There was a time when the now world famous Fryingpan River near Basalt, Colorado, was known mostly by a more local group of fisherman. I was lucky enough to be one of those, and we had things pretty much to ourselves, back in the day.
Anyone who has fished there more recently may find that hard to believe, but it is true.
Here are a couple of images on black and white film, circa 1982, of some more normal looking trout that proceed the introduction of mysis shrimp to Reudi Reservoir and the appearance of the monster, football-shaped trout that soon followed.
But then, that’s another story…
Photographs by Michael Patrick McCarty
Active Member Outdoor Writers Association of America
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Today was a big day in the grand scheme of things in this even grander adventure, for today I saw the first goats within the boundaries of my hunting unit. Two billy’s they were, hanging nonchalantly up towards the skyline and feeding on the carpet of shiny new green on the steep side of an open basin.
The sight of the goats and the stunning scenery took my breath away, which you could have said was simply impossible because I had already been gasping for oxygen for more than a mile already. Yet, I did have enough life left in me to grin a little grin and dance a little jig. It made the long hike seem but a small price to pay, and gave me more than a little hope that this quest might just all come together after all.
Still, we came to fish. A lake of indescribable beauty waited near the top of the trail, and my friend knew it to hold some great fish. He was not exaggerating.
As you can see the colors on these Cutthroat’s were almost too stunning to be true. I am sure that my inexpensive camera was simply not up to the task. When first removed from the water these fish were so bright and vibrantly red that it was difficult for the mind to believe the eye, yet, here they were in all their heavenly splendor.
I could say that they had grabbed my complete attention, but that would not be accurate. I spent most of my time fishing with one eye on the fish and the other on the goats, and soon put the rod down and sat to study them with my binoculars.
Both were mature males, and one was, to put it plainly, a bruiser of a big billy. I could see horn and heavy bases from a long way away, and his body shape and attitude told me all that I needed to know. I wanted to be up there with them, right then and now. I wanted to see what they see from their perch at the top of the world, and see it I will.
With some luck and some hard climbing, this goat and I will build some history together. I will be back a time or two before the season, and if he is as good as I think he is once the season begins he may find me quite a bit closer than he ever imagined.
And, oh yes. I will return to have another go at those beautiful cutthroat trout too!
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My Idea Of A Good Time
Presenting Fun with Trout: Trout Fishing in Words, Paint & Lines. By Fred Everett. Preface by Charles K. Fox. Introduction by Ray Bergman.
Published by The Stackpole Co, Harrisburg, PA, 287 pages, 1952.
Maroon cover with gilt lettering and paste down illustration by Everett of a trout fisherman with rod and netted trout. With pictorial end papers, and internal line drawings.
An entertaining, often whimsical discussion on flytying, wetflying, dryflying, and more.
Dedicated “to the spirit of the great out-of-doors, its waters and the life therein, an ever enticing lure from the humdrum of everyday life to the body-reviving and soul-filling pastime of fishing; to the spirit of true sportsmanship and all that it means for fair play, courtesy, cooperation and real conservation; to the very spirit of angling itself, this book is sincerely and humbly dedicated”.
This copy is in Near Fine condition, without Dustjacket.
Here offered at $45, postpaid U.S. (subject to prior sale)
A big trout is an extraordinary creature – built for power, speed…and battle. Some, like this guy, are more than a match for any fisherman.
We all wish to catch a trout like this one day. If any of you already have, then you know that maybe, just maybe, there is another fish like this out there…deep below the surface…finning…watching…waiting – for one more cast…
May your waters be wild, and big!
And Oh, By The Way – You Might Want To Get A Larger Net…
Original Pencil Drawing Of a Brook Trout By Charlie Manus of Marble, Colorado
Few things go as well together than brook trout and a clear mountain stream, unless of course it is a hot cast iron pan and some freshly caught fillets.
I am told that these beauties had perfect, firm flesh and that beautiful orange color of wild fish. Apparently, these brookies never saw any wrapping paper either.
Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
Thank God For Summer!
RECIPE FOR COLORADO COWBOY TROUT
8 small trout
3 apples, sliced thinly
1 sliced onion
3 slices of precooked ham, chopped
Stuff trout bodies with apple, onion, and ham. Drizzle some honey on stuffing; add lemon juice and season to taste. Seal in doubled-up heavy-duty foil and cover in hot campfire coals. Bake for about 30 minutes. Serves four.
Keep in mind that if you are making this recipe, you are definitely doing it in the right place and are probably in a fine state of mind.
*Adapted from The All Trout Cookbook by Rick Taylor. It is a great trout cooking recipe book, and I highly recommend it if you can find a copy.
Flyfishing the High Country by John Gierach. With Chapters on the high lakes, beaver ponds, the high streams, tackle and flies, the Frying Pan River, and more.
We generally have copies of this in stock, as well as other John Gierach books. Please email for availability and price.