Greenback Cutthroat Trout, that is. A “genuine” Colorado Native.
Of course, like so many of the yahoos who run around with their “Native” sticker affixed to their vehicles, neatly printed over the background / syling of the old Colorado license plate, the fish didn’t have much choice either. But, that’s a rant for another time.
Went up to Rocky Mountain National Park today to chase fish. Spent most all day on Glacier Creek, fishing small water / pocket water with my 3 weight fly-fishing outfit. Caught Browns, some small – even for the water which is pretty small, and as well as a little bigger.
Stopped to make a late lunch and perk a pot of coffee at the Sprague Lake Picnic Grounds. Then, with it getting towards late in the day and many of the areas going off-limits at 1700 (5 pm) due to the elk rut as the bulls would be herding their harems around, I figured I’d better get moving. The Park Service tries to prevent stressing the elk as well as having unfortunate biped vs. quadraped close encounters, so bipeds have to be clear of several large areas by 1700. Anyway, I decided to try my luck at Lilly Lake at the lower end of the Park to wrap up the day.
By and large, I do poorly lake fishing. I’ve just never really figured it out with a fly rod and flies. And, I don’t really drink enough anymore to chunk “garden hackle” (worms) from a lawn chair on the bank. But, what the heck! Lilly is purported to be the best place to have a shot at a Greenback without hiking up some creeks to fish more small water.
Anyway, got there pretty late and the fish were leaping clear out of the water, chasing bugs. Woo Hoo! Being late, and getting towards dusk, I didn’t want to spend the time to break out and rig up my 5 weight, I just put a dry fly on the 3 weight after pulling off the nymphs I’d been using on Glacier Creek. Long story short, found a spot on the bank and had a go at it. First cast, maybe three or four short strips, and Fish On! Turned out to be a Greenback, approaching a foot long. And, simply gorgeous! After admiring him, and thanking for taking my fly, I put him back to see if he had an equally gullable cousin out there.
Well, missed one more when I turned to answer some questions from a young man, maybe five years old, walking by with his parents.
Then, as if I’d just missed Last Call at a favorite watering hole, it was over. The fish weren’t jumping and I had no more action. Looking around, I realized I was going to have to use a headlamp if I wanted to try a change of flies, and the eight or ten other people who had been fishing were gone. The folks strolling around the lake were gone, too.
So, nearing dark-thirty, I called a day – a good day, but a day, and headed back for the truck. Along the way I read the sign I’d not noticed before in my haste to get fishing. The lake is open from dawn to dusk and I was well past dusk. So, THAT’S where everyone else went!
Anyway, my first Greenback Cuttroat Trout – and a good looking one, too. And on the first cast. I was momentarily tempted to think I was a pretty fair fisherman. Then, I rememberd all the days the skunk never got out of the bag and ended up coming back home with me.
Darned good day on the water – the fishing was great and the catching was pretty good, too.
PS In case you’re wondering, I was used a Royal Wulff, about a 12, on the Greenback. I picked it because I figured I could see it on the water in the fading light.