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Old 08-08-2010, 08:59 PM   #1
marzrw
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***Small Fish Warning***

Rocky Mountain National Park..A Pictorial Essay

If yer lookin' fer big fish, turn back...If small fish make you skoff...Turn back..If wild,small trout are not your bag, turn back...If wild, beautiful scenery upsets, please turn back now...

***Disclaimer from Fly Fishing Rocky Mountain National Park by Todd Hosman***

In North-central Colorado less than a two hour drive from Denver, RMNP covers more than 265,000 acres and spans the Continental Divide. Hundreds of trails weave through a dramatically varied landscape of snowy peaks, flower filled glacial meadows, pine forests, aspen groves and alpine tundra. Throughout this grandly beautiful place flow countless streams and several rivers. Lakes abound too, along with innumerable ponds and creeks. But of the park's annual three million visitors, most come to sightsee, hike, or take photographs. Hardly anyone casts a line. So, many Park waters remain largely overlooked and seldom fished, even though they may befilled with healthy, hungry trout - brookies, cutthroats, rainbows, and browns - none of them stocked, but all wild and self-sustaining.

What's the catch? Small fish. In fact, anglers preoccupied with trophy-sizes trout may not even want to make the trip here. Because of a short and difficult growing season, most trout measure only about eight inches long, and a ten incher is a prize indeed. Regardless of size, every fish is a winner - gorgeous, crafty and vibrant. ANd every fish lives in one of the world's most enchanting areas - the Park. For what it's worth, I'd rather spend an evening casting to littlewild brookies in an unknown, uncrowded and unspoiled Park creek than a day hauling in big stocked rainbows on some name-brand river with a parking lot next to it. This book is for fly anglers who might share that same perspective."


Nymph Lake



Emerald Lake



Dream Lake



My beautiful bride got things started with this 'small' endangered Greenback Cutthroat from the inlet to Dream Lake



Early Morning in RMNP



The 'Pool'



Fern Lake Cutthroats, wild and free and not wantin' anything we threw at them...



I almost didn't care if I caught anything with scenery like this, well almost...



It took a size 22 BWO to catch this Greenback Cutt



We weren't giving up easily to get to the inlet...



Supposedly they were supposed to be easy to catch in the inlet stream..They weren't...we managed a couple...They were beautiful...



Back at the outlet my wife creeped her we tfly along a down log and connected



Down along the Upper Big Thompson I landed a cutt of maybe a different species, maybe a Colorado strain???



The Upper Big Thompson..Very sweet...



The elevation got to us so the next day we took a break and visited Fort Collins...Why??? The New Belgium Brewery, why else...

Sunrise on Sprague Lake





We had ALL the essential gear for the rest of the trip



We were roamin' and not just for trout..We thought we'd bag a couple of peaks along the way...

Sunrise over RMNP



Trail to Flattop Mt



Ptarmigan



Sweet Elk at High Elevation



The View from Hallet Peak, 12,700 ft



The descending wide view





We headed to Ed's Cantina



The next day we decided on a 'short' hike to Ouzel Falls

Wild Columbine



Ouzel Falls





Somehow our 'short' hikes mostly seemed to end in 10 mile jaunts...

Imagine this..I brought the fly rods 'just' in case...

Nice scenery on the way to Ouzel Lake



The outlet stream to Ouzel Lake

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Last edited by marzrw; 08-08-2010 at 09:29 PM..
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:28 PM   #2
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Ouzel Lake



My wife just couldn't resist this 'honey' hole



The brook trout just couldn't resist WB's woolly buggers



Dark, rumbling skies seemed to always push out of sweet spots in the afternoon of every hike...

My wife managed a nice small cutt from the North St Vrain Creek on the way out



Next we grabbed another peak..Mt Chiquita 13,000 ft



Way ahead of me now



View from the summit



We had hungry visitors



Wide Views





Eye to eye with a bull elk



I swear that's not me in the shark's mouth at The Tiki Room that night...I don't smoke



7/4 July 4th in Estes Park is absolutely insane, so we got up early and did a little fishing on 'The BIG Thompson'

I caught a 'small' brown



We got out of Estes and headed to Lyons, Colorado..Hometown to John Gierach and visited Oskar Blues



We visited Mike Clark's flyshop



We did fish the St Vrain and I caught a small rainbow



Evening elk



Evening in RMNP

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Old 08-08-2010, 09:51 PM   #3
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Alberta Falls



Trail to Mills Lake



Mills Lake



We stopped along Glacier Creek on the way to Black Lake

The backdrop was spectacular. I snapped this pic



More 'small' fish

And a second later my wife caught this Glacier Creek Brookie



I got into the action also



Trail to Black Lake



Black Lake



One more small brookie from Glacier Creek



Late afternoon storm clouds Mills Lake





Rocky Mt Morn



Always windy in RMNP...The Loch



Cathedral Rocks / Rock Climbers which you can't see



Lake of Glass



Sky Pond



The lake was blown out...If I casted, I would have had a self-induced lip ring...I found a 'Pot' hole a bit off the beaten path







Lake of Glass, anything but glass



I still managed a sweet cutt



There was a real nice 'small' creek between the lakes called 'Icy Brook'

I think this was a cuttbow



OK, small fish...BIG scenery..It just don't get any better



Back at The Loch a real nice cutt swam out from under a log..I cast to his left...He saw my fly..he sucked it in...I played him for a couple of minutes and he won...I didn't land him...Would have made it 4 for 4 in catching fish from 3 lakes and the connecting stream... A very sweet day in exceptional scenery...
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Old 08-08-2010, 10:04 PM   #4
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wow wow wow
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Old 08-08-2010, 10:28 PM   #5
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We moved over to the west side of RMNP

Trail Ridge Road



Rock Cut



Old Ute Trail filled with wildflowers, scenery, and elk







The next day we hiked the North Inlet Trail



We had competition today





Caught some brookies and a wild Colorado strain cutt



It snowed that night on July 8th . Took a break from fishing and hiked a bit of the west old Ute Trail



Clarks Nutcracker



Poudre Lake Spires



High country tarn



The usual afternoon dark skies



Last day

WOOLLY BOOGER ALE



Early morning moose on East Inlet Trail



The view of East Inlet Creek



We hit them up in the faster water first on wetflies and nymphs



The hillside





'The Stream'



A real sweet brookie



Curious onlooker



We ended up hiking about 85 miles total.

A nice sunset and a very gratifying trek through Rocky Mountain National Park hiking, roaming, and catching small fish.

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Old 08-09-2010, 12:04 AM   #6
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Great photos & captions of what we're looking at. It looks like you did a thorough tour of everything in the park! I visited there in 1996 as a last place to see on the way home from a Southwest marathon road trip, & definitely did not see enough. How long did you stay at Rocky Mountain N.P.? I remember visiting Granby, CO. That's the town that was destroyed by the irate bulldozer operator. I stayed at a campsite south of the park in Arapaho National Forest. Really excellent pictures! Thanks for showing them here!
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Old 08-09-2010, 08:46 AM   #7
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Marzrw,

Great pictures. Looks like a great trip.

One question though, are you sure that "Brookie" isn't a Splake?

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Old 08-09-2010, 09:05 AM   #8
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What a great time! Thanks for the pics!
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:28 AM   #9
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holy F!
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:33 AM   #10
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fantastic pictures
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Old 08-09-2010, 11:42 AM   #11
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I was wondering when my brother was going to display some of his pictures of his trip out west...I didn`t want to say that he would because he doesn`t like to brag or seem inflated..but if I had done what him and his wife had I would`ve had to show somebody as soon as possible...its amazing that they didn`t run into that many anglers on those beautiful lakes and streams...the wild colors on those trout are amazing...they look too perfect in every way.....looks like a return trip might need to be planned...that is a dream trip that came true...all those dreams we had as we grew up/older flyfishing for our local trout,talking about going places like that someday...reading John Gierach`s books and other writers from the west,it all is coming true for you..I`m glad you guys finally were able to spend more time exploring for trout and also doing your hiking too...who knows...maybe you may be able to write and produce a book someday from which I would love to read...

and...Glen, I knew you wouldn`t let him get off that easily...

WB
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Old 08-09-2010, 06:48 PM   #12
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Amazing pics!!! Greenback's are number one, two, and three on my list of trout I want to catch.
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Old 08-09-2010, 07:14 PM   #13
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Thats it I'm GOIN!!!

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Old 08-09-2010, 07:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8thday View Post
, & definitely did not see enough. How long did you stay at Rocky Mountain N.P.?
Thanks 8thday. We were there about 13 days. On a scale in comparison to the whole state of Colorado, RMNP could be considered small. It was plenty big enough for us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glen View Post



One question though, are you sure that "Brookie" isn't a Splake?

Quote:
Originally Posted by terry13111 View Post
Greenback's are number one, two, and three on my list of trout I want to catch.
Not a bad list to have terry...

Thanks BP,Willis,ADKHunter

Thanks Willis,BP,Kraut,ADKHunter.


Thanks Glen. I was actually waiting for your 'expert' splake analysis. They could be splake since even though they are much smaller, they look a lot like yours.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wildbrookies View Post
...that is a dream trip that came true...a

and...Glen, I knew you wouldn`t let him get off that easily...

WB

Thanks brother...i did have to pinch myself when I not only caught a gorgeous trout, but caught a gorgeous trout in that beautiful setting.

And, not only seeing the fish when you land him, but seeing fish everywhere. Every stream, lake, pond you could see the fish. It was really different sight casting instead of unseen casting.

I was watching you tube videos before I left of HUGE cutthroats on dry flies. I may not have come home if I got into some of them.
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Old 08-09-2010, 08:26 PM   #15
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I've had this idea for a number of years now of packing up the car when school gets done(I'm a teaching assistant) and just driving out west for the summer. Who knows where I'd go. Who knows how long I'd stay. I'd just like to say I did it. Seeing all your amazing pictures turns up the heat significantly on that idea...
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:01 AM   #16
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What a great trip...and the pics are spectacular.....Aaahhhh someday.....
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:22 AM   #17
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Amazing pics marzrw!
Thank you for sharing this "picturesque" story and TR with us!
This is great!
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Old 08-10-2010, 08:27 PM   #18
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Simply incredible! I was in Leadville last year and climbed Mt. Elbert. Only saw 2 Marmots. Thanks for posting!
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Old 08-10-2010, 09:41 PM   #19
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I've had this idea for a number of years now of packing up the car when school gets done(I'm a teaching assistant) and just driving out west for the summer. Who knows where I'd go. Who knows how long I'd stay. I'd just like to say I did it. Seeing all your amazing pictures turns up the heat significantly on that idea...
Not a bad idea...Two weeks was ok, a whole summer, sweet.


I truly didn't care about the size of the fish as I had read that RMNP trout can be small, but this may get you even more heated up...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foTIt...eature=related
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Old 08-11-2010, 05:13 PM   #20
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Wow, I feel like I just went on vacation.

Excellent pics and thanks for sharing.
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