What started out as another casual day in camp with my family ended up being one of the highlights of this summer. We woke up late, crawled out of our tents, stumbled over to the stove and patiently waited on the coffee to brew. Not yet fully awake with the sun already beaming down on us we decided on what to do that day. After some camp eggs and bacon we packed up backpacks, filled water bottles and headed out for a hike with zero expectations for the day ahead.
I initially was not going to bring my fishing gear but quickly realized that was stupid as I knew there were possibly Golden Trout in the high lakes in the area. I told myself, “just bring the damn rod, see what happens.” After a few water breaks and a lunch stop, my brother, wife and I pushed ahead to higher lakes that looked promising.
I didn’t put a whole lot of thought into catching a golden but I knew there was a chance. We got to a lake that wasn’t being fished by other anglers and I made my first cast at a dark shadow slowly meandering alongside the shore. The fly hit the water and I waited, gave the line a twitch and waited. Finally the fish turned, looked up, swam closer, opened his mouth and wham-O! First golden on the fly! I knew it was a golden as soon as I turned it and brought it closer into view. I was stoked, having never caught one of these beauties or even seen one while fishing. I was pumped! I landed the fish, my brother snapped a few quick photos and I released it back into the cold, clear water. I picked up my rod, exchanged some laughs and jabs with my brother and wife and tossed another cast.
It was one hell of a day, we continued to fish and caught a few more Golden Trout and some Cutthroat Trout as well. It was one of those summer days that you wish you could put on repeat and just live in. I’m not sure if it was catching a species on my bucket list or the absolute stunner of a day but I can easily say that I will not soon forget that day. I’m reminded that fishing is more often about the people, the place and the shared experience of being outside. That day would not have been possible without public land and public water and for that I’m forever grateful.
-Sam “Bob” Williamson