Wednesday August 13, 2014
Flat Tops Fishing Report (08/13/14)
We’re looking at a stormy week, but the forecast is for a beautiful weekend. A slight chill of fall is in the evening air, which means prime fall fishing is just around the corner.
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.
Regular rains have kept flows steady and water temperatures cool. We’re still seeing some nice afternoon caddis, midge and PMD hatches and the hoppers are out in abundance. Anglers are having good success with larger dry flies—stimulators (#12-#16), ugly duckling Adams (#14-#16), elk hair caddis (#14-#16) and hoppers (#12-#16). BH red copper johns (#18-#20) and BH zug bugs (#16-#20) have been the most consistent nymph pattern. Anglers are hooking into some fish in the 20” plus range by focusing on the deeper holes, 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 (#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.
Like the North Fork, the South Fork is seeing some of the effects of all of the recent rain. Your approach on the South Fork should be similar to the North Fork—larger dry flies are your best bet. Stimulators (#12-#16), Goddard caddis (#14-#16), elk hair caddis (#14-#16) and hoppers (#12-#16) are can’t miss patterns. For droppers, we’re hearing that BH golden-ribbed hare’s ears (#16-#20) and BH zug bugs (#16-20) are your best options.
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. Parts of the Marvine Trail will likely be slippery and muddy, so plan accordingly.
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.
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…
The Flat Tops Lakes seem to be slowing down a bit. We’re getting mixed reports depending on the lake and the weather conditions. We’ve seen frequent late afternoon thunderstorms, so be sure to make appropriate preparations for changing weather conditions.
Trappers Lake offers a great opportunity to land a large native cutthroat. Most of the reports from Trappers Lake over the past week have been mediocre at best. Fish in the high lakes tend to get picky this time of year and that’s definitely what we’re seeing at Trappers. From the shore, your best bet is to try to hit a late afternoon caddis hatch. From watercraft, try a variety of streamers and scuds.
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.
Skinny Fish Lake is accessed via the Skinny Fish Trail (#1813). All of the reports from Skinny Fish Lake have been that the fishing is very slow. Anglers who are having any success are doing so with nymphs and some terrestrials. Try a BH pheasant tail (#18-#22), a BH copper john (#18-#22) or a Chernobyl ant (#16-#22).
Shamrock Lake and Mirror Lake are beautiful lakes that provide great opportunities for brook trout on dry flies all day long. Both lakes are accessed via the Mirror Lake Trail (#1821). Right now, Shamrock and Mirror offer 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 caddis or mayfly pattern (#18-#24) is bound to bring brook trout 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 this week are that the fishing has slowed. 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.
We received reports this week that anglers with conventional gear are doing very well in the evenings at Island Lakes using Rooster Tails.
Get in touch and let us know how you’re doing on the lakes!