I suppose "a thousand" is a bit of an overstatement. OK, so it's a huge overstatement. But during a few brief hours two weeks ago I felt, for the first time, like I could do no wrong with a fishing rod.
The Poudre's been a raging torrent for the better part of a month now, and - as per the norm - I've been in a bit of a funk while I resolve myself to waiting out the worst of it. While the predicted gloom and doom of swelling banks and flash floods have yet to materialize, the ginormous snowpack that remains unmelted high in the Rockies may keep me out of commission for awhile yet. A month ago, the tree in this picture wasn't present on this stretch of water. I'm sure the stunning force of the current snapped it like a twig somewhere up the canyon, and it lodged itself smack in the middle of one of my favorite runs.
Consequently, I've grudgingly accepted my fate for the next month: stillwaters.
Not such a catastrophe, as I found out two weeks ago. When you take a 95 year-old retired choir director, a 70 year-old retired Economist, a 40 year-old crazy trout freak, and a 30-something golden boy, and then throw in a lake full of cutthroats, something indescribably joyful takes place. The four men described above met for what is becoming something of an annual Father's Day tradition, and this private little family affair didn't disappoint this year. Being the only "non-father" in the group, I took the liberty of playing the role of the token kid on the trip, which gave me license to catch as many fish as possible. Here's how it all went down.
7:00 a.m.: Golden Boy arrives punctually, as instructed by the Economist the day before. Trout Freak, having been twitching in anticipation since 2 a.m., is mainlining coffee and obsessing over a box of nymphs. Choir Director screams up the drive moments later, driving faster than any 95 year-old should.
8:20 a.m.: Choir Director's favorite breakfast Diner in Laramie, Wyoming is closed...for good. It's been retooled into an Indian restaurant, and they don't serve hash browns or french toast. Economist and Choir Director decide on McDonald's. Golden Boy cringes. Trout Freak wonders why everyone is concerned with something as trivial as breakfast.
10:00 a.m.: Economist - through walking - takes his spot along the north bank of the lake. Choir Director proceeds, purposefully if slowly, to the west bank. Trout Freak grabs Golden Boy and the two descend upon the northwest corner of the lake, where the trout are known to strike at anything with a bead head. Pheasant tails, in this case, preferably with a red wire ribbing.
With all the actors in place, the fishing commences, followed shortly thereafter by the catching. Bent rods and happy smiles all around. The cutthroats are abundant. Trout Freak is in heaven.
For three short hours, three generations of my family experienced the joy of a thousand cutts. The fish came in streaks of dozens. Golden Boy ultimately won the prize, landing a stout cutthroat and garnering the sole photo-op of the day.
The Economist mentioned something about a similar fish, but the veracity of his claim remains in doubt. Still, every time I looked in his direction, his rod was bent and shaking.
The Poudre remains unfishable, at least by my standards, and I keep twitching with anticipation for the days of late summer when the caddis hatches are heavy and a day at work simply kills the time in between daily trips to the river. Until then, I'll take a day or two like this one and be a happy man.