RMNP (Rocky Mountain National Park) High Alpine Lake(s)

Discussion in 'Trip Reports with Pics' started by Jslo, Jun 18, 2013.

  1. This past Sunday (Father's Day), Mrs. Jslo said one of my presents was "fish all day anywhere you want!". So being the opportunist that I tend to be, I laid hold of that gift with both hands.

    I have been wanting to try out a couple high alpine lakes in RMNP, and after some pondering and a few internet searches, landed on Fern Lake. Now at this point I need to 'fess up...I have long been after the somewhat elusive and rare native species of trout in Colorado called a Greenback Cutthroat. The Greenback Cutthroat is the state fish of Colorado. It is widely accepted that RMNP is one of the few habitats of native Greenbacks, and to find lakes that hold these treasures usually takes some work! (Work I was willing to do of course ;) Last note on this fish- there is some debate on where exactly do the last "pure" Greenbacks live, and different places in Colorado have had studies. But none the less, I got high into the wilderness and found a wonderful lake with populations of the Greenbacks. These fish were once thought to be extinct, and now are "only" on the Threatened list. I want to make a quick disclaimer since we are talking about a threatened species, I practice strict catch and release only! All fish pictured in this and any other of my trip reports were safely released, and swam away with vigor. Fishing for Greenbacks is legal and fine.

    Ok, on to the chase! I drove up into RMNP, and parked at the trailhead. Cranking up my GPS I began what ended up being a longer hike than I anticipated! 4.6 miles, with about 1900 ft of elevation gain overall. After about a 1hr45m hike, I arrived at the beautiful high alpine lake (9650ft). Rigged up my rod/reel and went with a #18 BWO. The water in this lake was so clear, so clean. I could see some trout feeding near the shore in different places- and after some delicate and subtle presentations (I had no wading gear, and with all the forest densely close by the lake, casting was a trick!) I landed a few of these BEAUTIFUL fish. At the end of the post, a few pics of the fish and of the lake/hike are attached.

    Amazing day, great hike, and my first Greenback Cutthroat. These fish grow to a max of about 17 inches- the high altitude and short growing season do not facilitate "lunker greenbacks" so to speak. The biggest I caught was about 13 inches, and most were in that range, some smaller. I didn't take pictures of all the fish I caught, but I did manage a few pics. Note the beautiful and vibrant coloring on these fish! Wow.


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    Get Some, cabezon, Skysoldier and 4 others like this.
  2. Nice report, thanks for sharing.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2
    Jslo likes this.
  3. Nice report and pictures! I am flying to CO tomorrow for a friends wedding and hitting up RMNP next week for some Greenback action!
    Jslo likes this.
  4. Beautiful fish, lake and scenery!!
  5. Beautiful color on those fish, looks like a day well spent. Thanks for sharing.
  6. man those are awesome pictures, thanks for posting!!

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