On Day Four of my SCOUT Epic, I hiked up to Blue Lakes in the Mt. Sneffels Wilderness, and camped the night there. I got soaked on the hike, but by the middle of the afternoon things had dried out, so had a chance to try my luck fishing in Lower Lake. I should have tried on the second lake as well, which apparently is fished much less, so I’d have probably done better.
Since I’d already walked around the edges a bit, I’d seen that the fish mostly hung out where a few small streams fed into the lake. That’s where I fished, and worked my way back and forth amongst the different streams. I don’t know if I had the wrong fly, or if it was the super clear water, or just that the fish are used to people trying to catch them, but these guys were not biting. I’d cast right in front of them, and they’d lazily take a look at my fly, then just slide right past and keep feeding.
With nowhere else to be, I tried out a few different flies, and eventually got a nice, solid hit from a Rainbow. After a quick fight, I had her landed, snapped a pic and let her go again. Amazingly, she just kept on circling in the same area.
A little later on, I was chatting with another guy who was there also fishing (and who I’d passed on the trail). He had apparently caught a few, and he gave me the fly he was using, which was one that he’d tied himself, so he had a bunch of them (pictured below).
On the last night of our Boundary Waters canoe trip, Brandon and I paddled out and used his spinning rig to grab two smallmouth bass in quick succession. It was pretty crazy how quickly/easily we were able to grab them.
From our main little island, we had a spit that we could walk across, to another little island/rock. Once we scrambled up there, we spotted a rock shelf where we could actually see a few fish swimming around, so we decided to come back in a canoe and drop a line in there. Within a few minutes, we’d each caught one, and we had what we needed.
That night we oiled, salt and peppered them, then wrapped them in foil and cooked them over the fire. So delicious. It also crossed 3 things off my bucket list at once:
- Going on a multi-night canoe-camping trip
- Camping on an island on a lake
- Eating fish I’d just caught, cooked over a campfire
Pretty hard to top that.
Today was my first real fishing trip this summer, and also the first time I’ve taken out our “new” truck (2002 Ford Ranger), and my bike to get me around. It was a triple-win — the bike in the back of the truck worked nicely, riding was a perfect way to get to the good spots in Waterton Canyon, and I actually hooked and landed my first (and second) ever fish!
I was totally stoked. I rode up to the Strontia Springs Reservoir first, just to check it out. That took me about 6.5 miles along the Colorado Trail, which allows bicycles in most sections (might be worth checking it out for more riding?). The dam is restricted-access, so I just took a break there, had a snack, then started rolling back down the trail (a well-kept gravel road) to find a good spot to drop a line.
After not too long, I spotted a nice little bend that seemed to have a bit of an access trail. I stopped and scouted it out, and knew that I’d found a perfect spot to set up for a while. Since I would be down at the river, I locked my bike up (just to itself), and headed down a short trail that lets you out at a pebble beach, with perfect river access. From there, I could get around to the right (downriver) and a little to the left (upriver), giving me some space to try some different casting and waters.
It was a perfect little, secluded spot, and allowed me to fish for about 2 hours, catching both of these little guys (maybe 10″ and 8″?). Absolutely loved it and will probably be back. Adding in the riding is a nice change as well, and opens up new areas that aren’t as accessible on foot.