy 108 to Hwy 395, then south through Bridgeport, past Mono Lake and the Mammoth Lakes exit to Rock Creek Road at Thom’s Place, along with a hike up McGee Canyon that afternoon. I was glad to pull into my home away from home for a few days at the Rock Creek Lodge. It made me smile even more when I saw this display of color when I pulled in.

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I quickly unloaded everything and figured I had time to check out some fishing that evening along Rock Creek. And just where is Rock Creek? It flows from the high Eastern Sierra Nevada to the Owens River in Mono County of eastern California. The upper watershed is in the John Muir Wilderness of the Sierra and Inyo National Forests.

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I headed up Rock Creek, admiring this picture perfect wide open area of the creek. It was a bit tough to fish though as the water was low. It sure was pretty though.

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Well, I didn’t catch any fish that evening but returned to the cabin to put my things away. Isn’t this the cutest little cabin right next to Rock Creek? I cooked my backup dinner of a hamburger, read a while, then fell asleep with the window open, listening to the sound of the creek. I woke up early in the morning and was freezing, due to that window that was opened, closed it and pulled up the covers. When I finally got up the next morning, I got a fire going in the wood stove and it was about 35 outside. No wonder I felt cold.

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I headed up to Rock Creek Lake, about a mile up the road, found what looked like a good spot to fish and Sally and I waited. What a crystal clear morning it was with amazing reflections of the changing color and clouds in the lake.

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We didn’t catch any fish and there were quite a few fisher-folks all along the lake. Sally was also pretty restless. She isn’t all that wild about this kind of fishing where you have to stay in one spot too long. She thinks it is pretty boring. So I headed back to the cabin for lunch then went back up Rock Creek, heading a little farther upstream than I had ventured the evening before.

Sally and I traveled through a stretch of the creek that was pretty marshy, kind of hard to fish, so I headed upstream more.

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We found an area that widened out to be more like a small lake and I found a little area where I could cast and bring fish in without getting all tangled up in those weeds.

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And we had success! I kept two for dinner that night.

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I had a fire ready to go in the little wood stove. I had brought some of CleanFlame’s Rapid Fire Firestarters to help get a fire going. I wasn’t sure what they would supply in the dry kindling and firewood arena. These really help at home getting a cold fire going in my woodstove and they did the trick here.

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About the time I was getting dinner ready, it started to rain and continued through part of the night. It sure sounded wonderful to hear that rain on the tin roof of the cabin and everything smelled so nice. It was almost worth the trip alone just to experience a nice rain after so long.

The next morning I headed back over to McGee Creek to fish but the creek was running fast and high due to that rain. I tried my luck during the morning but just couldn’t find any success so headed back toward the cabin, stopping along the lower part of Rock Creek to try my luck fishing.

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Rock Creek With Sally 18And Sally and I had success fishing Rock Creek.

We headed home, back to the cabin. I fed Sally her dinner in her bowl out on the deck and this beautiful Steller’s Jay would steal food right out of her bowl, in between Sally’s bites. That bird obviously was practiced in the art of stealing food.

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Since the latest intel showed that Tioga Road was still closed, I headed out on the long drive back over Sonora Pass. I couldn’t resist driving June Lake Loop to check out what the fall color looked like in there. I just love the color and stories that the mountains on the east side tell. The uplifting of the old mountain with bands of white in it was just beautiful.

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Not much fall color yet but there were hints of it.

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As I headed through Lee Vining, the sign said Tioga Road was closed through the park. I had been hoping that it had magically opened up while I was on the road but it hadn’t yet. I drove back over the Sonora Pass and when I drove through Mariposa, I looked up Hwy 140 and saw “Tioga Yosemite Open.” Now I wondered, does that mean Tioga Road has completely reopened? When I got home, I fired up the computer and learned that it had reopened at noon. I could have fished a couple of hours in the morning before heading home if I had known that! At first I was not happy and could not understand why its obvious planned reopening had been kept such a secret, but I finally found my peace with it. Although it would have been nice to know that it was opening up at noon, I had a lovely drive over some gorgeous country, saw some fall colors and daydreamed about my next trip back over to the east side. There are so many ideas and just not sure which one I will pick. . .

Sources:
http://rockcreeklake.com/
http://rockcreeklodge.com/
http://cleanflame.com/Products_RapidFire.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_Creek_%28Owens_River%29

One comment

  1. Good story we were going this fall but family stuff came up. Next year!

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