Friday Classic: Fingers Crossed

For months we had our fingers crossed.

Eying snow reports and talking to the few who had been in the mountains, we were cautiously optimistic. Despite a big snow year we had a shot at hitting it right.

A few days too early and ice would cover the high alpine lakes we hoped to fish. Or worse snow levels might make travel too arduous to reach them in the first place. Just right and we might be lucky enough to fish as the ice moved out, being the first to show our flies to hungry golden trout.

Southern WindsNow, miles into the Wilderness, we would soon have our answer.

Huddled under a tarp, a few hundred feet below tree line, we put our backs toward horizontally falling rain and snow. Spindrift was visibly blowing over the ridge tops. Conditions were deteriorating. After a restless night in our bags the only option was to continue up and test our luck.

The lake was half covered in ice. Peering through graupel a hundred feet above the water we spotted a cruising fish almost immediately. Over the next three hours the stars somehow aligned and we caught golden after golden, all on dry flies. The weather was relentless but we hardly noticed.

Catching one golden is a big deal, getting one to eat a dry extremely rare, to lose count of the number caught nearly unheard of. Effort and luck had collided in our favor.Southern Winds

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