Rocky Mountain High

Few things are more quintessential to the Colorado fly fishing experience than a remote alpine meadow, a meandering stream, and a dry fly. Take a look through a copy of the Colorado Gazetteer or similar publication, and there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of small streams and high lakes just waiting for an angler with a back pack, a fly rod, and the willingness to expend a little time and energy.

We live in an age of the drive thru, drive up and drive in. In the name of convenience, we have allowed ourselves to become sedentary to the point where for some the thought of walking to the mail box, or on anything other than pavement, is an anathema. Consequently, many anglers seldom stray out of sight of their vehicle or the highway. Personally, I think this is great – it leaves plenty of space for those willing to burn a few calories. We are social creatures, after all, so for many fishermen, the presence of others close by can seem comforting. There is a sense of security in numbers, plus the reassurance that if there are others in the same spot casting a line out, then I must be fishing in a likely place also.

So it is fun to be able to step outside of your comfort zone every now and then, leave the crowd and the truck behind, and experience the call of a place that at least has the impression of being wild and remote. Encountering fresh bear poop on the trail serves as a reminder that we are not always top of the food chain. The sight if a fox, scampering through the sage brush, the cry of a red tail hawk as it surfs the thermals, remind an interloper such as myself that I am a guest only in someone else’s domain. This is the time of the year the wild flowers are starting to bloom, the meadows cloaked in a veritable rainbow of different hues.

Of all the different types of trout I fish for, the ones that inhabit these high alpine streams, lakes and beaver ponds are the ones I admire the most. A short growing season, limited food source and long, harsh winters are testament to their resilience. Their ability to conceal themselves from predation never ceases to amaze me, materializing from the rocky stream bed or under cut bank to quickly snatch a passing morsel and dissolving, phantom like, back into their surroundings. Their very presence is witness to the universal push of all living things to survive and procreate.

Late spring and early summer, with the larger rivers swollen and high, is the perfect time to escape to the high country for a little solitude, and with it the opportunity to gain a wider appreciation of the world we live in, and the creatures we share it with.