Trip To The Winds??

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by HiCntrybackPacker, Jan 7, 2014.

  1. HiCntrybackPacker

    HiCntrybackPacker New Member

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    I am from the Pacific Northwest and grew up fishing its waters and am new to this forum. 4 years ago my wife and I moved to Nashville, TN and are slowly making it back to the Northwest. We currently are living in Colorado and I have found the hiking and backcountry opportunities to be fantastic here. I spent much of last summer in the back country of the Southern Colorado Rockies near the New Mexico border. This summer I would like to take a trip to the Winds. Below is my potential trip and I am concerned that my dates are too early for the region due to snow, frozen lakes, etc. Any advice or information is welcomed.

    Dates off from work- Late June-first 2 weeks of July
    Trip Length- 8-12 days
    Destination- Fitzpatrick Wilderness Area; Not sure on the drainage or specific area yet. Also, trailhead is to be decided as well, not sure if we can afford or want to pay the stiff price for a guide to access from the Indian Reservation Side. But all parties are fit and relatively experienced backpackers, willing to go long distances in search of the best fishing so accessing from certain public trailheads in the north or the westside is not completely out of the question.

    My main concern is my available time/dates are just too early in the season for this region. If that is the case no problem, we will just stay in Colorado. Before I go through the process of planning the trip specifics I would love to hear if anyone has been to this area in late June and early July?

    Thanks for any input you may provide!

    Tight Lines,

    Dan
     
  2. dfl

    dfl Active Member

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    Here's what I do when going somewhere new. Check the library for guide books. In a worst case situation I actually buy one. These give me an overview of the area I want to fish, hatch charts, waters, etc. After picking one or several streams/lakes I use the web to find lodges/guides/flyshops and make some calls. Haven't come across one yet that wasn't happy to share their knowledge about weather, streams, whatever. My experience is that, in new waters, a good guide is worth the money. Given the total cost of a trip a guided day is a small price to pay for a successful fishing trip. The working word there is "good". I've had guides that couldn't find a fish in a seafood shop or teach a cat to shit in a sandbox. And I still go places and use techniques I learned from good guides. There is some luck of the draw involved but talk it over with the outfitter you go through and if he understands what you want you have a good chance of getting your money's worth and learning enough to have a successful thip.
     
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  4. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

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    I've spent a lot of time in the Winds, mostly to climb when I was younger and to fish more recently.

    June is too early. Even early July will be mostly under snow in the higher elevations, and the areas that are snow free in July will have some of the densest mosquito populations you will encounter in the Rockies, so go prepared. Throughout that time period, streams will be very high due to runoff. One of the wonderful attributes of the Winds are the high meadows that go for miles and miles, but they are all soggy in the early season (through July, really) and provide extensive breeding grounds for mosquitos.

    August and September are peak seasons in the Winds; nights start to get cold enough to knock back the mozzies. Even the peak seasons won't seem crowded by Colorado or Washington Cascades standards, though, so don't feel the need to avoid that time window to avoid crowds.

    The west side of the range is where most people go to access the mountains. Approaches are modest (for the Winds) and you avoid the reservation. Many folks, myself included, even used west side trailheads when approaching high drainages on the east side of the crest above the reservation.

    There is great fishing throughout the range in both lakes and streams. However, some drainages seem to be dominated by brookies, which are likely to be stunted in lakes. By contrast, the world record golden trout was caught in the Winds. I've caught goldens, rainbows, cutts, and brookies - none of them native, since virtually all of the high country was devoid of fish before stocking in the first half of the 20th century.

    Dick
     
  5. HiCntrybackPacker

    HiCntrybackPacker New Member

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    Dick,

    Thanks for the feedback, my brother who is a Hi-Laker actually told me that you were the guy to talk to. So it was good to read your post. My fear that the weather would not allow for a trip to that region in early July turned out to be true. So I thank you for that. I will just have to go to Plan B.

    Unfortunately, August and September are when my job is the busiest and virtually impossible to get more then a long weekend off. So the Winds will not be in my future until I change careers or get fired!

    Tight Lines,

    Dan
     
  6. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

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    Dan
    October?
    I've had some great times in the Winds in October. It is a little harder to plan in advance, cuz weather could be bad, but when you hit it right October can be a blast. Send me a pm any time if you want more info (or if you want to tell me who your brother is!).
    Dick
     

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