I do a lot of crazy things in life and this is one of those crazy things. When I told my friend that I wanted to hit Airplane and Arrowhead in one day she asked me why would I want to kill myself. In this case, it wasn't anything near that but it just seemed like that on paper.
Old Hyndman Peak
Getting to Airplane is one of the hardest and most remote places to get to. Many people get lost trying to find it and the same thing with Arrowhead. Both are very hard lakes to navigate because of the steep area, rugged terrain and only about two miles of trail that really only helps you get up the valley. Airplane and Arrowhead lakes probably receive at the most ten people a year. The lake is not really well known and the risks do not outweigh the rewards at this point because the fishing at Airplane is really not that great, you are lucky if you might see any fish. However I'm very determined to catch a really nice Golden Trout, I caught a 16-17 inch fish last year just as the ice was coming off. On this trip, I was probably two weeks too early. When I got to Airplane it was too frozen and there weren't many places to fish. But the place that I did fish I was able to see a couple of Goldens around 12 inches.
Instead of waiting at Airplane to catch a fish I headed over the ridge above Airplane to see if Arrowhead was frozen and if that was the case I was going to climb Hyndman Peak (12,009ft). When I got to the ridge I saw that Arrowhead lake was not frozen so the fishing was on. When I got to Arrowhead there were fish everywhere, so I threw on a black ant and slayed the fish. This was a really fun trip and it wasn't as hard as many seem to be so I would definitely do it again hoping to catch fish out of both lakes. Oh, on the way out I finally saw a mountain goat in Wildhorse after many years of looking for them.
Mountain Goat in Wildhorse Creek, Good Luck Finding Him
As soon as I completed all the lakes in the Lost River Ranger District I focused my attention on completing all the lakes in the White Clouds. I have a ways to go but I have a really good head start since I have done a few of the major ones such as the Big Boulder Chain, Little Boulder Chain, and Chamberlain Basin. After looking over the map there are quite a few lakes that sit in certain drainages alone so it's not easy to lump them in a loop or with other lakes, Champion Lakes are one of those drainages.
Champion Lake #3
Lots of Redside Shiners
Champion Creek holds about 6 different lakes but three of the lakes are much bigger than the others and of those lakes two of them have been stocked with fish. Champion Lake #3 is said to have Bull trout (108 stocked in 1993) and IDFG have found Brook and Rainbow trout but I never saw any fish. As I worked my way down the drainage I came across Champion which has not been stocked but IDFG has found Brook trout in the lake system however I did not observe any.
Champion Lake #1
I was pretty disappointed in the lack of fish at this point and was wondering if I should even continue to the last lake. Champion Lake #1 has no stocking records and no fish have been observed but when I got to the lake, there was tons of minnows swimming around the lake and a handful of Brook trout. I literally thought that they just stocked the lake just a few day before I got there because there was so many fish. I tried to identify what they were but couldn't until I caught one of the bigger ones. It turned out to be a Redside Shiner which is really uncommon to find in a high mountain lake. I believe if IDFG would manage this lake better some huge fish could come out of this lake because Redside Shiners only get to about 4 to 6 inches and trout can feed on these fish easily. Just food for thought, your move IDFG.
I was hoping to hit some new lakes this summer and I wanted to start out with Langer Lakes. I heard about these lakes last year when one of the lakes were producing some decent size fish, pushing 20 inches. So when I got a free weekend I hit the road and wandered up to Stanley.
Langer Lakes is actually a really short hike but with all the lakes in the surrounding area, I thought I would stay the night at Langer Lake and hike around to the others. I believe on Fish and Games Website they stated that all the lakes have been stocked and they continue to stock them however I found this not to be true. Out of Langer, Ruffneck, Island and Rocky Lake, only Langer and Ruffneck Lake held fish and both of them were tough fishing.
Langer lake held true to its reputation of having big fish, the first fish that I had on was probably 18 inches but he broke me off before I could land him. Ruffneck lake contained more fish but still wasn't up to par with my usual high mountain lake standards. Out of all the lakes that I was most disappointed in was Rocky, Rocky lake is supposed to have a lot of cutthroats but when I went to the lake and looked around the Southeast side of the lake no fish were seen and none were jumping. I would probably do this hike again in the future however I would go up to the Ruffneck Lookout that's only 1 to 2 miles away.