Crystal Basin Review
Crystal Basin is located in the Eldorado National Forest, roughly 20 miles outside of Placerville on US Highway 50. To get there, take the Ice House Road and wind your way up hill.
There are numerous small streams with great fishing and camping in the area. One of my latest discoveries is Silver Creek. I need to thank the folks over at the Sierra Trout Masters blog for guiding me there. Last I checked, the blog is shutdown, but I hope they return soon. In the interim, I’m going to miss their posts.
You can hit Silver Creek from a number of locations. About seven miles into your drive from Highway 50, you’ll arrive at Peavine Ridge Road. That will lead you to Camino Reservoir and the section of the creek that flows below the dam. Park near the Jay Bird Powerhouse at the end of the gate. Follow the unimproved road to the dam, and depending on the time of year, down to the creek. Streamflow is controlled by the Eldorado Irrigation District, so check with them (visit the FERC Project 184 page of their website) prior to targeting this location.
If the creek below Camino is running high, head back to Ice House Road and turn left. Another five miles will put you at the Silver Creek campground. This section flows past the mostly unimproved campground and down hill. Work your way past the campground and you’ll find some decent pools that hold some surprisingly large trout. Keep going and the stream turns into more of a mountain stream with tumbling rapids and riffles. The fishing gets easier the further down you go with less brush and trees.