Wednesday May 27, 2015
Flat Tops Fishing Report (05/27/15)
The conditions on the rivers and streams in the Flat Tops are improving and the ice is coming off the lakes. We’re expecting some more unsettled weather over the next three or four days, but warm weather is expected early next week.
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 North Fork along County Road 8 is still running very high and cloudy and wading is not encouraged. The conditions are challenging. Your best bet in this stretch is to throw large streamers. The water upstream from the Himes Peak campground is not at cloudy and the conditions are slightly more favorable.
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 conditions on the South Fork have improved. Flows are slightly above ideal, but the water is clear and the fish are hungry. We are seeing stone fly and blue-winged olive hatches and olive wooly buggers are producing steady action.
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.
Marvine Creek is also running slightly above ideal flows, but the water is crystal clear. If you’re look to fill a pan full of brookies for dinner, Marvine Creek is a wise choice. We’re seeing especially good results with BWO emergers (#16-#18), various red midges (#18-#20) and olive BH wooly buggers (#12-#14)
Flat Tops Lakes:
At the time of this report, we haven’t been able to obtain information on any of the Flat Tops lakes. Most remain frozen or inaccessible due to remaining snow on the trails. As soon as we’re able to gather any information, we’ll let you know.
Trappers Lake offers a great opportunity to land a large native cutthroat. The ice is off Trappers and the fishing is outstanding. Black leeches, wooly buggers and orange soft hackles are recommended for fishing below the surfaces and midges are generally effective dry flies this time of year.
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.
Big Fish Lake is reached using 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. Big Fish Lake is open and the early reports are that the fishing is excellent.
Skinny Fish Lake is accessed via the Skinny Fish Trail (#1813). Skinny Fish is generally one of the first lakes to open up for the season and the fishing is excellent as soon as the ice is off. We haven’t yet received any reports from Skinny Fish this season, but it’s a good bet that the ice is off.
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). The Mirror Lake Trail still has significant snow drifts as well as downed trees, so we don’t have any reports from either Shamrock Lake or Mirror Lake so far this season.