Posted By shefisher

Cameron Pass CO Whine - tickle - smack. Repeat over and over. It didn't seem bad at first, but it became the theme song of late afternoon and evening. Mosquitoes. Alas, the blood-sucking miniature buzzards are here in force. Time for Eau d' Cutters.

There is a control system, though the solution may seem worse than the problem. Bats. One seems to live in the bushes where we are camped, apparently accustomed to human companionship. Rather than the normal quickly darting flight, this one fairly ambles through the air, presumably sipping his entomological tidbits at ease. I became concerned as Phil's flyline flung a fake fly. I've had birds take my fly. Would this bat try to eat it? The bat, though, seemed more attracted to the rod tip, nearly landing on it. When Phil flicked him away, Mr. Bat made a slow but deliberate track straight toward me. That was enough! I was in the camper in the blink of an eye.

The full darkness of night brought other adventures. When we pulled the outside door closed over the screen door, we saw a dark shape between the doors. It turned out to be our friend the bat, clinging to the screen. He had followed insects who'd been drawn to the inside lights. Getting the bat off the screen without letting him into the camper was quite a trick. Later, during the wee hours of night, we heard rattling that we hoped was outside, not in. Maybe a raccoon was attracted to the bag outside that held our belly boats. Phil got up, went outside and put the bag on top of my SUV. It was some time before we could go back to sleep.

Next morning, life in the wild had settled down. Sitting out by the lake with a morning cup of coffee sounded good. I sat down and turned to put my cup in the chair's holder. A dark shadow in the holder caught my eye. Upon closer inspection, I saw that it was what appeared to be a dead bat! I couldn't get away from that chair fast enough! Calm, brave Husband came over to look, pronouncing it not dead but merely asleep. Oh, thanks, that makes it all better! He unceremoniously tossed the bat out of the chair into the nearby bush. Given the choice, I'll take the mosquitoes.

The unraveling continued. When Phil pulled the belly boats out of the camper, a mouse scampered across the floor. It was, no doubt, the mystery noisemaker from the night before. It was dispatched as quickly as the sleeping bat. High winds, thunder and lightning, and a mishap with my car added to the stress. This trip has worked out well because we've followed our instincts. This is beyond instinct; it's more like overwhelming evidence. It's time to call the game and head for home. That humble little house in Nowhere-ville never sounded so good.

Posted By shefisher moon Summer in Walden, Colorado. This little ranching town that folds up into the deep lonely cold of winter is alive with visitors in the warmth of summer. Traffic is steady, restaurants are busy, some main street buildings show off their face lifts. Two new motels compete for visitors' attention. After joining the fray to refill pantry, flyboxes, and our own bellies, we head out west to the Delaney Butte Lakes. On the way, we toss a line into one of Colorado's own northbound rivers, the North Platte. I got a couple of whitefish fingerlings while Phil found some big rainbows. That just didn't seem fair, so I headed upstream until I found some of my own 'bows. Rainbows As evening blended into night, fish rose along the shore in front of our lakeside camp. I cast out a fly and caught a nice rainbow. Phil decided to get in on the action and caught several while I sat out and enjoyed the evening. As darkness descended, a full moon rose, shining across the lake. A brood of ducklings followed their mom across the dark velvet blue water. It was a restful end to a long day on the road.

We float-fished the East lake the next morning. It must have been stocked recently, as most of the fish were very small. Phil's the Lake Whisperer, though, so he found more of the bigger ones than I did before the wind chased us off. By the time we got back to our South lake campsite, dark clouds were bearing down. Soon the lightning and thunder came in closer and closer couplets. One was nearly simultaneous right over us. Once it passed, however, the sun cut under the clouds to create not only one, but a double rainbow right over the lake. It was so big and so close that I couldn't even get it into a single picture. grayling They say you can't go home again. Maybe that's true. Our next day at Chambers Lake, a fishing and camping destination for me since decades ago, turned out to be a challenge. We drove over on Friday. The campground was already completely booked. We did find a spot, the last in a marginal facility, lucky to get it at 10:30 a.m. The weekend crowding only got worse, and the fishing wasn't good, either. I did get my brown trout from the Poudre River, but only the one. The only bright spot was our evening run up to Joe Wright Reservoir, the best-known grayling fishery in Colorado. I had a blast catching even small ones, always admiring the distinctive dorsal fin. An added bonus was the greenback cutthroat I caught, likely an escapee from the protected rearing lake higher up the mountain.

We elected to be escapees, too, leaving these crowds to return to Delaney the next morning. Stay tuned.

Posted By shefisher nest Driving into Dutch John on the Green River was like arriving at my second home. I've grown to love this river and this area, despite the marginal living arrangements I've had to make these 2 years. It's the people and the area's beauty that hold me. After "hellos," a shower, and laundry, we started feeling human again. Our campsite at Mustang Ridge gave us a view of Flaming Gorge Reservoir across to the dam. In the late evening, an almost-full moon rose, reflecting its silver crescent in an elongated obelisk toward us over the lake. swimmers Fishing was reportedly good on 'hoppers. We tested the theory the next day. The water was high but crystal clear, so fish were cautious to rise. The only hopper pattern they would take was one I did not have. Fortunately, Phil had the right one and an extra to loan me. We did catch fish, some nice size, but we felt we truly earned them. At one point, as I strategized my approach to a particular run, I was interrupted by a family of mergansers. Mama kept watch on the point of a rock as her young ones huddled together napping. I skirted around to fish the prime fish feeding point. Once there, I heard some splashing behind me. There were the merganser ducklings, moving upriver toward me, diving and bobbing up again as they advanced. Mergansers are fish eaters, so while they were cute, they were not welcome companions in my fishing spot. They eventually moved on through, but I had to do so as well. Gates of Ladore Two of the people we had wanted most to see were not around for a few days, Emmett in particular, so we moved on. My own vehicle, stored here for our Idaho and Montana sojourn, started up right away as though glad to roll down the road with me once again. I made the choice to drive into Colorado via the back road to Maybell. I opted for the old Jesse Ewing road with its 14% curving grade into Brown's Park while Phil took the slick new straight road in the truck camper. Once in Colorado the road improved, taking us past the view toward Gates of Ladore. Here, where the mountain splits, the Green River takes its wild turn south to accept the Yampa River before turning west and south again to join the Colorado River.

The rest of the trip on to Walden, Colorado, was uneventful except for the slight emotional nudge I felt when descending the far side of Rabbit Ears Pass to the turn into North Park, Walden's home. We have lots of memories and fishing history together in this area. Deja vu all over again.

Posted By shefisher The time has finally come to start heading home. It is a bittersweet transition, a mix of sadness at ending this gypsy-like odyssey and a longing for the comforts of one's own home and all its conveniences. We'll continue our fishing and other adventures as we work our way back, but there is already an underlying anticipation of being in the place we call "home." campingOur return route weaves through 4 different states. First, I-84 in Idaho drops us into Utah, where we take the more picturesque track through Logan, then Logan Canyon. A riverside campsite lends us an overnight respite. The fast-flowing stream has some tempting pools for fishing, but no takers. One little fish performed a full gainer somersault under an overhanging bush. It never would repeat the feat for the fly I floated along the same spot. Satisfied to have seen at least one small finned one, we spent the rest of the evening relaxing at our campfire and roasting marshmallows.

Flyfishcafe.comTopping the pass the next morning, we stopped at the overlook above Bear Lake, that huge body of uniquely turquoise water that straddles the Utah/Idaho border. Before descending the mountain onto the lakeside road that we'd driven on the outbound direction weeks before, we played tourist, taking photos and reading the informational signboards. One board featured large pictures of four fish, and related the following: Isolated geographically for at least 100,000 years, combined with their adaptation to this lake's unique water chemistry, are four fish species that are found in Bear Lake and nowhere else in the world: Bear Lake Whitefish, Bonneville Whitefish, Bear Lake Sculpin, and Bonneville Cisco. Additionally, Bonneville Cutthroat, Utah Chub and Utah Sucker are native to Bear Lake. Who knew we'd learn something about fish on a mountaintop?

To be continued...

Posted By shefisher One of the fringe benefits of fishing for trout is the surrounding beauty - scenic vistas, wildlife and wild flowers, the soothing sound of cool flowing water. Hence, the oft-quoted saying that "trout don't live in ugly places."

Forget it. Not true. Take, for instance, this lake in south-central Idaho. For all the state's famous rivers, striking mountain ranges, and rich farmland, southern Idaho is dry, dusty and nearly treeless. The only green is the alfalfa, irrigated by water held in small reservoirs tucked back in the arid hills. One such reservoir held the unlikely promise of large trout. We pulled off the Interstate in the 90 degree heat. All that was there was a vacant lot and a gas station with prices 70 cents higher than the nearest towns nearly an hour away in any direction. The huge dust devil enveloping the corner of the building verified the highway warning signs: "Do Not Stop on Highway. High Wind Area. Dangerous Dust Storms Possible." Ten miles of dirt road to the reservoir held no better promise. Old trailers for farmhouses, tired and tattered outbuildings and gray-aged wood fences bespoke a hard-scrabble life. Only the ripened barley crops and green alfalfa showed any vibrance. At last, the trickle of a stream offered hope. Up the incline of the earthen dam, and there was the watery gem set in a bowl amid the hills. This late in summer, though, enough water had been drawn down for irrigation that the banks were coated with the rotting algae and water grasses. It stunk!

CN Whether foolishly or bravely, we set up camp in the skimpy shade of streamside willows. By faith the next morning, we launched the belly boats. From first sunlight until the late morning's heat set on, emerging callibaetis flies called fish to feed. And what fish they were! Huge, hulking browns, slashing cutthroats, and somewhat shyer rainbows rose in sipping or splashing rings. The place was not of brochure beauty, but the fish were of legends and dreams.



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