Sunday August 23, 2015
Flat Tops Fishing Report (08/21/15)
We’ve had some warm and windy weather of late, but the fall is just around the corner. It’s tough to beat the spectacular beauty of fall in the Flat Tops. It’s a great time of year to book a stay at Ripple Creek Lodge. The kids are back in school and the hunters haven’t yet arrived.
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. We encourage catch and release of all cutthroats. Closer to Trappers Lake, the fishing for brook trout is generally excellent. If you like to eat your catch, brookies are a great choice.
We’re still seeing some nice afternoon caddis, midge and mayfly hatches. Caddis patterns (#14-#20) have consistently proven effective dries as have Ugly Duckling-Adams (#18-#22) and BWOs (#18-#20). BH red copper johns (#18-#22), BH hare’s ears (#14-#18) and garden hackle (#16-#20) are your best nymph options. Anglers continue to report that they’re hooking into some very large fish by focusing on the deeper holes, particularly along banks or where there is some underwater 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.
Anglers continue to report success on the South Fork, though we’re hearing of more large fish on the North Fork. Caddis patterns (#14-#18), irresistible Adams (#14-#16) and PMDs (#16-#20) are producing the best results as far as dry flies. BH zug bugs (#16-#20) are the way to go if you choose to use a nymph pattern or a dry/dropper rig.
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 or just enjoy having fish rise to dry flies all day long, Marvine Creek is the place to go. You really can’t go wrong with most of your standard dry patterns.
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…
We’re getting mixed reports depending on the lake and the weather conditions. The cutthroats are hanging out in the deeper water in most of the lakes, but the brook trout remain active on the surface, particularly early and late in the day.
Trappers Lake offers a great opportunity to land a large native cutthroat. We’re hearing mixed reports from Trappers. Nighttime temperatures are beginning to drop. If that trend continues, Trappers will pick up as the cutthroats move to feed higher in the water column and closer to the shore. 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). 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.
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 is slow. 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.
Get in touch and let us know how you’re doing on the lakes!