High Altitude Trout Fishing in the Cuda HD

This summer I accomplished a childhood goal to chase trout in the high mountains of Wyoming. My father and I packed his small Toyota Tacoma truck full and strapped the Cuda HD to the topper roof with a homemade rack. The homemade rack made of 2×4’s wasn’t pretty but was more than sufficient to safely transport the kayak. We may have got a few odd looks going down the interstate but weren’t deterred by others opinion about our d.i.y. approach to a kayak rack. We pretty much burned it straight west as fast as we could to get to the mountains.

When we arrived in Wyoming we were greeted by a gray, cloudy sky. The closer we got to the mountains the gray was replaced by a blue sky as far as we could see. Our destination was the Medicine Bow National Forest, starting about an hour west of Laramie. Every time we visit this area we stop at the West Laramie Fly Store to get our fishing licenses, extra gear, fuel, and the local fish report. Thankfully the report was very good! Wyoming doesn’t require any special tags or registration on out of state kayaks which was nice.

The mountain roads leading to the park were absolutely beautiful. The scars of the recent forest fires and pine beetles were very apparent but emerging plant life was beginning to grow above the charred landscape. Small streams and mountain lakes were plentiful and vacant. We spotted four moose within the first hour of being in the mountains. After navigating many backcountry roads we arrived at out destination. Lake Owen was our base camp for the first half of the trip. Lake Owen is a very small man-made lake stuffed with rainbow, brown, and brook trout. The lake is a small basin averaging about ten foot deep. The surface was never a dull moment. Trout seemed to constantly be striking insects. It was a Paradise for a dry fly fisherman.

Soon after camp was setup the Cuda HD was rigged and ready to chase trout. Our camp site was close to the lake but separated by a wall of small pine trees and a boulder filled marsh. The C-Tug cart made short work of getting the kayak to water. It was amazing to paddle surrounded by such beauty. I used ultra light spinning tackle equipped with small inline spinners and miniature crank baits. The trout were very cooperative the first few days. All my trout tackle, lunch, and rain gear easily fit in the hinged center gear hatch. Trout were evenly distributed throughout the lake and were found everywhere without rhyme or reason. The Cuda HD worked great but the infamous Wyoming wind blew me all over the lake. A small drift sock attached to a Yak Attack trolley made my life so much easier! I made many laps around the lake and had a blast catching trout.

Our next journey was to head higher in the mountains to Mirror Lake. Mirror Lake is right on the feet of the Medicine Bow Range, with Mount Medicine Bow almost directly behind it. This place is what most would refer to as “God’s Country”. Crystal clear water filled with giant boulders and ancient fallen timbers with a backdrop of snow-capped mountains in both directions. Trout were very skittish but fishing was hard to concentrate on in the awe of looking at the mountains. I paddled around the whole lake and took as many pictures as my camera would allow. That place was the most beautiful place I’ve ever been fortunate enough to paddle.

My Dad and I were blessed to have such a great trip in the mountains. Although I never caught the monster I was after, we had an absolute blast exploring the places we visited. I highly recommend planning a kayak fishing trip to the mountains of Wyoming! Tight Lines!

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