Fishing Yosemite


Both myself and my friend Kevin Hofer pride ourselves on fishing some of the more remote bodies of water out here in California. Lake Eleanor, inside Yosemite National Park boundaries, has been on our radar for quite some time. With its limited and difficult access, as well as the general ecosystem of the lake, we knew there was potential for it to hold some trophy trout.

So we set our plans for mid-April and we would be joined by Kevin’s cousin Gary. He had fished Eleanor a couple times, but they were short half day trips. This time we planned on 3 days and 2 nights, with the intention of dedicating some serious time on the water. Besides the usual planning of camping and fishing gear, we had to take into consideration part of the history of Eleanor. It was once the drop zone for the “troubled” black bears of Yosemite that got a little too friendly with tourists and their belongings. So we all picked up some bear vaults to store our food and drinks and hoped we wouldn’t have any late night visitors. The other more important part of Eleanor’s history includes the egg collection station at Frog Creek which feeds the lake. The eggs collected there were once planted throughout the park.

After a long 3 hour drive we arrived at parking area above the lake in the early afternoon. We unloaded and began packing all of our gear into the kayaks. In my opinion the sit-on-top Cuda 12 really shines when it comes to gear storage. Other than my fishing gear, which I want in easy access anyways, all of my other camping gear is able to stay nice and dry in the hull. Once packed, we carted our loaded kayaks ¼ mile down to the lake along a steep gravel road. Once on the water our search for camp began! A short paddle later we found a suitable site to call our home for the next few days. And with camp all set up and the kayaks lightened up a bit, we began trolling the lake in search of some trophy trout. That afternoon and evening didn’t produce much for us, other than a few small 10 inchers.

The following day we got up early and started to explore the lake in hopes of finding some biting fish. It took some trial and error but we finally keyed in on a pattern of casting jigs near shore and the fish catching began! The grade of fish was much better than when we were trolling, with many fish in the 18+ inch range. Not exactly the monsters we dreamt of, but nice quality fish that were a blast to catch on light tackle. The crystal clear water had visibility to nearly 20 feet, which meant we could watch the line peeling runs and the bursts of speed just before the fish would go airborne! My best fish ended up going right around 23.5 inches! We had a steady pick throughout the day, with much the same results the following day

Unfortunately, time seemed to fly by and before we knew it we had to begin the arduous trek back to the trucks. The distance was short, but the incline was steeper than it looked on the way down. It was a decent amount of work hiking out of there. However, it didn’t take us too long to make it to the parking area and make the drive back home. Eleanor will definitely go down as one of my more memorable kayak fishing trips. For me, it’s not so much about how many or how big of fish I catch, but more about the overall adventure and taking in the whole experience of kayak fishing.

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