Standing in the East River in Crested Butte Colorado on a warm summer day
I feel the cool river flowing past me, and listen to the sound of the rushing water. The scent of the wildflowers is in the air. I scan the river and detect the slight change in the water color noting the deep dark runs that hold large trout. Behind nearly every rock there is smooth water and a trout waiting for their next meal. There is an afternoon hatch, and I see rising trout break the surface.
I search my fly box and select a dry fly—small tan caddis that matches the hatch, and I tie it onto my 5x tippet. Then I measure the distance with a few false casts, and land my fly just upstream from the rising trout. I mend my line to reduce the drag of the current on the line, and watch my little fly float right over my target. There is a rise, a take, and I react. The water erupts as a wild brown trout breaks the surface, then runs upstream. The fight is strong, I keep the line taught, as I slowly retrieve my catch. Soon I have this beautiful fish in my net, and marvel at the neon orange spots on the buttery brown body and the blue coloration around the gills and head. As I gently release this trout I watch as he swims away and blends into the surrounding and disappears back to the depths of his river.
The majority of the high-altitude rivers and streams are frozen over for months at a time—yet, the trout survive and flourish in this environment. In late summer, I have caught large trout in the shallows as they seek the oxygen that the tumbling water provides. I have caught trout at night when it was pitch black, slowly retrieving a wooly bugger through the water. There is a serenity in this experience, and in this creation.
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