I would say the majority of my fly fishing career has been in a river setting. I’ve fished some lakes with streamers and other methods but I have never had a fly rod with me while at an alpine lake until now. This was an adventure from the moment I picked up Brandon in South metro Denver and we started on our way up the I-70 corridor to the middle of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
The day started early when my daughter, Kenzie, and I picked up Brandon at the crack of dawn. Well, maybe a few hours later than that but we headed up I-70 early. Neither Brandon nor I live in Denver any longer so we didn’t have the luxury of our pantries and kitchens to make lunches or grab snacks so we decided to stop somewhere along the way for such necessities. The trip up was relatively uneventful and somehow Kenzie talked us in to letting her play DJ and the ride thereafter was narrated by Taylor Swift.
We stopped at a gas station in Silverthorne, CO for gas, snacks, and water. While filling up we watched a local police officer have to break into someone’s car who locked their keys in it! And then after being completely distracted we went into the store quickly, paid for gas and this cool boxed water we found, and headed up to the Lake Evelyn trailhead. About the time we got to Henderson Mill, which by the way is the largest molybdenum mine in North America, we realized we could use a little snack. We then further realized that the only thing we got at the gas station was our boxed water. Yes, boxed as in a milk carton not plastic which is cool. We were too far committed to turn around and decided on a few sunflower seeds we found in my Jeep and carried on.
Tip 1: Remember food or snacks.
We finally arrived at the Lake Evelyn trailhead after less than two hours in the car and were getting packed up. It’s starting to really sink in how unprepared I was for this trip. Brandon faired a little better me. I literally had a granola bar, two fly rods, my sling pack, and 3 cartons of boxed water. So I’m getting ready for the 1.5 hour hike and realizing that I have nothing to carry the water in save for the net hanging out of my sling pack, which was as good a place as any I guess. I also tied my flip flops (for wading) on and somehow managed to get a Nikon DSLR in my pack. So stuffed to brim in a pack never meant to carry this much we headed out. Remember that boxed water I kept talking about? Well turns out if they fall out of your stuffed net and hit the ground they explode, so we’re down 1 of 3 cartons of boxed water, but I’m feeling good about taking care of the environment so we’ll manage.
Tip 2: Don’t drop your environmentally friendly boxed water.
It was an absolutely beautiful hike up to the lake and though steep and tough we made it and Kenzie was super happy to be at the lake. We walked around the lake and surprisingly there were around 3 groups up there already around the lake. We continued around and spoke with a few guys and handed out some flies in TrueFly pucks and then found a spot to finally rig up and start fishing.
The day started out slow. Then continued slow, and we started to wonder if we were going to catch any of the really awesome cutthroats we keep seeing as bright red streaks in the water. A few hours later, and after hearing Kenzie say about 1,000,000 times she was ready to go and was hungry because her Dad sucks and forgot the food, I decided to try one more pattern. This would make fly 99,372 that I tried for the day. I picked a tiny size 20 bright green midge. First cast and boom! Strike! I was so excited I was moving to resituate and that’s when my flip flop slipped on some moss, came off, I stepped on a sharp rock, and stumbled for what felt like forever, before finally falling in slow motion ending up neck deep in the lake! Brandon’s laughing, Kenzie is taking photos and I’m soaked at timberline in a lake full of snow melt. Awesome… But who cares! I found a pattern that worked. I quickly took my shirt off hung it up to dry, showed Brandon what to tie on, and we started hooking up left and right. We were finally having an epic day.
Tip 3: Don’t talk yourself into thinking that plastic foamy flip flops are great wading footwear.
We caught a ton of those gorgeous cutthroat and it was one of the best days I’ve had. We were having so much fun catching fish that the day flew by. It’s never a competition fishing, but if it was I’m pretty I sure I caught the most fish….. just don’t confirm with Brandon. Kenzie was getting really hungry at this point so we decided to pack up, do a little PR for TrueFly Supply and we headed out. Luckily we did have enough water for the day but we did kill the entire bag of sunflower seeds.
Tip 4: You can never have too many flies in a multitude of varieties and colors and don’t stop trying them out.
Sure we were a little hungry by the time we got to the car, but our environmentally friendly boxed water kept us hydrated, and we caught a ton of amazing cutthroat trout. Kenzie, despite her frustrations at times, had a blast and will remember the day forever I hope. Brandon showed us some gorgeous country on the way out and we think we may even saw a glimpse of a moose through the trees. We finally made it back to Silverthorne and our first stop was the brewery for the best burger I ever had. All in all a fantastic day.
Tip 5: Don’t be afraid to get out on your own adventure and take these tips with you- it will only make your experience better!