Finally got to seriously fish an Alpine lake that wasn't frozen over, LOL. Heather lake is located around 10 miles east of Granite Falls, just past the Verlot campgrounds. It's quick hike, about 1.4 miles and maybe 1,000 ft of elevation gain. The lake opens early due to it's lower elevation of 2,450 ft. It's been stocked with cutthroat trout.
The trail itself isn't too bad and I made good time to the top. Unfortunately today was partly cloudy so Mt Pilchuck was obscured. Heather is in a 3/4 basin of rock cliffs and it's quite pretty. There's a nice trail that goes all the way around the lake. I found fish on the far side of the lake and caught several fish in the 6-8" range which I'm guessing is the typical size for this lake. It's not a very big lake, maybe 17 acres, and it didn't seem very deep. I'm frankly surprised it hasn't been fished out considering the heavy traffic I'm sure it gets. I can only hope that most people that fish lakes like this don't keep the fish. Why bother with a dinky little 8" trout anyway? They are beautiful fish though and it was fun to catch something for a change.
I learned some valuable day packing lessons on this trip. First, my day pack is an REI Venturi 30. I brought my slip-over pants light waders and my heavy wading shoes - mistake! The pack wasn't big enough and I had the wading shoes in a bag on the outside of the pack. Very ackward. When I got back to my truck I was thinking maybe I needed a bigger pack, until I looked in my truck and did the classic forehead "knock" with my heel. I have a pair of ultralight plastic clogs that will work just as well as my heavy wading shoes at a fraction of the weight and space. So the Venturi 30 will work just fine. The other thing I realized is my little sack of tackle needed some serious organizing before my next trip, so that's on my "to-do" list. Really need to come prepared because hey, fishing time is premium time and I don't want to have it go to waste. This year has not been good for me fishing. Ever since Aaron and I did the full day of fly fishing on the Yakima my right elbow has been aching. My doctor told me this week it was tendonitis and recommended continued rest, PT, and maybe an MRI if it doesn't get better. So I've not done any meaningful fishing since then. But, today was good and I was careful to not overdo it. Plus a light spinning rod was comfortable to cast. I'm lookign forward to spending this summer hiking, fishing, and camping more Alpine spots. Funny how life goes in cycles. I did this 20+ years ago and got away from it (hiking/wilderness camping) and now I have the bug again. Sweet!