Monday, May 28, 2012

Independence Lake - A Great Hike

Today was an exploratory mission to Independence Lake with my closest childhood friend. We didn't bring any fishing gear, just hiking boots and cameras. We were hoping to document some of the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout spawning up Independence Creek, but according to the fish biologist, we're a few days early. Apparently fish are staging just outside of the creek inlet right now, and the hens are super fat. Below is a classic shot of Indy with Mt. Lola (9,144 ft) in the background.Even without a rod we had a great time just hiking around the lake. To the lake's north there is a good dirt road which borders the shoreline all the way to Independence Creek. From there, the ambitious hiker can bush whack through the meadow at the lakes southwestern shore until you hit another dirt road that borders the lake's southern shore which will take you past a scenic aspen grove and eventually get you back to the parking lot (but you'll have to find passage around the spillway).They recently drained the lake about 6ft or so to do some repairs on the dam which will change the topography along the shelf which separates the two natural lakes that existed before the damn brought the water level up 18ft. This shelf is like a shallow reef in an otherwise deep lake, and fish cruise along it patrolling for forage.There are some beautiful meadows and creeks in the area to explore, some have brook trout, fresh water clams and even salamanders.

Upper Independence Creek is where the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout spawn naturally, however, as this is now a threatened species, biologists have set up a weir to monitor, tag, weigh and identify each fish before it is allowed passage to the spawning beds.This is the inlet of upper Independence Creek, all the spawners have to pass this gauntlet which, as the fish begin to migrate up the river, will be guarded by osprey, bald eagles and occasionally black bears.The reward for fish that successfully run that gauntlet is freedom to spawn in the numerous gravel beds that extend from the lake to a large waterfall approx. one mile up river.On this trip I noticed the population of hikers and sight seers has recently exploded as the Lake has won some awards which have been published in magazines. Nonetheless, the Nature Conservancy does a great job at keeping it pristine and enforcing the rules. It appears that due to AIS (aquatic invasive species) concerns, float tube/pontoon boats which require the operator to wear waders/boots may get phased out of use in an effort to better protect the lake. However, I suspect its highly likely that an alternative form a fishing vessel may be supplied, so anglers, don't dispair just yet.


Carp Fishing said...

What a nice Lake it is! I am excited to have this kind of pictures of it.I wish I were there. Surely it will be an interesting and memorable experience to fish there. I am a lover of fishing, Carp fishing. I have been doing Carp fishing since my childhood. I wanna do Carp fishing there. Thanks again for such a nice blog.

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