As outdoor enthusiasts we all know that our best laid plans can often be thwarted by weather, road closures, wildfires, trail quotas, and the like. Such was the case last Labor Day when Crystal and I headed up to Kings Canyon National Park in California. Our plan had been to hike up the South Fork of the Kings River, camp, and fish the weekend away. However, when we reached the trailhead we learned that our reservation was not in the system and the trail quota had been reached. But from this adversity, opportunity arose.
We asked the ranger for suggestions of possible alternatives and he didn’t
disappoint. He directed us towards a small section of forest tucked between Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park. This little sliver of land was Jennie Lakes Wilderness and operated by the Forestry Service. As such there were no trail quotas even on a holiday weekend, and we were told that the strenuous hike tended to keep people away. We were sold and so began our trek.
From the trailhead we faced about a 6-mile hike mostly uphill to a final altitude of 9,000 feet.
The trek was pretty exhausting, there’s even a section called “Poop-out Pass”, but the views along the trail were amazing.
Jennie Lake was also quite lovely and although there were several campers due to the holiday weekend it was not overly crowded. There were maybe 8 campsites scattered around the lake, ourselves included.
Most importantly, the lake was full of hungry trout. Fish were rising from sun up to sun down and they were eager to take a fly. The lake is pretty deep and it holds some decent sized fish but the average was around 8”. I did catch several that were over 10” including this nice 14” (below) which was the largest of the weekend. The population is predominately rainbows but there were also brook trout lurking about.
I’m sure a Wooly Bugger would work well up there, but due to all the rising fish I stuck to dry flies and did quite well. A Parachute Adams worked best for me but keep an eye on what’s flying about if you make the trek yourself, because we all know trout can be picky eaters.
It was a fabulous weekend full of amazing views,
tranquility, and lots of trout. Jennie Lake was a wonderful find and we never would’ve experienced it if it hadn’t been for our thwarted plans. So just a few things to consider next time you head out:
- Don’t be afraid to change your plans as you never know what new awesome place you might discover.
- Talk to park rangers; they know the area better than anyone and have a wealth of knowledge they’re more than willing to share.
- Try new places. We all have our special secret spots but if you’re willing to expand your horizons you’ll discover new and exciting destinations.
Until next time, happy fishing!
– A. Egli