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Crowley and San Joaquin Trip Report

Dennis Larson and Bill DeWalt joined Cindy and I for an outing to Crowley Lake (8/7-8/9).  We stayed in the condo in Mammoth Lakes that was auctioned off at the Annual Dinner last December.
 

Dennis and Bill fished Crowley on Friday and reported catching six fish each while pre-fishing prior to the Crowley Classic.  Dennis took some pictures, but managed to delete them from his camera on accident.  Saturday they fished the Crowley Classic and did not have a repeat performance.  Bill caught one fish, Dennis caught none.  The winners of the Classic apparrently caught 13 Sacramento Perch to take the victory.

 

Cindy and I forgot our pump for our float tubes.  The weather was also acting weird.  It snowed on us on Thursday morning on the way over Carson Pass.  We stopped in at a shop called Performance Anglers on our way to the condo.  The gentleman that we spoke with mentioned fishing the Middle Fork San Joaquin River near Devil's Postpile.  The best tip he gave us was to arrive at the gate prior to 7:00 AM to be able to drive into the park and not have to take the shuttle bus.  We got there around 6:30 on Friday morning and checked out Agnew Meadows, before heading down to Red's Meadow and having breakfast at the restaurant there.  After a good, albeit expensive, breakfast we headed back up to the parking area near the Ranger's Station at Devil's Postpile.

 

MF San Joaquin near parking area

 
 
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We had decided to wet-wade on Friday and it was a cold one!  The river runs through a beautiful meadow before tumbling down the canyon near the Postpile.

 
 

Meadow Above Postpile

 

Meadow Above Postpile

 

I started out fishing a Micro Mayfly under an indicator and managed one healthy brown on it in the meadow.

 

Brown Trout caught in Meadow

 

After fishing downstream through the meadow I went back up to the trail and Cindy and I walked down to Devil's Postpile.

 

Devil's Postpile

 

I started fishing the indicator rig through the pool right below the Postpile and I had a nice brown blow up on the indicator.  I decided then and there to switch to an E/C Caddis, and I am glad I did.

 

Pool Below Devil's Postpile

 

I managed to land several fish and loose several more in the area around the rocks.  One of the fish I lost broke me off on the hookset.

 

Bottom of Meadow

 

I fished back up to the meadow and then we took a break for lunch.  After lunch we headed back up to where we had parked and I started fishing my way back upstream.  I could not believe the number of Brown Trout in this stretch of river!  I came upon a nice waterfall that dropped about 6-8 feet in just a few feet.  The pool below the falls, and the riffle right below that had a ton of willing Browns in it.

 

Waterfall

 

I don't know how many fish I actually rose to my fly, it was a fun little stretch of river to fish.  We walked up and around the falls to get to the pool and riffle above them.

 

A tributary coming down a waterfall

 

We walked around a stretch of medow that had several people fishing in it and came upon the Minaret Camprground.  We spoke with the host, an 88-year old gentleman who fly fished.  He stated that there was good fishing above the campground for wild fish, if we were willing to walk a ways up from it.  We fished above the campground for a little while, before noticing that it was getting late.  We were supposed to go to dinner with Bill and Dennis Friday night, so we had to high-tail it back to the truck.  I had a message on my cell phone from Dennis stating that they had misplaced their key and could not get back into the room.  I called him back to find out that the building manager had let them into the condo.  We headed back to the condo with the days' tally of 20 fish landed, 17 Brown Trout, 2 Brook Trout and 1 Rainbow Trout.

 

We got back to the room and decided to head to Angel's for dinner.  We arrived at Angel's to find a 40-minute wait for a table.  We took up spots in the bar area and enjoyed a cold one while discussing the day's fishing adventures.

 

Saturday found Dennis and Bill up early again for the Crowley Classic.  Cindy and I were pondering where we should fish, and decided to head back into the Postpile area and check out some different water.  I am sure glad that we did!  We snuck in the gate at about 5 minutes to 7 and were able to drive around the park again Saturday.

 

We parked in the Agnew Meadows Area and walked up the trail to Shadow Lake.  Another trail joined it coming up from down near the river.  We doubled back on it and headed downstream a ways.  Finally when I could take it no more, we decided to bushwhack our way down to the river.  We came out of a stand of willows to find a really pretty spot with a nice riffle.  I was still uising an E/C Caddis and the fish were still willing.  We fished upstream for a mile or two, it was hard to tell exactly, but it took most of the day.

 

MF San Joaquin

 

Along the way the river ran through several spots where there were high bluffs on either side of the river.

 

Dead tree Leaning on the canyon wall across the stream

 

The fish were smaller than what I had caught downstream, but there were still a ton of willing, beautiful fish!

 

Rainbow-Golden Hybrid

 

I believe that some of the fish I was hooking were Rainbow-Golden Hybrids due to the markings.  I lost track of how many fish I landed.  It was somewhere around 40 fish!  I know I missed at least that many.  The fishing was great, and the catching was too!

 

Ansel Adams Wilderness sign

 

We started the walk our a little earlier Saturday because we had to head back up out of the canyon.  We were also tired from the long walk.  We stopped and Cindy took this picture of me next to the Ansel Adams Wilderness sign.

 

I had heard from John, the owner of the condo that there were lots of Golden Trout in the creek that runs through Agnew Meadows.  On the way back I could not resist the chance to catch my first Golden Trout.  I managed to land three of them in about 15 inutes of fishing.

 

Agnew Meadows Golden Trout

 

After that fun day of fishing Cindy and I went back to Performance Anglers to thank them for the tips.  Cindy bought a couple of shirts and we had a nice discussion with the lady working there.  She said that she thought the rainbows that I was catching were Kern River Rainbows.

 

We decided that we needed some dinner so we headed over to Grumpy's.  We both had the Big-@$$ burger, and boy did it live up to it's name.  From there we stopped for gas.  The gas station I pulled into happened to share the same parking lot with The Troutfitter.  We decided to check the shop out and I ended up picking up a new pair of Simms wading boots.

 

Sunday we decided to drive home over Tioga Pass as both Cindy and I have never visited Yosemite, even though we have lived in California most of our lives.  First I must say that the $20 fee to drive through the park was worth every penny.  The views along the way were almost indescribable!  When we finally came down the west side we turned south and headed into Yosemite Valley.  We checked out the Ansel Adams gallery, the Museum and the Visitor's Center.  All the whie taking lots of pictures.  After having our fill of lunch from Degnan's Deli, we walked around the village taking in the sites.  We decided to head home and were greeted with some wonderful Yosemite Valley traffic!  After getting out of the valley, we headed back home down Highway 120 to Highway 49 and then heading back up to Highway 88 for the final leg of the trip.  We returned home just before 6PM, tired but fulfilled.  We are looking forward to returning to the Mammoth Area sometime soon.

 

Anyone interested in a Middle Fork San Joaquin Outing?