Golden trout have the reputation of being some of the best-looking yet hardest to find trout in the world.
They live in some of the most beautiful places. Small creeks and glacial lakes at 10,000 – 12,000 feet. Although they are not native to these areas, they have flourished.
These trout live in mostly untouched waters above the treeline surrounded by jagged mountains, stunning wildflowers, and rugged terrain.
On big snow years, golden trout may only see open water for three months, spending the other nine encapsulated under the ice.
In other years, the lakes never fully thaw, leaving small windows for when you can catch them. Most areas require at least a 10-mile hike and the trail fades out halfway.
You can definitely count on spending a good portion of the day getting there.
Navigating around the lakes can be a journey itself with 10 to 20-foot boulders lining the edges.
These fish do not come easy but you gain a sense of accomplishment from the entire experience.
Some areas can be accessed by long day hikes, but camping gives you everything the mountains and fishing have to offer.
Golden trout can be finicky, refusing everything in your box which makes them even more daunting.
Their presence can be memorizing, you don’t even have to catch them to appreciate the beauty.
Time slows down in the high country and your attention to every detail is heightened.
They have such a distinct color that glistens in the pristine water. For me, golden trout fishing is about the exploration.
Getting outside and discovering everything that the mountains have to offer.
There is always a new lake to find and a unique Golden Trout in it. California is full of gold, you just got to get out and find it!
Golden trout is the reward, but the journey is what gets you coming back for more.