North Fork Sampler–Island Lake High Above Salida, Colorado

CAVEAT: The North Fork Road has reopened, but is still very rough.  Call ArkAnglers in Salida, CO for latest information.

For my articles about fishing nearby Arthur and Hunky Dory Lakes see:

https://hooknfly.com/2016/07/16/north-fork-sampler-arthur-lake-near-salida-colordo/amp

https://hooknfly.com/2015/08/17/hunky-dory-lake-near-salida-co/

August 11, 2016

Monsoon rains blowing up from the Gulf of Mexico have been soaking us here in the Colorado mountains most afternoons.  It’s no fun and dangerous to be up near the Continental Divide hiking and fishing when a storm blows in.  Temperatures can drop from 75 degrees to 45 in a few minutes replete with mountain pea-sized hail that imageresembles snow.  So when the weatherman predicted a sunny day this week, I fetched the day pack from the basement along with my mountain lake fishing gear and plotted a trek to a high-country lake I have been hankering to try–Island Lake far up the North Fork Valley about 20 miles west of my cabin near Salida.  It’s perched at 12,000 feet just below Sewanee Peak that pokes up into the sky at a mere 13,132 feet.  A thirty-year old guidebook I have tells tales of huge, but finicky cutthroat trout in the lake, a story confirmed in hushed tones by some local fishing guides.  So I hit the road at 7 a.m. the next morning, figuring it will take an hour to drive up the rough 4WD road to the trailhead and another hour to hike in.  Visions of behemoth trout are dancing in my head.

Continue reading