Saturday June 14, 2014
Flat Tops Fishing Report (6/12/14)
The last of the remaining snow in the Flat Tops is melting in a hurry and all of the lakes are open and accessible. Now is the ideal time to book a stay at Ripple Creek Lodge and enjoy some mountain lake fishing as the ice is off and the fish are feeding aggressively.
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 is still running high, but the water is clear and the flows from the spring runoff are steadily decreasing. Over the next two weeks, we expect conditions to improve considerably. Right now, we’re seeing the most success with stone fly patterns (#10-#14), BH golden-ribbed hare’s ear (#18-#22) and BH pheasant tail (#18-#20).
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 water on the South Fork is running clear, but the flows are still above normal. Wading can be very hazardous in some sections. Your best patterns on the South Fork are elk hair caddis (#16-#18), stimulators (#14-#16), PMX (#10-#12) and zug bugs (#16-#20).
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…
Trappers Lake is now open and fishing very well, especially late in the day when the cutthroats are feeding heavily in the shallows. This is a great time of year for fishing from the shore. We’re seeing the most success using scud patterns (#14-#16), renegades (#16-#18) elk hair caddis (#16-#18) and Adams (#14-#16)
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.
Access Lake of the Woods via the Trappers Lake Road and Lake Of The Woods Trail #2263. The ice is off. The lake and the trail are both open. Reports are that the fishing is excellent. The fish are feeding very aggressively both on and below the surface especially early and late in the day. You’re likely to have some success with nearly any small dry flies as well as scuds and streamers. Some surprisingly large brook trout are pulled from Lake of the Woods.
Big Fish Lake and Skinny Fish Lake are both open and reportedly fishing well. Big Fish Lake is accessed using the Big Fish Trail #1819. Skinny Fish Lake is accessed via the Skinny Fish Trail #1813.