Wednesday July 2, 2014
Flat Tops Fishing Report (07/2/14)
Flat Tops Rivers and Streams:
If you’re looking to escape the crowds and enjoy some fishing over July 4th weekend, the Flat Tops are your ideal destination. The action on all of the streams and lakes in the area has been red hot.
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 has been fishing extremely well for the last several days. Afternoon caddis and mayfly hatches continue and we’re starting to see some hoppers. Dry-dropper rigs are your best bet. BH hare’s ears (#18-#20), prince nymphs (#18-#20) and zug bugs (#16-#20) have all been effective trailing behind hoppers (#10-#12), stimulators (#16-#18), elk hair caddis (#18-#20) and BWOs (#18-#22).
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. 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 through all parts of the day. 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 royal coachmen (#16-#20) have all proven effective dry flies. For droppers, we suggest a WD40 (#20-#22), BH pheasant tail (#18-#20) or a tungsten BH birds nest (#16-#20).
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 expect big cuts to continue cruising the shallows for the next two or three weeks, especially early and late in the day, offering excellent opportunities for anglers fishing from the shore as well as those in watercraft. Anglers are reporting success with green wooly buggers (#14-#16) with a small split shot. When the wind dies down late in the afternoon, expect caddis and mayfly hatches. You’re likely to see some action on elk hair caddis (#16-#20), stimulators (#16-#18) and BWOs (#18-#22).
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.
Get in touch and let us know how you’re doing on the lakes!