The Standard Journal

Fishing the Snowy Range Lakes

- Paul DiPrima of Trout Unlimited, Coosa Valley Chapter, can be reached at PaulDiprim­

Winter can often be a very productive time to fish for trout, and if the angler dresses properly the fishing can be enjoyable. Wade fishing a stream with snow on the ground is my favorite winter pastime.

The following story is by Jeff Wilson, a member of the Cohutta Chapter of Trout Unlimited. He and his friends were fishing out west at a high altitude near the tree-line and the mountain peaks were covered in snow. Wyoming is the setting and the trip was in the summer not long ago:

Most people from the East seem to hire drift boats when they go out west. They are looking for the big one. If you’re like me, you go to wade.

If you have never waded out west, the first thing that strikes you is the number of fish and the lack of people. It is just the opposite sometimes here in the Southeast. Sure, there are days of fly fishing that we get skunked or only catch a few out west but, more often than not, there are times when you lose count of the fish and never see another person fishing all day. All caught on a dry fly; and to me that is good fishing.

While most trips for our group focus around wading rivers, one trip in particular centered around lakes. Just west of Laramie, Wyoming, in the Medicine Bow National Forest, sit the Snowy Range Lakes, elevation, about 10,000 feet. Our original plan was to fish the North Platte and Encampment rivers with maybe a day at the lakes. The river levels were well below normal, and fishing was tough (of course what we called tough out there would have been a great day back here), so we went to the lakes.

Knowing we were going to the lakes, we were instructed by our “expert” to bring a spin casting rod, as this would be much better than a fly. A friend and I decided not to. OK, we were too lazy to pack spinning rods. We got teased on the way to the Klondike Lakes about how we would get skunked, and they would catch so many their arms would

tire. As you have probably guessed, quite the opposite happened.

My buddy and I caught fish after fish on a 14 Parachute Adams while the spin casters caught — well, nothing. Next visit they left their spin casters at home.

But that didn’t really matter if I didn’t catch a fish, as the scenery is breathtaki­ng. Fishing lakes high in the mountain in the summer with snow surroundin­g you is something you’ll never forget.

I highly recommend visiting Wyoming’s trout streams and lakes if you get the chance, but make sure you pick up a “Fishing the Snowy Range” publicatio­n from the USFS. It maps all the lakes and lists which species of trout are in each or if there are no fish. Most fish caught will be brook trout but, depending on the lake, it could also be cutthroat, golden or even splake.

As I have said before, I have never fished west of Arkansas. The White River is full of trout and home to some giant fish, but it is nothing compared to the wonderful freeflowin­g mountain streams such as the Madison, Green or Yellowston­e rivers with their beautiful scenery and wildlife.

Maybe this year I will be lucky enough to win the Dream Trip Fly Fishing vacation in Idaho. If you enter the drawing you might win the trip for two — two custom fly rod outfits, flies, food and lodging,

a float trip and $500 to help offset travel expenses. Of all the times I have entered in the past I have won two of the runner-up prizes, the half day fishing at Nacoochee Bend and another year a box of 6 dozen flies.

Some of the runner-up prizes this year are: A TFO Blue Ribbon 4 wt. 8’9”, 4 piece fly rod; a private fly-casting lesson including digital casting analysis and video analysis; a Witching Hour (4 hour) trip for bass on Lanier or carp on the Chattahooc­hee; an unguided half day fishing at Nacoochee Bend for two anglers; a half day trophy brown trout guided float trip for two on the Chattahooc­hee River; a Renegade 8’ 3wt plus rod and reel; a half day trip on Warwoman Creek

in Rabun County; or possibly a $100 gift certificat­e or one of the boxes of six dozen flies.

Whether you win a runner-up prize or the Dream Trip or nothing at all, you are a winner because you are helping the kids attend trout camp and furthering the work of Trout Unlimited in Georgia. To enter, go to

The drawing will be held at the Georgia TU Council meeting on March 18, so time is limited. Make sure you choose the Coosa Valley Chapter as we will receive credit for the ticket sale.

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 ?? Contribute­d ?? Jeff Wilson fishing one of the mountain lakes of the Snowy Range in Wyoming.
Contribute­d Jeff Wilson fishing one of the mountain lakes of the Snowy Range in Wyoming.
 ?? Contribute­d ?? Jeff Wilson and friends fishing one of the mountain lakes of the Snowy Range in Wyoming.
Contribute­d Jeff Wilson and friends fishing one of the mountain lakes of the Snowy Range in Wyoming.

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