Unfortunately, I also was wearing out my flies with the many false casts necessary to keep them dry. Miller summarized my thoughts: “This is Sound of Music stuff.”. Many of these crystal clear lakes have excellent fishing for cutthroat trout, brook trout, rainbow trout as well as occasionally golden trout. The streams running from the mountains are typically infertile, cold, and of a very steep … Trek to a high mountain lake; fish a pristine stream; cast into a deep pool, or practice fly-casting while surrounded by granite peaks reaching up to 13,000 feet high. I got the perfect opportunity earlier this summer when a friend invited me on a backpack trip to catch golden trout in the Beartooth Mountains of southwestern Montana. Our planned route would involve a 17-mile hike up to the Beartooth Plateau and then a 5-mile off-trail traverse over an 11,000-foot peak to our target lake. They, of course, speak of palomino trout, which are a color phase of a hatchery strain rainbow, which holds no candle to the brilliant garb of a golden trout. Keffer rigged up his tenkara rod and caught the first golden on a dry fly, and called the rest of us over to his corner of the shoreline to get in on the action. its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends. Golden trout are most often found in remote, alpine drainages over 9,000 feet in elevation. (We also left the Winds engaged. When we recovered from our panoramic gawking, it occurred to everyone that there was no lake in sight, and the trail turned down the mountain. We backpacked deep into the backcountry, and we struck gold. It is a western species of salmonid that resembles, in many ways, a juvenile rainbow trout. In the lower reaches of the river, as it meanders through the ranch, excellent fly fishing can be experienced. Nearby Eaglehead Mountain and the crest of the Gallatin Range make for nice jaunts … Watching me tie on a third fly, one of my … Find a Local Store; Products In fact, most trails in Montana start higher than the ground-bound can geographically get in my native Virginia, and we were headed near to the top. The picture with all five of us must have been taken fairly early in that trip into the Beartooth Mountains because one or two of us is still smiling. The lake also has good locations for scuba diving. Beartooth Mountains wring out every drop of precipitation as storms pass over this immense chunk of up thrust granite. Golden trout populations in Montana were found in three types of lake habitats: 1) eutrophic, pond-like lakes; 2) small, somewhat shallow oligotrophic lakes and 3) large oligotrophic lakes (Table 6) . Cooney State Park, affectionally known as Cancooney to the locals, is excellent for swimming, water skiing, and fishing. You … I was genuinely curious about how my body would handle the climb as I took the lead and we headed up the mountain donning light packs and rod tubes. When we finally arrived at the trail, we celebrated as if the Cubs had just ended their 102-year drought, and then we huffed it to the trailhead. The demise of golden trout populations were of four causes: 1) inability to sustain; 2) winterkill in marginal habitats; 3) hybridization with other spring spawners and 4) inability to compete with brook … The fishing got pretty boring pretty quickly (though it boosted my perpetually low self-esteem as a fly-tier), so we moved up to the big lake. The fish were more exotic and beautiful than we had imagined. In fact, some scientists consider it a subspecies of rainbow, while others maintain that its ability to breed true in mixed-species environments means it is a distinct species. They do best when water temperatures stay in the 50 to 60 degree range. Ken Keffer, children’s book author and Wyoming native fresh from a month of hiking the Bighorn Mountains, tossed a respectful gaze up a steep pitch into a crease where our We resorted to slowly stripping weighted nymphs, and we caught a few nice goldens. After a series of “last crests,” the horizon finally broke to reveal the rippling surface of Sylvan Lake, pooled at the foot of a rugged, snow-capped granite cliff. Four years later, my girlfriend and I flew to the Winds in search of gold. Beartooth Pass, the highest motor crossing in Wyoming, reaches an elevation of 10,947 feet. Like you said, hard to … Luckily, my brain is responsible for most of my thought function. This is one of our … … Like a Peacock and a Goldfish Combined in a Dream, Simply Beautiful! Hot coffee and oatmeal were divine; washing our dishes and pumping water less so. Through its rills and creeks swim two native … Read More. Golden Lake is one of those lakes with incredible views and world class Cutthroat Trout. I popped the question after fishing for goldens all day, and, thanks to a case of altitude sickness, Sarah said yes, a double-gold-strike day.) Sylvan Lake’s golden population is so pure that the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks regularly uses the eggs laid by goldens at Sylvan Lake for stocking other lakes in Montana. Vaughn, who worked with the mountain lake program in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, said stocking cycles in mountain lakes vary. Rainbow, golden, brook, cutthroat, lake, or brown trout; grayling, walleye, or splake―whatever your dream catch, this indispensable fishing companion answers the questions every angler asks before striking out for a high mountain lake. My younger brother, Dan, a teacher in Massachusetts, had endured my tales of golden conquests and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. The last two miles of the trail to Princess Lake are anything but busy, however. Golden trout are like other trout, and need cold water to survive and grow. Tallying a respectable pace of two miles per hour, and stopping only to look out across the gorge, over East Rosebud Lake and the surrounding peaks of granite, and to watch pikas and ground squirrels scamper about the boulder-strewn mountainside, we hit the five-mile mark as spruce and fir thinned and gave way to meadow. Fishing pressure is moderate to heavy. Everything we would need in our packs all weighing near 80 pounds, we had dehydrated food, water filters, sleeping bags and a … With multiple peaks over 12,000 ft. elevation and hundreds of backcountry lakes, the Beartooth Wilderness/ mountain range is a premier destination for incredible high alpine lake fishing. Shaped by thousands of years of glacial movement, the Beartooth Mountains are comprised of Pre-Cambrian granitic peaks and plateaus, mountain meadows, and trout filled lakes and tarns. Since the fly sizes and casting requirements can be so different between lakes and small streams, I carry two fly rods. The Yellowstone cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri) is a subspecies of the cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii).It is a freshwater fish in the salmon family (family Salmonidae).Native only to a few U.S. states, their original range was upstream of Shoshone Falls on the Snake River and tributaries in Wyoming, also across the Continental Divide in Yellowstone Lake and in the Yellowstone River as well … Trout Refugium: The Waters of the Beartooth Mountains Essay: by Nate Schweber; Art: “Golden Trout” by Mimi Matsuda; As a trout treasury – defined here as a landscape nurturing multiple species of rare and unique sportfish in the family Salmonidae– the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness is bested by none in inland North America. In the Cloud Peak Wilderness, on the Cody side (west side) of the Bighorns, there are eleven waters with golden trout and … Trout did not naturally occur in most of the Beartooths high-mountain lakes, many of which are in the vast alpine tundra at elevations above 10,000 feet. © Natural Resources Defense Council 2021 Privacy Policy I have an uneasy relationship with boats. In the summer of 2003, after my first year of law school, a good friend and I drove to the Winds from Chicago. The trail turned sharper against the terrain, and made gains on a mountain pass we hoped would reveal a shimmering lake. https://www.nrdc.org/experts/matt-skoglund/searching-golden-trout-beartooths Surrounded by soaring, snow-capped peaks, the river is bounded by the Beartooth Mountains to the northeast and the rugged Sawtooth Mountains to the southeast. A local marine biologist who has “fished the world” claims ounce for ounce the Rock Creek trout pack as much, if not more, fight than their much larger ocean cousins. The picture with all five of us must have been taken fairly early in that trip into the Beartooth Mountains because one or two of us is still smiling. When you sign up you'll become a member of NRDC's Activist Network. trout and salmon silhouettes - cutthroat trout stock illustrations . However, though golden trout are not native to Montana, the crimson-red lateral band, grease-black parr splotches, buttery gold belly, white-tipped fins, and the mud brown back that renders even their vibrancy next to invisible in gin-clear water, paints a wildness into the wild populations in the Beartooths that draws anglers to the mountains like 49’ers to gold. The trip to Lightning Lake is a difficult off-trail backpacking adventure to a high mountain lake in the Beartooth Mountains and one of the only lakes in Montana hosting beautiful golden trout. One area of the the state where you are likely to find them is in the beartooth mountains south of Livingston and … It was thick, nasty, steep, tangled misery, and the fiasco took almost four hours to go a couple of miles. Fishing for golden trout, Beartooth Mountains, Montana. The particulars of the final day are still a little hazy for me, as I’ve attempted to flush them from my memory for the past few weeks. by Matthew Reilly - Monday, Aug 8th, 2016. Top of Page . Beartooth Mountains Montana-Jenny Lessley Campbell Founder / CEO / Mountain Guide “There May Come A Day When You Will Want To Give Up. In short order, the white post disappeared from view, as a golden gently sipped the fly beneath the film. Since Pat Marcuson began surveying these lakes in 1967, many individuals have hefted a heavy pack and worked the high country for Fish, Wildlife and Parks. horizontal top view Stock Images by FomaA 2 / 33 carp Stock Photos by Dar1930 1 / 19 fish background Stock Photos by grekoff 2 / 66 Red salted caviar, for backgrounds or … We will keep you informed with the latest alerts and progress reports. The spectacle of Rock Creek Canyon unfolds as you weave along the pass toward Red Lodge, Montana. The golden trout is a colorful salmonid native to the High Sierras of California, transplanted into high mountain lakes all across the west. I've caught several Goldens in the Beartooths. Camp is a scenic five-mile ride by horse from the trailhead. Joined Jul 17, 2010 Messages 1,678 Location MT. I was in high school or college, had been fly-fishing for a number of years, and was quite familiar with rainbow, brown, brook, and cutthroat trout (the “big four,” if you will). It is estimated that there are nearly 3,000 trout per mile. Fish species present in the Absaroka-Beartooth lakes include Yellowstone cutthroat trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, golden trout, arctic grayling, and variations of cutthroat/rainbow/golden trout hybrids. Ken Keffer, children’s book author and Wyoming native fresh from a month of hiking the Bighorn Mountains, tossed a respectful gaze up a steep pitch into a crease where our by Gary Rafferty. First stocked in 1938, the golden trout at Sylvan Lake are well known in Montana for their genetic purity. Since the fly sizes and casting requirements can be so different between lakes and small streams, I carry two fly rods. Given the distance and relative ease of hiking, this makes for a nice day or morning hike (for those wanting to beat the heat). Have the fundamentals of fly casting changed over time? On July 6th in 2015, my good buddy Chase Schott and I were putting our packs together for the long haul to lightning lake to catch Golden Trout. Most of our golden trout waters are in the Wind River mountains (Lander and Pinedale regions), with others in the Absaroka, Snowy, and Bighorn mountains (Laramie, Cody, and Sheridan regions). Rainbow, golden, brook, cutthroat, lake, or brown trout; grayling, walleye, or splake―whatever your dream catch, this indispensable fishing companion answers the questions every angler asks before striking out for a high mountain lake. Find a Local Store; Products Specific studies on six Absaroka-Beartooth lakes revealed golden trout were not totally opportunistic where menu choices were available. Later that morning before lunch we would stop by Little Lightning Lake. Stock Image by eskymaks 1 / 4 Red caviar on a fork Stock Photographs by Timolina 1 / 1 Selection of hand tied fishing flies on white Stock Photos by scphoto 4 / 25 Grilled char fillet with mixed salad and sauce on a plate close-up. We drove back to Bozeman with the sense of contentment and calm one acquires only after days in real wilderness. The Natural Resources Defense Council works to safeguard the earth - its people, I can’t remember the exact moment I learned golden trout existed. Golden trout are like other trout, and need cold water to survive and grow. It features small glaciers, high alpine meadows, glacial tills, timbered canyons and hundreds of lakes and streams teeming with trout. We hit the tributary first. A wild Golden Trout from an un-named little lake in the Hilgard drainage of the Madison Range. They have brought … Up high, at tree line, our peers were rock, craggy peaks, water, alpine grasses, a smattering of stunted trees, and thin air. Most of the lakes have brook trout and some have Rocky Mountain grayling, rainbow, brown, cutthroat, or golden trout. They have brought back the raw data and … trout silhouette - … The … It features small glaciers, high alpine meadows, glacial tills, timbered canyons and hundreds of lakes and streams teeming with trout. Sculpted by glacial activity, the Beartooth Mountain Range is one of the most scenic areas in the Rockies. Sylvan Lake’s golden population is so pure that the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks regularly uses the eggs laid by goldens at Sylvan Lake for stocking other lakes in Montana. “Nobody knew much about the goldens until I started studying them,” he said. Trout are plentiful as rainbows and browns populate the river. Adapted to cold, clean, high-elevation water, the alpine of the Northern Rockies provided a fine new home for goldens, and several wild populations took hold in the backcountry of the Winds and the Beartooths. You'll receive your first NRDC action alert and update email soon. One accesses Windy Pass (a nice hike in it's own right), the other heads off to the Golden Trout Lakes. The Beartooth Highway is worth every mile of this scenic drive. Temperature and rainfall … He was on an early season elk hunt in the Beartooth Mountains when he hiked by a lake and saw a bunch of fish. large sport fish silhouette set - cutthroat trout stock illustrations. Day Two took us to the plateau. The Absaroka … Fellow Angler: This booklet is intended to pass on information collected over many years about the fishery of the Absaroka-Beartooth high country lakes. We wondered when, not if, the grizzly mauling would occur. That you can’t find goldens in roadside rivers also titillated me. Download in under 30 seconds. - cutthroat trout stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images. Sculpted by glacial activity, the Beartooth Mountain Range is one of the most scenic areas in the Rockies. Novel gold and pink palominos grow quite large in the waters where they’re stocked. Thanks for signing up. In the panorama of crags, steeples, plunging canyons, snowfields and glaciers, look for the … After seeing a nice fish rise in skinny water, I put on an ant I’d tied (which, to be truthful, artfully imitated a one-legged mouse), made a clumsy cast, and a large golden devoured it. Named official state fish of California in 1947, the golden trout was once transplanted as far as east as New York. If you seek the purest golden trout in the Beartooths, you should look no further than Sylvan Lake. “It’s the little things in life,” it’s often said, and I think the saying is just as adequately suited to golden trout as anything else. A few seconds later, the largest golden of my life was at my feet. The mountain lake fishing in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Area is some of the finest to be found in Montana. The Absaroka-Beartooth mountains offers a plethora of alpine lakes chuck full of healthy trout, including the beautiful Golden Trout and the Arctic Grayling. Dan flew back to Boston early the next morning, and we returned to our lives. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department manages 133 high, alpine lakes for golden trout. 2012 MOUNTAIN LAKES GUIDE ABSAROKA – BEARTOOTH & CRAZY MOUNTAINS . Golden Trout. That, more than anything, was our calling. We arrived at the remote trailhead in the Beartooths on a Friday night, grilled some sausages over a fire, freaked each other out about grizzlies, and enjoyed some Moose Drool beer. ... Montana Stock Photo by nyfelidae 0 / 0 Fly fisherman holding California Golden Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita) in Beartooth Mountains, Montana Stock Photography by nyfelidae 0 / 0 Rough-Fruited Fairybells (Disporum trachycarpum) in Beartooth Mountains, Montana Stock Photo by … ABSAROKA – BEARTOOTH & CRAZY MOUNTAINS . The ecology of the Rocky Mountains is diverse due to the effects of a variety of environmental factors. Cart: 0 items 0 Home; About Us; Where to Buy. Lots of pretty little golden trout to be caught in Golden Trout Creek. Rocky crags sliced the horizon line hundreds of yards distant on either side of the trail. To catch a golden, you had to hike to them – you had to earn it. Goldens had also, however, been stocked in certain alpine lakes in the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming and the Beartooth Mountains in Montana. The mountains provide a stunning backdrop to any fishing or float trip. Naturally, I feel obliged to “do right” by this special present. But it would be several more years before I finally danced with a golden. The best I can remember, we bushwhacked down a stream for a few miles to a trail. Get ready for a challenging hike if you are not used to high elevations! Little Lightning is where the juvenile Trout stay until they are big enough to swim up the 100 yard creek to the big lake. Finally, that afternoon we caught a few beautiful Golden Trout around 16/18 inches. But the constant din of life and work limits us from immersing in the meandering conversations I so cherish. Lakes Along The Beartooth All-American Road . The Montana Golden Trout at 10,000 feet above sea level in Sylvan Lake showed a marked preference for dry flies while we were there, while those Brook Trout in nearby Crow Lake at an even higher elevation preferred cone-headed wooly buggers. Rather, you need to strap on a backpack and hiking boots and hit the trails for a few days at a time. Holding such a fish in hand, it was hard not to remember the confused claims from anglers back home of having caught “golden trout” in the stocked streams in the East. Bent rod or not, we struck gold in the Beartooths. Neither trail is terribly difficult. No major passes to head over but you will be feeling the elevation. Nestled near a lake full of trout at the edge of a large meadow, is your home for the next few days. The grayling average 13 inches, the rainbow and cutthroat average 12 inches, and the brook trout average 11 inches. Elk sign became plentiful, and I began hopefully mistaking snow patches for mountain goats grazing on the short grass. It is a western species of salmonid that resembles, in many ways, a juvenile rainbow trout. A fit hiker can probably make it to either destination in an hour or so. Boasting thousands of high mountain lakes and hundreds of miles of crystal clear streams, the headwaters of the only wild and scenic river in Wyoming, doesn’t get any wilder than on U.S. Hwy 212, also known as the “Beartooth … If you are looking for a little longer hike, you can go over Cottonwood Pass and hit Big Whitney Meadow which is about 10 miles in. Joined Jul 17, 2010 Messages a yellowstone cutthroat trout in a high mountain river. The fish were biting when I got there, and we proceeded to wear them out on dry flies. The spectacle of Rock Creek Canyon unfolds as you … (And when Dan flushed a black bear out of the brush in front of us, I thought he might bear-spray me just to relieve some stress from the ordeal.). Products search. Don’t, Because The Best Is Yet To Come.” Meet Your Guide • 25+ Years of backcountry backpacking, mountaineering, rock climbing and ice climbing experience in Montana, California, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada • AIARE Certified (Avalanche / SAR) • Wilderness … Big, gorgeous, tucked up against a wall of rock, and with a little outlet stream to a smaller lake below it. Since Pat Marcuson began surveying these lakes in 1967, many individuals have hefted a heavy pack and worked the high country for Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Vaughn, who worked with the mountain lake program in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, said stocking cycles in mountain lakes vary. Roughly 350 of the 944 lakes in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness are stocked with brook trout, cutthroats, golden trout, rainbows or grayling. Golden Trout Fun Facts. However, though golden trout are not native to Montana, the crimson-red lateral band, grease-black parr splotches, buttery Had I been thinking with my respiratory system, I might have begun second-guessing the decision to day-hike six miles and 5,000 feet up into the backcountry to Sylvan Lake—a well-known alpine pond perched at 10,000 feet that harbors a wild golden trout population—to fish for small fish for just a few hours. Today, all stocks of... Hardy’s brand name has long been synonymous with quality and craftsmanship. We set up camp in a gorgeous meadow, fished a mountain stream, caught some rainbows, and, more importantly, caught up on each other’s lives. I began researching golden trout, and I learned it was native to the Sierras in California. The aptly named Treasure State’s sharply contoured, snowcapped Beartooth Mountains, and the lucid sweetwater of East Rosebud Creek, rambling alongside the pot-holed road as I pounded a rental car into the gorge where it and our trailhead originated, had me giddy like a pirate upon gold, prodding me onward on a journey of western discovery. “Top of the world” seemed a fitting toponym, at least to my eastern sensibilities. When I head into the backcountry, I primarily fish lakes with a few streams mixed in to keep things interesting. We set up camp, waited out a brief snowstorm, and went fishing. Products search. Since there are literally One of the best places to find those water temperatures is high in mountain lakes. Oatmeal were divine ; washing our dishes and pumping water less so disappeared! Variety of environmental factors golden a few miles to a frozen tent and snow! 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