Into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Cedar, Sep 5, 2012.

  1. Over Labor Day I finally made it into the Alpine lakes Wilderness coming from the Eastside. The initial hike in was right around 10 miles with about 5500 feet of elevation gain. We got a late start on day one so we had to camp in a ghost forest at about 6000'. That was truly an epic camping spot. The next day we started the hike into the lake. A faulty GPS unit led us the wrong way. Fortunately we only went the wrong way for a mile or two. Unfortunately we descended 1000' in that time. After we figured out that we were going into the wrong valley we finally climbed back up to 7100' and made our way up to the lake. We were rewarded with picturesque alpine meadows and some of the best fishing I have ever had. The lake was full of fat bright Westslope Cutthroat. The average size was about 12" which surprised me a bit since the lake was so high. The biggest was around 16", enough to a serious bend in a three weight. I also was able to land what to the best of my ability (judging by the marked color difference from the cutts and the white tipped fins) were several golden trout. All in all we did about 22 miles with 7000 feet of elevation gain. Next time I'll pack lighter than 65lbs. photo(1).JPG photo(5).JPG photo(9).JPG photo(10).JPG photo(11).JPG photo(12).JPG photo(4).JPG photo(2).JPG photo(3).JPG

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  2. Sorry about the photo quality....iphone.
  3. nice. interested to hear the group chime in on the id of those fish. they sure seem like westys to me. thanks for posting.
  4. Most of the other fish that I caught were westies but they didn't have the white on the tips of the fins. I'm not a fish expert by any means....I just try to match photos. I know that this is a Golden and it looks very similar to me. Either way the fish were amazing.

    JesseCFowl likes this.
  5. I would ay you found some Goldens, the white edge on the fins is a give away. It is not present on Cuts to my knowledge. Awesome pics, great fish!
  6. The top two look like cutts the bottom one is a golden.
  7. 65#? !!! ? You throw a couple bricks in your pack for good measure? With all the super light backpacking gear these days, there's no reason to carry that much weight. Unless this was some kind of training exercise. Not to mention, that was a lot of elevation gain! Looks like a nice hike. How were the bugs?
  9. Seriously! Anything over 30lbs and I'm not a happy hiker. Did you have a case of beer in there?
  10. Damn that trip sounds like a helluva lot of fun! I am gonna have to talk my buddies into doing that next summer. Very cool pics!
  11. The problem with all of the ultralight stuff is the cost. I spent $200 bucks on a tent and that was hard for me. I can't imagine spending $400 on one. I'd rather spend the money on a sweet new rod or some other thing that I really don't need.....and I packed a ridiculous amount of food that I really didn't need. It came in handy though. I came across a few guys at the lake that still had 15 miles to go to get out and they were running low. I was able to give them three of my four pounds of trail mix to help them out and to seriously lighten my load. The elevation gain was brutal for the first three miles. After than it was just a slow grind for the rest of the trip. The bugs weren't too bad. I didn't have to bust out the mosquito netting and I only have a couple bites as I type this.
  12. Sounds like a great trip and thanks for the pics! Lotsa members on here can help you lighten your backpack with little expense. I use a 2lb tent that cost me the same price as yours.
  13. Yeah baby! You didn't mention how many days you were out. That's the kind of load I was lugging up into them thar hills for a week back in the good(?) old days. But heck, that's nothing.

    From an article in the 'Times...
    For many years, the Hoh Valley was home to John Huelsdonk, "The Iron Man of the Hoh," a Bunyanesque figure who shot more cougars, cut more firewood and carried heavier loads than any man who had ever lived - to hear the early settlers tell it. Around the turn of the century, Huelsdonk reportedly came upon a survey party while carrying a cast-iron stove he had bought in Forks. Asked if it wasn't awfully heavy, Huelsdonk reportedly replied that the stove wasn't bad "but the 100-pound sack of flour in the oven shifted around quite a bit."

    I did invest in some good gear back then; a palatial Stephenson 3R tent (4 lbs) and Warmlight down bag (4 lb summer bag converts to 6.5 lb winter expedition bag; weights include the down-filled air mattress vs foam pad or Thermarest) were awesome for winter mountaineering and both could convert to be used in desert heat at the lightest weight possible. My recent backcountry fishing day trips with an Outcast Trinity prompted my buddy to get a "backpackable" 'toon and now he wants to do some overnight stuff before the season ends. With a bad hip I'm concerned about the weight of overnight gear (I think of Walter Brennan with every step). My Stephenson tent still works great and bivvies or his Megamid are options. But my body is getting old and I am seriously considering a shelling out the $460 for a Clark NX-250 Jungle hammock to use anywhere below timberline with my Warmlight bag or my Early Winters bag with a Space Blanket in the lining that together ought to weigh pretty close to 6lbs.
    Flyfishing Dad and Patrick Gould like this.
  14. Back in the day I weighed about 120 pounds and carried 50+ pounds. Going lightweight was a revelation. When I got down to 30 pounds I discovered that backpacking was fun again.
  15. I hike into the Alpine lakes wilderness when I was in my forties, It was my first big back packing trip since I was a kid. It's a hell of a march and if I did it again I'd take more time. One thing to remember is they only allow a limited # of campers in at a time and you have to get a permit from the ranger station. That being said it is by far my favorite hike I have ever done. It's other worldly, and if your able you should do it once. We came in from the Icicle Creek side and it's about 11 miles to Leprecan lake where we set up camp. The cuts would hit anything buggy and the fishing was good. Lots of goats and little peak to scamble up,it's an absolutely jewel and should be treated as such. I had a borrowed ill fitting pack, way to much gear and a full sized fly rod. Even with all of that it was well worth the effort.

    but treat with reverance
  16. ImageUploadedByTapatalk1346998937.603455.jpg

    Here's a cut with white tips
    Flyfishing Dad likes this.
  17. but that's a coastal cutt with white tips. no question there. question centers on the difference between a westy and a golden, right?
  18. ImageUploadedByTapatalk1347002063.854974.jpg

    Is this a coastal
  19. caddisbow.JPG
    i'd say no, but i'm not sure what it is myself. looks like a cutt-bow with westy genes. but i'm no expert. the spots are very spaced ahead of the tail like a westy, but otherwise it reminds me of some wild bows i catch regularly. still, the red band is not very pronounced, and the white fin tips are there also. not sure what you've got there, but it's lovely.
  20. on the other hand i caught this very dark bow from a log jam on the same stream and couldn't help noticing it's fins.

    Flyfishing Dad likes this.

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