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A Trip Through Glacier | High Lake Fly Fishing
Hi all, Tony here. If you follow our blog you may recall my entry last year about the backpacking adventure I took into the high country of the Wind River Range. Well, these trips have become an annual occurrence for my wife and me, and this year our hiking/fishing expedition took us to Montana and Glacier National Park. We spent five nights in the backcountry, and covered close to 60 miles. We could probably cover a lot more, but of course we’ve got to make time to stop and fish those high lakes. Jon was able to join us again this year, and also my dad made the trip.
I wish I actually had the time and the literary skills to explain the beauty of these mountains, and the surplus of emerald blue lakes that are hidden within their glacier carved basins. It seemed as if every breath taking alpine view and lake filled valley was trying to outdo the previous in beauty and grandeur. We reached the point that after 6 days of hiking and amazing views, that we had seen so much that we actually became numb to the amazing sites. It is truly something that has to be experienced to really grasp, but hopefully the pictures can give you an idea.
As beautiful as Glacier was to see, what set it apart in my mind from previous adventures was the abundance of wildlife. The place was teeming with animals! In the course of the trip we spotted several moose, a black bear, deer, and saw more mountain goats and sheep than we could count. We also missed seeing a wolverine by about ten minutes. We met a lady going the other way on the trail that had a picture of the creature, and said it was just a ways back on the trail. So we rushed on to see it, but unfortunately it had moved on when we arrived. However, the best sighting was of a 7 point, Bull Moose bedded down just off of the trail. We spotted it just as it was getting dark at about 150 yards off of the trail. Well, my 60 year old dad, who is supposed to be the mature, responsible one out of us, had the great idea to see how close we could get to it. So like the wise son that I am, I agreed and we were able to creep within 10 or 15 feet of the massive creature. When we got close to him he finally got a little agitated and stood up, the thing was as big as a house! He then snorted at us for a moment and indifferently walked off. It was pretty amazing being that close to something that impressive.
Enough of all that, now for the important stuff. How was the fishing? Well, like the rest of the trip it didn’t disappoint. We fished 6 or 7 different lakes and caught 4 different species of trout: brookies, rainbows, Westslope and Yellowstone Cutties. The cutties were absolutely gorgeous with their bright colors and spots, and in one lake we caught them up to 23-24 inches. The water was so clear that in most of the lakes the best tactic was to walk the lake shore sight casting to cruising fish. Also, these fish receive so little fishing pressure that the fish were far from selective, and were willing to take any well presented fly that appeared anything like the food around them. I packed in two four piece rods, a #5 Helios and a #4 Boron III, that both had the Switchbutt attachment installed. There will be much more about the Switchbutt soon to come on the site, but for now I will just say it is a telescoping extension that turns a single handed rod into a switch rod. It was perfect for shore fishing from the lakes where we often had brush preventing a back cast. With a modified spey/ roll cast I was able to cover water out to about 60 feet, allowing me to cover much more water than with a normal single hander. (Keep checking the site for more info)
One memorable lake we fished on our second day on the trail was stuffed full of brookies. The lake had yielded about 20 brookies in the 14” range as we worked our way around the shore. Well, I decided to go in search of some bigger fish and ended up on the far corner where I climbed over some big boulders to where a water fall came in. On my first cast into the water below the falls a 16’ beauty came out of the depths and inhaled the leach pattern I was fishing. However, the really exciting part about it was that almost instantly another 16 incher that saw the commotion as I was fighting this fish decided to take the scud dropper I had on as well. So needless to say I had a battle on my hands. After landing both of these fish, my Dad and I proceeded for the next hour to catch at least one fish in the 15’-18’ range on almost every cast, and quite often two of them at once. It was one of those days that we go in search of when we head out into to wild, beautiful places like Glacier that won’t soon be forgotten. I can’t encourage you enough to get out and experience them.
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