Skiing/fishing in July… and not in Chile

Inspired by a Jay Humphries Tailgate post , and motivated by hours of paperwork on a hot, late afternoon, I finally fled to the solace of two-lane, three-weights and one direction… upstream.

After running the Forest Service roads like frenzied dope smuggler, checking raging foothill streams, listening to the local classic rock FM Joe Walsh-AC/DC-ZZ Top station blend and blowing by federal salmon road-culvert projects at a good clip, I came to realize the source was the only choice.

With the run-off and late snowpack rendering most of the tribs and mainstems blown and at least two weeks out, the only solution seemed to be to keep going. All the way to the headwaters; up the rivers, up the tribs, and up and up. An absurd amount of March, April, May and June snowstorms left everything still hanging until August. But at about 4,000 feet in the North Cascades lies a network of alpine lakes, treeline creeks and about 12 weeks of fishing for angry, angry brookies. Although these rarely break ten inches, there is something about watching vicious little char hammer a Chernobyl ant a quarter their size under the dark overhang of a snowbank.

And how many other places in N. America can one make 1,500 foot corn-snow descents, pull little bad boy brookies and check your crab pots in one day?

Somedays you just got to go all the way up. Like Col. Willard.


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