The fly fishing options in Big Sky country are endless. The people who keep track of the record fish have been very busy in the past few years with the state record golden trout. It is very small and offers only basic amenities. Lake is frozen over as of 10/15/17. Starting in Bozeman, travel south of Gallatin Gateway about 5 miles on Hwy 191 and turn left on to Storm Castle Creek Road. At this fork you can go to Windy Pass and Golden Trout Lakes or Hidden Lakes. The trail begins to gain noticeable elevation as it continues. Not sure when this trail will be ready to use but not anytime soon! The trail head is equipped with adequate parking. Up high in the Beartooth Mountains of Montana there is Sylvan Lake, offering good fishing for golden trout. We did it in my 4Runner and had zero issues. One accesses Windy Pass (a nice hike in it's own right), the other heads off to the Golden Trout Lakes. Catfish is stocked May and September. A great hike. Some people were fishing, not sure if they were having any luck. Not good weather since pretty thick fog. Please explore responsibly! The trail starts off easy and winds past a few small ponds before reaching the cutoff to Hidden Lakes Trail (approx. The high-mountain lakes rest in a cirque on the northern slope of Eaglehead Mountain, a three-peaked mountain with a rounded, grassy ridge. Rough roads to the Golden Trout Lakes It was difficult driving up the road to get to the beginning of the trail, so I recommend a vehicle that can handle the rough road; preferably a truck or AWD. The portal creek road is challenging, best to have 4x4 or AWD with high clearance. Fox Creek Cabin is a former ranger station located in a remote area. Some of the best spots to cast a fly include Spanish Lakes, Hidden Lakes, or Golden Trout Lakes. The first challenge in catching golden trout is determining which lakes hold them. Beautiful hike! We did the entire thing just so our dogs could explore. There are only about 20 lakes or groups of lakes in the state that hold good numbers of golden trout. I just went fishing in the western Sierra and caught a Golden trout even bigger than the one in the picture. It is absolutely beautiful but I can imagine it is much more manageable when you can drive to the trail head and hike. In fact, much of the South Fork of the Kern River is only accessible to the dedicated outdoorsmen who are willing to ride in by horseback. Less busy trail. The trail starts off easy and winds past a few small ponds before reaching the cutoff to Hidden Lakes Trail (approx. Eagle Head Mountain borders the lake to the south and provides a nice backdrop to this beautiful scene. One of the best in Big Sky. The trailhead for Golden Trout Lakes is located off of US Highway 191 south of Bozeman, Montana… Beautiful Alpine Lake. Good hike, rough road getting up there. For the last 3 miles it was very rough with rocks and pot holes. I just drove right up to the creek located at about 7000 ft elevation in my Jeep 4+4 and started to fish. Hidden Lakes Historic Trout Farm, Bolingbrook: See 48 reviews, articles, and 28 photos of Hidden Lakes Historic Trout Farm, ranked No.4 on Tripadvisor among 19 attractions in Bolingbrook. They provide a unique opportunity to catch a beautiful fish in a pristine environment. In early July 2012, my mom and I headed up into the Gallatin Mountains for our next hiking adventure: Golden Trout Lakes. The last mile is pretty tough, but I’d label the rest as moderate. If you’re still not sure where to begin your Big Sky fly fishing adventure, check out MontanaAngler.com or better yet, hire one of Big Sky country’s world class fly fishing guides. The map also shows hotspots where our fishing junkies have caught lunkers and posted photos and stories. Pack only the necessities if you're going to fish! Fishing Permits . Upper and Lower Twin lakes on Twin Lakes Creek near Anaconda, Montana, are presumed to have held native bull trout; probably so did Doctor and Big Salmon lakes in the South Fork of the Flathead River watershed. The trailhead serves double duty as it's the jumping off place for two trails. Glad I borrowed a friends truck. The largest Golden on record is an 11-pound, 4-ounce fish that Continue left for the Golden Trout Lakes. Moderately trafficked with people at the destination. Beautiful hike, and we had a great time fishing!! It provides a rustic mountain retreat with few amenities, so guests need to bring most of th... Overview We were just hiking in for fun! They spawn in the fall on the rocky substrate of the shoreline. Mosquitos are vicious in the parking lot so plan ahead to make a quick getaway- they lighten up as you go but bug juice is recommended. First stocked in 1938, the golden trout at Sylvan Lake are well known in Montana for their genetic purity. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/montana/golden-trout-lakes Bring your fly rod, because some lakes hold a variety of fish like cutthroat trout or grayling. The Golden Trout lakes offer a scenic getaway just out of the Gallatin Valley Canyon. When we got to the lake could maybe see ten feet out! I made it to the lake in an hour. Ran into hikers that made the mistake of following the arrow pointing right rather than straight and ended up in the wrong location. Golden Trout Lakes Trail: Rough roads to the Golden Trout Lakes - See 4 traveler reviews, 3 candid photos, and great deals for Gallatin Gateway, MT, at Tripadvisor. It had some steeper inclines but we were able to stop and rest by a beautiful stream. A few streams cross the trail but are easily maneuvered over via rocks. Most lakes in this area can be reached in a few hours on a day hike, while others are best enjoyed with a wilderness camping trip. The lake is beautiful in a nice place to relax. Fishermen will find a variety of fish including brown trout, northern pike, rainbow trout and whitefish here. We walked 15 miles round trip! The largest of the Golden Trout Lakes is surrounded by forest, with good campsites above the north and east shores. Road up to lake is nice however you need 4wd in some spots and there are no signs until you're right at the spot to park at the top of the mountain. Definitely more than that... once we got there it was completely frozen over. Few camp spots around the lake. Once you get to the beginning of the trail, the hike is a nice little workout until you reach the final location of Golden Trout Lakes. Golden Trout Lakes is a lake located just 11.9 miles from Big Sky, in Gallatin County, in the state of Montana, United States, near George Norman Trailer Court, MT. Call ahead to see if its open. The current cabin, a former guard station, was ... Overview The big myth about Golden Trout is that you have to go on some backbreaking hike to 11,000 ft to catch a Golden Trout. Even the drive up Portal Creek Road is breathtaking!!!! Equestrian corrals and horse trails. DISCUSSION Present Status Of the 14 lake systems in Montana with golden trout in 1981, only Lightning, Sylvan, Sawtooth, Island, Hidden #5, 6 and 7 and Golden Trout lakes appear relatively secure. Roads, campgrounds and trailheads surrounding Golden Trout Wilderness. Users have reported that the road leading to the trailhead might require 4WD with high clearance. The ponds at Hidden Lakes are stocked in April and October with trout. Worth the drive and hike. Steep hike with some boggy sections that might do better with waterproof boots. Dogs are also able to use this trail. Big, gorgeous, tucked up against a wall of rock, and with a little outlet stream to a smaller lake below it. I went last spring, there was a lot of water over the path and some post holing to be done. The trail is a little flooded in places and a bit of a rough drive - worth it. My Outback did just fine. Didn’t catch any trout, but saw plenty grabbing bugs off the surface. As golden lakes go, this one was nirvana. Great place for dogs to swim at the top. The original Big Creek Cabin was built in 1907 and it still stands on this site. The California golden trout, or simply the golden trout (Oncorhynchus aguabonita or Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita), is a species of trout native to California.The golden trout is normally found in the Golden Trout Creek (tributary to the Kern River), Volcano Creek (tributary to Golden Trout Creek), and the South Fork Kern River.It is the state freshwater fish of California. I believe that the roundtrip distance is a little off compared to this site in my opinion, but I totally recommend this hike to anyone. #NextTime, Buffalo Horn Pass from Tom Miner Campground, Bozeman, MT, to West Yellowstone, MT: the West Entrance, Levinski Ridge via Porcupine Creek Trailhead, Hyalite-Porcupine-Buffalo Horn Wilderness Study Area. The hike and the lake are breathtaking. Fishing too. About an hour and 20 minutes to get to the lake at a moderate pace, so calculate that into when you want to start fishing. We will be back to see the lake! Anyone who is interested in visiting Golden Trout Lakes can print the free topographic map and street map using the link above. Definitely coming again to try to catch some golden trout. Lake Trout are a major game fish in much of Canada and were at one time a staple of the Great Lakes fishery. Hiking to an alpine lake is a rewarding adventure. Trail is 2.5 miles according to my watch. It was a little more difficult than I expected, but doable. It is currently 8+ feet of snow! This is actually a collection of three lakes, though we just went to the main one. Some popular destinations are Lightning Lake, Cave Lake, the Hidden Lakes (Gallatin Range) and the Golden Trout Lakes. Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) access; Mount Whitney and John Muir Wilderness are to the north. Once you get to the beginning of the trail, the hike is a nice little workout until you reach the final location of Golden Trout Lakes. The thing that didn’t make it worth doing again was the road to the trailhead. The road gets a bit bumpier for another 2.2 miles. Like Cottonwood Lakes, the portion of the Kern River where golden trout can be found is extremely tricky to get to. Once we go to the actual trail head it stated 2.5 miles to the lake. Lake Trout inhabit very deep, cold lakes, living in water up to 200 feet deep. It was difficult driving up the road to get to the beginning of the trail, so I recommend a vehicle that can handle the rough road; preferably a truck or AWD. Turned around .5 miles in on the trail due to snow. Sylvan Lake’s golden population is so pure that the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks regularly uses the eggs laid by goldens at Sylvan Lake for stocking other lakes in Montana. To access the trail head, turn east onto Portal Creek Road #984 and continue southeast for 6.8 miles. We're committed to building a better, more inclusive home for the modern outdoors. The lookout provides a panorami... Overview If this lake isn't enough, there are two other lakes to the east and west that are accessible and only a distance of 0.3 miles to loop all three. Hidden Lakes is a lake in Montana and has an elevation of 9026 feet. Golden Trout Wilderness. this is an awesome trail to a beautiful and quiet lake....there are a lot of great little streams and plenty of shade through many portions of the trail. Our group caught a total of 9 fish for the day before it got cut short by a mean rain/hail storm. Enjoy the high-mountain air of a trail that begins above 8,000 feet. The lake is calm and serene, tucked into the trees with several camp spots around its perimeter. But it’s well worth it when you get to the lake. The Golden Trout Lakes trail (Trail #89) is located up Portal Creek in the Gallatin Canyon near Big Sky. Road conditions leading up are tremendously bad. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your Continue left for the Golden Trout Lakes. Trail had snow on parts and a small lake from snow melting towards the last stretch of the hike that we had to go around but omg was it worth it!!! Follow this road for about 3.5 miles until the road ends. The largest Golden Trout are located in high mountain lakes of Wyoming and Montana, but there are also fish in Utah and Idaho. Permits are … Took a while to get there in our truck. Fairly mellow and peaceful hike. The Golden Trout Lakes sit in a basin at an elevation of 9,050 feet. Beautiful short and easy hike. Golden trout are on the smaller side. If you're fishing, look for the inlet across the lake form where you arrive. The Golden Trout Lakes fishing map contains information about some of the best fishing spots this lake has to offer as well as the nearby cottages, campgrounds, and bait and tackle shops. Also, the mosquitos were terrible, so wear bug spray and bring extra to reapply at the top! All adults age 16 and older are required to have a Hidden Lakes permit. There are also campspots with fire pits if you want to make it an overnight. The meadow and wildflowers were awesome! Generally you can’t just do a quick day trip for these ornate fish. The view is stunning and is a very nice place to escape to, even if just for an hour or so. The 6 mile round trip to Lava Lake is a steady climb that runs beside Cascade Creek through the Lee Metcalf Wilderness. A Hidden Lakes permit is needed to fish at Hidden Lakes. The last mile is rough - very steep. Gorgeous views make this fairly strenuous climb worth it. There were 2 water crossings, plus a field that was pretty much just marsh, so be prepared to get your feet wet if that hasn’t dried up. Hidden Lakes from Mapcarta, the free map. Golden Trout Lakes trail is a 5 mile out and back hike to a beautiful alpine lake in the Gallatin Range of SW Montana. Lots of evidence of bears being in the area so be on alert!!! I waited for 30 minutes until I got my first bite but damn it was worth it. Great trail with a beautiful and quiet lake at the top. There are some different options for starting and ending this hike, but the route I did started at Buffalo Horn Trailhead and ends at the Hyalite Creek Trailhead, and is approximately 42 miles total. Nice lake at the end. BULL TROUT. Beautiful hike, but uncertain footing along much of the rock-strewn trail. The golden trout populations started from the Sur- prise Lake stock had a low occurrence of the variant allele. The trail leaves from right next to the toilets, and is very easy to follow. This was a great trail! In the Gallatin Range lies a constellation of lakes, and all of their secrets, which can be found by you. The Hidden Lakes Trailhead is 6.0 miles from 191 and is located at approximately 8185 feet. Golden trout find conditions in those high, cold lakes to be just what they like, and there are good numbers of them in some lakes. (Hiking) Golden Trout Lakes, Near Big Sky, Montana By danwgoodman on June 27, 2012 • ( 3 Comments ) Stifling heat and choking smoke may define the legacy of Montana’s 2012 summer, but the state’s high altitude mountain lakes have so far remained havens for outdoor seekers of … We walked 1 1/2 + miles from the closed road to the sign that states 3 miles to trail head. The trail begins to gain noticeable elevation as it continues. Quite a commitment to get to the trail though as a 6 mile dirt road takes about half hour to drive because it's so rough but it's worth it. Not true. Garnet Mountain Fire Lookout sits on the apex of Garnet Mountain, at an elevation of 8,245 feet. It was well worth it though, very pretty and secluded. Definitely worth the hike up there! To get to Golden Trout Lakes, head north out of Big Sky on highway 191 for 5.1 miles. Lastly, we made it to the top in 2 wheel drive, it’s not too bad of a drive, and really the biggest time clearance came into question was coming back down and honestly, if you’re a good driver, you could make it in something like a Subaru Outback. There are currently about 20 golden trout populations in the high mountain lakes of western and southcentral Montana. Golden trout lakes is a 5-mile rout trip hike with the opportunity to fish for Golden Trout. Fly-fishing for golden trout is a time-consuming, obsession-creating adventure of a time. In Montana, that's not terribly difficult through the MFISH database. Golden Trout Lakes Trail is a 7.7 kilometer moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Gallatin Gateway, Montana that features a lake and is rated as moderate. At this point, there is a decent sized parking area. The Outbound works best with JavaScript enabled. Golden Trout Lakes is displayed on the Lone Indian Peak USGS quad topo map. The trailhead is easy to find, and has a vault toilet and a decently sized parking lot. Stay on the trail marked NFS 83 at the bifurcation to hidden lake cutoff. Easily in anything higher than that, I would say. Others are the perfect place for a … Was much colder at the lake so didn’t stay long. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September. After passing a large open field (possibly a marsh, depending on weather and time of year), the trail hits a steep section before leveling off for the final approach to the lake. The trail is rough if you have a lot of weight on you. A sign indicates heading left to Windy Pass and Golden Trout Lakes, but bear right at the fork and continue another 2.2 miles to the Hidden Lakes trailhead. Do NOT GO ON THIS TRAIL RIGHT NOW! Recommend bait is half a worm on a small hook with a weight 20-26 inches up your line. In Montana, the Lake Trout of Flathead Lake have achieved trophy status, growing to 42 pounds. The golden trout is a California species that was introduced in Montana in 1907. Go PRO to support our mission and get benefits like gear deals, no ads, and more! It was a beautiful blast in our eyes but if you are looking to fish, look somewhere else!! Lots of shade. Hiked on Labor Day. You might also find goldens scattered around in few other lakes, but they are not as widespread as many species of trout in Montana. Here's a look at some excellent Montana Brook Trout we tracked down last summer. Five of the lakes contain golden or rainbow trout (or both). 0.8 miles). Bring bug spray! A fit hiker can probably make it to either destination in an hour or so. Some of the most beautiful fish I’ve ever held in my hands. Not to be unexpected with all the snow! The trail has about 4 steep sections followed by flat sections to catch your breathe. For those of you that are up there for the fishing! Very few people on the trail for a Saturday in August. Was a nice hike in a wooded area to the lake. Bring a fishing rod. The trail starts at the Gallatin River and continues upward through dense evergreen forest. Veer right for Hidden Lakes. Windy Pass Cabin was built in 1934. Bring water, bear spray and your fly rod. adventures and follow local regulations. Golden trout are most often found in remote, alpine drainages over 9,000 feet in elevation. Unfortunately, a storm blew in sent us back down the hill about a quarter-mile from the lakes. We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Beautiful fish! Another sign about half way will point you toward the Hidden Lakes parking area and trailhead. Throw the smallest fly you have out as far as you can cast and just sit there and wait. Quite scenic. Golden trout have an interesting history in the state record books. © 2020 The Outbound Collective - Terms of Use - Privacy Policy. But for those who make the trip, catching a golden trout, the state fish, is worth the effort. Still a good hike with a challenging last mile. Requires a 4WD vehicle for the road in -- very VERY rough. 06/23/2018. The drive is doable, we were in a pick up truck with four wheel drive and it took about 35 mins. Golden Trout Lakes is in the Lakes category for Gallatin County in the state of Montana. Eastern Sierra – Horseshoe Meadows Road (paved) leads up to high elevation meadows from the high deserts of Lone Pine, CA. Bring bug repellent. Overview Bring bug spray though!! The two aforementioned Fish lakes in Idaho’s Bitterroot Mountains also are thought to have held native bull trout. Road was still closed due to runoff so we had to hike 4 miles just to get to the trailhead. 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