Hardscrabble - Lower

This backcountry jewel is located under the imposing cirque of Big Snow Mountain in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Adventuresome travelers will attempt to follow a rough, sometimes indistinct route that takes off about a half mile before the former end of the Middle Fork Road. A good population of smaller naturally reproducing Rainbow Trout will keep anglers busy. From the wooded outlet, head west around the lake to talus which provides good open shore fishing. A small undeveloped campsite or two can be found on the south shore. Tread lightly here, backcountry travel route-finding & experience recommended.

Getting here:

Take I90 N. Bend Exit #34, turn towards truck stop. Continue past gas stations, taking a right onto SE Middle Fork Rd. Continue on to FS Rd 56 (unpaved, potholes.) Follow #56 past the Middle Fork Campground, across the river then take a right continuing to the Dingford Creek trailhead parking area (total ~19 miles). Hike or bike the rest of the now gated road close to 7 miles to the Hardscrabble route take-off point. Alternatively, from Dingford cross the bridge over the Middle Fork River and hike (or bike on odd # days June 1st-Oct 31st) the longer Middle Fork trail #1003 and include a side trip to Goldmyer Hot Springs.

Species you might catch

Lake information

County: King
Acreage: 10.40 ac.
Elevation: 4063 ft.
TRS: T24R11E SEC36
Center: 47.527074, -121.351076
Open in Google Maps

Fishing prospects calendar

Rainbow trout

Fishing success for Rainbow Trout is generally best in the spring when thousands of fish are stocked statewide, but they can be caught year-round in most waters with a little patience and persistence. Success remains high into June and gradually declines as water temperatures increase and fish move offshore to stay cool. Fish that escaped the spring harvest return to the nearshore areas in the fall as waters cool off. Some waters may also be stocked again in the fall further boosting catch rates.
Chart showing fishing prospects throughout the calendar year


Hardscrabble - Lower
Photo by WDFW