High-Brow Cutthroats at Silver Lake
by Gus Jarvis
Sep 10, 2009 | 1203 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Those of you reading this down in Montrose may not have noticed as much as those in Ouray or Telluride, but there is certainly a chill in the air and the fair-weather clock is ticking to get your fishing in on the region’s high country lakes before the snow falls.

I was recently on the banks of the San Miguel River below the Norwood Bridge and I was having a nice time and all, but I felt I needed a change of scenery. I had fished there just a little too often this summer. So I decided to strap on the hiking boots, frame pack and rain gear for a high-altitude hike to Silver Lake above Telluride.

If you can catch a ride up to the Bridal Veil Falls Hydro Plant, the hike from there is not too bad. It is certainly a steep gradient, but the views along the way only get better and better.

Once I got to Silver Lake and set up camp for the night, I broke out the fly-rod to try my hand at catching some of the very big, colorful cutthroat trout that tend to hang out at the lake’s outlet.

Fearing I would spook these fish, I tried my damnedest to sneak up on them but they swam away immediately once my flyline was in the air. They came back. I gently set a small parachute Adams on the water and nothing happened.

I stayed with the dries and went bigger, smaller, and brighter, all to no avail. The fish wouldn’t touch my fly. I tied on a dropper and drug it across their faces. They swam away. I waited until dusk. Nothing. It was so puzzling and so frustrating. Had I really hiked half a day up a mountain for these big and beautiful fish to ignore me? I guess so.

If anyone has found the trick to catching these high-brow cutthroats, let me know. I want the secret.
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