“You take a right just outside the gate. Go about a mile and then turn left onto a dirt road. That will take you Little Hyatt Lake. It’s a small lake but it’s full” These words were pure music as the Park Ranger spoke them. There was actually no decision involved on my part, I put the truck in drive and followed his directions and end up at Little Hyatt Lake – the prettiest little lake in the middle of no where.
I was able to back my Jeep right up to the water’s edge and found a shady spot under a large Oak tree. It was pure heaven and I had the whole lake to myself. There were only a few hikers passing through on the Pacific Crest Trail but otherwise not a another person on the lake. I had the forethought to bring along my food box and cooler so I was ready for a wonderful day at the lake.
After paddling the kayak around the lake for the first hour, I ate lunch and started reading about how to cast a fly rod. A fly fishing pole is very different than any fishing pole I’ve ever used. Because of the tapered design of the fishing line; the rod can be casted without anything attached to the end. The first half hour was an excersize in frustration as I was trying to control the line. The last thing I needed was a hook in the eye so I casted with a bare line. But after I got the hang of it I was able to accurately cast to targeted areas with ease. I still need to add some distance to my cast but that should come with practice.
I took this photo with the camera in my left hand and the fly rod in the right. It was impossible to see through the viewfinder so I just had to aim the camera and take a lot of photos. I would like to title this image “My First Cast” but in reality, this was about my hundredth cast. My intention was to capture a cast from beginning to end in a single still photo. The Reel came out amazing! It almost looks like a manufactures product photo – hint, share please!I
I have a confession to make, I’m a 53 year old American male and I’ve never caught a fish. This may seem trivial to some but it can have an effect on a man’s self esteem. So I’ve decided to overcome these feelings of inadequacy by learning the sport of fishing. Not just any type of fishing; I’m going after one of the hardest ways to catch fish, Mountain Stream Fly Fishing.
In the coming months I will not only be learning the skills of an angler but I’ll be planning a 2,000 mile fishing road trip to the North Cascade National Park. This will be a slow tour of mountain streams through the states of California, Oregon and Washington. I’ll be stopping along the way to practice my new found art form and maybe make a few friends along the way. I will photography and document the entire experience and hopefully fulfill my life long dream of catching my first fish.
But this will be more than just another road-trip report. This will be a coming of age story, or middle age for me, as I begin my new life as an independent, creative person. This will be an account of my learning the most beautiful art form in outdoor sports, fly fishing. I’ll learn its fascinating history and discover what the allure is that makes men, and women, wade into the icy waters of mountain streams in pursuit of a limbless cold-blooded vertebrate. It will be an adventure, a learning experience, and an awaking. “Learning to Fly” will become a modern classic of outdoor sports literature.
But even the best laid plans are not enough to overcome the drought that’s occurring in the Western United States. It has reached epic proportions. As I made my way through Northern California, there was a plume of smoke cresting a ridge to the west of highway that filled the air with heavy, white smoke. The lack of rain and extream heat have raised the wildfire danger in the area to “Extream”. As I crossed into Oregon, the smoke slowly cleared and my thoughts turned back to my fishing adventure. That was until I reached my first designation, Hyatt Lake. What was once a large lake filled with future memories of catching my first fish is now reduced to a muddy pond.
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