I’ve traveled in the mountains long enough to not be surprised by anything I witness while on an adventure. However, today, I was definitely startled for a few minutes.
Today, I decided to fish Long Lake for some late season bookies, and to glimpse winter’s progress in the high country. I spent most of the day wading out (about thirty feet from the bank) slugging streamers to the fish holding at the edge of deeper water. The wind was howling, whitecaps on the lake (the photo above was earlier in the day before the winds), and the air temperature was about thirty degrees colder than in Boulder – where I started just two hours earlier. If I were not catching fish, you might have said it was miserable. Cast. Strip, strip, strip, strip. Cast. Strip, strip, strip, strip.
Then I suddenly felt a presence behind me. I turned around to see a decently large bull moose entering the water to my right. Isn’t it odd how you can just sense when something is coming up behind you? While I’m not surprised, it is the first bull moose I’ve ever seen in the area. I’m in the high country. I’m in a lake. I could see a moose. It should not really be that surprising.
Well, what startled me was his direction of travel which was toward me. Never before encountering a bull moose while standing in a lake, I didn’t really know what I should do. For every step he took toward me, I retreated a step. As he approached, he made blowing sounds through his nostrils like a terrible sinus congestion. The water was now over my waist, and I was running out of places to retreat. At 40 feet away, I decided something should be done. So, like any panicking idiot would do, I yelled at him and waved my hands and fly rod around like I was having a seizure.
His curiosity was sated. I was indeed like all the other idiots he had probably spooked in the past. Making an abrupt ninety-degree turn he strolled to the bank, went to the first stand of small trees, thoroughly tore the shit out of them with his large headpiece, and sauntered off along the bank. He was bored, but it totally made my day. It seemed like a good time to sit down, enjoy a lunch break, and let it all soak in.
Oh yeah, another pleasant and unexpected encounter? Huge rainbow trout. I was expecting to whack a few tiny brookies today, but I never found any. Not a one. In the past, I’ve never caught anything but brookies in that lake. I’ve never heard of anyone else catching anything in that lake but brookies. Today, it was nothing but rainbows. Two of the biggest were 20″ and 21″. They were slamming into streamers like a freakin’ pike. Today was a good day.