Exploring the Blue Lakes: Day Three

The last day was set aside for Blue Lakes, four alpine lakes in the Blue Lakes WSA. If the Pine Forest Working Group's land-management proposals are approved by the public and the Humboldt County Commission, Nevada's congressional delegation will then be asked to take the proposal to Congress for official designation as part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. The eventual plan is to combine the Blue Lakes WSA with the Alder Creek WSA, add some land from area ranchers in exchange for land that they can use, keep and slightly improve the 18-mile main road in, but close others that aren't necessary, keeping as much wilderness as possible. Here we are, headed to the lakes. And look: Traffic!
See that cut on the mountain over there? Yeah, that's the road. A bit of a challenge, shall we say? Not the type of road you can drive on in winter or spring, unless you have a snowmobile or ATV. And in summer and fall, you'd better have four-wheel drive and a vehicle with a lot of clearance.
That's Onion Reservoir, another lake with trout fishing and camping bordering the Blue Lakes WSA. It's also used for irrigation by a nearby ranch; by agreement, the outflow is shut it down when the lake level has been drawn down to a designated level.
We eventually reached a small parking area, with a public outhouse, then started the mile hike in.
Made it.
Greg caught the first Blue Lakes trout, a tiger, on a No. 18 Parachute Adams. He later caught others on Royal Wulffs.
Jim tries an area near the outlet.
We all caught fish. Here's a small tiger.
And a bigger one.
We fished from about 2 until 5:30. When shadows started to spread over the lake, we called it quits and headed out. As I left, I looked back on that stark mountainside. I had been hoping to see a California bighorn, mule deer, or mountain lion up there, but no such luck.
Then it was back on the road, back to Denio Junction. The sun set as we made our way out.
Next morning, it was back on I-80 to Reno (that's Greg filling up the, uh, gas tank; hint - when you travel in rural Nevada, keep an eye on your gas gauge). Once we got to Reno, I flew United to San Francisco, San Francisco to JFK, then car service to my home north of New York City. Got home at 2 in the morning. A long way to go, perhaps, but you know what? To experience places like Knott Creek or Blue Lakes, I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Deputy Editor Jay Cassell and Greg Moore, Trout Unlimited's communications specialist for TU's Sportsmen's Conservation Projects, spent three days with Jim Jeffress, TU's Nevada backcountry coordinator, exploring the Blue Lakes - Pine Forest Range in the far northwest corner of Nevada, close to the Oregon line.