Fish Sniffer Digital Edition Issue 3624 Nov 10-24 2017 - Page 16

14 Nov. 10 - 24, 2017 MAP FEATURE VOL.36 • ISS. 24 Kristy Carpenter shows off a quality rainbow that she landed while trolling at French Meadows in late September. F Photo by MIKE CARPENTER. French Meadows Trout: The Long, Winding Drive Is Worth It rench Meadows Reservoir is located only 36 miles northeast of Foresthill, California, but it’s one of the longest 36 miles you will travel. The trip up and down the Mosquito Ridge Road has more curves that any other road I have ever been on. The long drive to and from the lake de- ters many anglers from going to the res- ervoir and the other nearby lake, Hell Hole Reservoir. But the rewards of traveling up and down the road as it winds its way through the canyons of the Middle Fork of the American River and its tributaries are well worth it, for French Meadows features some superb fishing for rainbow and brown trout. “I think it is one of California’s most underrated trout fisheries, espe- cially in the beginning and end of the season,” said Craig Newton at Willfish Bait and Tackle in Auburn. The lake is also known to some- times “fry” the brakes of those trail- ering boats to and from the beautiful lake. My first trip to the lake was in June of 1994 with the late Allen Bons- lett, the former publisher of the Fish Sniffer. We fished the lake before attending a wedding in the French Meadows Campground. After launching his boat, Allen and I trolled for a couple of hours. The fishing wasn’t hot that day, but we did catch four rainbows while trolling with Cripplures. After the wedding, we headed back to Sacramento down the Mosquito Ridge Road. About half way down the road, his brakes, which he just repaired a month before, went out on him. It was a terrifying drive down Drew Bundy holds a rainbow and brown trout that he hooked while trolling with his dad, Rob, at French Meadows in May. Photo by ROB BUNDY. Fish Sniffer editor Cal Kellogg landed these quality brown trout while fishing at French Meadows Reservoir. Photo by CAL KELLOGG, Fish Sniffer Staff. the rest of the way to Foresthill as he worked the gears of his Subur- ban to slow down on the curves so he wouldn’t have to press his foot on the brakes. Finally, we made it to Foresthill and he stopped the vehicle for about an hour so the brakes had a chance to cool down. With what remained of the brakes, Bonslett was able to make it to my house in Sacramento and then back to his home in Galt. He took his Subur- ban into the car dealer the next day and found out that he had to get a new brake job. Since that time, I have only shore fished at the lake and found excellent success on browns or rainbows each time. My best trip was an October after- noon adventure that produced some of the fastest trout fishing I’ve ever ever experienced on any Sierra Nevada lake. On the advice of Cal Kellogg, Fish Sniffer editor, I hiked along the rocky shoreline to fish the edge of a rocky shelf. For two hours, I found non-stop action on beautiful holdover rainbows, catching one fish after another in the 12 to 15 inch range while tossing out PowerBait, worms and Kastmasters. I kept five fish and released a bunch more. The best thing about the trip was that I was the only one fishing or doing anything on the lake. There were no other anglers, boat- ers, hikers, forest rangers, or any other souls anywhere around the lake that I could see. In fact, it was kind of eerie having the entire lake to myself. Each fall you can find top-notch