Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Moonlight Ice Off in the Front Range

We left Denver on Saturday at 7:30pm, and made our way up the hill. The plan was to get to the trailhead, and start hiking with the moonlight. When we hit the road to get to the trailhead there was a fallen tree blocking the road making it impossible to drive to the trailhead. We parked the truck and threw on our packs, and started climbing over the deadfall that littered the road. The hike wasn’t too bad, and the moon was bright when we got above tree line. Daniel the transplant came with us again, and this was his first time backpacking.

We arrived to the lake to find the lake with 95% of the ice still on it with no fishable water. We were a little bummed since our original plan was throw some mouse patterns that night, but we knew we had options for the next day. We set up camp at the first flat spot by the lake and made a small fire with some dead willows. It was a very mild night. We retired for the night hoping the moon would be bright enough to melt the ice on the lake.

 Photo By Jon Hill www.jonathanfhill.com

The next morning Jon was the first to crawl out of the tent to notice the lake opening up. We had fishable water!! We were all excited, and knew the lake was just going to keep opening up more as the day progressed. We drank our coffee, ate a quick bite, and started fishing. I have a love hate relationship with the lower lake. I fished to several cruisers with no luck at all. I used every bit of my knowledge of high fishing high mountain lakes to try to catch a fish from the lower lake, and had no luck. This was my third time fishing this lake, and my third skunk. Jon on the other hand caught a 16’’ fish right off bat. I started making my way to the side of the lake Jon was on since there was more open water, and just as I was getting there Jon’s rod was bent. He knew he had a good fish, and was on a bank without waders. I was wading, so I grabbed my net (the second net I made), and I netted the fatty Jon had on the end of his line.
                                         Photo By Jon Hill www.jonathanfhill.com

After another half hour of flailing with no love from the fishes we headed up to the next lake to see if it had open water. When we left the lower lake it was already 40% open water. We made the quick hike over the ridge to find the upper lake opening up.

This lake was like an aquarium Jon and I both missed fish, but ended up walking away from the lake with no fish. Our next move was check out the stream that flows out of the lake. We all had seen some beaver ponds on google earth, and knew they had potential.
                                         Photo By Jon Hill www.jonathanfhill.com

When we got there it was like shooting fish in barrel, and it didn’t matter what fly you were fishing. The fish were 6’’-12’’, and we saw a bigger fish in the 14’’ range up stream under an impossible bank. After fishing the stream and the pond we made our way back to the lower lake to fish and break camp. Sometimes the fastest way down is on your @$$. I tried to talk Jon into going head first, but he wouldn’t do it.

We hiked out as the weather started to roll in, and we all home before dinner. This was the second hoop I bent, and was net used to land Jon’s fish. I made this net with high mountain lakes, and backpacking light in mind. It is really the perfect size for fishing alpine lakes, and the long handle helps allot. It also weighs next to nothing. My only complain is the the net bag. I'm going to look for a different type of bag to put on this hoop.


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