South Lake: A Backcountry Fishing Paradise in Sequoia National Park

Embark on an adventure to South Lake, nestled in the heart of Sequoia National Park, where glacial-carved granite meets pristine waters. This comprehensive guide unveils the diverse fish species inhabiting South Lake, offers invaluable tips for anglers of all levels, and pinpoints specific locations for a rewarding fishing experience.

Types of Fish You Can Expect to Catch at South Lake

  • Golden Trout: Renowned as the stars of the show, these stunning fish inhabit cooler, deeper waters. Seek them near inlets, drop-offs, and submerged logs. Try small flies that mimic midges and damsel flies for a successful catch.
  • Rainbow Trout: Abundant and aggressive, rainbow trout are less picky eaters. Explore the shore, rocks, and near the dam using lures, flies, or bait for an exhilarating fight.
  • Eastern Brook Trout: Colorful natives favor shallower, weedy areas. Cast small lures, flies, or worms near banks and lily pads, especially during the early mornings or evenings.
  • Sacramento Suckers: Common in deeper waters, especially near the dam. Bait fishing with worms or nightcrawlers can yield positive results.

Local Insights for a Successful Fishing Trip

  • Prepare for a Hike: South Lake is a hike-in destination, requiring a moderate 2-mile trek with some elevation gain. Pack essentials like water, snacks, and sturdy shoes for a comfortable journey.
  • Low Fishing Pressure: Due to its remote location, fishing pressure is low, making the fish less wary. However, don’t underestimate their strength, especially the golden trout.
  • Match the Hatch, Be Flexible: Insects like mayflies, stoneflies, and midges are crucial, but experiment with different sizes and colors to adapt to the fish’s preferences.
  • Leave No Trace: Respect this pristine lake by packing out all trash, avoiding disturbance to the natural habitat, and being mindful of fellow anglers and campers.

Unique Aspects of South Lake

  • Breathtaking Scenery: Surrounded by towering peaks and lush meadows, South Lake sits in a granite basin offering breathtaking views. The hike becomes even more rewarding with such stunning scenery.
  • Wildlife Encounters: Keep an eye out for deer, marmots, and the occasional black bear. Store food properly and be aware of your surroundings to enjoy these encounters responsibly.
  • Peace and Quiet: South Lake provides a true escape from the hustle and bustle, offering tranquility and solitude. Immerse yourself in the silence and savor the unique atmosphere of this special place.

Specific Fishing Locations at South Lake

  • The Inlet: Abundant with hungry trout, especially in the mornings and evenings. Cast lures or flies near the stream’s mouth or troll crankbaits further out for rainbows.
  • The West Shore: Rocky and deep, this side offers excellent opportunities for golden trout and rainbows near drop-offs and structure like logs. Experiment with nymphing, streamers, or small jigs.
  • The East Shore: Shallow and weedy, this area is a haven for brook trout and smaller rainbows. Utilize small lures, flies, or bait fishing near the edge of weed beds.
  • The Dam Area: While restricted for shore fishing, the dam can be productive for rainbows and the occasional golden trout. Cast lures or jigs from designated areas.
  • Hidden Bays: For the adventurous, explore small bays and inlets by kayak or float tube. These often hold hidden gems like larger trout guarding their territories. Be gentle and respectful of the fragile ecosystem.

Check out our Gearlist for the gear we for trips like this

Our Gearlist account lists all of the gear we use. Discover our top picks, where to snag them, and stay informed with our regular updates.

Bonus Tip: Consider Hiring a Local Guide

Enhance your backcountry fishing experience by hiring a local guide. They provide valuable insights on the lake, the best tactics for different fish, and tips for navigating the hike and camping.

South Lake is more than a fishing spot; it’s an immersion in nature, a tribute to the wilderness, and an opportunity to create lasting memories. Pack your rod, a sense of adventure, and a respectful attitude. You might discover your secret fishing hole and have an unforgettable experience in this alpine paradise.