Why would anyone fly fish?

resting

resting

I sit back on a rock, stretch my aching back, watch the snowy glacier feed the crystalline lake at 11,500 feet and wonder why I do this. I’m sore from standing for hours, tired from hiking an hour to get here, thirsty because I didn’t bring enough water, and the fish aren’t biting. It’s enough to make a guy write a nasty poem!
Lawn Lake, RMNP

Yet, I can’t wait to get back at it after a scant rest. It’s as addicting as any poker game. Somehow the strike, the set, the wiggle, the fight, and then the release of a cold blooded animal as beautiful as the surroundings make all of it worthwhile: orange and green and dark unblinking eyes that reflect a world too wild to tame.

Yellowstone cutthroat, First meadow, Slough Creek

Yellowstone cutthroat, First meadow, Slough Creek


Slough Creek cutt

Slough Creek cutt

There’s also sharing it all with my son or a friend. There’s talking in the tent after the predictable afternoon rain shower. And the smell of wet pine and rotting wood, and wind whishing in the trees. There are stars at night that I know if I stretch I can touch, and hearing an elk bugle only a few feet from your tent. There’s the view down the canyon that makes your chest expand.

It was a long hike, but we got there! Lawn Lake

It was a long hike, but we got there! Lawn Lake


Camping by Roaring River, RMNP

Camping by Roaring River, RMNP


But most of all I love casting a fly line like conducting an orchestra over water and watching a dry fly touch down like a wisp of cottonwood on a river so cold it makes your hands ache to dip inside. The fish rising to take the fly and everything after completes the symphony. I hope the music never stops. But it does.

And I come back to civilization and ache for the next time.

Crystal Lake, RMNP. Just missed that cutt!

Crystal Lake, RMNP. Just missed that cutt!

Milt

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