Time: 1:00PM – 3:00PM
Location: Inlet of Mitchell and north side of Brainard Lake
Fish Landed: 0
Having returned from Alaska on Monday, Jane and I were anxious to make a trip to the Colorado mountains, so we decided to hike to Mitchell Lake. We packed our lunches and hiking gear and drove to the Brainard Lake parking lot. We hiked the .5 mile or so to the Mitchell Lake trailhead and then proceeded. Much to our surprise 75% of the trail was covered in snow. We hiked over numerous snowdrifts and lost the trail many times. We finally reached the lake, and it was ice free.
We grabbed one of the few large rocks that wasn’t covered in snow and ate our lunches. Jane made a snow angel and inscribed the date made with sticks in the snow drift next to our lunch rock. After lunch I climbed into my waders and strung my Scott 6 weight and waded into the frigid lake. The low end was quite shallow so I waded along the rocky edge to a point where the small stream enters. I caught several cutthroats and brook trout at this point two years ago. I made 5-10 casts into the run and swung a woolly bugger with no response when it began to rain. The sky was quite dark and I could hear thunder, so I climbed up on the bank and walked up and down many drifts until I got back to Jane. She was anxious to return to the car, so I left my waders on, and we managed to find the trail in the snow and return to the car.
Once I was at the car I decided to try fishing Brainard Lake. I began where the lake was fairly close to the road and began casting the streamer twenty yards out into the lake and stripping it back. I moved westward along the shoreline until I reached the point where a small stream entered the lake. Here I decided to switch to the stack mending technique I learned in Alaska and made numerous nice drifts out into the lake along either side of the current seam. I switched to a beadhead hares ear and beadhead caddis pupa for this approach.
I crossed the small stream and moved to the entry point of a slightly larger stream and tried the stack mend technique once again and again it didn’t produce. I didn’t feel like working around the larger stream because it was too swift to cross so I returned to my starting point where Jane was waiting and called it a day.