On the Fly: Hitting the road
August 7, 2008
BUENA VISTA, Colo. ” When anglers aren’t bragging about their catch, they’re bragging about their home waters. But, while the former boasts tend toward exaggeration, the latter ones couldn’t be more evasive.
When I really don’t want to tell inquisitors where to fish, I send them to the Fryingpan River, which is kept about as secret as a John McCain biopsy. Maybe I should send them across the Continental Divide instead.
When a buddy in Buena Vista began calling me periodically to boast about spectacular days on the Arkansas River, I decided it was time to pay a visit. My gracious host took me to a couple of his secret spots (and they shall remain so), where we netted perhaps a dozen brown trout between us and missed almost as many strikes over the course of a few hours on a Saturday.
Even more notable, we had a particularly gorgeous stretch of the river to ourselves during the prime, late-morning hours. That’s a boast I can’t often make on any of my home rivers.
Sunday found me fishing high on the North Fork of Lake Creek, at the base of the east side of Independence Pass, where Highway 82 begins the real climb toward the summit from the Twin Lakes side after rounding a hairpin turn.
The creek’s slow meanders and undercut banks have beckoned on many a road trip, but I’ve always sped on by.
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My Buena Vista friend suggested I check it out on my way home, offering up a hushed rumor of cutthroat trout in the cold waters. I couldn’t pass that up.
Dubious, I chose a yellow humpy ” always a killer fly on small mountain streams ” and stalked the alleged cutthroats. What I caught instead were brook trout that any angler over the age of 7 wouldn’t likely consider worth his or her while.
They’d be wrong.
These trout proved a skittish, worthy adversary. The scenery was magnificent and the stream, thigh-deep in places and palpably cold through my waders, would have been worth exploring had I caught nothing.
As it was, my largest catch was maybe 7 inches long ” deeply green on its back and brilliant orange underneath.
I need to get away from home more often.