The Flat Tops and Trappers Lake -
a photo essay

by Al Marlowe

Thinking of summer? Planning your trips? The Flat Tops offers a unique combination of streams and mountain lakes, with a variety of fishing opportunities.

The Flat Tops Plateau in northwestern Colorado was created by basalt and andesite flows only millions of years ago (young by Colorado standards). This area is home to numerous lakes and streams. A large part of the Flat Tops, 267 square miles, is designated as wilderness. Trappers Lake is a wild trout water, holding the largest concentration of Colorado River cutthroats in the world. The Colorado Division of Wildlife collects spawn here in June and the fingerlings produced are used to stock other Colorado waters.

East Lost Lake in the Flat Tops
East Lost Lake is reached by a long hike or horseback ride, assuring solitude. The lake is home to Colorado River cutthroats.
FIshing Trappers Lake, Flat Tops of Colorado
Within the wilderness boundary, Trappers Lake is limited to access by float tubes and hand propelled boats. Watch for osprey fishing the lake.
Trappers Peak in the Flat Tops of Colorado
Trappers Peak, 12,002 feet, comes into view on the Wall Lake Trail. The trail begins near Trappers Lake and climbs 1400 feet in three miles. Once on top of the plateau, Wall Lake is another two miles over a nearly level landscape.
fishing Little Trappers in the Flat Tops, Colorado
Little Trappers Lake is reached by a trail beginning near the cabins on the east side of Trappers Lake. From there it's a 3/4-mile hike.
Small stream fishing in the Flat Tops, Colorado
The Flat Tops Wilderness Area has countless small streams for trying your luck on cutthroats and brookies.
Catching a fish in the Flat Tops
Trappers Lake cutthroats find it hard to resist a callibaetis imitation. The hatch peaks in July. All cutthroats over 10 inches must be released. It's a rare event to catch a keeper. Anglers are asked to keep all brook trout, however, as they can devastate the cutthroat population.
Dogs in the Flat Tops
Even dogs love the Flat Tops!

Read another story about fishing Trapper's Lake Fly-Fishing Trappers Lake - A Flat Tops Treat

OR read about Hiking and backpacking the Flat Tops near Devils Causeway

Flat Tops Fishing book Al has written an ebook, "Fly Fishing the Flat Tops". You can order a copy through This digital ebook (in pdf format) gives descriptions and locations of almost every fishing opportunity in the Flat Tops. The cd is read with Adobe Reader (free) and contains color maps and photos. Also available as download, or on Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

Flat Tops Fishing book Another ebook by Al Marlowe, " Flat Tops Wilderness Trails", gives all the info you need for hiking the various trails in the wilderness area. Available through The digital ebook (in pdf format) will help guide you along the trails to the lakes of the Flat Tops. The cd is read with Adobe Reader (free) and contains color maps and trail descriptions. Also available as download. Or available from "Amazon as paperback or Kindle

Colorado fishing maps Click here to buy a National Geographic/Trails Illustrated topo map for the area. You need map 150 for the Northern Flat Tops area, Trappers Lake, and the White River. Map 151 covers the southern Flat Tops area.

Copyright © 2008 by Al Marlowe. No reproduction, linking, or copying without permission. Reach Al at