Boulder Mtn & Fish Lake


Jan 18, 2012
I had been planning this trip for a while. There were only two types of trout that populate Utah waters that I had yet to catch. This trip took care of one of those. The Colorado River Cutthroat. The last one being a Golden Trout(Hopefully I'll take this one off the list with a trip in June.) The plan was to head up to this lake Friday morning, fish all day Friday and then fish the lake Saturday morning as well. Things didn't quite go as planned. We left Friday morning and got down to our campsite around noon. To get back to this lake requires about a half mile hike which is all uphill. When we got to camp the skies were fairly clear but the wind was blowing. We grabbed our gear and headed for the lake. Cutthroat trout spawn in the Spring and I had planned this trip at this time of year specifically to catch these fish because of their brilliant spawning colors. I figured that since we had a mild winter and mild spring that the fish would definitely be spawning by now. When we arrived at the lake I immediately scanned it for any shallow areas with gravel as I knew this would be where the spawning fish would be found. By this time the wind had really started to pick up making it very difficult to see into the water even with polarized glasses. We spotted the inlet of the lake and decided to head over to it as there would most likely be a shallow, gravel area near it. When we arrived at the inlet there was indeed a large shallow, gravel area but we could not see any fish. Mostly because of the wind. I threw on a fly and began to cast in a fan like pattern across the shallow, gravel area to see if I could hook into something. Casting was made very dificult because of the wind. This lake is known for large fish and that's what we had come for. After a while, and no sign of fish, we decided to move around the lake and see if we could spot any cruising fish or spot another area where the fish might be spawning. We made our way around the lake trying a few spots with no luck and no sign of fish. I was beginning to think maybe we were at the wrong lake... Then near the outlet of the lake, I spotted a few cruisers, and then some more, and then some more. The fish I spotted were not in their spawning colors though, which would explain why they were not in the shallow,gravel areas we had been looking for. Most of the fish we spotted were average sized cutthroats but we did see some football sized trout in there that got me pretty excited. We spent the next 45 min trying to hook up with some of them but to no avail. These were some of the most picky fish I have ever encountered. I'm not sure if it was because they were still a little lethargic from the winter or what but I had tried about a dozen different flies and hadn't had any takers. We decided to check out the little creek that runs out of the river. The creek varies from about 10ft wide down to 3ft wide and was no more than a foot deep in the 50 yds of it that we fished. It was however, and to my delight, full of spawning cutthroat trout. The fish in the creek were very eager to hit a fly and I caught one after another on an Elkhair Caddis. We fished the river for about an hour catching some awesome looking fish but none of them were what we had come for, the football sized ones we had seen in the lake. We headed back up to the lake to see if we could pursuade one of the big boys to bite our fly. By this time the wind had really picked up and it was raining. After about another dozen fly changes I finally found one that I had success with. Unfortunately, I was only able to attract some of the smaller 12-14 inch fish with it but it was still better than before. Only a few of the fish in the lake had started to get their spawning colors. Then without warning the rain immediately turned into a hail storm with pea sized hail falling by the bucket load. We took some cover to try and wait it out. Lightning and at the same time thunder was crashing all around us. After about 20 min and no sign of the hail storm letting up. We decided to cut our losses and head back to the truck after just a few hours of fishing. On our way down, the hail turned into snow. Visibility was about 50ft because it was snowing so hard. We arrived back at the truck, jumped in, and ate some lunch/dinner. After about an hour and no sign of the storm letting up we decided to weigh our options. We decided to head back to Fish Lake and spend the night there before we got snowed in on Boulder Mtn. The snow storm continued until we got down to about 7,500 ft and then the snow turned into rain. When we arrived at the Fish Lake area it was almost dark so we decided to find a camping spot and settle down for the night. I had planned on shooting some star trails that night but mother nature spoiled my plans again with rain coming and going about every 20 min all night long. In the morning we tried our luck at Fish Lake with moderate success. I caught one nice rainbow and about a dozen small Splake. All-in-all we had a nice trip but I think next time I head up to that Boulder Mtn. lake it will be in June so I can avoid the snow and hopefully catch the fish in the lake during the spawn.

Creek fish

IMG_5320.jpg by Deadeye008, on Flickr

Creek fish

IMG_5325.jpg by Deadeye008, on Flickr

Shot this with my new Canon 55-250. I'm really liking this lens!

IMG_5337.jpg by Deadeye008, on Flickr

Creek Fish

IMG_5338.jpg by Deadeye008, on Flickr

Not long into the storm

IMG_5349.jpg by Deadeye008, on Flickr

Camp sunset

IMG_5353.jpg by Deadeye008, on Flickr

Camp sunrise

IMG_5355.jpg by Deadeye008, on Flickr

It had gotten down to 27 degrees that night and the ground was covered with frost in the morning.

IMG_5364.jpg by Deadeye008, on Flickr

IMG_5366.jpg by Deadeye008, on Flickr

Loved camping in the quakies

IMG_5363.jpg by Deadeye008, on Flickr

IMG_5376.jpg by Deadeye008, on Flickr

Fish Lake Rainbow

IMG_5385.jpg by Deadeye008, on Flickr

IMG_5387.jpg by Deadeye008, on Flickr

Fish Lake

IMG_5389.jpg by Deadeye008, on Flickr

Biggest fish of the day...

IMG_5392.jpg by Deadeye008, on Flickr

Featured image for slideshow:
Nice trip report, looks like an epic trip with the hail and then snow. I have been planning a trip to fish the Boulders this year so this report is encouraging.
Very nice!!! My friends and I have talked about hitting the Boulder Mtns, but never have. Cool to see the area! :twothumbs:
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Titans Boulder Mtn snow March 29- 2023 Photography 1
J Who's done Steep Creek Canyon off Boulder Mtn folows into the Gulch at the Burr Trail? Trip Planning 3
Duke Lightning kills on Boulder mtn General Discussion 0
TrailScot Escalante Loop via Dry Hollow and Boulder Mail Trail - September 2023 Backpacking 8
L Boulder Mail Trail April 2023 Qs Trip Planning 14
M Hollow Boulder Trip Planning 1
John Goering Boulder Lakes, Tobacco Root Mountains Off Road 0
RSchott Hello from Boulder, CO Noobs: Introduce yourself! 0
swmalone Restaurant Suggestions for Escalante or Boulder General Discussion 11
R Boulder Mail Trail to Death Hollow Trip Planning 1
LarryBoy Five Days on Boulder Mountain Backpacking 5
TrektheWorld Boulder Mail Trail - end of October? Trip Planning 18
Udink Boulder Top Hiking & Camping 4
ramblinman Boulder Creek Day Hike, Escalante National Monument Hiking & Camping 5
WasatchWill To the Boulder Top Backpacking 9
Parma Idaho's White Cloud Mountains - Boulder Chain Lakes - Chamberlain Basin Backpacking 8
Brett Boulder Mail Trail - April 26-27, 2019 Backpacking 2
cmgz Boulder Mail Trail - Escalante Trailhead to Mamie Creek Hiking & Camping 1
3DegreesSouth Paria/Buckskin Boulder Jam Trip Planning 6
ramblinman Food Fight: Article in the New Yorker about the Hell's Backbone Grill in Boulder, UT General Discussion 7
msteudel Boulder Mountain North Slope UT: Donkey Res. to Lost Lake? Trip Planning 1
wesleyS Road from Boulder airstrip, UT Hiking & Camping 5
Perry Spring Day Hike up Boulder Creek Hiking & Camping 2
Brett Boulder Mail Trail - Logistical Qs Trip Planning 10
Janice Loop possible with Boulder Mail Trail? Noobs: Introduce yourself! 8
Ugly In and Out - Boulder Mail Trail to DH Backpacking 9
S White Cloud route, Big Boulder Lakes to Boulder Chain Lakes Trip Planning 3
Jackson Death Hollow from the Boulder Mail Trail Backpacking 18
Skiwi Boulder Mail Trail to Death Hollow questions Trip Planning 8
M VIDEO - Bear Peak, Boulder, Colorado General Discussion 0
Bob Morris Glacier in 2 Weeks!!! (Boulder Pass Questions) Trip Planning 10
Jammer Boulder Creek NON Short-cut General Discussion 15
John Goering South Boulder River (Tobacco Root Mountains) day hikes. Hiking & Camping 8
muir_mountain Walker Ranch Loop, Boulder, CO Hiking & Camping 3
Jimmy Glacier Natl Park - Boulder Pass Trail Trip Planning 36
lostlandscapes Big Boulder Lakes, White Clouds -- July 3-5, 2015 Backpacking 12
Nico Boulder Mountain Trip Planning 19
Duke Which Lakes on the Boulder have no vehicle access General Discussion 7
Nick Boulder Mail Trail Backpacking 10
mattvogt7 Boulder Mail Trail, Jan 2014 Backpacking 13
steve Thanksgiving: Capitol Reef to Boulder Mountain Off Road 5
Nick Boulder Mail Trail in winter General Discussion 37
Jammer Boulder Mountain → Moab Hike Backpacking 14
Laura Aspen on Boulder Mountain Trip Planning 5
Nick Boulder Creek, Escalante Backpacking 34
John Mckean Boulder Mail Trail to Highway 12 Backpacking 6
John Mckean Boulder mail trail to Hwy 12 bridge question General Discussion 6
Jammer Boulder to Moab Hike Video Backpacking 22
BJett Boulder Creek Backpacking 18
Colin Parker Boulder Mountain Suggestions Trip Planning 14

Similar threads