Colorado’s high country fishing season has started. On my day off I went on one of my favorite hikes to Missouri Lakes to check out some high country fishing in the backyard–the Holy Cross Wilderness. While I was at 11,600 ft., I was still surprised to find a large amount of snow on the trail and ice still floating on a third of the uppermost lake. At the this lake, I could still see loads of cutthroat trout, but they were pinned to the bottom and hard to coax into eating my fly. Things are rapidly changing in this environment, however; reports say a week ago this particularly lake was still completely frozen over! The fish seemed much more willing to participate in the lower lakes, where brook trout were eating off the surface and chasing streamers almost every cast.
For me, casting to trout in a crystal clear alpine lake on my day off is a great opportunity to leave the crowds on the local rivers and combine two of my favorite hobbies: hiking with my dog and fly fishing. If you plan on exploring Colorado’s high country, plan on breaking out your two or three weight rod and packing a spool of tippet and a small box of standard high-altitude flies. My favorite are: ants, griffith gnats, small elk hair caddis, and (in case they are not eating off the surface) small olive slump busters. Storms are frequent visitors in the afternoon, and lightning can be dangerous above treeline, so plan on starting early. You might even have the place to yourself…Nash and I did!