Man, did we have a great trip this year! Maybe our best trip ever.
Our group of five had made four previous horsepack trips in Wyoming and
Montana. This year we had opted to forgo a few comforts and get as deep into
Wyoming's Bighorn Wilderness as we could in our five days... all in the
pursuit of great fishing. We wanted to get to the most spectacular area
possible and if a bit of an adventure occurred along the way, so be it.
On all fronts, we succeeded! Steve Peskoe MD (age unknown), Brett Egger 18,
Brandon Egger 15 and Nick Peskoe 15, were great companions and an
entertaining, if not a bit goofy, group. I was impressed how strong all the
boys have become. A few years ago, a trip like this would have been
impossible. A few more years (or maybe next year!) and they'll be beating me
up the mountain. I have come to look forward tremendously to these forays
into the wilderness and it has been a pleasure to watch these guys grow up!
Following a six hour ride that took us past beautiful meadows and streams,
around small alpine lakes and waterfalls, and over high passes and secret
trails, we arrived at our intended destination just as the shadows were
getting spindly and our butts were making their presence known. We drank
some Gatorade, set up a comfortable camp and after an excellent dinner of
spaghetti and garlic bread, we all turned in early.
The following days lived up to the daydreams of the snowy winter months.
Under absolutely spectacular weather, we ventured off to a new alpine lake
each of the following three days. We had only one short spell of rain and a
bit of wind on day two, otherwise blue skies and only a few clouds. Each
morning, we slept in until the hot sun chased us out of our tents. After
breakfast, we loaded daypacks with lunch, raingear, fly rods and too much
fishing gear. Thus began our daily ritual of climbing out of the relatively
oxygen-rich valley and into the treeless land of big trout.
Our selection of a base camp was perfect. None of our hikes were longer than
45 minutes, although all of the lakes were above 10,000 ft! We caught
cutthroats usually 14-20 inches with some notable exceptions. On day two,
Brett Egger caught a monster that went well over 21 inches and on our last
day, Steve Peskoe, hooked a fish that he was sure went over six pounds. We
caught fish on streamers (using Nick Peskoe's outside-the-box jigging
method), nymphs (usually size 16 beadheads), and dries (mostly Adams and
caddis patterns). One day, Nick and I had a great two hours hooking many
16-20 inch fish on tan elk hair caddis dry flies. We sat perched on a nice
flat rock watching caddis naturals being blown into a little alcove next to
a snowfield that was melting into the edge of the lake. It was incredible
watching the big heads graze on the caddis and not infrequently, our flies.
Sitting in the warm sun, we fished until the shadows stretched long and our
bellies demanded dinner. We hiked down to our camp in only 30 minutes to
enjoy a rib dinner with Chipolte sauce, cole slaw, potato salad and homemade
brownies for dessert. After dinner, we settled back to watch the sun set
over camp before retiring to our tents for some much needed sleep.
The ingredients for a great trip like this are simple: first, take a few
alpine lakes... azure and sapphire are best, stir in some deep blue skies and
a half dozen or so towering black rock peaks, sprinkle in some blindingly
white snowfields and a few million wildflowers. To that, fold in a beautiful
stream or two and a couple of spectacular waterfalls. When you've mixed all
that together, add in some fine old friends, some good food, some great
fishing for BIG fish, lots of laughs and you're almost done. Season lightly
with some bug dope and sunscreen. Bake it for five days in a hot Wyoming sun
and you've made the perfect trip. Thanks guys, what are we going to do next