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David Knapp
09-03-2012, 08:30 PM
Being a teacher has definite benefits. Since I had today off, I figured I could do a long day trip yesterday and still have plenty of time to recover. I'm still getting used to the altitude and was not sure how hiking at high elevation would work out.

The hope was to discover a few Greenback Cutts as well as whatever else the area had to offer. Being a holiday weekend, I was afraid we wouldn't find parking but there were still a few spots at the trailhead. Not more than half a mile up the trail, I just couldn't resist the beautiful high gradient stream and had to try my luck. It only took a few seconds to spot a nice little brookie. The water was super clear and the fish were hungry!!! Talk about a recipe for fun...

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The next 100 yards of creek produced some great brook trout action including a couple of fat males that were already putting on their best spawning colors. Brookies have this peculiar trait of being gullible but not always easy and so it was with these fish. As long as I gave them a good drag free presentation they would eat. At the first sign of deception they would refuse my offering.

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At times I had to just pause to take in the scenery. The aspen were already starting to turn high on the slopes above and a few close to the stream were changing colors as well. My camera was put to good use on more than just fish pictures...

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David Knapp
09-03-2012, 08:33 PM
At one particular bridge over the stream, we discovered brook trout trying to jump the small falls as they headed upstream to spawn. It was like watching salmon migrating except they were brookies!!! After standing almost waist deep in the stream trying to photograph the spectacle, I was more than ready to get warm by resuming the hike upstream.

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Another half a mile upstream was a cascades pouring down the hillside. A sign alongside the trail informed me that the stream above the cascades was open to catch and release fishing for Greenback cutthroat! Glancing in a small pool below the cascade, I noticed a fish that looked different from the brookies I had been catching. On the first cast the fish came up and ate I by the colors I knew it was my first Greenback!

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Walking up the side of the mountain produced a few more. On the way back I fished below the cascade and added more as well.

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The trip was definitely a success and now I'm extending my exploring goals further into the backcountry. Next weekend I'm considering a high country lake that requires a hike of several miles. Greenbacks are the goal along with some more brookies! Winter will be here soon so I have to take advantage of the nice weather while it holds...

ijsouth
09-03-2012, 11:23 PM
Great to see that you're having a good time out there. My youngest and I went out there about a month ago. If I might make a suggestion, if you want to get into some Greenbacks without a ton of hiking, look to the Leadville area, specifically the end of Turquoise Lake. The Lake Fork of the Arkansas is Greenback-only above a barrier falls a short distance up the Timberline Lake trail. In the stream it's catch and release; however, if you hike all the way up to Timberline Lake (about 3 miles - it isn't a bad hike), the limit is two. We went up there, and it was my first experience with stillwater fly fishing. My youngest took a 12 inch cutt up there.

David Knapp
09-03-2012, 11:39 PM
Great info there ijsouth, thanks!!! I just might try that in another couple of weekends...

ifish4wildtrout
09-04-2012, 12:18 AM
Awesome report. There are some big brooks out there.

ijsouth
09-04-2012, 12:21 AM
Think Cosby Creek when you get there...a lot of hikers, particularly on the weekends, and the Colorado Trail passes right through the trailhead parking lot. However, much like Cosby, it seems that none of them are there to fish, so you'll probably have the stream to yourself. We didn't see anyone else fishing the lake, either, although it was in the middle of the week. I would suspect that, given that we're into September now, you won't have any problems with crowds.

If you really want to get away from everyone, I would recommend the San Juans, but that's probably a bit of a drive for you.

MadisonBoats
09-04-2012, 07:27 AM
Fabulous scenery and fish David!

David Knapp
09-04-2012, 11:07 AM
Awesome report. There are some big brooks out there.

I was surprised at the size of the fish compared to the size of the stream. In the Smokies the average size would have been a lot smaller...


If you really want to get away from everyone, I would recommend the San Juans, but that's probably a bit of a drive for you.

Ijsouth, I love that area. Too bad it is so far from where I am but I will definitely make it down that way next summer.


Thanks Madisonboats! I am blessed to be able to get out and enjoy it...

bhrt
09-04-2012, 01:32 PM
Awsome photos, thanks for sharing!

It wasn't enough to post pictures of brown's few of us will ever see, now you've added greenbacks to the list!:biggrin:

yonder
09-05-2012, 03:58 PM
I knew you would find the greenbacks.....just a matter of time.....I look forward to some reports from the high altitude lakes......like "arrowhead"........just saying.........keep 'em coming.........:smile:

David Knapp
09-05-2012, 05:38 PM
I knew you would find the greenbacks.....just a matter of time.....I look forward to some reports from the high altitude lakes......like "arrowhead"........just saying.........keep 'em coming.........:smile:

Yonder, I've had my eye on that lake and the others in that high valley ever since my first trip to the area. Doubtful if I will swing it this year but next summer.... :cool:

David Knapp
09-05-2012, 05:42 PM
Awsome photos, thanks for sharing!

It wasn't enough to post pictures of brown's few of us will ever see, now you've added greenbacks to the list!:biggrin:

Thanks! I'm really blessed to experience all of the places I have been able to visit this year...

yonder
09-06-2012, 12:03 PM
Yonder, I've had my eye on that lake and the others in that high valley ever since my first trip to the area. Doubtful if I will swing it this year but next summer.... :cool:

Check out Steve Schweitzer's book and website about fishing the park, if you haven't already....lots of photos, maps and pictures. Lake arrowhead will definitely be a journey......:smile: