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Fun on 395 without a fly rod

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Fun on 395 without a fly rod

Postby Ants » October 31st, 2015, 9:05 pm

Over the years, I have found fun from the fly fishing diversions along 395. On the recent trip, the misses and 2 dogs found even more fun.

Horseshoe Meadow is a grand access point for fishing or hiking. However, with evening temperatures near freezing and winds of 20 mph and gusts to 40, even the tent McMansion (Big Agnes 8) couldn't inspire the thought of a second night at about 10,000 feet. Plan B was activated.

The prospect of a few more days of high elevation wind and cold shifted the fun activities to the valley floor. The BLM land petroglyphs are a good diversion. A stop to the Bishop visitor's center produced a copy of BLM brochure entitles Petroglyph Drive and gave complete details. It good to keep the visitor center in mind.

Another wonderful tip was the suggestion to try the Back Alley bowling alley as a dinner stop. Food, preparation, and prices were great. It would be a great alternative for folks that have had enough gatherings at the
Pizza Factory. My dinner choice at the back alley was ahi tuna - with enough sides that made a tasty and weight conscious meal choice.

The visitor's center had a grand brochure entitled Motoring in the Eastern Sierra including Death Valley. Many of the motoring loops that I have explored with fly fishing in mind were expanded with other interests also. Great to find out about jewels that may have been missed or to offer visit options for the folks that have a greater interest than just fly fishing.

A diversion that may be easily ignored is the Historic Mt Whitney Fish Hatchery. Our arrival was before the 10:00 am opening, but the building construction and trout pond was easy to enjoy. The drive to the hatchery from 395 takes minutes.

The host at the visitor center worked at the tungsten mine near Round Valley (if you turned left instead of right as you headed to Pleasant Valley Reservoir. Rovanna is a mining town in Round Valley that still houses residents. The book entitled A Mine in the Sky presents the history from first prospecting through two world wars and mine closure in 1990's. The tungsten from the mine was used to harden steel for armaments as well as industrial uses.

All in all, the trip to the visitor's center provided immediate fun while talking with the host as well as great suggestions for fun at other Owen's Valley locations.

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Re: Fun on 395 without a fly rod

Postby Wildman » November 1st, 2015, 9:08 am

Thanks for the reminder about the rich and varied history and lore of the Owens Valley. I have always wanted to do the Petrogylph loop and will stop in the Visitor center next time I am up.
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Re: Fun on 395 without a fly rod

Postby fly addict » November 1st, 2015, 9:32 am

I think I'll carry my flyrods with me, even with the wife and dog in tow. ;)
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Re: Fun on 395 without a fly rod

Postby John Harper » November 1st, 2015, 12:10 pm

Ants,

I hit all those spots last year. The hatchery, petroglyphs, and also the Laws Railroad Museum. Everything was free admission. The drive up Hwy 6 to the petroglyph loop was awesome, I had no idea what was out there. And the hatchery was really cool, I was the only one there and the caretaker took me upstairs to see the whole place. Sad that no more fish are produced and it's kind of an empty shell, but what a gorgeous building!

Even did the steep climb up to Sky Rock, but missed 13 Moon somehow. Quite a scramble up the bluff for sure.

If you go over to rockcreeklake.com, there is a great informational post about the Pine Creek "Mine in the Sky." The guy (wshawkins) that posted it is extremely knowledgeable about the Sierra and posts awesome photos.

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Re: Fun on 395 without a fly rod

Postby John Harper » November 1st, 2015, 12:19 pm

fly addict wrote:I think I'll carry my flyrods with me, even with the wife and dog in tow. ;)


Mark, there's a small set of petroglyphs just off Fish Slough Road (very smooth road compared to CB road for sure) across from a natural spring (Fish Slough) that I believe has trout. I think you can possibly fish a small area of it. It's also got those pupfish and maybe Tui chubs, so I think the main area of the spring is closed off, but downstream may be open. Quite a large flow of freshwater, I was kind of surprised to see it. An ancient oasis for sure.

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Re: Fun on 395 without a fly rod

Postby fivefish » November 1st, 2015, 3:36 pm

I liked my steak dinner at the bowling alley. Pretty good for the price. Also, the casino had a moderately decent steak and egg breakfast for a killer price.

Glad you got out and had fun!
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Re: Fun on 395 without a fly rod

Postby Papasequoia » November 1st, 2015, 6:03 pm

Great report and lots of neat ideas. There really is a ton of stuff to do in the Eastern Sierra. I would second the Laws RR museum as a must see and add Manzanar (free visitor center that is more of a museum than most) and Bodie ghost town as other places that shouldn't be missed.
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Re: Fun on 395 without a fly rod

Postby Ants » November 1st, 2015, 6:13 pm

Since the initial itinerary (Plan A) included hiking around Horseshoe or towards Cottonwood Lakes with two leash dogs and unknown hiking experience for dogs, fly fishing time would have been a bad fit. As Plan B developed into a liesurely tour of sites, there was a location or two that would have quickly produced trout.

Unfortunately, the Laws Museum does not allow dogs, but with cool weather, a bit of car time would have allowed a brief visit. But, the petroglyphs and marveling at geologic color of the White Mountains along Highway 6 was the plan.

The fish hatchery has a display pond with some gorgeous trout in it. If we had an option, we would have loved to explore the upper reaches of the building. Painting the upper section would be a challenge!

The driving guide includes the White Mountain area as well as Death Valley.

It is a grand area! Every trailhead has its one character. Lots of fun places to poke noses.

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Re: Fun on 395 without a fly rod

Postby acorad » November 1st, 2015, 6:25 pm

The Owens Valley is a jewel, its native culture artifacts are fascinating. I love exploring that valley!

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