Having grown up in the flat lands of the south all I fished were lakes. My parents had a couple acres on a lake and I spent my formative years fishing for large-mouth bass and blue gill. My methods must have seemed primitive by many people’s standards. I started off with a cane pole fishing with worms then switched to a spinning rod using artificial bait. I’d spend hours each day standing with the lake hoping a fish would take.
When I took up fly fishing, the approach to fishing rivers just seemed to make sense to me, despite never having actually fished a river. One of the advantages of fly fishing that I have found is that I get to spend much of my time on rivers rather than lakes. With rivers, I can look at the surface and surmise what is going on with the structure of the river bottoms. When you combine that with basic understanding of the habits of trout it’s pretty easy to figure out where they hold but catching them is another story. On the other hand, in a lake, the fish could be anywhere. The entire lake is their hideout.
Rivers have another benefit for me in that they give me an opportunity to be more mobile. I get to walk up, down, and through rivers all day long without having to fishing the same section from the same angle twice which for someone with ADD is a huge advantage. I used my freedom liberally to roam and in the less populated areas of Oregon, I grew to love the solitude that was now synonymous with fishing. I never really had to share my beloved river. I could spend all day fishing, have my choice of holes and, rarely would I see another person.
When I moved to Denver, Colorado, it was a different story. As it turns out, there are quite a lot of people there who also enjoy fishing. I would try going during the middle of the week, but that didn’t seem to make a difference in the number of people out there. I also tried going to rivers that were out of the way, but I guess people in CO like to road trip and hike since there always seemed to be people there.
One day I decided to fish the Cheesemen Canyon stretch of the South Platte, one of the most well know rivers in CO. It was a Tuesday, there was a 45 minute hike to the river, and it was a wonderful combination of rain/sleet/snow. Surely this would be my opportunity to have some alone time with the river. Nope.
In a last ditch effort I decided to give high altitude lakes a shot. Maybe this could be my new thing. I’d get up extra early, spend all day hiking, and by the end of the day I was alone with a body of water that was teaming with trout.
So here I’ve come, full circle, back to fishing on lakes… by myself!