Directions to Kinney Lakes

From Stockton

From Highway 99 (just south of Stockton), take Highway 4 East toward Angel's Camp. Continue driving east on Highway 4, pass the town of Angel's Camp to the resort town of Bear Valley. Continue driving past the Bear Valley Resort to Ebbetts Pass. As you summit Ebbetts Pass, look to your left for Kinney Reservoir (it should appear within 2 miles of driving and will be the only major body of water in this area). Once you reach Kinney Reservoir look for a pull-out and park. The trailhead to Upper and Lower Kinney starts at the earthen dam for Kinney Reservoir.


Kinney Lakes

Lahontan Cutthroat caught in  Kinney Lake

Kinney Lakes are a trio of man made lakes that are nestled just below Ebbetts Pass in the Sierra Neveda. Kinney Reservoir is adjacent to Highway 4 and provides the easiest access. This reservoir receives periodic plants of hatchery rainbow and combined with it's drive-up access results in the most angling pressure of the three. Kinney Reservoir may also serve up the ocassional brook trout. But the thing served up consistently in this area is high-wind. It's not uncommon to see good sized white-caps rolling across Kinney Reservoir on summer afternoons.

Floating Upper Kinney

Upper and Lower Kinney

For the price of a few hundred calories, you escape most of the roadside anglers by hiking into either Upper or Lower Kinney Lake. The trail starts by crossing the dam of Kinney Reservoir and following it up-hill. The trail forks after a short distance, and depending on which lake you choose to fish, you'll want to refer to the map of area

Lower Kinney Lake

Lahontan Cutthroats

Besides the remote location and some outstanding high country scenery, Upper and Lower Kinney Lakes offer the angler the chance to catch a few wild Lahontan cutthroat. If you go, I recommend packing in a light-weight float tube. It's a reasonable distance to either Upper or Lower Kinney, and it will get you over the fish. Also, be prepared to fish near the surface or down deep. I like to start with a type-three sinking line and work between four to eight feet. With the streamer style patterns I fish, I'm also a fan of a little quicker, agressive strip technique. Fishing these two lakes can be rewarding with Lahontan's running north of 16 inches.

Lahontan Cutthroat caught in  Kinney Lake

Top and bottom photographs on this page contributed by Eric Herve.