Backpacking Fishing Rod and Reel Suggestions

RicGao

Googan For Life
Jul 22, 2020
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Richard Gao
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Wiener wagon
I will be on a 5 day backpacking trip around Yosemite at the beginning of summer. I'm trying to find a light rod and reel combo to bring up there with me and fire a few casts to hopefully catch a nice meal. Any suggestions on a setup that I should bring? Baits? Lures?
 

bdubs73

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Feb 7, 2008
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Will you be in, or around Yosemite? I go up in Yosemite and around the eastern side of the park for 5-7 day trips most years. I will start by saying that overall you will have far better luck with a fly rod versus spinning rod. There are some areas where you can do fairly well by spinning rod, but fly fishing is king in Yosemite. One option to explore if fly fishing isn't an option is to use dry flies with a "strike indicator" on a spinning rod. That's a fancy word fly fishermen use for a bobber lol.
 
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mike garrahan

TheSabreGuy
Sep 7, 2007
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mike garrahan
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23 ft. crestliner
Look for one of the Eagle Claw Trailmaster pack rods. They break down into 4 or 5 pieces and are only about 16" or 18" long. They also come in a light weight aluminum tube for protection. Some of them have a reversible butt section so you can use them as a spinner or a fly rod.
I often use flies with a spinning reel. All you need is one of the clear plastic bubbles that you can fill half way with water. Run a 4' or 5' leader of 4lb line and tie your fly on. You can cast them a mile. Just reel in slowly and watch the fish hit the fly. Works really well right before dark. Any small spinning reel will work for what you are going to do.
 
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DannyNoonan

Smarter than I look...
Apr 17, 2007
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Jim
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I also like the Daiwa travel rods. 500 or 1000 class spinner with 3 or 4# mono. Bring a couple of 00 size Mepps spinners, small red/gold Thomas Buoyants, a pack of grasshopper colored Mini Jigs, and a half dozen asst dry flies with a fillable bubble. Maybe throw in a small flatfish for good measure. Whole setup weighs a couple ounces, and you should be set for just about anything off of the beaten path...

I love spending time in the Eastern Sierras...
 

RicGao

Googan For Life
Jul 22, 2020
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4
15
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Name
Richard Gao
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Wiener wagon
Will you be in, or around Yosemite? I go up in Yosemite and around the eastern side of the park for 5-7 day trips most years. I will start by saying that overall you will have far better luck with a fly rod versus spinning rod. There are some areas where you can do fairly well by spinning rod, but fly fishing is king in Yosemite. One option to explore if fly fishing isn't an option is to use dry flies with a "strike indicator" on a spinning rod. That's a fancy word fly fishermen use for a bobber lol.

We will be going from Yosemite Valley to Mammoth more specifically Devil's Postpile. I've never really specifically targeted trout before and appreciate all the feedback. According to what I found online, the snow should be melting by June and the rivers should be flowing. It seems like fly fishing is more popular in streams compared to lakes. But then again, I've never touched a fly rod in my life. Are there different techniques trout fishing running water compared to a lake or a pond?
 

hucklongfin

Deep release specialist
Jul 3, 2003
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I’ve backpacked from Devils Postpile to Tuolumne Meadows. There were trout in Thousand Island Lake, Rush Creel and the Lyell fork.
 
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danny_pz

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Sep 20, 2020
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daniel perez
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We will be going from Yosemite Valley to Mammoth more specifically Devil's Postpile. I've never really specifically targeted trout before and appreciate all the feedback. According to what I found online, the snow should be melting by June and the rivers should be flowing. It seems like fly fishing is more popular in streams compared to lakes. But then again, I've never touched a fly rod in my life. Are there different techniques trout fishing running water compared to a lake or a pond?
San Joaquin river fish love terrestrials like ants, mosquitos , grasshoppers . Mimic those style of insects. Flies work great there though
 
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jrodda

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Sep 8, 2012
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Jeremy Rodda
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FWIW, I've bought 3 KastKing telescoping rods (6'6 L Spin, 7'6 MH Casting, 8' H Spinning) and while they are pretty nice, I've broken the tips on both spinning rods, I think from bending the tip section with the lure on the hook keeper. The tip section is way too flexible. I still use the 6'6 spinning one as a 6' and it works well, while the 8' H I threw out cuz it broke too far down. I wanted to like them but...they need a re-work.

I'd look at Okuma's travel rods as well those mentioned above.
 
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KXKH

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  • Feb 28, 2018
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    Spinning set up is very effective, I've out fished a lot of fly fisherman if we're fishing Sierra streams. Pautzke green label and Atlas Mike salmon egg, the redder the egg the better (not those pinkish red ones). Garlic scent helps also. Use split shot if you need to get it down deeper into the structure. A lot of times they don't want to come up to hit surface lures or another insect food. But they can't resist that bright red egg. Secret tip...wade into the water and slow fish the pockets and structures. Good luck, hope this helps.
     
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    Tail Chaser

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    Aug 31, 2004
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    Fly fishing might be great for an experienced flyfisherman... but i suspect a spinning reel would net you more fish. I am having some ultra lite spinning rods made... Even bought an ultralite backpacking float tube.
     
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    mike garrahan

    TheSabreGuy
    Sep 7, 2007
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    I have fished a lot of lakes and streams all along the John Muir Trail. You really don't need to bring a lot of tackle. You should bring a couple of small spinners like Meps or Panther Martins, some small salmon egg hooks and a jar of Pautzke's green label Balls of Fire, a couple of clear bubbles, some small splitshot and a few flies. I always bring some gray hackle yellows and some small dark flies to resemble mosquitos. Also bring a few small worm hooks in case you can find some hellgrammites or other natural bait.
     
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    davidpratt

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    Jul 28, 2020
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    Fly fishing can be a little intimidating but with a couple 30 minute sessions in the harbor or at a park and youll be ready to fish.

    For me in the sierra the fly rod outfishes the spinning setup by about 1000% in lake or stream. It almost feels like cheating, especially at dawn and dusk when theyre rising.

    I'd get an entry level 4wt combo from Orvis and a starter pack of flies. Black ant, prince nymph, elk hair caddis, mosquito imitator are all good to have extras of. Black ant is my favorite by far.
     

    surfgoose

    active geezer
  • Jul 29, 2010
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    whichever has the longest bunk
    All good replies. The point that davidpratt made about concentrating on the first hour and last hour is important. And remember that trout are predators, and they go where the food is to be found: the shallows. The most consistently successful backpacker that I know of has NEVER failed to catch breakfast and dinner fish by using very small 1/64 ounce minijigs in clear color on 2# fluorocarbon under a small clear water-fill bobber, suspended not more than 12" below the bobber, fished very close to shore, in not more than two feet of water. The tiny clear minijigs look like young minnows, the bobber slightly moving them up and down, and a bigger trout just can't resist them. You obviously don't need a long rod if you decide to fish in that way.
     
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    Cody B

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    Feb 21, 2018
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    Great info by all. Floating salmon eggs around each bend in the stream or river can be very productive. Also, the smallest Panther Martin in yellow with red dots and gold spoon. **Remember, if you are inside the boundaries of Yosemite, you can't fish with bait and all hooks must be barbless.
     
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    baaadlybent

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    Sep 5, 2006
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    Yes on the small bubbles, 4 pound line (even tie on 2 pound leaders) and flies. Go to a fly shop and buy a bunch of size 16, 18, 20 hares ear nymphs. Fish them in the streams and inlets to lakes. The fish will think they are a bug tumbling in the water. A real fly rod would be the key but a bubble can be just as good for you in a stream. The key in the sierras is to sneak up on them. I mean play like you're Daniel Boone. Get on your knees, minimize what the fish can see, and always cast or flip the bubble and fly upstream. Don't stand on the side of the stream or lake and dangle your line in front of you while you watch for the trout to take it. If you want to play in the lakes buy small 18 and 20 elk hair caddis (dry flies) and some gink to help them float. Simple stuff, but small, is what works in the sierras.
     

    Shimano Penn

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    A couple summers ago I spent a lot of time fishing rainbows and Kokanee up in Shasta county. The thing about salmon eggs and power baits is that they are almost always gut hooked, you can’t release them. Kast masters and Super Duper’s worked well and always lip hooked.
     
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    Wade K in deep

    IFish4Sanity&SelectivelyHarvest
    Sep 24, 2019
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    Read your regs 1st! After that, check out Tenkara. In any stream in Yosemite, that has fish, a Tenkara rig will get you into fish with out having to add more than 1/2 a pound to your pack if that, everything included. It will work in a lot of the lakes too.
     
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    palella09

    Newbie
    Jul 2, 2015
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    Read the regs, a lot of back country lakes require artificial baits with barbless hooks only.

    That being said, I hiked cottonwood trail to Langley a few years back and fished lakes on the way up. Any cheap light spinning rod that could break in half is ideal... you don't want to be catching trees and break your rod tip on the hike up. Like others have said a clear bubble, swivel and 3-5ft leader 2-4 pound test with a zebra midge, mosquito, or black ant.

    I personally always stop into local fishing stores and try to pick the workers brains. If you're willing to spend a couple of bucks they're usually willing to offer some good advice.

    It will be a trip of a lifetime. Take pictures and enjoy the hell out of the scenery. We'll be living vicariously through your post!