We met "In Search of Fly Waters" host, Conway Bowman, along with the two ESPN cameramen, Mike and Mark, for breakfast at a truck stop in Buffalo, Wyoming. After ingesting enough cholesterol in the form of eggs and bacon to qualify all of us as true cowboys, we loaded horses, mules, saddles, tack, food, sleeping bags and a couple thousand dollars worth of cameras into five vehicles for the ride up the mountain. While Rusty Bogers and his crackerjack crew loaded all the gear, Conway, Mark and Mike filmed the process.
It was a beautiful summer day with a clear blue Wyoming sky and not a breath of wind. After leaving the corrals, the cameramen went ahead, while Rusty, Conway and I brought up the pack string. When we saw the advance group again, they were set up and filming our arrival. We repeated this process numerous times during the day, sometimes riding the last 400 yards of a segment over and over until the cameramen felt that they had what the needed, which was apparently to have my rear end sanded raw and more than ready for camp. Riding over high passes and around high mountain lakes, we enjoyed the spectacular scenery and the moose and elk that dotted these vistas.
As a result of the filming, what is normally a 3.5 hour trip into Rusty's camp at Flatiron Lake took closer to 6 or 7 hours. We rolled into camp almost at dusk, chowed-down on steaks, and fell into bedrolls each of us delighted to be done for the day.
Over the next few days, we fished Flatiron Lake, Cloud Peak Lake and Mead Lake including the miles of streams that joined these bodies of water. We caught fat 18" cutthroats, brookies too numerous to count, a few big rainbows and filmed Rusty and Conway from every conceivable angle. At night, we ate like kings, dining on Rusty's famous ribs with Chipolte sauce and a smackdown "Flatiron" spaghetti with a fresh garden salad.
Each day, we repeated the same process: Conway and Rusty would be interviewed as the main actors eagerly lined up just offstage. These actors were a cooperative lot, if not a bit camera shy. This stage fright caused the "big boys" to make concerted efforts to exit stage left... and then right.... until the director brought them in for a close-up. After each scene, we released these colorful characters thus ending their brief thespian careers. The ESPN guys had worried aloud on the ride up about getting enough "fish shots", but relaxed after they had more than enough for a show after the first afternoon!
The show went so well that I snuck off one day, shirking my "technical consultant" duties, to fish a high mountain lake I had fished a few years ago. While Rusty, Conway and the cameramen worked, I labored over what I like to call "destination research and development".
I had a fantastic day! I caught numerous hot rainbows in the 18-24" range and cuttroats too numerous to count in the 16-20" range. The fishing was absolutely world class. An incredible day it was, but also quite a physical day including a steep climb up from the valley to reach these beautiful high alpine lakes.
This trip would be a fantastic addition to any Flatiron trip, but only for the intrepid and physically fit angler. Over dinner that night, Rusty and I hashed out the logistics of a new option allowing anglers to overnight at these lakes (notice I am not mentioning their names!). Angling Destinations, Inc. will be offering this option next summer. Anglers will be able to horsepack in on Mondays, hike to the high lakes on Tuesdays and overnight on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the lakes. Anglers will hike down on Thursdays and pack out on Fridays... all for the same price of a conventional Flatiron Troutfitters' trip. Call us for more details on this option.
Sorry... enough R&D let's get back to the show!
We wrapped up shooting on Thursday afternoon and packed up and out on Friday morning. We all felt satisfied and knew we had more than enough quality footage. (...or as we say in Hollywood, we knew we had a great show " in the can"). Regardless of any obnoxious "airs" we might assume from our brief brush with Hollywood, this should be an exciting show!
So if you love the American West and have always wanted to see what a western high country horsepack trip is like, keep your eyes on the ESPN "In Search of Fly Waters" schedule. We expect the show to be aired this fall or winter after all this footage is edited.