Dear fish nerd follower,
I write this letter to you because I haven’t yet had the spare time to write a full post as of late. Fishing has been great everywhere, wish you were here. Over the past few weeks I have been chasing browns around the front range with a friend and coworker, up into some wild land hunting lost fish, and chasing big brook trout up high country streams. Tomorrow I will be meeting up with the fishing frenzy attendees to frantically fish turf that I am not at all used to, but really excited for with some other bloggers. I’m not sure exactly how it will work out, but I figure if you throw a bunch of us into the same water, great results should come from it. I can’t wait for the morning to come. See you all there.
P.S. Here are some spoilers from last week.
“Not a soul in sight.” These were the first words to spew so eloquently from my lips for the day. Maybe it was the rain that chased everyone away. The river and I sat in silent communion for a few moments as I scanned the structure along the bottom for fish. Nothing, not a cruiser, not any fish. No people hiked the trail nearby that ran high into the country and up a few 14er’s It was only me, some water and no fish. The hours of driving to this destination were lost in excitement, but not for this kind of emptiness, Not for this kind of solitude.
I had hiked in this far, why not farther? Maybe it is just a fluke. I hiked. During this hike, I couldn’t help but to feel hunted by a local bear. The solitude only harbored the fear and cultivated it into the overwhelming feeling. In the midst of this also came the feeling to give it a try. A nice big hole presented itself around a bend and I tied on the most faithful bug and began to fish. My indicator dropped below the surface. Rock. Another cast, the indicator violently dropped. Fish. Where did it come from? Just a 3″ fish, but there were fish. The river was alive! Higher up the fish became bigger and bigger and in more numbers.
I stopped and sat down on a rock close by. I knew that no one fished here. The trail is even close by. The fish were taking anything. How could someone overlook this place? If this is the case, what haven’t we found yet lurking in these mountains? Is there a lost trout that could call a place just like this home? Heck, is there a tribe of people out there somewhere that we haven’t found? This world is so big that one could slip by. That a few trout could be thought to be dead, but are only hiding. Was there a bear? Who knows, but I do know that this was one of the most fun trips I have had in a long time.
Lesson #15: Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t really there.
Anticipation is a powerful thing. It has the ability to make you forget, no matter how prepared you are. This was a day that anticipation would lead to a forgotten camera, but even after that moment, it became the word of the day.
Erin of Mysteries Internal decided to finally break down and go fishing with me. She is one incredible writer, and I’m sure that every reader of mine has also read her blog. If not, I would suggest that you do so. She is quite talented and the read will not let you down. We decided on a place in the Rocky Mountain National Park after debating a few more lengthy hikes. This was not so long of a hike and I really wanted to do some fishing in new water and do it fast. Prior to meeting Erin, I was kind of nervous. One particular reason was due to the fact that I would more than likely be out fished by a girl. Sometimes girls can be malicious about it. Upon meeting her, all of the thoughts I had, dissolved. I knew I would get along with her just fine. …but there were no crullers. Luckily I had scored a cheese danish and pumpkin spice coffee at the gas station on the way up.
Our arrival to the lake was swift and efficient. After I almost died from all of the fluid in my lungs from being sick the previous week. Looking upon the lake was nearly startling. Everything about it just looked fishy and everyday at a new place it always starts with a layer of ice. That ice is only broken by catching the first fish. Erin quickly laid out 50′ of line on the water flawlessly as I fumbled around in my box thinking, “I hope my casting looks that good”. I’m still not sure that it did. At times, we spotted big cruisers and putting our flies on the nose of these fish only startled an already spooked fish. I blame the clarity of the water and the underestimated fish brain. Two hours went by. Not a nibble or tug. Just eerie silence and wind. We moved to the outlet side of the lake… Life…
We hooked into a few fish, but not long enough to bring them to shore and the previous fishing had been disappointing to say the least. There was only anticipation. It was Erin that broke the ice. Erin would catch that first fish. The rest of the day, it was on. A fish every handful of casts and bigger and better fish to be had.
The fish we were catching were supposed to be Greenbacks, but they are obviously tainted Colorado River Cutthroats.
The cold blew in and the rain began and we decided to leave, and in the end I had more than just a great fishing trip, I made a new friend. …again.
Thanks for the amazing trip and the wonderful photos Erin!
Ah yes… Back up in the hills, back up in altitude, back to fresh air and fresh water, back up to snow and alpine peaks, and most importantly, back up to the Cutthroat that reside in that pristine world. All is right and perfect until that moment you realize it is a couple more miles to your destination. Those miles more filled than the previous miles with steeper climbs and other obstacles that tax the already burning muscles. Some might say a trip for the more rugged man, but it is a trip for the focused. One would never make it hiking alongside a river loaded to the brim with fish. Not that anyone in the party knew at the time, but you could tell the pools held fish and scores of them had never been caught. Keep moving past the perfect glacier water, past the porcupine munching on leafy greens, past the rock that curved around into the valley that held the lake.
Both the inlet and outlet to the lake seemed perfect. I’m sure every fisherman that continued this way knew the same. The Cutthroat knew and denied scores of flies. Partially because they were aware and partially because the meals were readily available. This combo always results in poor fishing. Not for John, the one in the group newest to fly fishing. This was truly his day. For Sanders and I, it was punishing. The fish were so quick to attack and quick to let go that it seemed as though we were doing everything wrong. Bumps on the indicator resulted in a fly with no fish attached and the dries seemed to just drift through the mouths of the fish.
Sanders, John, and I dined on bagel sandwiches for lunch and decided that it would be better for us to fish the inlet. Another walk past fishy water. The inlet showed us mercy and it wasn’t long before we were all into fish. The water was skinny and loaded with hungry cruising and rising fish. It seemed like the fish were still strangely attracted to John, who threw everything from giant hoppers to san juan worms. While Sanders and I were stuck with tiny midges and dries.
I was happy that Sanders made his way into the Greenback club. The first one is always the hardest, but on the way down he scored a few more. Even after his back injury, I’m glad he was able to join us on our mission of Cutthroats and maybe he will find himself on a few more back country adventures before the year is through.