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Name: Mike Carey Date: August 04, 2013 Rating:
 
Time: Evening Bait: Login to view! Tackle: Login to view!
Color: Login to view! Species: Cutthroat Trout  Method: Login to view!
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My son James and I went on our (mine) much anticipated overnight hiking trip to Trap Lake in the Alpine Wilderness. The trailhead is located just before you reach Stevens Pass, at the hairpin turn.

We got a bit of a late start, arriving at the trailhead at 11am. First stop, Hope Lake and a lunch break. Hope Lake is more like a pond, and is a mile and a half up the Tunnel Creek Trail. And I do mean “up”. The trail is relentless, climbing from the word “go”. Around 1,200 feet of steady elevation gain. I do not like this trail. There is nothing redeeming about it other than it gets you to places more interesting. By the time we reached the lake we were sweated through our shirts. The bugs this year are pretty intense and James and I doused ourselves in a thick coating of bug juice, which helped. We took a break, ate lunch, and I fished the lake. The brook trout were feeding on floating bugs so I used a float bulb with a dry fly tied on (royal coachman). I caught a few small six inch trout.

Refreshed, we began the part of the hike that I have found memories of. I last visited Trap Lake in the late eighties and did great on lots of nice sized cutthroat. One part of the hike I fondly remembered was a beautiful walk along open vistas of the valley and mountains across from the trail. The trail reaches over 5,000 feet so we still had another 600 or so feet to traverse. This was done in fits and spurts. I do not like hiking with a full overnight pack in the heat of the day! That said, we persevered in the knowledge that the worst part of the hike was past us and the beautiful views in front.

The mountain flowers are in full bloom and some of those high elevation meadows are just amazing. I haven’t seen anything like it in quite a while. Each elevation hump we passed over I thought “the next will be the turn-off for Trap Lake”. Eventually we came to it, and descended down a couple hundred feet to the lake itself. My GPS (which never matches up with the guide books) said we ascended 2,238 feet, and traveled 7.45 miles. My guide book(s) said the hike would be 6 ½ miles to Trap, and about the same for elevation gain. In any case, we had the lake to ourselves. After finding a nice spot to set up camp (there are about four camping locations around this smaller lake) and dousing again with bug spray, we had a nice dehydrated dinner. Food sure tastes good when you’ve done a workout! James retired to the safety of the tent and some reading, and I headed down to the lake to see if the big cutthroats were interested in playing.

I started out with a float bulb and a leach, and also tried a tiny nymph fly. All I was catching was six inch cutthroat. Disappointed, I decided to prospect with a bigger lure and tied on a spinner (Fish Creek Spinner). Caught a couple small guys and then cast far out toward the middle of the lake. I felt the fish hit immediately and knew it was what I came to the lake for. This fish was a solid 12 inch trout and gave me a good fight. Pictures taken, he was safely released. I worked my way around the lake. Trap Lake is unique in that it is possible to walk all the way around the lake. Depending on how fast you go, figure an hour and a half. You need to be careful as one slip will leave you with a twisted ankle, gashed knee, or worse. I managed to catch another quality fish, maybe a tad smaller, and lost a couple that felt pretty solid. Overall, it wasn’t near as good as that memorable day so many years ago, but it was a pleasant way to spend an evening, fishing on a secluded Alpine lake with no one around, watching the sun set, seeing the colors change on the peaks, and listening to the marmots and birds announce the end of the day.

The next morning I got up early and tried some more, but only managed a couple bumps and some follows from small guys. The big fish remained elusive.

James and I hiked back to our car in half the time it took to get there. Total hiking distance was 13.5 miles, elevation gain total 2,647 feet, high point 5,361 feet. Not sure why the discrepancy between first way of the trip and the return. In any case, a week from now the pain will be a distant memory and we’ll be ready for our next adventure!

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Name: Myk Date: June 08, 2002 Rating:
 
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As I hiked up to Trap I saw bear, deer and various other wild life. When I got to the lake I was in bliss! It was a perfect day to go fishing...but isn't everyday. Really this is a lake I will take my kid to when she grows. The lake is small but it's beauty is enormous. Fishing is keen with crystal clear waters and hardly nothing to get caught up on I want to go here when I die. I think there is cutts and bows in it all native cause there's no road access the fish are beautiful and not afraid to bite!! But that doesn't mean catch them all this lake should be respected for what it is and it's all natural. I love to eat me some fish but don't fish here and take out a stringer or more there's plenty of other lakes that offer fish to that aren't as precious as this one. There was a guy I almost got in a fist fight with because he was catching fish in a barrel and just ripping them out and with no regard to the lake or the fish littering and robbing the lake of about twenty bows. Come on!
That ain't right darn it! And to top it off he was using powerbait is that really necessary to use there. They'll bite just a hook. Power bait is like a good piece off a-- would you turn it down? If you do visit Trap respect it. Just take one good one home with you please or even better take a picture of it those fish aren't planted so don't act as if they are. It really irks me to see people treat these kind of lakes like there's a grounds keeper that's going to pick up your garbage. It would serve that guy right if he fell off a cliff on the way back down.

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Name: Mike Carey Date: August 05, 2000 Rating:
 
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About ten years ago, minus one wife and two kids, I used to do a fare amount of hiking. I had a job which gave me weekdays off, working every weekend. So I got to see a lot of country. One lake that stays in my memory because of the outstanding cutthroat fishing is Trap lake. Trap is reached from Hwy 2 going east, take the FR 6095 exit. This is about three miles before Steven's Pass. It's on the right side of the road at a curve in the road. The hike begins on a steady climb about 2 miles to two small lakes, Mig and Hope. There are fish in these lakes but I don't know what kind. The hike to Trap continues south about 2 1/2 miles. You are now traveling on the Pacific Crest Trail. The views open up to incredible vistas and it feels like you are on top of the world. The effort going up to Mig and Hope lakes is well worth it at this point. After traveling the ridges you will come to a trail on your left that drops down into Trap lake. The descent is about 500 feet. The lake itself is 11 acres at 5150 feet. It has a rocky shoreline that circles the lake. There are a couple camping spots close to the lake. You can work all the way around the lake, but watch your step on the big boulders! I fished the entire lake, working my way around. When I got to the south shore where the big boulders are, I began catching one after another nice 9-12" cutthroat. I used simple spinners, nothing fancy. I was amazed by the number of fish I caught. It was a glorious day of solitude and fish caught. Someday I will return to this lake, if only to see if the fishing is still as good as that day.

Remember, minimal impact hiking and camping and leave some fish there for others!

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