Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Montana Gold

The Elusive Montana Gold 

I have been searching for the Montana Golden Trout for the past 2 summers with no luck in landing one. Yesterday my wife decided she wanted to go for one more hike before heading home for a few weeks visiting family and friends. Our destination was a lake that has a natural reproducing population of these fish. The Journey up the mountain was pretty simple for us this day. It being early July our hiking legs are prime for almost anything Montana has to offer. A short 2.3 mile hike with 1200 feet of elevation gain was what it took to get to the lake.

The Lake Of Gold 
Because of the easy access, there were a few people chasing what I was. This lake was not too big but could handle about 6 anglers with ease. Anymore then that and you would feel a little crowded. I walked to the far shore of the lake and noticed fish spawning in the shallows. At 9,000 feet the fish have a brief window to spawn before winter sets in again. Unfortunately for these fish they were spawning in stagnate water and their eggs won't reproduce because it has no moving water over it.
close up 

Anyway I kept walking and found some shoreline cruisers I could target. I rigged up an Olive Woolly Bugger because I saw no fish feeding on the surface. When my fly hit the surface I spooked a few of these fish. For whatever reason the Golden Trout is really finicky and hard to catch, unlike most cutthroat or brook trout.

I cast out a little further and let my flies sink to the depths. Slow strips let me work my bugger back to the shoreline. After 3 casts like this a felt a tug and the rod bent......BOOM! Excitement raced through me as a saw this majestic fish flash its brilliant colors at me under the surface. I yelled for the wife and she started getting out the camera. About 3 feet from the bank the bugger slipped.....and I moaned with anger. The barbless #12 hook didn't do it's job and I felt like I missed a giant 12 point buck with my compound bow.

The feeling of defeat hit harder after the next 20 casts produced nothing more then a look. We were on a time schedule as well and it was running out. We cruised along the lake and hit prime drop offs hoping for that fish. As we neared where we started I wasn't confident I would get another shot, oh well I thought.

At a random spot with a submerged log I felt that addicting tug of the line and set hard. FISH ON! More brilliant colors flashed under the surface as I battled this little elusive beast. I made sure I applied steady pressure the entire fight until I brought the trout to the shore. I felt relieved when I held this fish. I admired its brilliant colors and snapped a few pictures so I can remember it forever. The fish swam off into the depths very quickly hopefully providing someone else with that memory in the future.

I find myself setting goals a lot when it comes to my time on the water. It's good to keep things fresh and challenge yourself. Whether its catching a 12 inch Eastern Brook Trout, a 20 inch wild brown trout or a Golden Trout.....make sure you don't chase just that one thing for too long, there's a lot of amazing trout out there to catch.

Mission Accomplished 
- Have Fun Fishing

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