Rocky Mountain High

It is easy to forget that here in sunny Boulder, CO the spring temps hover in the mid seventies and remain fairly mild, but just a few miles to the west the elevation soars and the environment changes. Now is the time to throw on a pack and head up into the high country for some early season lake fishing for high alpine trout. The ice has retreated pulling back the cover of snow and leaving behind a renewed sense of life at 11,000 feet. Flowers, grasses, and animals have begun to show their heads through the snow and the fish are hungry and eager to get a bite in.

This past weekend I had the chance to hike up to Snowmass lake outside the town of Aspen to do a bit of backpacking, fishing, and relaxing. With a cool breeze in our face we hiked up 3,500 vertical feet for eight miles to arrive at a desolate lake, tucked away at the foot of the mountains, some of which rise up to 14,000 feet. Upon settling in to the lake it was apparent that the rainbows and cutthroats were engaging in the annual dance of shaking and grooving in and around the inlets and outlets of the lake; while the brookies took comfort in the depths of steep banks of the lake. Small shrimp dropped off of whatever favorite dry worked great in the streams while the brookies hammered on streamers in the lake.

The weekend was a blur of gray and white up around 11,000 feet with plenty of snow, wind, rain to make things all the more interesting, but as we descend the valley became a sea of greens and the small alpine creek began to grow into a river. The chance to get “high” legally in the state of Colorado is one of the best ways to spend a spring weekend, get out and go for it.