Revive - A Quarterly Fly Fishing Journal - Page 46

. I was barely an angler, but I still walked to the Colorado River every Saturday morning to try and catch something. Eventually, I began to hear mythical stories about a lake full of fat cutthroats who would eat anything. This sounded like my kind of place since I still didn’t really know what a dragless drift was or how to match a hatch. Plus, the muck had been building up in my head for quite some time, even though I lived and worked in the woods. I needed to get out of my shared living space and into the wilderness. So, with a three day weekend and a box of wooly buggers, I hitched up my pack and set off for a backcountry lake.

The lake sits in a little basin above 10,000 feet between two peaks. The first few miles up the trail meanders through a dense valley along a quintessential mountain creek. Once you reach the junction and get onto the connector trail, you hit switchbacks and quickly gain elevation. At this point, your legs begin to burn and you lower your head, hitch your pack up so it doesn’t sit so low, and, in your mind’s eye, begin fishing.

I reached the lake and the little breath I had left was taken from me. The clarity of the lake stared back at me, reflecting off my eyes and blinding all of my sub-conscious into finally believing that I was alone. I threw down my pack and jostled out my fly rod and tied on a black wooly bugger. I figured I’d set up camp later; the water was calling me. I found a rock to stand on protruding from the clear alpine water. My feet sank into my sandals as my weight molded them to the rock while I cast into the lake from mid day sun to sunset. Clouds reflected in the water and I swear I could see the dark red of the cutties in the swirls of the lake. The clear lake, the burning sun of peaks outlining this alpine alcove, my black wooly bugger slinging through the air.