Flat Tops Fishing Report (8/04/16)

Thursday August 4, 2016 comments

Flat Tops Fishing Report (8/04/16)

It’s time to take a few days, head to higher ground and escape the heat.  The bite is on in the lakes and streams in the Flat Tops.  Book your stay at Ripple Creek Lodge today!

.Flat Tops Rivers and Streams:

The White River is often overlooked by anglers due in part to the perception that the best fishing opportunities require access to private property. Significant stretches of the White, both above and below the confluence of the North and South forks, do require access to private land; however, the perception that no public water exists is far from accurate. Below the confluence, several public access areas have been established by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Above the confluence, many miles of public access is available on both the North and South Forks within the White River National Forest.

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. 

We continue to see great action on dry flies on the North Fork. We’re seeing consistent, incredibly clear flows and fish of all sizes are feeding aggressively on the surface. We recommend stimulators (#14-#18), elk hair caddis (#16-#18), trico duns and spinners (#18-#20), PMDs (#16-#20) and various terrestrials (#10-#16).

Access on the North Fork is restricted in some stretches, 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 South Fork is also running crystal clear with nearly perfect flows. Anglers are seeing success with a wide variety of flies. As always, a good presentation is where the money is. If you choose to go with dry flies, we suggest PMDs (#16-20), parachute Adams (#16-#20), red quills (#16-#18), stimulators (#14-#18), terrestrials (#12-#16) and tricos (#18-#20). If you opt to work below the surface, BH hare’s ears (#16-#18), BH prince nymphs (#16-#18) and copper Johns (#14-#18) are solid choices.

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. The trout on Marvine Creek aren’t especially selective feeders this time of year. The fishing pressure is minimal and the bugs are abundant. If it’s in your fly box, give it a shot. A good presentation is likely to draw a strike.

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…

The reports from Trappers Lake this week are generally that the fishing has slowed. Those that are having success are doing so from watercraft later in the day. This time of year, the cuts head for deeper, cooler water, which makes fishing from the shore especially challenging. 

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 action at Lake of the Woods remains slow. You might see some success early and late in the day. In the middle of the day, we suggest you find a stream. 

Big Fish Lake is accessed using the Big Fish Trail #1819. The reports from Big Fish Lake are a mixed bag. Big Fish is something of an enigma. When the bite is on, it’s on. When it’s not, it’s definitely not. If you’re fortunate to arrive when the bite is on, you’re likely to hook into a sizeable cutthroat.

Skinny Fish Lake is accessed via the Skinny Fish Trail #1813.  The reports from Skinny Fish Lake are mixed.     We’ve definitely seen a slow in the action this week.  Anglers are reporting sporadic 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 at times.

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.

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 are also mixed.  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.

If you’ve been fishing the Flat Tops recently, get in touch and let us know how you did.