Trxstle Team Member Anthony Jenca shares some of his tips and photos from chasing Golden Trout. If this doesn’t get you off the internet and headed to your nearest river we don’t know what will.
First and foremost, when I approach a gem of a small stream in Golden Trout Wilderness, stealth is key. A low profile and soft walk keeps these beautiful little fish from spooking, never to be seen again. These fish are best approached from behind, in the water, facing upstream. (I chose back and off to the side due to this being such a small stream).
These fish are voracious, wild, and always willing to take a buggy dry fly! Long, light tippet is key. You’ll be rewarded after every cast.
Conservation is really important to me, these fish are never out of the water for more than a few seconds. My hands are always wet before handling fish and I always throw barbless hooks. Losing a fish is always a little frustrating but we all want these fish to survive to fight another day and for another angler to enjoy.
Another beauty on a Hi-vis Elk Hair Caddis from Eddy Outfitters.
Lake fishing for Golden’s requires different tactics altogether.
Photo by Nathan Sidoti @nathansidoti – High Alpine Lake in the Golden Trout Wilderness.
What’s really cool about high alpine lakes is there are so many different ways to fish them. Some have inlets and outlets that are a blast because fish tend to stack up in them, especially on warm days. Use the same tactics you would for a small stream!
You can put on intermediate sinking line or a sink tip and cast/roll cast into deeper sections of the lake. Usually a slow retrieve (long strip, pause, long strip, pause) is my go to. Bigger fish tend to hangout in these deeper sections especially in the middle of the day.
Last, my favorite method is sight fishing. Fish in lakes tend to cruise the shorelines looking for food. Especially in calmer lakes. As you’re walking the shoreline, keep an eye out for rising fish, or fish eating off the bottom just below the surface. They’re everywhere!
This one was happy to take a white Elk Hair Caddis.
This one was a sucker for the leech on the cruise, he absolutely smashed it!
It really comes down to being able to adapt to the changing conditions. Weather, cloud cover, and available food all play a factor in being a successful fly fisherman. (Don’t be lazy like we all are, change flies, colors and don’t be afraid to lift a rock and see what’s in the water).
Golden trout should be on your bucket list, the beauty that surrounds them is well worth the trip alone. Not to mention every one is just as beautiful as the last, it’s like catching a wild painting over and over again. Hope you find success in your next adventure chasing down the rare California Golden Trout!