Fishing for Grayling and Big Brook Trout on Boulder Mountain

Welcome to KSL Outdoors, I’m Adam Eakle and welcome back to the Boulders. You know last week we showed you work that the DWR and Trout Unlimited is doing to help make sure that we have great populations of Colorado river cutthroat trout and we finished off the second part of our slam. Today, we are just back on the boulders trying to catch some fish. It’s a unique place, lots of different species and I’m hoping to catch some grayling. I think the guys are ready we better go.
We are going to take the wheelers make it a little bit quicker trip on a rougher road.
So we are going to start out, see if we can catch some grayling and maybe some brook trout as well at a couple of different lakes. Something different than yesterday? Yeah there is so much variety on Boulder Mountain you can do something different, every afternoon, every morning. if you want.
Last week
You can see his male has a really bright red belly, almost solid red.
We introduced you to the Colorado River Cutthroat trout found on the boulders as well as.
there we go, tiger.
some tiger trout.
Tigers are a lot of fun. You know, the growth rate is a great part about them, they can get nice sized.
Today, We are after the legendary brook trout of the boulders and the beautiful Arctic grayling.
Grayling are a lot of fun. They are a fish that does a little bit better on lakes that get low oxygen during the winter time. So they are a great management tool that way. Some lakes where maybe we haven’t been able to produce much for fish you know when we are stocking trout. The grayling will do a little better and they are just really beautiful, fun fish to catch. They are getting a lot more popular, people are figuring out how to catch them and we produce some really fat ones out here on the boulder.
I think we’ve actually just found out where they are at. They are just cruising out in a flat, in the shallows and we are just fishing chironomids and scuds and they are taking them.
took a little black ant pattern. That’s big for a grayling. What I love about grayling is this fin. Look how beautiful those colors are. Give him a breathe. there he goes.
There we go! Finally! Took a pheasant tail, oh that’s good grayling. That is a pretty fish. Oh that thing, that thing is gorgeous, oh it’s so fat! That’s a good one.
This is an Arctic Grayling. This is a really nice sized one. This is pretty big, looks like it’s got a really fat gut so it’s either eating well or it’s a female full of eggs ready to spawn. See that dorsal fin, it’s just so pretty, blue dots on it.
One thing I love is the pelvic fins on these have some really beautiful color, the pink stripes down them. That is a really nice looking grayling. Probably about, it’s probably over a pound I’m guessing.
That was one of the bigger ones.
This lake we are actually managing it for trophy, arctic grayling. See if we can get some up in that 17-18 inch range over two pounds. If we can get one that weighs two pounds, that will be a state record. That’s the goal.
Oh yeah! What did that take? That took the dry! Yeah!
Oh the blue on this fin. Yeah, come over and look at this. You might have got a male. It looks a little more colorful than mine was.
Woo! That’s pretty, aren’t they pretty? That is the most colorful dorsal fin I’ve ever seen on a grayling and I’ve caught these fish in the Unitas, I’ve caught them in Alaska, I’ve caught them up in Montana and that has the most blue of any dorsal fin I’ve seen. That is just a gorgeous, gorgeous fish.
Probably 13 inches, not as fat because it’s a male, but really, really, really colorful.
There it goes. got it, got my good grayling. Yeah! Been trying for that one for a little while now.
More grayling and
Probably in that three range I would bet.

Oh it’s got that huge fin. Holy cow.
When biologists, who see literally thousands of fish every year get excited. You know you are witnessing something special.
That is so brightly colored…Wow.
That’s the nicest grayling I’ve ever caught.
Yeah he’s only 15 but, yea but he looks longer.
What has worked out best the last little bit is we started going to a double nymph rig. so I’ve got about, of about 3 and a half, 4 feet below a strike indicator and I’ve what I would consider an attractor nymph. This is a bead head pheasant tail. A little bit bigger, you know about a size 14 and then dropped about 18 inches below that I’ve got a zebra midge a really small fly.
Yeah that’s another good sized one. That one might be my biggest one yet. That is a good one.
Supposedly when you cook these guys up they have the flavor of thyme. In their scientific name they are called Thymallus arcticus, supposedly because of that flavor.
Beautiful fish. Love it.
There it is! There we go buddy. Yeah.
We were having a blast catching twelve to fifteen inch grayling and a few brook trout as well.
I heard there is bigger ones on this mountain. Oh yeah.
Not a bad fish.
He’d probably go 12 inches or so.
Those fins are gorgeous aren’t they? I love that white tip on them.
Small brook trout, he’s fat. really fat. But you don’t want to manage this reservoir for brook trout. Yeah this one, this one we’ve kind of identified as a lake we’d like to manage for trophy grayling. So these are actually the last brook trout we are going to be stocking in this lake.
another brook trout.
We’ve got to find some better brooks for the camera.
They are too much like the Unitas.
They are kind of mediocre honestly. We don’t like mediocre down here.
There we go!
is it a grayling? It is and it’s a good one. Nice fish. Look at that!
Nice first grayling ever! I shot a lot of video of grayling. Now I’ve got one myself.
There we go that’s what we caught out of Lake Z today. Nice uh, nice little brookies and some big, big grayling. You know sometimes a lot of people are intimidated coming up to the Boulders. They don’t know where to go. A good source is obviously your Division of Wildlife Resources, but they’ve also put out this fishing Boulder Mountain pamphlet. It’s great information. You can catch these at Fish Tech. It’s put out by the Blue Ribbon Fisheries and DWR, it tells you where some trophy waters are here on the mountain also what species you can find in what lakes. You can find those like I said right there at Fish Tech.

Well Mike, two days, we’ve had two really successful days but we lack one thing. We want to get a what a big brook trout. Yeah we need to see some nice brook trout so we are going to go hike into a lake that is really hard to get to and hopefully we catch some. You haven’t been here in how long? Oh it’s been a few years. Ok. But I got a GPS, I think we’ll get there. Alright let’s go hit the trail. Alright.
At one time Boulder Mountain lakes were managed primarily for brook trout. But biologists have found that some lakes are better suited for trophy hybrids such as splake and tiger trout. So a few years ago, a new plan was hatched for the 80 or so lakes the DWR manages here.
And so we actually got together a committee made up mostly of fisherman and gave them some information they needed and they came up with ideas to help us manage every lake on boulder mountain. They helped us decide what kind of species was going to be in that lake and then whether to manage those fish as trophy, quality sized or just opportunity, you know lots of, lots of fish to catch. That plan we are putting into place now. Most of the actions that we use with that plan is actually adjusting stocking rates.
Another action included two, experimental, solar powered aeration systems on lakes that have low oxygen during the winter. The idea is to get some fish to survive the winter and produce more and bigger fish.
If they worked good. We might start putting them on other places on Boulder Mountain.
Many anglers have voiced their concern that the DWR is not trying to produce giant brook trout as they did decades ago. Or that the DWR is trying to rid the Boulders of brook trout. Mike says, this is unfortunate and untrue. They still have a focus on brook trout and making fishing better on Boulder Mountain.
We still have over 60% of the lakes on this mountain still have brook trout in them and that will continue.
A mile and a half later, Mike has led us to this small, isolated lake and wouldn’t you know it, on his third cast.
Got it! Nice good one? Yes on that gulp minnow.
If I can keep it out of the rocks. Oh come on!
There is a boulder mountain brook trout. About three pounds probably, just really fat all the way around, chunky fish. Just beautiful fish.
Worth the hike. Absolutely that one fish is worth that hike in.
You said anything over three pounds, this is two pounds, fifteen ounces is a trophy. That’s a trophy. Yup, that’s what we consider a trophy on Boulder Mountain is a trout over three pounds. Wow look how pretty that is. Yup. Those fins are just unbelievable. Yup. Wow, cool fish. Let’s get him back in the water. Sounds good.

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