Return to Wandering Into Retirement

Fishing in a Mountain Lake


Grand Mesa

Now for a little brave talk from a fishless would-be fisherman.

Fish have no apparent need of group therapy. Fishermen often do. But I can't claim to be a fisherman. I only started last year. I have always considered it in the same vein as golf. The classic formulation is "a good walk spoiled".

However, I do like to eat fish. I've never developed a taste for golf balls. Last fall in Lake City I paid someone to teach me about fly fishing a stream. He was a good teacher, and I had some success.

It's not such a mystery. You pick your fly according to what you see floating on the stream, on what they are eating right in front of you. You cast into the still pools next to swift water - because fish are as lazy as we are, and they are able to keep their position there with a minimum of effort, while having quick access to whatever nutritious goody comes floating down to them. Like a feathered hook. Yum.

If there are fish there, and the fly is about right and timely, and the water's not too cold or hot, and you float the fly down in a natural manner, the fish will strike. Quod erat demonstrandum.

Sure. And pigs can fly.

A mountain lake is another matter. For one thing the fish have a lot more easy vittles handy than your fly. For another, these lakes are often relatively shallow near to shore, which has two effects. One, the water is warm there, and warm fish aren't so hungry. Two, I can SEE out as far as I can usefully cast, about 30 feet. When I can't see fish, I don't cast, and this gets boring, hiking round and around the lake.

But so does casting into empty water.

From their behavior, the edge of the lake is well known in fish circles as the "zone of death and duplicity".

The people who are catching fish here either have a boat or a long reach with a spinning reel. I have neither. Sigh. At present the kayak is not comfortable to cast from.

The fellow who was actually catching fish at Carp lake and camped next to me used one of those pack-in inner tube things. It's just a matter of getting out to where the fish are.

He bought his from Buck's Bags 15 years ago for about $75, and in all that time he only had one flat. And he uses it all summer, every summer. It comes with straps so he can backpack it in, fully inflated if desired, to remote lakes.

So maybe they're not as dumb as they look.

He said the only trouble he ever had was when a beaver grabbed him from below and tried to pull him down. And when that didn't work, the darned thing chased him clear across the lake, fast as he could flipper.

Bump, bump, bump. Git yer ass outa here, boy.

Those big yellow teeth aren't nearly as comical, close up.

I think tomorrow I'm going down to where I had luck before, and try to find a likely stream with enough flow to be interesting. Flow is a hard thing to find this year.

Unless you have a way to get out in the middle of them, mountain lakes are for sitting by and reading. Just like golf courses.

There, I feel better.


Late Newsflash: Just got word the Kokonee are running near Gunnison, upstream from the Lake City Bridge. Can't help it. Hope springs eternal. Gotta check that out tomorrow.

I start "home" monday morning. Work Wednesday. Aarrghh!

Return to Around the Campfire
Comments are welcome in the rec.outdoors.rv-travel newsgroup,
or to
© Copyright 2003-2008 Bob Giddings, All Rights Reserved
Webspace provided by Arcata Pet Supplies