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Grandaddy Lake Trail
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mini location map2013-06-25
25 by photographer avatarWoodsnative
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Grandaddy Lake TrailDinosaurland, UT
Dinosaurland, UT
Backpack avatar Jun 25 2013
Backpack10.60 Miles 1,800 AEG
Backpack10.60 Miles5 Days         
1,800 ft AEG
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Five Arizonans and my nephew from Utah hit the trail for 5 days, which was the longest backpacking trip for all, except myself. The weather was warm and dry, and the mosquitos were fierce. My goal was to determine the fishing quality of several new lakes, and possibly find that elusive trail to Fern Lake.

Day 1: My friend JY shows up recovering from flu symptoms but toughs it out for 5.5 miles, to our camp at Lodgepole Lake. He goes to bed without dinner, wishing for a life-flight. I catch 3 fish and keep two to share for dinner. The typical orange meat on these Brook Trout is almost red this time!

Day 2: We day-hike cross-country to Shadow Lake, and find an old but useful trail going northward between Lodgepole and a meadow just west of Shadow. Too bad I didn't have my GPS to mark it. The fishing for small trout (9 inches average) is excellent and the boys in the group have a blast. My total was 29 at this lake, and one of my sons caught 18. We have 5 trout for dinner, and JY admits that it tastes pretty good and not very 'fishy.'

Day 3: Half the group takes a day-hike to Rock Creek and to Fern Lake. We cross several dried up marshes; it's another dry year. The creek was fun for catching a few small fish and dunking heads. To get to Fern Lake I again head over the hillside, but on the return trip we actually kept most of the cairns in sight and were able to follow the trail out. Finally.
Fern Lake had about 1/3 of its shoreline covered in lily pads, which makes it tricky to land a fish. We had good success catching larger-than-average Brookies, and my total was 8 after I snagged a couple of lily pads in the process. I didn't keep any though, because I knew my nephew would keep most of his! Another 5 trout made a large dinner that night.

Day 4: To shorten our trip out, we moved our camp half-way back to the trailhead and camped at Heart Lake. This cold and deep lake has beautiful Cutthroat which are a bit more wise than at other lakes. They would chase lures but pull out at the last moment. We still managed to catch a couple though. This was my big hiking day, and I took off to visit some more remote lakes without a trail: Sonny Lake and Marsell Lake. These were totally empty of fish this year and I only lasted 30 minutes before turning around. I fished in 8 different lakes on Day 4. Betsy Lake had a small but beautiful island in it; Mohawk Lake actually had a sandy beach on one side for those brave enough to swim. Marsell had a nice backdrop of cliffs. Sonny had a view of Mt. Baldy. While I was gone, the main group got sprinkled on, which was the only rain on the trip. When I got back to camp, the boys were waiting for me and wanted to go climb a mountain. They said that dinner could wait. So off we went at 7:00 pm; -thank goodness for daylight savings time. We climbed East Grandaddy Mountain and enjoyed the views, and then skied on some of the snow on the way down.

Day 5: We fished one last time before leaving, and packed 3 cutthroat in a package of snow to bring home for my nephew. On the drive back we held to tradition and got some excellent milkshakes at Granny's Drive-In in Heber.

Overall I can't decide which made me happier: finding two very useful trails or two new fishing spots. Regardless, it was a great trip with good fishing, good company, good trails, and good weather.
Cutthroat Trout
If you don't run, you rust.
-T. Petty
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool
11.5 inch Teflon Coated Umbrella
Super Wide Brim Sun Hat for Men or Women
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