Flat Tops Fishing Report (10/02/13)
Flat Tops Rivers and Streams:
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 flows on the North Fork have slowed over the last two weeks and temperatures are dropping. The action has been slow early on most days, but picks up considerably later in the day. When temperatures warm later in the afternoon, we’re seeing some nice BWO hatches. Anglers are reporting success with BH golden-ribbed hare’s ears (#14-#18), stimulators (#12-#14), Ugly Duckling BWOs (#16-#20) and foam beetles (#14-#16). You’re most likely to see success by focusing on the deep holes with slow to moderate current, particularly along banks where there is some structure.
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 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.
Stimulators (#14-#16) and PMDs (#16-#20) are producing the best results on the South Fork. BH golden-ribbed hare’s ears (#16-#20) and BH super flash pheasant tails (#16-20) are your best options if the fish aren’t rising for dry flies.
The Middle Fork of Marvine Creek is a great smaller fishery that offers amazing scenery along with excellent fishing opportunities within the Flat Tops Wilderness Area. The trail is heavily traveled by hunters and horses this time of year, but you’re not likely to encounter many anglers. Marvine Creek is fishing very well right now. Orange and yellow stimulators (#14-#18) and Ugly Duckling PMDs (#16-#20) are consistently producing excellent results.
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…
Nighttime temperatures are beginning to drop though, so we expect the waters to cool down in the next couple of weeks, which should increase feeding activity. Be sure to make appropriate preparations for changing weather conditions.
Trappers Lake offers a great opportunity to land a large native cutthroat. The cuts are cruising the shores and shallows at Trappers. The trick now is to get one to take an artificial pattern given the large amount of natural food available. Your best options for dry flies are Ugly Duckling PMDs (#16-#20) and Ugly Duckling BWOs (#16-#20). BH olive woolly buggers (#10-#14), BH orange and green scuds (#14-#16), foam ants (#14-#16) and foam beetles (#14-#16) are good bets as well.
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.
This time of year, Lake of the Woods affords an excellent chance to land a large brook trout if you’re willing to work for it. Spawning brookies often stack up in the inlet in the fall, some as large as 18 inches. The hitch is that reaching the inlet requires negotiating the treacherous surrounding deadfall, which remains from the 2002 Big Fish Fire.
Shamrock Lake and Mirror Lake offer beautiful settings to pull in brookies all day long. Shamrock and Mirror are still your best opportunities for lake fishing in the area. The hike to reach these two lakes is not easy, but Ripple Creek Lodge does offer pack trips to both. Virtually any dry caddis or mayfly pattern (#18-#24) is bound to bring brook trout to the surface. If catching a mess of brookies and frying them up for dinner is something you enjoy, these two lakes are ideal.
This will be our final report for 2013. Be sure to check back with us in the late spring of 2014.