When I was a kid, Grizzly Adams was one of my favorite TV shows. I dreamed of hiking way up in the Rockies and Alpine fishing for enormous trout. I had visions of high mountains, picturesque sunrises and misty lakes and rivers teeming with huge fish.
Well, now that I've been around in the alpine back country, I've discovered that most high elevation wilderness lakes and streams don’t really have the huge fish I dreamed about as a kid. The truth is, they tend to be on the smaller side. Especially where these lakes have brook trout, high elevation fish very often tend to stunt due to overpopulation, short summer growing seasons, less forage, and relatively low predation.
This is not to say it isn’t worth the trip. First and foremost, the reason to do one of this trips is to go on an adventure. It’s about the experience of becoming integrated in the great outdoors. Secondly, you’ll catch a lot of fish. Often times, these are catch and keep areas due to the over population. Fresh Brook Trout for dinner, lake side, sun setting over the mountains….yes please! There are also occasionally some reasonably large fish to be found, but what could be more magical than having an entire alpine lake all to yourself?
Doing research and sometimes just being mobile enough to try lots of places can result in some great fish. Be sure to go prepared at the right time, with the right gear, maps or GPS, and of course the right flies and you'll be glad you made the extra effort to get into the back country. Stock up on your scuds and chironomids. Personally, I would take my streamer rod as well and load up on some small streamers. No need to wear yourself out throwing large, articulated streamers up here. Sculpin and Minnow imitations will do fantastic.
Winter will be over soon enough. Scout out some potential areas on the internet and starting planning you Alpine adventures!!!
Tight Lines and Screaming Drags!