The headline is something both Mike and I should have used as a greeting when meeting up before our expedition into The Wild. Mike runs the blog “of Dry Flies & Fat Tires” and has done his fair share of inspiring me to go galavanting around the state through his blog. This time, I ride with him, not living vicariously through his tales of grandeur.
The day started off strange, smoke filled the sky and painted the sun a dim red-orange. Maybe it was a sign of things to come. Slightly awestruck, I didn’t realize that the road trip had come to an end. It was a day of vibrant colors, even the grass was an exceptional hue of green that shouldn’t be this time of year. After a short talk of things and the state of the day, we were off into some water that Mike knew and I may or may not have been. The local mosquito population seemed to be focused on me, and again, no repellent. During our hike up the skinny water, we noticed that something was wrong. No fish in really fishy holes and a general lack of fish. I even tested the spooking theory by casting across shoreline and over grass to no avail. A short discussion later and the trip turned from pristine meadow fishing on a simple back country hike to an expedition worthy of Livingstone’s search for middle Africa.
The steep canyon hike was difficult enough without the thousands of dead trees slowing us even further. Or as Mike put it, “scramble over deadfalls, around rockpiles, through thickets, rattlesnake dens, landmine fields, broken glass, and finally, legions of TSA screeners”
The terrain shifted and below us lay the river. I’m not really used to fishing meadows and open water, the cascades and pools were more my turf. I was home.
Mike showed his expert skills and hooked up with the first fish on this section of water while I was down river and the lack of life in the last river was easily offset by the abundance of life in this one.
The hike was well worth every step with the river filled to the brim with cutthroats that seemed fairly pure. In fact, not a single Rainbow was pulled from this section by either mike or myself. Crazy talk you say? It was!
We were easily into fish from this point on, but the fishing wasn’t as easy as it seemed. I was losing more fish than I landed for some reason and it seemed that the fish going for my flies were fired from a crossbow, darting out at full speed from 5 feet away.
There was a point where I stood on a log jam watching Mike’s fly drift downstream when 2 fish locked on target and slowly moved in for the kill when out of nowhere, the largest fish of the day attacked his fly.
The rest of the days fishing was rather eventful with I would say 20-30 fish for each of us (my guess would put Mike a bit higher on the number). The trip was incredibly timed, arriving back at what some might consider a trail in enough time to get back before dark. Quite frankly, I think I speak for both of us when I say that we were also spent.
It didn’t end there either. This trail looked like the rest of the forest. There was no real path back, forcing Mike to use his “Keen Map Reading Skills” to lead us back to where we dropped in. Thank goodness we made it back with me still in tact. I was a guest on the expedition, making me the food source in the case of becoming stranded.
Again, a very special thanks to Mike for the trip! Great guy and excellent fisherman. If you want to read about this trip through his eyes, go here. Enjoy!
Lesson 10: When an animal looks injured, be aware, it could spring up at a moments notice.