Friday: 10 miles of trail Elevation: Hike back down to the basin 9200’ and then over the divide 9800’ to Washington Lake Creek 8850’; hike up to Washington Lake 9362’ and over another small divide 9600’ to 4th of July Lake 9365’; hike back to the trailhead. Lakes: half-dozen Chamberlain Lakes; Washington & 4th of July Lakes Fish: Brook Trout in Washington Lake; Cutthroat
It was the last day thanks to me getting the flu. It was difficult for me to keep anything down since Wednesday and I was getting very weak because I ate very little. I think I was running on adrenaline from the excitement of Golden Trout and beautiful scenery.
We fished a little in the Chamberlain Basin but the wind was blowing and rippling the water. We dealt with this phenomenon all week not allowing us to fish a few lakes unless we nymph fished. When the water rippled the fish couldn’t see the fly and the instant the water settled a fish would explode on my fly. There are some very big fish in a couple of the lakes according to reports I have heard.
We were going to originally camp at Washington Lake for evening Brook Trout fishing. I found that in the Sawtooths they can be finicky this time of year during the day and then explode in the evening. I’m sure that was the case here. We stopped and fished Washington Lake for an hour but I only caught one 11” Brook Trout from the outlet near a log. It was a beautiful trout with bright colorful markings. There are many fish in the lake but you wouldn’t have known it when we passed through in the late afternoon. I know we would have slammed them if we would have spent the night. Fourth of July Lake also had some small jumping Cutthroat but we didn’t stop to fish. I know it gets heavily fished.
NOTE: It is possible to catch all five species of fish in the last 10 miles of this trip if you have a couple evenings. It would be very easy to catch all species with the exception of the Grayling in Washington (Brook), Heart (Rainbow, Cutthroat) and Hope Lakes (Golden Trout, Grayling). I don’t know if Justin got lucky or what catching the one Grayling but we spent a lot of time fishing Hope Lake and only managed to catch Golden Trout.
I couldn’t have asked for a better trip with the exception of catching the flu and a dripping tent but it still worked out fine. I would rank this as my number one alpine lake fishing trip due to the variety of species. The one downfall is the lack of large fish in many of the lakes but what do you expect at such high elevations. The scenery is some of the most spectacular in Idaho and that is saying a lot. I can’t think of a better way to spend a week with my brothers! I’ll have a hard time topping this adventure next year!