Having grown up in the flatlands 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 bluegill. 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 a 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 fish 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 Cheeseman Canyon stretch of the South Platte, one of the most well knows 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!