Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fishing The High Country

There are many reasons to trek into the High Country in August.  Typically, the temperatures across the  West are hanging in the 90s, versus the much more comfy 70s above timberline.  While fishing has begun to slow in some of the rivers and reservoirs in Montana, the angling in many of the mountain lakes is just reaching its zenith.  Lastly, hiking uphill, at elevation, with a fifty pound pack, is great conditioning for the upcoming hunting season.
For those that are unfamiliar with the Beartooth/Absaroka mountain lakes of southern Montana, the area is host to more hike-in trout water than most folks can fish in a lifetime.  With hikes ranging from short, level jaunts to week-long adventures into remote bodies of water, choosing your destination may be the most difficult part.  The variety of trout from golden trout and grayling to cutthroat and brook trout, add to the complex menu that the backpacking angler can choose from.

On a recent three-day, two-night trip, Laura, Mark, Lindsay and I parked a vehicle at one trailhead and commenced our journey from another, twenty miles away.  We fished three different lakes, caught three different species and only saw one other party fishing. There were a moderate number of campers we met on the trail, but most didn't even carry a fly rod tube lashed to their packs.  Fishing aside, the highlight was crossing a pass between drainages at 11,000 feet above sea level. Waking to mountain goats in our camp was a close second.
Every trip in the High Country leaves me wanting more.  As Laura said, having solitude at a mountain lake campsite makes one feel very rich.  This past trip was nearly perfect; the weather was ideal, the fishing was consistent and the company was great.  The only regret is that it would be my only alpine fishing adventure this year.

1 comment:

  1. I missed my opportunity to make a high mountain adventure this summer. Thanks for the journey.