Sunday, August 9, 2009

In Shoe We Trust

Off to the Colorado high country for some different water and to pursue the Greenback Cutthroat trout. A truly beautiful trout found in some of the most beautiful high country locations in the world. The plan was to meet up with Shoe, Zackdog, and Willi and float in the pontoons while Shoe and Willi canoed. This would be a great trip and I hadn't seen any of them for a bit of time and it would be nice to catch up and work a little water together. I was the last to arrive and finding high winds, severe whitecaps and no sign of the others at the typical launch site, I continued up the road to see if they were working the inlet on foot. At the parking area I found Shoe's van with the canoe still strapped atop it, and a cryptic note on the windshield. The only thing written on it were Lat/Long of a nearby location. How nearby I had no idea, until I plugged it into my GPS (thank goodness I brought it). At first, I thought he might have been joking or I entered the coordinates wrong, as the location wasn't even a mile away, but it was 700-800 vertical feet up a mountain side. Now I had to determine how much I trusted Shoe. Deciding he wasn't sending me on a wild goose chase, I donned the back country hiking gear and the float trip turned into a grueling vertical climb through downed hillside timber with nothing but the occasional game trail to get a break from climbing over and up all this tangled mess. Following the gps to the location I plotted I finally crested a ridge right on the edge of a beautifully hidden tiny high country lake. There stood the three amigos happily fishing away. Unbelievably, a division of wildlife officer had hiked in and was trying to determine if there were still trout in this little gem high lake. He had his answer quickly as the boys were landing fish as he checked all our licenses. It was nice to see someone patrolling the high country and off the beaten path. The greenback trout were fairly picky but we enticed a few on various midge patterns and Willi had some success on stripped nymphs. After the fishing slowed in the afternoon we all decided to head to a nearby rainbow trout lake that has some feisty stocked bows in it. Shoe cleaned house with his sinking line and we all were catching fish with quite a few doubles occurring. These fish jump and fight tremendously well for their size. Its always a nice diversion on the way home. After a bit of discussion at the cars we all headed our separate ways home. It was a great day afield with some great fisherman and we have dubbed the no name lake, "Shoe Lake" in honor of our fearless leader.

Update: A couple shots from Zackdog showing the hiking route out, which was much better than the way up the mountain.

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