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I recently spent about 24h at Forage Lake and only saw one fish rise the entire time. Nor did I see any fish cruising. A 2009 IFG report indicated there grayling and golden trout of 30 cm. Are the fish gone or in deep water?

I hiked into Forage Lake on August 2, 2012 and camped. I expected there to be grayling and golden trout of size and numbers based upon a scientific survey published in 2009 by IFG. Observing the lake from multiple vantage points during the morning, afternoon, and evening, did not indicate that there were any fish present, other than one large rise was noted. I encountered a similar situation in 2003, although I did see and hook one fiish on a fly ( which was lost before landing). Is it possible the fish are no longer present, or that they are holding in very deep water out of sight?

I would also note that the main campsite was heavily trashed in 2003 and 2012. In 2012, I bundled together about 30 lbs of garbage and assorted debris into some decaying plastic tarps and Tyvec plastic sheeting that were found at the site. The garbage included fishing line and an unopened bottle of salmon eggs. unfortunately, I was unable to backpack out this large amount of garbage.

Thanks.

Answer

Forage Lake was stocked with golden trout last year as well as 2004 and 2006, so it should have fish in it.  It is possible that they were simply in deeper water and you just weren't able to see them, but usually if fish are in a mountain lake, they're fairly obvious.  It's very possible that some or most of the fish died in a winterkill.  Winterkill can definately happen if a shallow lake is covered by ice for an unusual length of time -- which could have happened this year.  Sorry to hear about the garbage.  Unfortunately, some people can be real slobs.