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Colorado Trip Report!


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I just got back yesterday from the Flat Tops Wilderness in Northwest Colorado. It was a great trip, with beautiful scenery, good trout water, and plenty of fish brought to hand. It was a relatively short trip, three days up in the mountains, but it was still awesome!

That country up there is strikingly beautiful, as we saw the first morning as we paddled around in the canoe we had rented from Trappers Lake Lodge. Trappers Lake is one of the bigger natural lakes in the state, located at elevation 9627 in the Flat Tops Wilderness. It's full of cutthroat trout, but a tough lake to fish! That first day I landed one very nice native Colorado River cutthroat out of the lake, and that was it. But we fished in the North Fork of the White, a little stream that flowed near camp mid-day. The trout weren't big there, but we caught plenty of fish, mostly small brookies. The trout were partial to little beadhead nymphs, fished upstream through the riffles. The North Fork in that area is hardly a river, just a little mountain meadow stream, with enough willing brookies to keep you busy whenever you're in the mood. And that was a good thing, because Trappers Lake was consistently tough throughout our stay, so most of our fishing was on the river. And we were able to find reaches of the river that had some much nicer cutthroat and brookies, it just took some hiking into a canyon a little further down the river. Most of our trout were caught on small nymphs, #16 Beadhead Pheasant Tails and Hare's Earsbeing the hot flies, with #18 Green Caddis Pupae nymphs working well too. We'd either fish them under a small Palsa Stick-on indicator, or suspended under a dry.

And speaking of dry fly fishing, that wasn't bad either. When you think of fly fishing for mountain cutthroat and brook trout, you probably think of big attractors dries. Not here! Dry fly fishing in that part of the Flat Tops mid-summer is a small fly game for the most part. #20 Black Gnats worked consistently well when the trout were rising to midges, which was the only significant hatch that we encountered up there. Midge hatches were prolific on both the slow meadow stretches of the streams and the lakes, and really got the trout rising. We did encounter one decent caddis hatch on the North Fork, where I managed to hook and lose on very nice cutthroat on an Elk Hair Caddis. But that was the exception, normally it was all about midges!

Besides fishing, we hiked a lot and made it to the top of an 11,000 +foot mountain- a real tough scramble but with a view that was worth it. It was an amazing trip in an amazing place. If you are interested in reading more about it and seeing some pictures of the scenery and fish, check out my blog post here.

http://fishingintheozarks.blogspot.com/2011/08/colorado-trip.html

If you want to read more about it and see some scenery and fish pictures, check out my blog entry here.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Excellent report. Great area. Did you see many elk? Have some buddies going in the south side at Budges in Sept pack in and camp near doe creek.

“If a cluttered desk is a sign, of a cluttered mind, of what then, is an empty desk a sign?”- Albert Einstein

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Excellent report. Great area. Did you see many elk? Have some buddies going in the south side at Budges in Sept pack in and camp near doe creek.

We didn't see any elk, but lots of mule deer. The first night I woke up at about 3 AM, and heard something big crashing through the brush just feet from my tent. Of course in that neck of the woods, your first thought is an emphatic "I sure hope that isn't a bear!" It wasn't, but when I unzipped the tent to look (bear spray in hand) there was a beautiful 10 point buck mule deer standing about 15 feet from my tent. We saw him milling around in sight of camp several other times throughout our stay. We did see lots of elk sign and were expecting to see them, but we never did encounter any.

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