Beautiful Cutthroats in the Loch

The Loch in Rocky Mountain National Park has been a favorite destination of ours for over 45 years. The hybrid cutthroat trout here are big [average 13”] fat, and frisky. Sampling by USFWS reveals these trout are a combination of greenback and Colorado River cutthroats but we also suspect some rainbow trout in the mix due to the presence of a brilliant red stripe so characteristic of that fish.
Kimball and I finally had a chance to hike to the Loch and sample the fishing last Friday [8.8.14] and were not disappointed. There was still a remnant snow drift at the approach to the lake but the trail was clear. We fished the north shore adjacent to the trail and found many cooperative cutthroats patrolling the shoreline and feasting on black ants. Kimball’s first fish ate a grasshopper fly although grasshoppers must be rare up at the Loch. Overall, the size 20 parachute black ant was the most productive during the heat of the day. In the afternoon, the storms arrived, the winds increased and the temperature dropped. Most folks left the lake but the best was yet to come. The sun soon returned, the wind dropped and the fish started feeding about 3PM. Surface activity was limited so Kimball tried a bead head prince nymph behind a bubble and had strikes with every cast.
For scenic beauty, relatively easy access and beautiful cooperative fish we think the Loch offers visiting anglers some of the best fishing in Colorado. Whether fly fishing or using a spinning rod with a fly and bubble this lake is sure to impress. The Loch is 2.7 miles from the Glacier Gorge trailhead and involves 940 feet of elevation gain. It is a small lake of 14.6 acres but has an amazing population of cutthroat trout. It is legal to keep these trout but it is discouraged due to the pressure that anglers could put on this lake with extensive harvest. Another consideration is the difficulty of transporting a fish down the trail in a hot backpack. The snowdrift that is there now will soon disappear but until then, an angler could pack a couple of trout in a baggie with some snow and get down to the trailhead with a salvageable dinner. It is probably best to let them grow another year and catch them again when you get a chance to return to the Loch.
If you get a chance to come fishing in Rocky Mountain National Park pick up a copy of our waterproof pocket sized guide “Angler’s Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park”. The information in this little book is distilled from over 45 years of experience and is intended to be “Like Having a Professional Guide in Your Pocket”. ™ This field guide will definitely help you to have a great day fishing in Rocky Mountain National Park and the Estes Park area. Available at most local fly shops, the Rocky Mountain Nature Association stores in RMNP, Macdonald Book Store, and through Amazon, Kindle or from our website:

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