Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fly-FIshing on No Name2

Blown Out!

After fishing the "No Name2" river for somewhere close to 15 years now, I flatter myself by thinking I know the river. When the flow on the Arkansas River dropped dramatically, it was a signal for me to head over to "No Name2" which should have been just about right. The water level on the lower stretches of the river appeared to be middle of the range or slightly lower than normal. I figured the upper reaches of the river would be perfect. I drove the long dirt road, got the Teardrop all set up at the campground, and hurridly and excitedly set out to fish one of my favorite stretches of water before the afternoon storm came. When I hiked down to the river, I was shocked and puzzled to find high flows and white water! Unwadable. I found one little stretch of calm water (in the picture) and my fly was quickly engulfed by a large brown trout which immediately headed for the fast current and it was an "LDR". I overheard this term "LDR" being used by a guy on the Fryingpan River. It's short for "long distance release" and sound much better than "he got off". In my case, it was an "LDRLF" - long distance release/lost fly. That is, the fish popped off my tippet and stole my fly. I had no chance. Crap. I hiked back to the truck with a melancholy feeling that I would not experience the magic of the green drake hatch I was lucky enough to catch the year before on this stretch of river. Also, the Pinnacles was definitely out of the question.

One of my favorite runs whited out!

Why was so much water being released from the reservoir and why, if flow were this high on the upper stretches of the river, was the lower river average or even a bit lower than average? Where was the water going? I am still perplexed about this. One thing is for sure - I surely don't know this river as well as I thought. Nothing felt "right" for me this year on NoName2.

Oh well, my favorite spots on NoName2 were all unfishable so I was forced upstream to fish in the meadows. Never liked the meadows before because the fish were so spooky, you needed perfect casts with long leaders and small tippets, and once spooked, you had to travel a bit before another attempt. But this year the water was higher and faster and I thought I'd be able to catch one or two - but it was a challenge. Normally quite placid and shallow, the water was high and fast and I, being a right handed caster, needed to cross the river for an enjoyable day of dry flying. So cross I did - the sight of fish rising near the opposite bank was all the motivation I needed. I crossed right about the middle of the river in picture below.

The crossing wasn't too bad despite the lack of trees in the meadow (i.e. I had no wading staff for support). I began fishing with a dry/dropper combo and, as usual, even though there was absolutely nothing rising remotely resembling an adams wulff on the surface of the water, I began catching a trout or two on a #14 and took off the dropper. Here are some of those trout.

A Brown Trout from the Meadows of NoName2


One that got away.

I came to one nice bend in the river that held some trout in a deep pool. They were rising steadily to a fly I could not identify (nor match) and I quickly put them all down with my first cast with the adams wulff. What a screw up. So, I sat on the bank, ate a power bar, relaxed, viewed the elk feeding up by the tree line, and tied a few more inches of flurocarbon tippet and a #20 BWO. Once the trout started rising again, I laid it out there and snagged a couple nice ones. It was waaaay cool to watch these guys rise out of that pool and slurp my fly. Soon they were down again, so I took some time to tie on a small yellow humpy. I didn't stand up but just flicked it out there thinking my chances were slim. Low and behold a big bow rose up and engulfed it not 5 feet from me. I got a decent hook set but was slow to climb the bank and run downsteam with him. Soon my line was horizontal to the river, he made one nice leap about 30 yards downstream and the was the last this fisherman ever saw of that fish.

NoName2 trout were camera shy this year!

Soon I was suffering from river anxiety. This happens sometimes when I have crossed a river (that maybe I shouldn't have crossed in the first place), have finished my fishing, and need to re-cross to get back home (the truck). What made it worse this time was the glare on the water - I couldn't see the rocks I was walking over. Plus, I had no wading staff and sure didn't want to hike all the way up to the tree line to find one. So, I zipped-up and heading out with confidence (you've done it a million times laddy!) but also a bit of trepidation. Things were going pretty good til I got about midway across and the water was up to mid-thigh and moving pretty rapidly. Whooops, one bad step and church was out. Down I went and the only thing out of the water was my fly-rod and my right hand. The water wasn't that deep, so there was no danger of drowning or anything (less my head strike a boulder or something), but I tell's hard to stand back up when you are moving along with the current and all the rocks you are trying to stand up on are meadow rocks with alot of green algae over the top of them. Let's just say any observer would not have witnessed a very graceful recovery....but gawd knows I did not want to head down into that canyon. I crawled up onto the bank like a wharf rat. However, I must admit it was a very refreshing dip. However, one thing is for sure: it is bad for a dry-fly fisherman to get all his shit WET. The only thing dry was my left sock. So, I went back to the truck and stripped down...much to the delight of passing fisherman who had, I am sure, been there and done that. Luckily the sun was out and all my flies that did get wet were soon acceptably dry once again.

Everything got soaked but my left sock.

It was then back to the camp to consult the doctor: Doctor Al K. Hall.

Jamie's Triple Distilled

Next to Guinness and her people, Ireland's best Export

Ahhh...nothing like a lil nip of Jamie's to warm a person from the inside out.

A wise old man in one of the black-n-white Gunsmoke episodes (which I am becoming very fond of...anyone see the episode where Chester wins a level in a poker game?) was sitting around a campfire and after listening to all the young whipper-snappers said "Boys, I'll tell ya - a man finds one of three things in his life: love, money, or a bottle." I heard this saying again up at a Flat Tops campfire. Hell, that was good enough truth for me...certainly better than any "facts" you can get from the bubble headed bleached blondes on the TV "news". This being the case, I went out and bought myself a bottle.

NoName2 Transitions from Meadows to Canyon Runs.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Fish Story

A couple named John and Sandy from Texas were camping next to me at Sugarbush. I was waxing on about my broken hook story and Sandy says, well, I have a fish story for you. She was fishing some river in Colorado and caught a nice rainbow. In her excitement I guess she cranked it out of the water pretty good and the fish ended up falling into a big pile of large rocks some feet from the river and it had gotten off her hook. Sandy couldn't move the rocks but she could see the fish flopping around down there and felt badly about it. She thought, well, I'll put a salmon egg on the hook and drop it down there. She did, and the fish bit it and got hooked! So, she just lifted the fish out of the pile of rocks, washed it off in the river, and headed for home with dinner. Next thing she knows some guy is scrambling down the cliff, walks right over to the pile of rocks and just stares. Apparently he had not seen the first catching of the fish and only witnessed Sandy pulling the fish out of the rocks. When they left, she looked in the rear view mirror and the man was still standing there with his hands on his hips and just staring at the pile of rocks.

Fly-fishing the Arkansas River

Arkansas River Rainbows - Making a Strong Comeback!

(Click on Pictures to Enlarge)

There is nothing like a trip to the Arkansas River in mid-July to renew a fly fisherman's faith in his or her ability to catch trout on a dry fly. This year the river dropped about 2 feet over-night on July 6 (July 4th and FibArk being over) and as usual this freaked the fish out bigtime. For one day. The bigger fish hunkered down in their deep holes worrying about just how low the water would drop and the wee fish were having fun investigating the recently new shallows. I told the lads just wait, tomorrow or the next day this river will be absolutely perfect. Was it ever! The fish were very hungry after fighting the snow melt's high water and this coincided with a proliferation of the bug population with warmer weather. Under these conditions it's not uncommon for a moderately skilled fly-fisherman to catch 15-20 trout in a couple 2 or 3 hours by wading the shoreline, tying on a #14 or #16 adams wulff or yellow humpy and drifting it naturally through any fishy looking run. On the Ark, there will almost always be trout where you think there will be (assuming moderate skill at reading water...) and you'll get a few attempts to catch em before spook-off. If after 3 or 4 casts there is no take, move upstream 5 yards and repeat the process. Your arms will soon be tired of hauling in very frisky trout.

The fish count on the Arkansas between Howard and Salida must be phenomenally high. As usual, nothing real big (16" is kinda "big" on the Ark), but who can complain with dry-fly action of 12-16" trout all day long? These boys are fighters too - very healthy and strong fish.

Since the onslaught of whirling disease decimated the rainbow trout population the Arkansas River has been (and very much still is in my opinion) predominately brown trout water. Brown trout naturally reproduce and sustain themselves in the Ark with no stocking required. But the rainbows are a different story. I think they have a harder time with the warm water season on the Ark and I already mentioned the whirling disease problem that started in 1987. I've had summers where I fished the Ark for a week or two and caught no rainbows at all or maybe just one or two. But the rainbows are making a nice comeback thanks to the introduction of crossbreed between the German Hofer and the Colorado River rainbow. The German Hofer is very resistant to whirling disease and breeding it with the Colorado River rainbow gives it the smarts to adapt to living wild in the Ark. If you ask me the plan is working. I caught 7 rainbows one morning and they were all aggressive strikers and real fighters. A couple went 14-15 inches. What an unsuspected treat that was! THe Hofer crossbred rainbows are more silvery than deep green and red. Most of the rainbows I landed appeared to be Hofers.

A Hofer Crosbred Rainbow from the Arkansas River

Colorado River Rainbow from the Ark

Another Hofer

Besides being easy to wade (in lower water season) I also like the Ark because like the Fryingpan river road, U.S. Hwy 50 between Howard, CO and Salida, CO runs on the "right" side of the river. That is, for a right handed (casting) fly-fisherman you simply step out of your truck and you are on the "right" side of the river. You casting over the river without worrying about getting hung in trees and willows. This is unlike the Conejos river in which both CO Hwy 17 and Platoro road are on the "wrong" side of the river for its entire length. This is no problem during low water or where there is access...but as you'll see can have its consequences during high water flows.

All this said, the main fly-fishing action on the Arkansas River continues to come from the brown trout. Here's a few pictures of the typical Ark brownies. Man, what fighters and what quantity!

I was very much looking forward to fishing the run below Swissvale one morning...and got there early to claim my spot. I was fishing downstream of the main run...waiting til 9am or so when the sun would hit the rocks and really get the bugs on the move before fishing my favorite stretch. I looked up on the cliff and some guy waves to me. I wave back to let him know I am "there" and sat down on a rock to change flies. I could not believe it when seconds later I saw him and his wife come scrambling down the cliff and jump in right in front of me! Spin fisherman. Grrrrr. Worse yet, the guy inserts his wife between he and I so if I objected (as he knew I would...), I'd have to argue with a woman. Plus, I could tell by the look on her face she knew they were in the wrong and she was quite embarrassed. Obviously their move was not her idea. I just left...but I was steamed. I didn't argue, but I did slam my tailgate a couple times extra hard and spun out when I left. Talk about ruining an excellent morning! So, bunghole, if you're out there and reading this - mind your manners will ya! You should never jump in directly in front of a fisherman...especially a fly-fisherman working his way upstream and especially on a river that has miles and miles of nice wadable water full of fish! Anyhow, I drove into Salida and treated myself to a nice breakfast at Pancake Patio.

It was hot this year and fishing for 4 or 5 hours in the sun was wearing me out. Luckily, downtown Salida has real nice piece of water for swimming and man will it cool you off! One trip across the river and back will give you some inkling of what the life of a trout must be constantly dealing with swift currents.

Here are some various pictures of the Arkansas River near downtown Salida at the water park. What a great place to spend some time and take a cool dip in the river! One swim across the river and back will give you some idea of a trout's life constantly battling the current.


Back at the ole Sugarbush campground, I was making coffee one morning and had s sneaking suspicion someone or something was watching me. These velvet bucks let me get close enough to snap off a photo. Nice as they are, they are nothing like the monster buck that came bounding through the campground a couple years back. That sucker had 2' high christmas trees on each side of his head!

Velvet bucks (Click on Picture to Enlarge)

This year I began dropping a small nymph (#16 prince or stonefly) about 16" off my dry fly. I was definitely catching more fish than years past, and hooking some bigger fish. In the picture below the river is coming around a bend from the right and pushing alot of food over to the left bank.

Looking upstream, you can see an island just taking in the morning sun and a bolder to the left of it with a nice run of water between. I had hooked a big guy there a couple days before and came back to see if I could fool him again as I never got a good hook set on him. I tried first with an orange stimulator and he rose but didn't take (sheee-it!). I threw it a few more times so that he would think that's all the action I had. Then, I sat on the back and tied on a nymph dropper. First cast, he swirled and hit the nymph and I got a good hook set. Oh he was pissed and headed to the current in the middle of the river and downstream in a hurry. I was ready for this and was bolder hopping to keep up. I was like OK big boy, now it's time for you to jump and just as I thought this he did - about 2 foot high! I kept my line tight and thought I did everything right when my line suddenly went slack. FUCK. I just continued fishing and tried not to dwell on the monster just lost. After 4 or 5 cast with hits and no hook-up, I inspected the nymph and was just flabergasted to find a broken hook!! It wasn't surprising to me that such a large fish was capable of breaking a hook. What is surprising, though, is that the weakest link in my setup was the hook and not the 3lb 5x Maxim fluorcarbon tippet which I used to drop the nymph off my dry fly. I suppose that is a ringing endorsement for Maxim's 5x tippet material!

I continue to find new and inventive ways to hook, and lose, really big trout. Nobody is better at it than yours truly.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Trappers Lake

The "Chinese Wall" overlooking Trappers Lake

(Click on Pictures to Enlarge)

Trappers Lake is in the Flat Tops Wilderness of Colorado and is about 9,500 ft. It was the birthplace of the U.S. Wilderness Area system after Arthur Carhart, a surveyor for the U.S. Forest service, proclaimed the area simply too beautiful for private ownership and that all peoples of the world should be able to experience the place. It is also known for its native Colorado cut-throat trout. Trappers used to be the only source of native Colorado cutthroat brood stock, but I hear this has changed and now some Colorado hatcheries are being used. Only artificial flies and lures are allowed on Trappers but motorized boats are not.

The area had two big fires in 2002 and is slowly recovering. I can just now being to see seedlings taking root. It will take many years to get back to its previous splendor. Meantime, one has to be *very* careful of falling trees especially when the wind is blowing hard.

I usually fish the Scott's Bay section of Trappers. I intended to hike up to Little Trappers Lake but got too caught up in trying to fool the trout in Scott's Bay. For 3 days!

Part of Scott's Bay

I Literally spent Hours by that log....

The weather at Trappers this year was very windy and stormy. Usually the lake is quite calm and glassy. Not this year. The wind blew and blew and white caps on the main lake were the norm not an exception. The waves were blowing toward Scott's Bay, and causing a swell by that log. In that swell were many cutthroat trout..most between 14 and 20 inchers with an occasional cruiser even larger. These fish were rising to something so small, it was practically invisible. I mean I was standing right there, withing 3 ft, watching them rise and I could not for the life of me see what the hell they were eating. Thus, the challenge. Thus the madness of not being able to catch them! In 3 days of fishing I bet I only caught 12-14 fish. That said, I think they are very pretty fish. I hooked one whose entire underbelly was a bright reddish orange. Unfortunately he wiggled out of the net and I got no pic. But I did get some pics, and here they are.

There's "the log" ... spent many minutes sitting on that log tying tippets and flies...and precious few minutes photographing cutthroat trout!

This last fish I remember well. He was particularly brazen and beneath the water looked very dark compared to the other fish. I had seen he for a couple days. On July 4th he lost his independence to me, at least for awhile until I released him back. I could not catch him on a dry fly, and just as I was about to give up I tied on a olive and black woolly bugger, threw it behind him and stripped it as fast as I could. He struck instinctively. He also instinctively knew he made a mistake and I could tell by the way he was looking at me in the net that he could not believe he let me catch him.

Most of the other fish were taken on flies I tie: my red/orange attractor nymph followed by a #20 zebra midge dropper. I don't use a strike indicator, I cast, let them sink (count to 6) and slowly strip them in. Last year the midge caught the majority of the fish. This year it was about half-and-half.

I thought I had figured everything out when I caught a cutthroat on a #22 BWO (blue winged olive) which I had bought for the Pan hatch. I was surprised to see the fish had another BWO in his mouth that had been snapped off by a previous fisherman. It looked exactly like the one on the other side of his jaw from my line. But he was an anomaly and I just could not catch these fish on dries. It would help if I could see what the hell it is they were slurping!

The night of July 4th it rained like hell and a strong wind came out of the north. Next morning I arose to find my coffee pot (well, the pot I boil water in) frozen to the top of my Coleman stove.

I thought well, I'll get some well water and pour it over the pot to thaw it out. I went to open the door of my Toyota and all the doors were frozen shut. I guess I could have forced them open, but I was worried about the rubber seals inside the door or breaking a handle. So, I spent a half an hour pouring well water on the doors, windshield, and pot and stove just so I could get coffee made and hit the road. Coffee never tasted so good. It was probably mid 20's with a north breeze. 3 hours laster I was in New Castle and it was 80.

Last Day into No Name

I decided to hike into No Name for a third and final time in 2010. The weather was once again perfect and the river was starting to drop a bit regardless of the previous days' rain upstream. Conditions were perfect. I caught a few nice fish but it was clear they remembered me (and my flies) from a couple days prior. I missed another huge cutthroat down in the "canyon" as I call it. It is just impossible to land 20-25" cutties that weigh anywhere from 4-6 lbs in current that fast with a 3lb tippet. That said, I keep trying year after year and who knows, one of these days perahps luck will shine on me.

I caught only one non-rainbow or cut-bow: this frisky little No Name brook trout.

No Name Brook Trout

Click to Enlarge Pictures

I had to work a bit harder today to fool the fish and did not catch as many as my first couple times in. They were looking over their shoulder a bit more on rises. One fish in particular fought like hell and I believe it was a rainbow rather than a cut-bow.

No Name Rainbow

Caught a nice cut-bow that was just too fat to hold in my hand. Thought I got a nice picture of him in the water, but it didn't turn out too good - but here he is anyway.

Fat-boy Cutbow

It was a great year on the No Name. I must admit feeling very melancholy as I made the hike back to the campground knowint it would be at least another year before I was to visit this dirt and this water again.

The Fitzman and a Trout

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Flat Tops' Trout

Fishing the "No Name" river in the Flat Tops Wilderness is always a special treat. This year river and weather conditions were absolutely perfect. I was eager to strap on my hiking boots and mount my backpack for a trip into some of the best dry-fly fishing anywhere. So it began as it always does with the hike. Hiking is part and parcel of fly-fishing. A fly-fisherman spends alot of time on his feet in order to gain access to nature's bounty of trout. I used to get anxious and try to rush a 3 or 6 mile hike. You can try in your mind to rush a hike, but the truth is a long hike simply cannot be rushed. It should be embraced and enjoyed. I have learned patience and also recently discovered the benefits of a bandana. Not sure what took me so long, but nothing can cool you off on a long hike like a bandana soaked in a cool river and wrapped around your neck. On the start of the hike the bandana was around my neck but still dry as the morning was quite cool. Leaving the campground, I made good time through the flat water area, through the aspen meadow, and up to the boulders where I jumped a big velvet buck. He was lapping up water pooled in natural bowl in the boulders after the previous days rain. I guess it was easier than going all the way down to the river or to the nearest creek. Anyhow, I scared hell outta the elk, and his eyes got even bigger as he tried to take off quickly and spun out on the smooth and slippery rock. Once off the boulders he bounded high and fast away from me. Before jumping the elk, I had to wait patiently on the trail for a Ptarmigan mother and her chicks to cross. She was all puffed out as I approached but relaxed somewhat after I spotted the chicks and realized she was making a trail crossing with her pride and joy. I saw two or three chicks cross and then was like, ok mom, I need to get going here...move on. She was obviously agitated and looked about nervously while keeping one eye on me. Finally she and I both spotted the struggling laggard chick which was fumbling helplessly through some think brush. The mother lost her temper and went over and gave the chick some much needed help while at the same time dressing down her slo-mo. I enjoyed the entire show but was glad to stride onward.


Click to Enlarge Pictures

I did not take this picture but downloaded it from the web. These are summer colors as I saw the bird. Ptarmigans turn mostly white in the winter.

Once I climbed up and past the shoots I was in prime dry-fly territory. So I unloaded all my fishing gear from the backpack, changed from my hiking outfit into my fly-fishing garb, and stashed my un-needed gear in a safe spot. Wading into the No Name river with fly-rod in hand is a *great* feeling. It's very peacefull and relaxing yet at the same time can be a vigorous workout holding expectations for plenty of action. It didn't take long. A well presented dry fly floating naturally on top of the water soon produced dramatic takes by cut-bows averaging 14-18". Wham - let the air show begin! Ah, it's great to be alive.

A Typical No Name Cut-bow Caught in Awesome Water

Not sure why, or what it says about the health of a river, but this year I caught no smallish fish. Usually, I catch many 8-12" trout. This year, out of say 50 odd fish caught over 3 days, I caught only one fish under 10". I am not complaining of course, just curious is all.

Every year the river is very different yet every year it's the same. Fish are always found in the same places yet those places have new wrinkles. On No Name, there is a run where the river is very dull...flat and shallow with no outstanding features. However, on the opposite bank of the river near the start of this dull water, under a low hanging tree, there is always a pool about 2 feet deep downstream of a nice piece of rippling water which must churn out the nymphs from the rocks. There, in that hole, you will always find a nice fat fish. Every year. Without fail. The trick is to catch the biggest fish first before catching a smaller one that spooks him. On day one, I caught the smallest fish first - as I have done in years past. When this happens all you see is a big silver and red streak as the large fish swims for safer pastures. On day three, I went back, determined to put the fly such that the big fish would get the first shot at it. I succeeded and landed the bad-boy. Unfortunately, the picture doesn't do justice to either the fish or my 4 wt bamboo rod which made the cast. But here it is anyway.

Same hole, new resident

Beautiful day and perfect water.

Time to get out of the river and hike back to my backpack for lunch. I learned years ago not to bring my lunch, it being the reward and incentive to hike back (and find!) the hidden pack. Not to mention I have fallen in before and soaked my lunch. So I left the river for the trail and on the way back found a hunter's camp complete with mattress still laying under the lean-to. I pocketed a rather nice switchblade found stuck one of the trees the lean-to was built on. Anyone who can identify this knife will get it back, but you have to pay the postage. Otherwise, it will join the treasure trove of findings I have made over the years while hiking.

Hunter's Refuge

My refuge is a bit classier, but not much bigger. It was good to be "home" after a perfect day on a perfect river. Heaven on Earth it is for me. It's my church. It's my revival. To quote A River Runs Through It, "I am haunted by waters". And I am grateful for every day of my life I get to spend on them.

My Home for 4 days on No Name

Meadow Creek Lake

Evening on Meadow Creek Lake

Well I am back in civilization after 2 weeks in the schtank. Hot showers and wi-fi should never be taken for granted!

The trip this year started off at the Fryingpan River. Little Maud campground was closed with more water problems. Funny, ever since the Forest Service put the water system in (under lock and key I might add....grrrr....) we've had water problems there. I never had a problem with the old well water which was always fine to me and everyone else. No matter, I now get my water down below at mi 11 or so where the best spring water in the world is just off the River Road. Anyhow, I stayed at Little Mattie campground for the first time which has no water at all but was "only" $16/night which is great for me. There I met Carol and her great-grand daughter Nyah. By the way, I am told Little Maud will be opening again this week.

Carol and Great-Grand Daughter Nyah

Not sure how we got on the subject, but as Carol was telling me her life story (and how she lived out of the camper on her Dodge for 25 years), she mentioned she had been celibate for 15 years. I told her I had been celibate (not by choice, but simply lack of access) for nearly 2 years. And she said, oh, nice looking young man like you? I said, well, it's not so bad, but I just don't sleep as well. She said you don't? I said, nope, it's not natural for a healthy man to be single. Anyhow, later that night she came by with some cookies to "help you sleep". I said really, since when do cookies help you sleep? And she winks and says, well, you'll see...I have become very fond of cookies in my older age. (Use your imagination on the ingredients!). What a panic.

Anyhow, I fished the Pan for a couple days. The flow was up, but very fishable. I hit a couple of my favorite spots down below and did ok, but nothing special. Got skunked just below the damn looking for glory and a big whopper. Nothing new there. It's still relatively early and I always do better on the Pan in late July.

From there it was on to Meadow Creek Lake which is around 9,000 ft in elevation. It's a convenient place to stop off the New Castle to Buford shortcut to the Flat Tops Wilderness. Plus, it's a good place for me to further acclimate to the higher elevations before beginning hikes in the FTs. So, I had a relaxin couple days at the lake where I fished and got used to camping again. There was an old man named Blair camping up there. I would guess he was in his late 70's or early 80's. He was happy as hell all alone and listening to the Colorado Rockies baseball games on his transistor radio, splitting wood for his fire, chasing the coons off, and just sitting there enjoying the scenery.

The fishing at Meadow Creek Lake was also a bit slow because the two creeks feeding it had already come way down. Too bad - when the creeks are flowing all one has to do is stand between them with a fly-rod and the fish pretty much jump on your hook. So, I had to work a lil harder but soon caught my share of rainbows who were all too happy to go airborne and sometimes put on quite spectacular shows of jumping ability.

A Meadow Creek Lake Brook Trout

The only notable fish was a quite handsome brook trout I caught which was, despite its smallish size, one of the bigger brook trout I have caught. Then it was off to the Flat Tops Wilderness!