Let’s be clear. Fishing small high-country streams means the trophies taken home are usually limited to skinned knees, a sore back or scratches inflicted by any one or multiple species of vegetation.
Those who ask how the fishing was probably won’t understand that the trip is more than just fishing. It’s fishing that entails a walk that, longer than expected, become a hike; the stalking of trout so skittish its remarkable they aren’t afraid of the bugs they eat; and the creation of memories that draw a fisherman back time after time.
Where I fish, at elevations of 6,000-plus feet in the Sierra Nevadas and often above 8,000 feet, there are incredible opportunities to sink back into forests most notable for the lack of human visitation. In the small creeks and rivers found under lodgepole and western white pines, red firs, mountain hemlock and aspens, wild trout live a hardscrabble life during a summer that rarely lasts more then eight weeks. The small size of these trout truly belies their spirit.
But that’s not why they don’t end up in a framed photo on my wall. These trout are so darn small that holding a fish in one handle while using the other to fiddle with camera’s macro setting invariably results in a photo that’s too fuzzy to be called “arty” of a fish that would be a snack for what’s traditionally deemed a trophy trout.
But since so many of these high-country trout to obligingly rise to any of the customary trout flies, seemingly regardless of size, the outcome of a photo op can be a bit unpredictable.
the photo that shall not be framed
However, the one photo that will never be framed I also hesitate to share in the blogosphere. Because the fish is so small? Because the photo is so blurry? Yes to both questions.
…but mostly because
I don’t know what the heck it might be it’s not a trout.
P.S. I’ve since upgraded to a better and waterproof camera to compensate for my lack of photographic skill.