First Attempt: November 2013

On November 1, I drove up to Horseshoe Meadow in Inyo National Forest with a light fly rod (and little fly fishing experience) in search of the California Golden trout. It was gorgeous day with clean, crisp mountain air (as expected at 10,000 feet). There was a thin layer of ice on the Cottonwood Creek that started melting as sun climbed higher in the sky.

After many hours of fishing the deeper pools of the shallow creek I eventually caught, and released, a single golden. What a great day! Unfortunately this trout didn’t qualify for the Heritage Trout Challenge as this creek isn’t a native location for this trout… all that meant was I’d have to take another fishing trip in the future which I really didn’t mind at all!

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Second Attempt: October 2014

On October 17, I headed out towards Sequoia National Forest for a 3-day trip to catch a California golden, Little Kern golden, and Kern River rainbow in qualifying waters. Since they all can be found in streams within a few hours drive of each other I figured to try my hand at all three in one trip.

It was in the early morning hours on October 19, and in rather cold temperatures, I started my second attempt for the California golden. I spent many hours in search of deeper pools to find one hungry golden. It seems that all of these smaller trout spook rather easily so I had to be very careful in approaching the pools – If I could see them, they could see me!

With my light 5 weight fly rod and very small nymphs (#16 – #20 barbless) I wound up catching a few small goldens that morning. Thrilled I was!