Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fond Memories of Wilderness Fishing with my Dad

 I would like to tell you a story of my favorite fishing trip. When I was in junior high in Fort Collins...I went backpacking with my dad and a good friend. The friend name is Al Barns. Al lived on a ranch outside of Fort Collins. He was an avid hunter and fishermen like my dad. One of his animals he owed was a donkey named Lady Bird. He took her on our wilderness backpacking fishing trip. She would carry our food and cooking equipment.

Our adventure was to hike into the Rawah Wilderness area. There are 26 lakes all feed by melting snow. The area is free from motorized vehicles. We backpacked nine miles to get to our base camp. We were thankful of Lady Bird because after seven miles, we were feeling the weight on our backs.

The lakes are above timberline. That’s why we camped at the base camp. Our camp was just along a pure rocky mountain stream. The area was surrounded by magnificent pine trees. We got up early and cooked a mountain man’s breakfast that would last us till lunch time. My dad would make his specialty called monkey guts. A bunch of eggs with grilled onions cut up potatoes, sausages, and diced ham all mixed together. Served with buttered toast lightly browned over the morning fire of course!

With our fishing gear and lunch in hand, we headed for the lakes. Lady Bird would stay behind. It was a difficult climb to the lakes about an hour. Once we got above timberline, we heard water running under the rocks beneath our feet fed by the snow above the lakes. To get a drink of water, we carried clear surgical tubing to feed through the rocks to get perfectly clear water!

Once we reached the lakes it was time to get busy fishing. The fish were jumping that morning. My dad loved to say look at them jumping every lake that we passed by as children. We just laughed.

Since the trout aren’t stocked up in the wilderness, their meat is pink not white like most store bought fish. Native trout with pink meat tastes much better than white meat. A specialty fish up in the Rawah is called Cut Throat trout. They have bright red markings just below their gills, thus their name.

The catching was fantastic that morning. Just before lunch I caught a large cut throat and built a little fire to cook this fine fish. After the fire had red hot embers burning, I cleaned and roasted my catch until the meat practically fell off the fish. The trout melted in my mouth. To this day that was the best fish I have ever eaten. Naturally what do you do after a delicious meal, I took a nap.

The end of my fish story (in this fishy story, all is true)
Enjoy the pictures below.