“Grand Slam” — Four Trout Species

It should be easy, and it was except for the hard part.  I set out Friday to catch all four trout species (Rainbow, Brown, Brook, and Cutthroat) in the Big Thompson drainage.  The Rainbows came from the Big T below Estes Park, the Brookies and Cuttroats from Rocky Mountain National Park, and the Brown from both.  The Cutthrots are Greenbacks, a recovering sub-species, are only found on the east slope of the Rockies in Colorado.  In the Big T and Park these fish are all wild.

I started where Rainbows are found in the Big T, but they wouldn’t hit until 9 AM.  Four were quickly netted, and I moved upstream to a Brown location and landed one quickly.  I was going to be done by noon.  Fall River flows out of the Park into the Big T, and Roaring River flows into the Fall.  Roaring contains Greenbacks.  The river drops 800 feet over half a mile to the Fall River.  I expected to hike up the canyon and fish the plunge pools, but the water was too high and not fishable.  I got my Greenbacks after hiking the entire canyon, and then took the 1.5 mile trail back down.

Fall River meanders through the valley and is a classic Brook Trout stream.  After crossing the valley to get away from the fish-by-the-road folks, I was able to catch only Browns — nice ones up to 12 inches.  At the junction with Roaring River I caught more Cutts.  Why did I hike up that canyon?  No Brookies yet.  I moved upstream into the willows and started over.  Here I found Brook Trout, but scattered.  This is a stream that seems ideal for a large fish population, but holds few.  Typically hundreds of four to six inch Brookies  should be seen.  On the other hand, the ones I did catch were eight to ten inches.

Catching four species was easy.  Hiking seven miles was hard.  Next time I will try a different spot for the Brookies.  What I would really like to do is find Rainbows in the Park.


Brook Trout



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