The water had been like glass all day and as I jumped from rock to rock along the edge of the lake, I could see trout meandering like wary bonefish along the rocky shoreline looking for grasshoppers, ants or other tasty snacks to drop in their paths. Fortunately, I was equipped with just that sort of snack except my offerings were feather and deer hair with a hidden surprise. These wild cutthroat and cutbows were only too happy to pounce on their seeming good fortune. Great fun... on a perfect afternoon in the middle of angling paradise, the Cloud Peak Wilderness of Northern Wyoming!
Journal Entry, SSH - August, 2001
We recently explored some of northern Wyoming's classic alpine lakes located in the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area. This area allows no motorized or mechanical access, so hoofin' it in is the only way to go. The Bighorn Range is vast - covering some of Wyoming's most beautiful wilderness areas. Ranging in height from 7000 to over 13,000 feet, there are some spectacular mountains streams and alpine lakes available for the hearty trout afficionado.
There are many small streams and lakes holding excellent populations of cutthroat, rainbow, brook and brown trout. In three hours, we hiked into an area that very few anglers get the opportunity to fish. Rising trout were dimpling the entire surface of the lake. The technique was basic: present the fly to a cruising fish, give it a twitch and the fish would rise elegantly, a willing participant in our little charade. We quickly lost count on the number of fish hooked and landed. Our biggest fish topped 15 inches and we caught nothing less than 12 inches. These are not the monsters of Kamchatka or Alaska, but with my little 8'6" 4 weight, they were loads of fun and beautiful to watch as they rose from the blue depths to the calm surface. Fishing these high alpine lakes can offer a great option when the rivers down below are just too hot and crowded for quality angling. The number of lakes in the Cloud Peak Wilderness Area makes it a great choice for a long weekend or even a weeklong adventure. Some of them are easy to get to and some are much more difficult (read: better fishing) to find. Since we are located in Sheridan, Wyoming, it is sometimes easy to forget your own back yard. But make no mistake, this weekend was a powerful reminder of how, with our 20+ years of experience, we can help you plan your own adventure or hook you up with outfitters that take trips into these high mountain lakes and streams. The Big Horn Mountains offer some of the finest trout angling in the world. Give us a call and we will be happy to share with you our experience in this fantastic trout playground.