Fishless Fishing Trip

Guest Blogger: Chuck Lee, New Mexico

There are dozens of small alpine lakes dotted throughout the Sangre De Cristo Mountains in northern New Mexico. At the end of a hot summer in 2017, me and two friends, Craig and Eric, backpacked to one of these lakes to catch some fish. It was intended to be a celebration of sorts as Craig was recently married and Eric was moving out of state a few weeks later. I was just happy to be along for the ride.

We got advice about techniques and flies from the local fly shop and were all set. I even bought an inflatable raft; an advantageous piece of gear, I thought. We left before the sun came up and started on our 8 mile hike from the ski basin outside of Santa Fe. 

Craig managed the 25 pound raft rolled up like a sleeping pad on top of his already heavy pack. We used the aluminum paddles as walking sticks as we traversed the rugged mountain side. After several hours we finally reached the lake and found a campsite about 50 yards up from the lake. We all stood in awe of the beautiful setting and the high alpine rocky mountain lake. Cold, clear water surrounded by rocky cliffs.

We spent some time resting and getting camp set up, but were all eager to do some fly fishing! We took turns blowing up our inflatable raft, which took a while considering our already exhausted lungs. After about 30 minutes our little dinghy was lake worthy. We thought it would be a good idea to fit everyone in this tiny raft, which seemed smaller with 3 men and a dog inside.

Continue reading → Fishless Fishing Trip