Backpacking is a great way to get away from lifes hustle and bustle and to go offline and be one with nature. Unfortunately, memories of your backpacking experiences can fade with time. The ideal way to prevent this is to maintain a backpacking journal documenting your adventures.

Backpacking Journals

Take a moment to recall details of your most recent backcountry experience. What jumps out in your mind? Now, consider the very first time you ever backpacked. Undoubtedly, you remember a couple of things. Perhaps the scenery, the people you went with, specific paths and spectacular views. The experiences you’ve forgotten are lost to time and, most likely gone forever. If you had kept a journal, the most memorable aspects of your trips would have been preserved.

There are popular stories of people keeping journals that documented their journeys. The journals of John Muir, which he used many years later to write several books is the most relevant. In his journals ,Muir kept notes and sketches of the many years he spent traveling the world and the wilderness. While your backpacking experiences may not be as expansive, maintaining a journal will allow you remember them as the years pass.

An excellent backpacking journal must have a few important features. Initially, it should be compact and easily accessible. Second, it should have something to protect it from rain, spills and so forth. Third, the journal should contain empty areas to compose your notes and drawings. Fourth, the journal ought to include hints to guide you on what things you should write about. Hints might include:

1. Who you went backpacking with,

2. Where you backpacked and how much you enjoyed it,

3. What activities did you do? Fishing?, Dayhikes etc….

4. The geography and weather condition conditions,

5. Paths you traveled on and just how far you hiked, and

6. Any special events that occurred while you backpacked.

7. What photos or videos you took and where they were taken.

At the end of the journey, you should be able to use your journal to help you recall the following:

1. Who you packed with and how to contact them

2. Enough information to advise others who may be going to on the same hike

3. Memories to contemplate years later, and

4. Something to hand down to your friends, children and grandchildren.

To get the most out of your backpacking journal, you must write in it regularly during your hike. Make notes during rest breaks and, my favorite thing is writing in it while waiting for the sun to hit your tent in the morning. Every trip is unique, even if you just go out for a weekend.

Backpacking is an excellent means to get in touch with nature. Keep a journal to document the experience.

 Awesome Golden Trout Lakes Membership- Who Is It For?
First, let me say that there are no newly discovered lakes in the golden trout fishing articles I have written. They have all be there for hundreds or thousands of years.

Of course, not every lake in the sierra have fish and not every lake in the sierra have golden trout. The Awesome golden trout Lakes membership can save you miles of hiking searching for a good lake to fish.

Are These New or undefined Golden Trout Lakes?

I would say this is split about 50/50. About half of the lakes are unnamed and well away from any trails so, in my mind they would be relatively unknown.

The other half would likely be known to trout fisherman who have spent time in the eastern sierra or who may have backpacked to these lakes as a young person with a family member who fished for golden trout.

For those who are new to backpacking or are new to backpacking in the eastern sierra or have backpacked along common routes and paths in the sierra, all the lakes discussed are likely to be unknown.

Why I Wrote The Awesome Golden Trout Lake Articles.

The truth is that I wrote about these lakes more as a backpacker than a fisherman. The value of the articles is in the description of the routes taken and the conditions I experienced along the way. The lakes, for me, were only the destination. The hikes themselves were far more memorable.

You could enjoy the Awesome golden trout Lake articles without even ever going in to the high sierra.

I had one gentleman write to me to say that, as a boy, he had gone to many of the lakes with his father. He found the articles notalgic, and they fondly reminded him of his childhood and his trips in to the high country with his father. I found his letter very moving and eyeopening as to who mighttt enjoy this guide.

So, yes its true that none of the golden trout lakes I have written about are new and most would likely be known to avid backpacking fisherman but I believe everyone can enjoy and learn from the description and information contained in each of these articles. The articles were written to memorialize my adventures high in the sierra and provide valuable information to anyone looking for a backpacking adventure or who only wants to revisit fond childhood memories.

Why Golden Trout Lakes?

Why Golden Trout Lakes?

First let me say that I am not an avid fisherman.

I have been backpacking in the sierra since the mid 1970’s and have done my
share of fishing along the way but until 1999 the reasons I backpacked had nothing to do with trout fishing or golden trout fishing.

I backpack for the challenge, the beauty and, most of all the solitude. The daily grind of the city and day to day life really gets to me and I always love to escape to the mountains to recharge my battery.

My favorite places are the eastern sierra and Yosemite Valley. I have spent much time in each of them the past decade.

Dan fishing Rae Lakes

Me fishing for Brook Trout at Rae Lakes in the 70’s

Dan fishing Rae Lakes

On my boulder @Puppet Lake 1999

Now, with regards to golden trout fising, there were several years when I did not backpack. I was busy raising my family and none of my friends at that time backpacked.

In 1998 a friend from work invited me to go with his group on a long trip beginning at Kearsarge Pass through Evolution Valley and back via Lamark Col. I studied the trip and felt it was too much for me at that time so I declined.

Lucky I did as the winter of 1997-1998 buried the eastern sierra in deep deep snow and the trip that year was very difficult and some members sustained serious injuries while coming down Lamark to North Lake as the trail was buried and they went the wrong way.

Dan fishing Rae Lakes

Lamark Col in September

Dan fishing Rae Lakes

Muir Hut at Muir Pass

The next season I decided to give it a try. That year we went over Pinecreek Pass and spent a week in the area around Puppet Lake. I learned that year that the group I had joined were avid golden trout fisherman and that was the purpose of their outings.

For the next 13 years I was out every summer at least once and often twice. Our trips were usually at the end of August or early September to avoid snow on the passes and mosquitos.

During that span I purposely visited over 10 lakes that were well known golden trout lakes. Along the way I fished about a dozen more lakes that were good for catching golden trout.

On our trips which were normally about 7-9 days long and covered 30-60 miles we would camp near water. When we were camped at a lake on our way to our destination lake I would, time permiting, put my gear together and throw my line in. The lakes I had good luck at are included in my Awesome Golden Trout Lakes articles. They are the ones with no name.

It has been asked whether the information in these articles is up to date and accurate. I have seen comments that the conditions at these lakes change regularly.

No doubt that is a legit comment.

I have never fished these lakes early in the season so I don’t know if the fishing is better, worse or non existent.

I also know that in the first years of tne 21st century there was a push to remove invasive species from some lakes to protect native plants and animals. Since the golden trout is non native many of them were removed. This, no doubt would have affected the fishing.

Some Golden trout lakes were stocked but that practice stopped decades ago so only self sustaining populations of golden trout remain.

Still, most of the named lakes in my Awesome Golden Trout collection were well known to golden trout fisherman long before we visited them. We ventured to these golden trout lakes based on their reputation. We knew there was no guarantee we would be successful. The best golden trout lakes are the ones that require patience, cunning and guile to catch the golden trout. The harder it is to catch a golden trout the bigger they usually are.

The bigger goldens were likely to smart to get caught and removed and they are big because their habitat sustains them.

Mountain Yellow Legged Frog

For me these trips were never about the fishing. While the serious fisherman in our group would spend all day hiking around a huge lake to catch a couple of fish, I would be sunning on a large elevated boulder writing about our experience. I would also photograph the landscape and capture their catches on film.

I can tell you that if you use the Awesome Golden Trout Lakes as a backpacking guide and not a fishing guide you are in for some real challenges, real beauty, real solitude, real adventure and lifelong memories. You don’t need to catch fish to enjoy these hikes.

But If you are a fisherman and you are interested in catching the California Golden Trout you could spend days and weeks looking for a lake that contains them. Many high sierra lakes have brook trout, brown trout and rainbow trout but most of them do not have golden trout. Many of the lakes in the eastern sierra have no fish at all!

So, in closing, while the information found in the Awesome Golden Trout Lakes might not reflect the fishing experience you will have fishing them I can guarantee that your will be challenged to get to them. I will guarantee that you will see grand and awe inspiring wilderness and I will guarantee that others know about and travel to these lakes every year due to their reputation as Awesome Golden Trout Lakes.

How To Use A Compass

Today I’d like to teach you how to use a basic compass.

Step #1 -HoldThe Compass Properly

Hold it with the palm up, direction of travel arrow facing forward, and your arms fixed. Keeping it away from all metal because any metal near the needle or any magnets can throw off your bearings or your directions. That is the proper way to hold a compass.

Let’s say that before you head out into the wilderness you study your map and determine that there is a road to the West and, no matter where I am , if I head west I will always find that road.

Here is how you would find this “Safety Bearing” in the wild.

Step #2 -Dial It In

Take the dial on your compass and rotate it until West, the West on the dial is lined up with the index line.

Turn the dial until the “W” is lined up at the index line.

Now that you’re dialed in rotate your body until the red is in the shed.

Remember that little rhyme. What that means is that the red needle, the red magnetic needle, is lined up with this red looking shed.

You want that red arrow and that red shed lined up. Put the red in the shed.

Here are the steps again:

  1. Hold the compass properly
  2. Dial It In
  3. Rotate your body, turning in a circle, until the Red Is In The Shed

Now remember, do not move your arm but you want to move your entire body. So I am going to slowly turn and turn until the red lines up in the shed. And remember because my direction of travel arrow is pointed forward, now I know that I am facing West. So when you go out into the woods and you’re lost, pull out your compass.

Now in my directions I dialed it in to West. Well you could use numbers or degress. If you notice on most compasses they have 360 degrees around the dial here. Well if before I went out I’m studying my map, let’s say that West just or a letter direction because there’s only four of them on mine. If it didn’t line up with those you could use a number, so instead of lining it up to west let’s say I did 240 degrees. Same steps still apply. So number, one hold your compass properly number two dial it in to 240, step number three rotate my body until the red is in the shed.

And there I go. That is 240 degrees. So I hope that you can practice those three steps. Hold your compass properly, dial it in, rotate your body until the red is in the shed, and then you will be facing your desired direction or bearing. So that is how to use a compass when given a bearing or direction.

Today, let’s talk about how easy it is to get into spin fishing for trout.

You really don’t need much to do that, just a medium light action spinning rod, some line, some snap swivels, and some lures.

It also helps to have something to unhook your fish like a pair of forceps, pretty cheap and inexpensive, maybe some clippers, but you can do it pretty inexpensively and you don’t even have to carry much with you.

I usually put everything in to a tin box saved from some gum or throat lozenges.

I generally take about 6-8 lures and some snap swivels.

What I have here for spin fishing for trout, an important thing you want is a snap swivel. It avoids a lot of line twist and it gives the spoon or spinner that you’re going to use. I generally go with a gold Kastmaster lure weighing 1oz. You need to go with a weightier lure so you can get a good cast in to the wind.

There are a variety of knots. Two of the common ones that work really well are the improved cinch knot and also the trilene knot.

How to tie the improvedch knot

How to tie a trilene knot

I tend to use the trilene knot pretty frequently, and with that knot you want to go through the eye, this will be kind of hard to see, twice, holding the little loop that you just made open and then wrap the line around about three to four times the uh the leader part like that, if you can see that, and then just put that through both loops.