Wednesday July 30, 2014 comments

Flat Tops Fishing Report (07/30/14)

Flat Tops Rivers and Streams:

We’ve had some heavy rain over the last few days, but the forecast is for a beautiful, sunny weekend.  Stop by the lodge and say hello.  We’ll point you to where the fish are biting.

The North Fork of the White River produces some very nice cutthroats, rainbows and whitefish; many in the 16-20 inch range. Downstream, toward Meeker, 24 inchers are not uncommon. Closer to Trappers Lake, the fishing for brookies is generally excellent. 

The North Fork of the White River continues to be very productive.  We’re seeing hatches throughout the day.  For dry patterns, we suggest elk hair caddis (#16-#18), parachute Adams (#16-#18), PMDs (#16-#20) and stimulators (#14-#18).  In the morning hours, a dry-dropper rig is a good choice.  We recommend trailing a nymph with enough weight to reach a good depth—BH copper johns (#18-#20) and BH hare’s ears (#18-#20) are consistently producing good results.

Access on the North Fork is somewhat limited, but the public water within the forest boundaries is not heavily fished. Be sure to respect private property boundaries. Most are well-marked.  

The South Fork of the White River offers more public access than the North Fork, especially for those willing to do a little walking. The South Fork Trail (#1827) follows the river for about 24 miles.  The trail is an easy to moderate walk and is well-traveled by hikers and horseback riders, but most fisherman don’t venture more than a few hundred yards from the campground, so don’t be deterred if the trailhead parking lot is busy. 

The South Fork is also fishing very well.  Stonefly hatches have slowed, but the afternoon caddis and mayfly hatches continue.  We’re getting reports of success with both dry-dropper and dry-dry rigs.  BWOs (#18-#20), parachute Adams (#16-#20), red quills (#16-#20) and elk hair caddis (#16-#20) have all proven effective dry flies.  For droppers, we suggest WD40s (#20-#22), BH pheasant tails (#18-#20) and RS-2s (#16-#20).

Marvine Creek is accessed via the Marvine Trail (#1823).  The parking lot at the trail head is often full of vehicles and horse trailers, but the creek receives minimal fishing pressure. 

If you’re look to fill a pan full of brookies for dinner, Marvine Creek is a wise choice.  You really can’t go wrong with most of your standard dry patterns.  The fish are really attacking the surface.

Big Fish Creek runs along the Big Fish Trail (#1819).  The Big Fish Trailhead is on the left as you enter the Himes Peak Campground.  The campground is on the Trappers Lake Road 6 miles from the intersection with County Rd 8.  The trail sees some heavy use in the summer months, primarily by horseback riders.  The creek is narrow and brushy in many places, but negotiating the brush is worth the effort as the creek holds some surprisingly large rainbows and cutthroats as well as plenty of brook trout.

Big Fish is fishing well, particularly in the morning hours.  Anglers are reporting success with wooly buggers (#14), red BH WD40 (#20) and some terrestrials (#14-#16). 

Flat Tops Lakes:

Over 100 fishable lakes are just a hike or trail ride away from Ripple Creek Lodge.  Here’s what we’re hearing about some of the gems…

All of the Flat Tops Lakes have been on fire for most of the last two weeks and we don’t see any reason why that won’t continue for at least the next two. 

Trappers Lake offers a great opportunity to land a large native cutthroat.  We continue to get reports of huge days on Trappers.  The cuts are feeding in the shallow water, especially early and late in the day, but we expect them to start spending more time in deeper, cooler water if the weather warms.  We’re seeing consistent success with golden ribbed hare's ears (#14-#16), elk hair caddis (#16-#18), renegades (#14-#16), pheasant tails (#16-#18), Adams (#16-#18), blue duns (#16-#20), light cahills (#16-#18) and quill gordons (#16-#18).

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the special regulations for Trappers.  Only artificial flies and lures are permitted and the number and size of cutthroats in possession is restricted, but keep all of the brookies you’d like!  The lake sits within the boundaries of the Flat Tops Wilderness, so motorized vehicles and watercraft are prohibited. 

The reports from Skinny Fish Lake are excellent.  Skinny Fish Lake is accessed via the Skinny Fish Trail (#1813).  Anglers are reporting success with orange stimulators (#12-#16), royal coachman (#14-#16) and irresistibles (#14-#18).   Trailing a prince nymph (#16-#20) or a scud (#16-#20) behind a hopper (#10-#14) has also proven effective.

Shamrock Lake and Mirror Lake offer beautiful settings to pull in brookies all day long.  Both lakes are accessed via the Mirror Lake Trail (#1821).  Virtually any caddis or mayfly patterns (#18-#24) are bound to bring fish to the surface.

Wall Lake offers an excellent opportunity to do some fishing while enjoying a spectacular view.  Wall Lake can be accessed via the Wall Lake Trail (#1818).  The reports from the lake are also mixed.  You’re most likely to have success with caddis patterns (#16-#20) early and late in the day.  A guided pack trip from Ripple Creek Lodge is the perfect way to enjoy Wall Lake.