Our intention was to, at long last, hike the High Lakes Trail as described in the hike description. However, we missed the turn to the TH and continued on to our usual starting point at the west end of the Great Meadow. This adds about 1.5 miles to the hike. Turns out you need to turn off Highway 140 at the Brown Mountain Trails sign which is 6.4 miles from the NF 37 turn onto Highway 140. There is plenty of parking at the High Lakes TH.
Temperatures were in the low 40s when we arrived and only warmed up to the low 50s. The overcast sky cleared at 10:57, as opposed to the foretasted 11:00 AM, and we thought that we were set for the rest of the day. However, we had a 1/2 hour of sprinkles after lunch which gave way to bright sunshine in the afternoon.
Never saw the top of McLoughlin, since it was shrouded in clouds. The highlight of the day was getting 7 hikers and gear into Judy's new Subaru Crosstrek for the shuttle.
We went to the Lake of the Woods restaurant for refreshment and learned from our waiter that the creek below the Fish Lake dam is known as Lake Creek.
However, Hal did some research and came up with the following:
The North Fork of Little Butte Creek is a small stream that originates at Fish Lake and meanders through a wet meadow, before crossing Forest Service Road 37 and plunging into a steep canyon. This stream is a favorite for beginning flyfishers or to take small children who are learning to fish with lures. The stream is packed with a large population of small brook trout that would benefit from harvest. A well-maintained trail parallels the stream 0.5 miles from the 37 road to Fish Lake Dam. Beavers, mink, songbirds, elk, and other wildlife are often visible along the streambanks.