I was awoken at Dewey Lake in the morning by my son Bode, asking me if he thought it would be okay to wake his friend Heron to go down to the lake and fish. I said it was, then got up myself and started breaking camp, packing away hammocks and sleeping bags, getting things organized for the day’s hike.
I walked up to the top of the knoll to see about my dad. He was sound asleep, and I left him alone. Today was going to be the push up to the “top of the world”, Fossil Lake, at 10,000 feet. Billed in the guidebook as the gem of this route, I was looking forward to seeing it, but worried about cold winds and high elevation.
Down to the lake shore I strolled ready to make coffee and oatmeal. It was a glorious morning with fish rising all around, and a little arctic tern was swimming just out of reach, picking away at the insects rising from the depths, wondering if we had anything to offer it.
Coffee was made, and oatmeal was eaten, though to the dismay of the boys who would have preferred bacon and eggs. I dunked my head in the lake to give my hair a wash, and then Wes came down to say hello. He ate and drank and dunked as well, and we cleaned up, packed up, and headed on our way, hoping for an enjoyable and rewarding day, ambling toward the headwaters of East Rosebud Creek.
We headed up the trail toward Fossil Lake, passing through incredible alpine meadows filled with flowers, spotting Pika and Marmots, and pushing our legs upward and onward. We made it to Fossil Lake by about 2pm, which was a welcome change to the previous two days’ hikes when we arrived after 7pm.
Adequate trees were located to hang our hammocks, the fishing rods came out, and we all enjoyed a relaxing afternoon on top of the world. I even took in a swim in crisp and refreshing water only feet from a snowfield. Fossil Lake is truly a crown jewel.
Below, some photos of our hike and a teaser of more Fossil Lake photos that I’ll post tomorrow. Enjoy!
Through the meadows along the East Rosebud Trail we go.
Wes and Heron on the East Rosebud Trail above Dewey Lake
Bode and Stephen admire the high alpine meadows on the East Rosebud Trail
Upward toward Fossil Lake on the East Rosebud Trail
Up switchbacks and back down to cross a creek on the East Rosebud Trail
Incredible views along the East Rosebud Trail
Heron clowns it up on the East Rosebud Trail
Tom on the East Rosebud Trail near Fossil Lake
Wes on the East Rosebud Trail near Fossil Lake
Stephen on the East Rosebud Trail near Fossil Lake
Bode on the East Rosebud Trail near Fossil Lake
A broad beautiful meadow on the East Rosebud Trail
The snowfields get closer on the East Rosebud Trail
Amazing alpine wildflowers on the East Rosebud Trail
Bode and Wes resting along the East Rosebud Trail
A long view up high on the East Rosebud Trail
Heron and Stephen hike up to Fossil Lake on the East Rosebud Trail
Amazing alpine meadow blooms on the East Rosebud Trail
Bode with the first Cutthroat Trout from Fossil Lake, East Rosebud Trail
Stephen Rose approaches Camp Creek
Plans are in the works for a trip up to the Bois Brule, and perhaps the Cranberry River, Flag River, White River, Marengo River, Sioux River, or who knows where. Hopefully the fish will be our guide.
I can’t wait to see that lovely tanin-stained water, hear the wolves howl, and see the flash of those silvery fish in the riffles. I’ll be keeping my eye on the fish forums to see how our chances look for getting up there during a run.
For now, here are some memories of last year’s visit…
Wood Turtle on the banks of the Bois Brule River, Wisconsin
Stephen Rose: Extreme Trout Fisherman
S. Rose on the incredible Bois Brule River, Wisconsin
The Amnicon River in Douglas County, Wisconsin
On Wednesday, April 6th at about 10:30 pm, Stephen Rose and I bid farewell to our families and drove west to the Kickapoo Valley. We set up camp quickly and woke up to a frosty, bright morning. Our day was, in our short history of fishing for trout, one of the best yet.
The goal was to continue gaining experience fishing with fly tackle, with the hopes of having success connecting with trout. That goal was met, but there were so many other bonuses in the form of beautiful sights, sounds, and experiences. It was an incredible day!
Last Night's Hammocks in the Kickapoo Valley Reserve
Pre-fishing breakfast preparation
A Driftless spring seep running down limestone
Here's lookin' at you, fish.
Tom's Wooly fools a Driftless Trout
This man is happy.
Driftless Brown on a White Wooly Bugger
Stephen Rose working a bend pool on a Kickapoo River Tributary
Beautiful Meander in Wisconsin's Driftless
Working the Wall
Is this for real? Driftless Wisconsin Trout Water.
Brown Trout, Wooly Bugger
Casting to a lie
A Stealthy Approach
The Garden of Eden?
Stephen Rose with at Driftless Wisconson Brown Trout
Working a limestone wall
Stephen Rose, Successful Fly Fisherman
Driftless Trout Stream
Bode wading Gordon Creek
With schools closed and three young boys beating down the walls of my house, I decided to temp fate and drag them all out to the countryside to check out some spring creek scenery. I’ve fished Gordon Creek a handful of times, but this is the first opportunity I’ve had to visit the upper reaches of the drainage. Fish were spotted and my boys had a good time playing by the water’s edge (or in the water depending on the wardrobe). The creek ran clear and looked about like it does any time of year. I suppose this is a nice thing about the headwaters of a spring-fed creek. It’s reliably consistent.
- Upper reaches of Gordon Creek
Afternoon sun on Gordon Creek
After half an hour on this upper section – the younger boys really wanted a campfire and a couple of hammocks hung, and this was not public land – we headed down the road a ways to a spot where this sort of thing would be possible. So, here we are enjoying s’mores and the bubbling of Gordon Creek. The water was chocolate milk and was running deep.
S'mores and a nice place to sit!
Nice, isn't it?
Sheppy lounging - Optical Illusion: he is several feet away from the fire...