Travel, USA

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore National Heritage Site

After visiting Badlands National Park (and finding our way to the infamous Wall Drug – do you know about this place??) we had to visit Mount Rushmore. Mount Rushmore National Memorial is the massive sculpture of four US presidents. The sculpture is carved into the side of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The faces on the hill are depicted in many movies and pop culture (which is how we even know of them). The carving was completed in 1941 by Lincoln Borglum, the son of Gutzon Borglum who started the sculpture in 1927. They chose these four presidents who, in their perspective, represented the most important events in US history at that point. I wonder if the choice of presidents would be different in this day and age…

Joy Ride

The site offers a small interactive museum to view the sculpture up close. But instead of paying the $10 to park and walk right up to the sculpture in the mountain we decided to take the scenic route! Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road are two routes that were built and created to experience the most of the natural landscape. Needles Highway takes you through Custer State Park where you drive around sharp turns and through rock tunnels. Iron Mountain Road goes from Custer State Park to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The highlight for us was driving through the granite tunnels which so perfectly frame the Presidents faces across the valley.

mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakotaHave you been to Mount Rushmore or only seen it in a movie? My most vivid recollection of it in the movies is Richie Rich’s own version of it called “Mount Richmore”.

National Parks, Travel, USA

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park was the first national park on our road trip through the United States. It is situated in South Dakota and is easily accessible from the I90. We actually ended up driving through it along our road trip and spent most of an afternoon there. The park has hiking and camping options but most of it you are able to see from the road that runs through it. There are plenty of pullovers to stop for photos of this gorgeous scenery.

badlands national park badlands national park

Hiking in Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park has some impressive scenery. It is made up of a different layers of rock. These have eroded at different rates and this has led to the formation of all the canyons and spires. The park is also home to prairie dogs, big horn sheep and bison.

badlands national park

 

 

badlands national park badlands national park badlands national parkThere are a number of hiking options available in Badlands National Park. They range from easy hikes on paved boardwalks  to more strenuous hikes up rope ladders and along canyon walls. We didn’t have a lot of time to spend in the park so opted for the Notch Trail. It is a moderately strenuous hike that goes up a rope/log ladder before taking you to a spectacular view of the rest of the park. It is a 2.4km round trip, depending on where you parked your car. The footing is loose sand/rock in some areas and the rope ladder is a bit shaky, but overall it is not a difficult trail.

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America the Beautiful Pass

Badlands National Park was the first national park we had the pleasure of visiting in the USA. This is also where we bought our America the Beautiful Pass. The America the Beautiful pass is an absolute must if you plan on visiting more than 2 National Parks in the USA. It costs $80 and allows you entry into all the national parks in the USA. You can purchase the pass online (for a delivery and service fee) or from the entrance at any National Park. I would advise phoning ahead to make sure they have them in stock.

Have you visited any national parks in the USA? We have loved exploring 14 of them through our travels the past few months. One of our most memorable was visiting Yosemite National Park in California – undoubtedly one of America’s most popular parks!

Travel, USA

Mt Tallac Photo Journal

Hiking Mt Tallac

One hike on our South Lake Tahoe bucket list was getting to the top of Mt Tallac. Among other hikes we did in Tahoe, this was our favourite. We left it to just about the last minute before finally getting around to it. Thanks to Uncle John and some new found friends, we had an entertaining journey up and down. We couldn’t believe that we started the hike in sunshine and at the top there was still some leftover snow – in August!! The out-and-back hike was around 10km each way so it was a tiring journey that left our legs feeling a little jelly-like at the end of the day. Needless to say, it was nothing a milkshake couldn’t fix!

Here are a few photos of our day to inspire you to get out there and climb a mountain!

mt tallac mt tallac mt tallacPS: This doggy friends name is Cicado and we thought he was just the most handsome fella! he even ate the snow on the top and clambered about the rocky peak like a boss! Cannot wait till we have a furry friend to go adventuring with!

 

Travel, USA

Where to hike in South Lake Tahoe

Go on a Hike in South Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is surrounded by mountains, snowcapped peaks, valleys and lakes. The whole area is generally referred to as the Tahoe Basin. There are a multitude of trails to hike in South Lake Tahoe. Each of these comes with gorgeous views of undulating hills, rocky peaks and (even in the summer), snow capped mountains and, of course, the beautiful Lake Tahoe.

One of our favourite past times (among a bunch of other free summer activities) while staying in South Lake Tahoe has been to hike. If you’re wondering where to hike in South Lake Tahoe, here are four of our favourite hikes in order of difficulty.

hike in south lake tahoe, south lake tahoe, hiking
Left: Wildflowers, snow and the view on Mt Tallac. Right: Lake of the Woods from Echo Lake

Lower Eagle Falls

This one is a hike to a hike in South Lake Tahoe. You have to hike down to Vikingsholm/Emerald Bay from the roadside parking lot. The hike down is 1.6km. When you reach the bottom follow the signs for lower Eagle Falls. This is a short trail with a few stairs before you get to the viewpoint to see the falls. As a bonus there is usually a small beach where you can swim and hangout, water levels were super high when we were there so the beach was very small!

hike in south lake tahoe, lower eagle falls, hiking

If you’re interested you can also take a tour of Vikingsholme. This is a holiday home built in the 1920’s inspired by Scandinavian architecture. The walk back up to the parking lot isn’t nearly as bad as you would think, personally we found the downward trip more taxing. If you’re feeling very lazy you can also view the falls from the top next to the road.

The drive to the start of this hike is also very scenic and quite dramatic at stages as you drive along narrow ridge line between with sheer drops on either side. There are a number off pullouts along the road if you want to stop for photos.

hike in south lake tahoe, emerald bay
Emerald Bay from the parking lot

Railroad Grade/ Powerline Trail

This hike in South Lake Tahoe is a very easy to access trail and starts in a residential suburb. You can make this as long, or short a hike as you wish. The trailhead is situated in the cul-de-sac on Columbine Trail. The first part of the trail is called Railroad Grade. It follows the banks of Trout Creek with gentle ups and downs. It is 2.4km long and ends on Powerline Trail. You can follow Powerline Trail in either direction from the junction. It has a few other trails branching off it as well.

If you’re looking to do about 10km of not too strenuous hiking take a left where Railroad and Powerline trails intersect. Take your first right onto Corral Trail and follow this up to the intersection with Cedar Trail. Cedar Trail will bring you back down to Powerline. Turn right where the trails meet and follow Powerline back to the culdesac where you started. You should get a few glimpses of Lake Tahoe in the distance.

hike in south lake tahoe, powerline trail
Picnic stop on Powerline Trail

Echo Lake to Lake of the Woods

This is an out and back hike in South Lake Tahoe, so again the distance is up to you. It starts with an undulating trail that follows the shores of Lower Echo Lake before heading into the desolation wilderness. You have to register your hiking party at the start of the hike and carry your permit with you. Registration is free. The trail head is just behind the dam wall near the general store. Some of the trail gets technical with loose rocks etc underfoot and on a hot day there is very little shade for long stretches of the trail. Carry lots of water!

We hiked out to Lake of the Woods for a total of 17.7km. The last bit going to the lake is a quick, steep climb up and then switchbacks down to the lake. It is beautiful down there though, well worth the effort. You can also head to Lake Aloha if you don’t take the split for Lake of the Woods. This trail also follows a part of the Tahoe Rim Trail. Pack fishing rods if you want as a lot of the lakes up there hold some trout.

hike in south lake tahoe, echo lake
Echo Lake
hike in south lake tahoe, lake of the woods
Incredible views of Lake of the Woods

Mt Tallac

This was definitely the best hike in South Lake Tahoe we did. Rather than taking the more popular hike up the ‘front’ of Mt Tallac we took a longer more scenic route around the back. It was 20km round trip. The trailhead is situated at the far end of Fallen Leaf Lake. There are a few parking bays but they fill up quickly on the weekend. This is also a popular starting point for back country campers as there are a number of smaller lakes off the same trail.

The terrain varies a lot on the hike – loose gravel, hard packed earth, rocky slopes and possibly some snow! The scenery is spectacular as you go through the valley and start ascending the back of the mountain. The last bit to reach the peak is a scramble across loose rocks and boulders so can be quite tricky. The view at the top is completely worth it as you have almost 360 degree vistas of Lake Tahoe and the surrounds. At the start of the Glen Alpine trailhead keep following the Mt Tallac and Gilmore Lake signs.

Gilmore Lake was a place for a rest on the way up and down. There is a tricky water/river crossing at the outlet. It was also a great place for a swim on the way down. You will also pass a small hot spring you can poke your fingers into near the start of the hike. Also, be aware this a backcountry hike so you have to register your hiking party at the trailhead and carry a permit.

hike in south lake tahoe, gilmore lake, mt tallac
Gilmore Lake on route up Mt Tallac
hike in south lake tahoe
Lake Tahoe from Mt Tallac

Here is a map with all the trailheads and turnoffs marked.

Fishing, USA

Where to find a random freshwater fishing spot in Palm City, Florida

 

Are you looking for a random freshwater fishing spot in Palm City, Florida? Look no further. I am ever a fan of fishing less popular ponds and streams, especially in places that you wouldn’t think to fish. Read further to find out about a few places where I found some fish in Palm City and the surrounding areas.

 

Random Freshwater Fishing Spot #1:

I found this random freshwater fishing spot by pouring over google maps as soon as we arrived. I ran out there one afternoon to make sure it was accessible on foot and of course to see if I could spot any fish activity. I wasn’t disappointed on either case. Lots of easily accessible bank to fish off and I spotted a bass within a few minutes of walking the bank. There are actually two ponds here, I only got fish in the one, check the map at the end of the post for the location. This pond holds large mouth bass, mayan cichlids, plecis (armoured catfish) and goodness knows what else.

Random Freshwater Fishing Spot #2:

If you’ve been to Florida you’ll know there are retention ponds all over the place. This one is right next to a Ruby Tuesday restaurant. I stumbled upon this random freshwater fishing spot  when we took our rental car for a wash. On a quick walk around the pond I spotted fish activity and a few small bass hanging on the edges. I returned the next morning and managed to pull a few out. Nothing huge but a convenient pond to pass a bit of time. I also spotted more plecis as well as tilapia in the pond. I went early in the morning and parked in the Ruby Tuesday parking lot.

Random Freshwater Fishing Spot #3

This random freshwater fishing spot is actually a number of retention ponds in this suburb. They all seem to hold large mouth bass, alligator gar and some other unidentified species. I just drove from pond to pond and fished for a while in each one. Most of them produced at least one fish.

Random Freshwater Fishing Spot #4

I didn’t get the chance to fish this random freshwater fishing spot unfortunately as I only found it on the morning we were leaving Palm City. I spotted a small school of bass roaming the shallows as I ran past. They were at least 30cm in length so I would assume there may be some larger specimens in there as well.

There are of course a multitude of ponds/canals in the area to choose from. Most of the fun comes from finding a random freshwater fishing spot and seeing if it actually holds any fish! There is a map at the end of the post with the spots I’ve fished.

 

Have you fished this area? Do you know what other species can be found in these waters?

 

Travel, Uncategorized, USA

Free Summer Activities in South Lake Tahoe

Free Summer Activities in South Lake Tahoe

Free summer activities in South Lake Tahoe, you say? Can it really be?! It so often happens that when you’re searching for things to do in a new city, nothing comes for free. Since we are unemployed and traveling on a budget, it’s not always possible for us to pay out the pocket for activities everyday.  We have had to use our creativity to find things to fulfill our days, while spending the summer in South Lake Tahoe. Here are five free summer activities in South Lake Tahoe that we have enjoyed over the last two months.

Go Swim in a Lake

It goes without saying that spending time at the lake or on the water in South Lake Tahoe is a must do. The gorgeous 80km circumference body of water has multiple bays and beaches with gorgeous azure water and mountainous surroundings. We spent multiple days hanging out on my uncles boat, trying wake boarding and floating on the water in our tubes.

lake tahoe, boat, summer, budget, free summer activities in south lake tahoe

If you aren’t lucky enough to know someone with a boat, there are multiple beaches and picnic spots along the waters edge. Due to this winter being the heaviest snowfall in the last five years, the lake is at its fullest leaving us very small to no beaches. Our favorite (and just about only one left) beach has been Reagen Beach. It has a teeny tiny stretch of sand and some stairs leading down to it, as well as a large stretch of luscious green grass. It comes complete with some benches, picnic tables, a jungle gym, beach volleyball court and bathrooms as well as a few spots of shade. Hanging at or on the lake is probably our most favourite of free summer activities in South Lake Tahoe!

tahoe budget lake, free summer activities in south lake tahoe

Live at Lakeview

During the summer the beaches are home to some live music concerts. Our favourite has to be at Lake View commons. The concerts take place every Thursday evening from the last week of June till the end of August. The concert starts at 4pm and ends at around 8pm. You can read about the lineups at liveatlakeview.com .People take their blankets and sit on the steps, or even their slackline and hammocks and hang out on the grass of the commons. Some even pump up their float tubes and enjoy the music from the water. If you take along your ID you’ll be allowed into the beer garden and can have a few beers as you watch the sun go down over the mountains. For sure, a great way to bring in the weekend! Don’t forget to bring along your wallet in case you find something you love at the small flea market stalls.

live at lakeview, budget, lake tahoe, free summer activities in south lake tahoe

Frisbee Golf

I’ve heard of golf, and I love to play frisbee, but call me old fashioned for not ever hearing about frisbee golf (otherwise known as disc golf). Turns out this is a pretty popular game and such fun! In South Lake Tahoe, there are two disc golf courses that we know of, both of which are FREE! Yes, you only need to have your own discs in order to play. They go for around $10 each. You could probably get away with only having two (as long as you don’t lose one like I did). The concept is the same as golf. You tee off, but instead of using a golf club you throw the frisbee towards the “hole” which is actually a big metal bucket/crate with chains to catch your frisbee.

free summer activities in south lake tahoe

We played at Zephyr Cove Park and it was a gorgeous course – kind of like doing a small hike. As you go up the hills, you are rewarded with gorgeous views of Lake Tahoe itself. The other course is at Bijou and is apparently a bit easier and flatter.

Hiking around the Tahoe Basin

With the entire perimeter of the lake being surrounded by mountains, why wouldn’t one hike? The Tahoe Basin is filled with an abundance of hiking trails for people of all abilities. Our favourite had to be hiking Mt Tallac, one of the higher peaks in Tahoe standing at 9735 ft. Less strenuous hikes can be found around Echo Lake. An even shorter hike is down and up to Lower Eagle Falls. Whichever you choose, remember to take ample amounts of water, especially in the summer months. I’d possibly even a swim suit – those alpine lakes are hard to resist when you’ve been in the sun for a few hours! Read more about Hiking in South Lake Tahoe here.

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Left: Wildflowers and snow on Mt Tallac. Right: Lake of the Woods from Echo Lake

Tailgating at Harvey’s Outdoor Theatre Concerts

During the summer particularly, The Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys hosts some big name music concerts. Tickets for popular acts sell out fast (and are often very expensive). Don’t worry – park outside Edgewood Golf Course (across the street from the Outdoor Arena) and set yourself up for an evening of tailgating! We packed a picnic blanket and some chairs, beers and UNO cards. We were so close to Jack Johnson we could almost see him (well, we could see the sides of the video screen at least)! Some sang along while others even danced alongside the road. Another group enjoyed the concert from atop their campervan parked streetside!

free summer activities in south lake tahoe
Tailgating outside the Jack Johnson concert

Support Local Softball Games

Now this may seem random to some, but there is a Thursday night softball league that runs every week. Since we were staying with my relatives, we went weekly to watch my cousin and my other cousins boyfriend play. We didn’t know much about softball, initially, but definitely grew to love the game. Even though we didn’t know many people playing it was still a good evening out. Mark loves to watch any live sports and we totally got into it. Each week we would pack some snacks and refreshments and a blanket, and sit on the bleachers enjoying the game.

free summer activities in south lake tahoe

We were lucky enough to spend 8 weeks over the summer in South Lake Tahoe. While in Tahoe we stayed at my aunts home and spent lots of time hanging out with my cousins and family. We spent time fishing, hiking, going to yoga classes and getting to enjoy a bit of the Tahoe lifestyle.

We hope you can someday enjoy these free summer activities in South Lake Tahoe, or at least be inspired by them!

chasingkm, National Parks, nature, travel, USA

Two days in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

With just a few weeks left in California before we start our road trip back east, we decided to squeeze in a quick trip to America’s most popular national park – Yosemite! We realize only a few days is not enough to explore Yosemite to its full potential. But, you can fill your days with enough to make you feel satisfied, tired, thrilled and awed by this grand valley!

yosemite

Day 1

We left Tahoe at 4am and took a slow and scenic route through Mariposa and entered the park via Arch Rock entrance.  You are very soon in Yosemite valley and surrounded by granite cliffs, gorgeous meadows and waterfalls. We couldn’t help but stop right away to gawk at El Capitan – a massive granite cliff face that people have actually scaled – one guy with no ropes in 2015!!

el capitan, yosemite

Since we were staying in Housekeeping Camp in the valley, we went straight there to park the car and utilize the free shuttle. We took the shuttle to stop #7 (or E2 if you’re on the El Capitan shuttle that only runs in the summer months) and walked across the Swinging Bridge (to avoid taking the bus all the way around the valley to E7) to the start of the Four Mile Trail – our chosen hiking trail for the day.

hike, glacier point, yosemite

Four Mile Trail to Glacier Point

Despite this trails name, the one way distance to Glacier Point is in fact, 4.9miles (7,8km). Many people choose to take the shuttle up to the point and walk the trail back down. But, at 25$ per person for the bus this was not an option for us. We began the hike around 11am, not the most ideal time for a 17km hike. The trail begins with some steep switchbacks, straightens out and continues with quite a few more switchbacks. Most of the beginning of the trail is under tree cover which provide some welcome shade. The views become even more spectacular as you ascend. With the inviting Merced River, powerful Yosemite Falls and eventually Half Dome, you get to experience so much of the Yosemite valleys beauty in one hike. We took it slow, stopping for pictures, water breaks and snacks along the route. We arrived at the top of Glacier Point in just over 3 hours.

yosemite falls, tosemite yosemite valley

Our celebratory cool drink atop the peak was soon interrupted by a thunder storm rolling in so we started our descent pretty quickly just to get off the top of the mountain. By the time we got down to the valley again our knees and lower backs could feel each of those 17km! Thankfully, we could catch the El Capitan  shuttle back to E1 and then just walked the rest of the way back to Housekeeping Camp.

half dome, yosemite

Housekeeping Camp

After staying outside the park when we visited Yellowstone, and having to travel over 60kms each day into and out of the park we really wanted to stay inside the park this time. But – we had read and heard that bookings for campsites were rarely available. Bookings open up five months in advance and are fully booked during summer months often within the first few minutes of reservations opening up!! We really thought we had no chance seeing that our trip was such a last minute decision. Two days before our trip I was frantically searching for accommodation nearby, cheap enough and nice enough when I found myself on Yosemite’s website. I had just about given up hope and was checking every lodge and campsite within the park for our dates and was so surprised when housekeeping camp came up as available. I hadn’t even heard of Housekeeping Camp before!!

Turns out, housekeeping camp is a “campsite” that consists of three walled structures with a canvas roof and one canvas side. Each unit has a double bed, one set of bunk beds, a shelf and a mirror inside. Outside each unit is a little verandah area with a picnic table and a fire ring just outside out it. Exactly what we needed for just one night in the park (although I could have happily stayed there much longer). There are showers available at Housekeeping Camp. You get vouchers for these when you check in. (Keep them safe for the duration of your stay -they’re also valid for the hotel swimming pool!). Showing your shower pass gets you a free towel and the showers are supplied with shampoo and body wash!

Campfire Meals

After feeling clean and refreshed we were starving for dinner. We bought some charcoal for 10$ at the general store at the campsite and a lighter for 1$. We set a picnic blanket next to our fire pit and started a fire – of course we were going to braai for dinner! On went our pork steak and down went a couple of beers! Some roasted marshmallows were enjoyed and off to bed we went. After our 3:30am start, we were both so ready for sleep!

Quiet time is from 10pm and though the campsite was lively and full of families it was a super pleasant environment. We slept well, the beds were comfy and the bathrooms nearby. If we came back to Yosemite we would totally stay here again.

Day 2

We set our alarms for 8am and got some coffee from the general store. We were able to have breakfast and pack up at a leisurely pace before 9:30am to start our second day. Our second day included three smaller hikes around the valley. We planned to use the shuttle again on the second day and leave our car parked at Housekeeping Camp. From stop #12 the shuttle can often be pretty busy as it picks up all the visitors from the day parking area just before it. A few buses passed us by before we were finally able to catch one and head to our first hike of the day – Mirror Lake.

Mirror Lake

A popular little hike only 3 miles (4,6km) round trip up to a lake. You can walk along a trail or along a paved road. The lake changes seasonally as it is all snow melt run off but is still a popular place to swim and hang out. We took off our shoes and waded through the water before going back. We hopped back on the bus only an hour or so after we started and headed to our next little “hike” for the day.

yosemite, mirror lake

Lower Yosemite Falls

At stop #6 you’ll find an entrance to this hike which makes an easy little loop trail. Only a mile long and all paved makes it a very accessible and highly popular trail. Stand on the bridge. Starie up at the lower part of the falls. Feel the spray of it in the breeze. AMAZING!! This is the 4th largest waterfall in the world and often stops running by mid summer to fall. This year however they expect it to run all year through as the snow melt has been so huge!

yosemite falls, yosemite

At this, we took the shuttle back to pick up our car. We headed off to our third and final trail of the day. This one was outside of the valley area toward an exit. It made sense to do it on our route out of the park.

Merced Grove

This one is another 3 miler – a quick drop down to a sequoia grove and a slower climb up. The information board suggests it takes 3 to 4 hours but I think that’s a large over estimation. We went down, gawked at the size of them and took a few pictures. We were back up at the car in an hour and 10 minutes. At the bottom there is a 1 mile loop to Twin Bridges if you want to extend your hike.

sequoia, yosemite

The trail starts on Big Oak Flat road at the B7 marker. There is a parking lot and a turn out space for a few more cars. There is a restroom at the start of the trail too! This was helpful as we were heading out the park from here and back to Tahoe.

Yosemite Fees

Yosemite entrance fees: $30 per non commercial vehicle

Interagency annual pass: $80 (this gets you into all national parks in the US for 12 months)

Housekeeping Camp: $98 per night (for up to four people)

 

Yosemite brings our total National Park tally to four in the USA so far.

Have you explored any and which has been your favourite? 

Fishing, USA

Bank Fishing Lakes in South Lake Tahoe

In the Tahoe area there are a number of alpine lakes to go fishing in. They are all impressive in their own way. Even though they are dwarfed by the sheer size of Lake Tahoe itself, many of them provide great fishing as well. Again, for a lot of them, fishing off a boat is the ideal. Bank fishing is possible at some of them though. Keep reading to see which ones I tried fishing at.

Lakes with bank fishing opportunities:

Lake Baron

The first ‘lake’ I tried fishing was not a beautiful alpine lake. Situated in Meyers, part of Tahoe Paradise Park, is Lake Baron. It is regularly stocked with trout and has a catfish population. There is ample parking and bank fishing is very accessible. You can launch a float tube or kayak there as well. Fishing is free, two trout per person limit. You can leave donations if you wish. I didn’t have any luck here. I did however see a crawfish devouring a trout. This gave me hope that there were some trout in there!

bank fishing, south lake tahoe, tahoe, lake baron

Red Lake and Caples Lake

Off Highway 88 you can find Red Lake and Caples Lake. Red Lake is the smaller of the two. It has a lot of accessible water from the dam wall. I only tried fishing it once, late afternoon going into evening. I fished with a small spoon as well as a dry fly. The dry fly got a few hits in the corner near the outlet stream. I didn’t land anything. Lots of bank fishing access.

bank fishing, south lake tahoe, tahoe, red lake bank fishing, south lake tahoe, tahoered lake

I went  fishing at  Caples Lake twice. Once for a late afternoon/evening session that saw fish rising everywhere but where I was fishing! I was fishing with spinning gear. The second time I tried some Berkley Powerbait dough and Berkley trout worms. I landed one small rainbow trout drifting this rig off a bobber. Caples has a number of places you can fish from the banks or from the dam wall. Check out the map below. Bank fishing access at a number of places around the lake.

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Echo Lake

Echo Lake is also just up the road from South Lake Tahoe. I spent a few hours there but conditions were not great, the wind was pumping so hard it looked more like an ocean than a mountain lake. Fishing reports there are good though. Parking is limited so I would go very early or after 6pm when most of the day trippers have cleared out. Bank fishing from the dam wall near the parking lot or along most of the shoreline. There is a well used pathway to follow.The lake is accessible off Highway 50 heading out of Meyers.

Lake of the Woods

Lake of the Woods is also a hike to only lake. You can head out from Echo Lake along a very scenic trail. It follows the contour of Upper and Lower Echo lakes until you join up to the Pacific Crest Trail. There are a number of lakes situated off this trail. Currently a few a of these have had all their fish removed. This has been done to protect the habitat of the Yellow-Legged Frog. Lake of the Woods is also off this trail, about 8.5km along. It has ample camping space and still has fish in it. Bank fishing from most of the very scenic shoreline. We hiked out there but I only had about twenty minutes to fish before we had to head back. An overnight trip would be ideal.

bank fishing, south lake tahoe, tahoe, lake of the woods

Gilmore Lake

Another lake accessible via hiking is Gilmore lake. It is situated behind/above Fallen Leaf lake. If you drive all the way past Glen Alpine falls, a very narrow and pothole filled road, you will get to a trailhead. Get there early to find parking. Follow the signs for Gilmore lake. The trail will take you past a small creek, worth a few casts, before getting you to Gilmore lake 7km later. It’s not a strenuous hike. Lots of people camp on the lake shore as well to maximize their fishing time. I didn’t get a chance to fish here but I spoke to some guys camping and fishing there. They were bank fishing using worms and had landed a small rainbow in the time they had been there. We stopped there for snacks and a swim after a long hike to the Mt Tallac summit.

bank fishing, south lake tahoe, tahoe, gilmore lake

There are so many options in the area for bank fishing. A bit of hiking will get you to some out of the way and quiet spots where you can enjoy the fishing, scenery and solitude. As always, remember to check fishing regulations before heading out!

Have you fished in the Tahoe area? Do you have any spots to recommend?

bass, chasingkm, Fishing, fly fishing, travel, trout, USA

Alternative Fishing Spots in South Lake Tahoe

Fishing is somewhat of an obsession of mine. Few things beat the thrill of feeling a fish on the end of your line, or the satisfaction of figuring out how to catch one. Coupled with this is the spectacular scenery you often find yourself in. Whenever we reach a new destination I always spend ages looking at Google Maps, searching for any body of water that may hold fish. Then there is the exploring to find a way to get to the water and, of course, trying to figure out if said body of water actually has any fish.

Fishing in South Lake Tahoe

Spending a summer in South Lake Tahoe, on the shore of Lake Tahoe has been a very exciting as well as frustrating “fishploration” for me. Lake Tahoe itself is, of course, a very popular fishing destination and can produce some record catches. It is, however, highly unlikely that you would catch anything fishing from the shore. You need to head out on a boat to improve your chances. (Here are the top fishing charters in the area according to tripadvisor). Not owning a boat nor wanting to spend too much money on a fishing charter (#travellerbudget), I had to search around a bit more.
Just a stones throw from the house we’re staying in is a small creek, aptly named Trout Creek. The river/creek fishing season on the Tahoe basin opens on July 1st. This meant I had to wait around for over a week before I could even attempt to fish this creek.

Naturally I had to find an alternative fishing spot.

The Tahoe Keys

A bit of Google searching and reading random fishing forums, I found out that ‘The Tahoe Keys‘, being shallower and warmer than the lake itself, had become home to bass, bluegill and even crappie. A small boat or kayak would open up all of this water to fish in quite easily. Not having these I had to hunt around for a few access points where you could get to the water (check the map below for these). Fishing in the Keys is not amazing. You can easily catch the bluegill and small crappie if they’re around. The bass are a lot more finicky but not impossible.

tahoe keys, fishing, south lake tahoe

Tahoe Keys Overflow

Situated behind the Keys is another body of water that seems to be a spillover for the Key’s canals. Here, there were also a large amount of bluegill – fun on fly tackle, as well as some cruising bass.

tahoe keys, fishing, south lake tahoe, bluegill

HINT: If you park at the end of the road near the water treatment plant there is a little pathway that will take you down to the water. I didn’t see any no fishing or private property signs etc. The path was well used. 

 

Trout Creek

The creek season finally started and I had my first attempt at Trout Creek early on a Saturday morning. I caught nothing! One flash at a dry fly and that was it. My next outing was late afternoon and also produced nothing. Tahoe had just been through a record winter and snow melt meant the rivers and creeks were all very full and very fast, bursting their banks in a lot of places, not ideal for fishing.
A week later Trout Creek finally paid off for me at about 7pm. I finally landed a brook trout on a dry fly. I’ve fished the creek few times since and found a few decent spots. I even found  bluegill in some of the slower bends. A lot of the bank is accessible from Railroad Trail. You can park in the cul-de-sac on Columbine Road. It is also accessible from Golden Bear Trail.
tahoe, fishing, fly fishing, south lake tahoe, brook trout, trout creek, dry fly

Upper Truckee River

A few days later I headed up Luther Pass, just outside the town of Meyer. The Upper Truckee river is accessible from here by taking the Upper Truckee Road South turnoff and traveling down into the river valley. There is parking near the bridge and quite a lot of the river is accessible from here. Hiking through the area is also very scenic and if you’re feeling adventurous enough you can hike up to it’s source to fish as well. The water was still very high and my morning out did not produce any fish. A few days later I tried the Upper Truckee again and landed two trout. One was very small, the second about  30cm. Both came as the sun was almost down on a dry fly. This spot produced another small trout for me a week later and every time I’ve tried it I’ve had at least one hit on the dry. There is quite a bit of river bank to fish there and ample parking at the corner of Elks Club Dr and Emerald Bay Rd. Check the map at the end of the post.
fishing, fly fishing, trout, upper truckee, south lake tahoe

Carson River

At the top of Luther Pass you will also come upon the West Fork of the Carson river. Quite a lot of the river is accessible. You can park near the bridge just before the t-junction. I’ve fished the area once just as the sun was setting. Lots of rises all over and hits on the dry fly. I didn’t land anything though.
An adventuring spirit and willingness to look around for fishing spots will eventually lead to results. The Tahoe area abounds with creeks and rivers and mountain lakes begging to be explored. Even if you don’t catch anything you’re bound to see some spectacular scenery or a breathtaking sunset.
sunset, caples lake, south lake tahoe

 Here’s a short recap of my alternative fishing spots:

Tahoe Keys – between the houses, lots of bluegill, some crappie and bass if you’re lucky.
Tahoe Keys Overflow – bigger and more aggressive bluegill, very fussy bass.
Trout Creek – small brook trout in most areas, dry fly and early evening has been good for me.
Upper Truckee River – bigger trout, also all on dry fly.
West Fork of the Carson – chances of Rainbow and Brown trout.

Don’t forget to get the right fishing license for the area. On Lake Tahoe itself you can have either a Nevada or California license. I bought a California license from Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters. The staff were very friendly and readily gave advice about the area and fly choices. Licenses are also available online or at most sports/tackle shops in the area.

I often prefer this search and all the frustrations that come with it to guided trips or charter boats. Call me crazy or call it therapy. Some days I do wish they would put up a big neon sign that says, FISH HERE, use this bait. But those days quickly fade from memory when I do find that perfect spot.

I’ll be posting on more fishing spots soon. Follow me on Instagram @thelazyfisherman for up to date catches.

What is your favorite way to fish? Guided, popular spots or out of the way and quiet?