It is no secret – I lack excitement to fish the lakes, frequently commenting about the boredom which I would find there. Due to this attitude, the past couple of weeks, Dustin and I have bushwhacked in search of small creeks with tiny pockets of fishable water.  While it has been an adventure, we have spent more time “adventuring”.  Adventures complete with close moose encounters (two bulls about 30 yards away), trudging through muck, hitting a hatch on a backwater, and tangling in willows.  Fish have made their ways to the ends of our lines, and for me, they were awesome.  I like the ones for which I have to work!  Unfortunately, Dustin does not share this opinion, and has been asking me to hit up some lakes.  I thwart his plans every weekend, but I could not this past weekend.  He had his heart set on lake fishing. 

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Alas, we finally took out our float tubes in search of hungry trout.  I in borrowed waders, and Dustin in his broken flipper.  Crystal clear 58º water welcomed us, and not a sign of run-off was in sight.  Chilly and wet weather seemed to keep a lot of people home, but Dustin and I didn’t mind.  As for the fishing – we found enough fat trout to keep me thoroughly entertained throughout the day, which came as a surprise.  The smallest fish caught was a 15-16” cutbow (I think?), which looked like he’d missed a lot of meals compared to his friends.  In fact, my little hands proved to be a problem, as I couldn’t get the right grip on a couple of these over-indulgent trout.

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This was another trip on which we took the new Cabela’s 4wts.  The rods performed beautifully as I was still able to cast successfully in a stiff wind.  Bringing in fish on these rods is such a treat. The firm butt and soft tip really work magic.  We owe these finds to man that has really helped Dustin and I quite a lot – I am not sure we’d be catching fish if it weren’t for him!  My borrowed waders, also owed to this man, kept me dry all day long.  Not a leak in sight.  Also, Tak’s choronomid seemed to be a ticket for Dustin…he sure knows what the fish like in their bellies.  Thanks to Gordon over at Angler’s Roost, Dustin was able to tie up a few for our trip – he loaned Dus his UV light.  On a last minute stop at Jax, we met Caleb, who suggested a good spot to try our luck.  He knows his stuff since he fishes there 3-4 days a week.  Dus and I sure have met some super stellar people that are so willing to help us be successful on the water.    

This is Mr. Skinny.  He was so trim compared to the others!  IMG_5478


To be honest, I thought I’d thoroughly get my butt handed to me the first time on a lake.  Fishing the white-capped water, while my feet dangled, and my hands worked to strip line was quite enjoyable; I am anxious to try the non-flowing water once more.  I was dead wrong – lake fishing is for me, well at least when all the rivers are blown…


Written by Stephanie Mullins



Glad you've come over to the dark side…at least during runoff. 😉 And some very nice fish you guys got into too!


Ah Stephanie, that's great to hear. There are some great lakes in your area. Look at me, I'm relegated to tying carp flies and a soon to be carping expedition.


Well done Antlers and Gills! Looking pretty comfy in those belly boats 🙂 Beautiful looking trout!

I would like to know more about the moose encounter at some point…

Stephanie and Dustin

@EMB – The dark side is alluring, at least until late July. More snow this week…ugh!

@Howard – I can't believe how many lakes are around; I guess it is high time we fished them. Don't knock the carp – we want to try it. Just haven't done it yet.

@Sanders – You'll like the moose story…


You're making me want to dig my float tube out of the closet… I only wish there was a lake full of trout near me.


Lake fishing is okay, but it bores the crap out of me….but I'm typically fishing warm water lakes. Blind casting can be boring unless you know where the structure is, then it can be a bonanza.

Midge Man

Congrats Guys!!! Just remember that a whole lot of of those little creeks you like have sweet little high lakes as a source. Lots and lots of places you can pack in tubes and if you need something to pack them in, old Dustin is a big guy and can always borrow my expedition pack


Stephanie and Dustin, just a word of warning. Be careful now, fly fishing from a float tube can be absolutely addicting like other forms of fly fishing too! Spoken from the mouth of an avid float tuber of many years.

Fontinalis Rising

How nice to get up in the morning, drink my coffee and read your adventures. I have a similar bad attitude about the stillwater when it comes to trout fishing but have had some incredible days on lakes. There's just something about a stream. Great post and thanks for the wake-up.

Stephanie and Dustin

@Jay – I was surprised at how much fun I had flippering around out there. Once I realized the fish weren't going to pull me in, I was good to go. Are there not any spring fed lakes anywhere in AR with trout?

@JGR – I know what you mean about the warm-water lakes. You definitely have to know where the fish are to make that a fun outing.

@MM – I found this tube made especially for backpacking fly fishing. It weighs just a little over 2lbs! Now that is the one I want, but it comes with a $300 price tag – so it will have to wait awhile. Expedition pack…I like the sound of Dustin carrying all the weight.

@Mel – As I am finding out, the more I do, the more I become addicted to. Dang fish!

@FR – Glad we could start your day right! Have you ordered any of that coffee from Kind Coffee in Estes Park yet?

@Josh – I had fun, but I can't wait to boogie after run-off…and especially come fall 😉


Ha! See, lake fishing isn't as boring as you might think! I'm happy you finally gave it a shot and I'm sure Dustin was, too. Nice fish and great photos, Steph! I hope your next lake trip is just as enjoyable!


I feel like I just ate a big ole' plate of fried chicken. Lip. Smacking. Good.

What pretty fish!


Your outing sounds like great fun to me and I am jealous as jealous can be that you're seeing those moose up close! That is just too cool!

Stephanie and Dustin

@brian – When lake fishing is your only option you gotta love it!

@owl – Thanks!

@Jeff – While my favorite place still exists in MO – the lakes there don't hold these kind of trout. They are beautiful.

@Kari – The moose are scary!

@FR – I'm anxious to hear what you think of Kind. I really like it; to be honest, we have a lot of great local brews around, coffee and the sort of beverage with hops and grains.


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