High lake monsters.

ianpadron

Active Member
Thought about putting this in the trip reports, but the location is going with me to the grave...so general forum it is. Hope you all enjoy:

Cool story behind these mondo hook-jawed, man-eating Cutthroat trout:

IMG_20210730_101907_258.jpg IMG_20210730_101907_291.jpg

A couple years ago on a backcountry hunt I wasn't seeing any deer, so I focused my spotting scope on this glorified puddle a long way off at the base of a snowfield. It literally doesn't have a name. I was shocked to see the tell tale ripples of fish sipping bugs on the surface. "Huh, that's crazy." Back to looking for deer.

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But as my love affair with trout fishing has been rekindled, I started thinking about that puddle more and more...wonder what kind of trout? How big? How many?

Well, those that know me, know exactly what happened next. A man needs answers.

Loaded the pups and gear up for an overnighter into the unknown. 4 hrs of bug infested hell to get back into the basin at 7200 feet, but we made it.

Took a few minutes up in the rocks while rigging to spot for fish and sure enough...GIANT fish cruising in about a foot of water, just crushing bugs.

Oh man...felt like I was dreaming.

Took a few minutes to enjoy the calm before the storm and then got right to it. Fish after fish, many of them 16-18" and PISSED. If you told baby Jesus to draw up the most perfect cutthroat trout...well, these are those fish. A match made in heaven for a 3 wt rod and click pawl reel, my ears are still ringing!

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A truly epic adventure by every metric.

Oh, and the lake now has a name, El Dorado...after the lost city of gold that captivated so many adventurous wild men back in the day. Only this one is real.
 
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ianpadron

Active Member
Those fish didn't develop legs and walk into that lake. A volunteer group backpacked them in.
No doubt, wish I knew their story.

The lake is about a mile and 2k feet vertical off a trail.

The trout now appear to be self-sustaining given the wide stratification of size. Wonder how old a cutthroat that big is in a lake that's frozen from September til June!
 

Peyton00

Active Member
I have almost the exact same story with a lake in the south cascades. No spotting scope, i learned about it from a guy and his lady doing a scouting trip on horse back. It was a brutal hike and about blew my left knee out on the way down.
....and my fish were 12-14". Not monsters, but aggressive and feisty.
 

ianpadron

Active Member
This right here is why the "tell me the name and location of where you caught that fish" on instagram crowd are missing out. The adventure and unknown are often time the best part of the trip and often time make for the hugest of stoke.

PS - love the name.
If someone writes a book about me someday, I want it to be a good one.

The "unknown"...man...you're absolutely right.

Felt like I was 5 years old when that first big dawg took the fly...and it'll be burned into my brain for eternity.

The good stuff for sure.
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
I recently had my first bigass fish-in-a-small-lake experience (pay to play, so way less cool) and it’s terrifying what can grow given the right conditions. Awesome pics and congratulations on the find!
 

Gary Thompson

dirty dog
I know of a lake here in OR that is off the beaten path that has huge RB's.
I have not walked in there in over 30 yrs.
Maybe it is time for a walk.
Awesome pics and story.
Thanks
 

zen leecher aka bill w

born to work, forced to fish
Either the Trailblazers or Hi-Lakers took them in. Washington State Dept. of Fish and Game no longer stock the alpine with aircraft. Beautiful fish from a lake that is obviously fertile. They’re prefect.
Trailblazers traditionally in the past were the fish stockers. Hi-Lakers seemed to do most of the lake surveys (in my opinion). I was a Hi-Laker member but not a Trailblazer. I've heard of some of the lakes the Trailblazers went to and I think they were either part pack mule or mountain goat. They were tough.
 

ianpadron

Active Member
Trailblazers traditionally in the past were the fish stockers. Hi-Lakers seemed to do most of the lake surveys (in my opinion). I was a Hi-Laker member but not a Trailblazer. I've heard of some of the lakes the Trailblazers went to and I think they were either part pack mule or mountain goat. They were tough.
Are the trailblazers still active?

I ran into an old-timer a few years back (like in his late 70s!) hauling a 5 gallon jug of trout fry into a lake waaayyyy back and was beyond impressed.
 

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