The fight was short. The cutthroat trout was thrashing like mad, and it shook free just when I had it in arm's length. I should have played the fish a little longer to get the fight out of his system before I tried to grab it. I stood up to see that Mike was standing just on the other side of the lake from me, and had found a nice spot to make a longer cast.
Fish were taking Mike’s fly, but they looked too small to actually eat the fly. I looked over to the lily pads near me and wondered if a fish could be hiding under them... I made a cast that tipped the edge of one of the large floating leaves. A small commotion disrupted the lily pad and something grabbed my fly. I lifted the rod tip fast, and kicking like mad was a small frog, still clawing to hold on to my fly.
“Heeeeey...” I said happily to the frog, “what are you doing eating my fly?” The frog was kicking all over the place, and wouldn’t stop so I could free him. It kept doing little flips on the line like a trapeze artist, so I plopped him in the water and he stopped moving.
With the hook out of its mouth, the frog kicked away like a toddler on a boogie-board and I went back to fishing. On the other side of the lake, Mike started on his way back to Kerry and Gracy, and I was ready to head back; that was until I saw a fish rise where I had once been. The motivation to head back wasn’t so bad anymore, and it was worth a shot. As soon as I flicked out to the rising fish, it came up and gently sipped in my fly like a late-harvest merlot. I set the hook and could see the bronze flashes of a cutthroat trout just under the water as it struggled to get away. I kept my cool this time, and brought in the fish a bit slower so I could grab it for a picture.
The fish slipped out of my hands, and I watched it as it disappeared deep into the crystal clear water. I pressed on and was just about half way back, when I felt the need to catch one more fish before ending the day. That kind of mentality can get you into a lot of trouble. One more fish can mean three more hours, depending on the day. And today had not been a great catching kind of day. I was fortunate though. A fish rose right near the bank, and the disturbance caught my eye. A quick flick sent my fly in the fish’s general direction, and in a second the fish came up and smacked my fly. What the fish lacked in size, it made up for in heart. The little thing fought with all its might, but it was landed quickly and let go after a quick picture.
You could now hear its tiny nails on the rock as it cautiously stepped forward, then opened his arms to snatch the piece of cheese from Gracy’s fingers.
As soon as it had the cheese, it turned and jumped away to a nearby rock and started eating. Gracy turned to me beaming with happiness, as her friend, which she name Peter, started eating the cheese.
“With our luck it has the plague.” I said, as the squirrel stuffed its cheeks. Gracy frowned at me for even suggesting that.
“I didn’t think of that.” Kerry said.
“I think we are okay out here.” Mike added.
“Still...” I said, “...you can’t keep it.”
“I’m not going to keep it!” Gracy told me, “But I was thinking that Kiwi needed a pet.” Kerry laughed at the thought of our little dog needing a pet, and we all continued watching as young Peter finished his cheese.
“Bye, Peter.” Gracy waved, as we lost sight of the squirrel.
Passing a sea of Grouse Whortleberries is a hard thing to do without stopping to pick a few, but if we wanted to hit the other lakes we didn’t have time to stop. I could tell Gracy really wanted more of the little berries, so I pulled up a chunk of the plant and handed it to her so she could pick off the berries as we walked.
We arrived to the first Grassy Meadow Lake, and the fishing was slow. I caught one little brook trout and that was it. We didn’t fish long, because it was really time to get going if we wanted to make it home at a decent hour.
The best part of the day, for me, was catching the frog. Friends of mine tell me about catching frogs on a fly all the time, and I have always wanted to get one. The day came, and now I can be apart of the club; it is, after all, the little things that make this sport pleasant for me.