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Backpacking for trout Moyer’s favorite method for fishing

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POSTED July 23, 2010 1:20 a.m.
Largemouth on a flyrod can truly be a heart stopping experience, and is actually the primary reason I bought a home within walking distance of the Stanislaus River.

I have thrilled to leaping smallmouth, and strained to bring a stripers and Ling Cod into the boat. East Coast species like Muskie and pickerel and alligator gar are dynamite to catch, while panfish like crappie and bluegills have provided some great fish fries.  

But even though I enjoy every kind of fishing I’ve ever tried, my favorite fishing of all is backpacking for Trout in the High Sierra.

There’s something about being knee-deep in a high alpine meadow stream with towering peaks all around and wildflowers along the creek. The trout are almost always small, but brightly colored and so plentiful that even a klutz like me can catch and release dozens in an afternoon.

That evening, I’ll fry up a batch of 8 to 9 inch Rainbows, or Brookies mixed in with wild onions and bacon. I doubt if I’ll ever eat better than that.

Then, after dinner while sitting around the campfire drinking coffee that would be great paint stripper, I fall asleep to the serenade of a pack of coyotes.

Yes sir, it’s hard to beat a day backpacking for trout.

Naturally, like almost everything else in life, there is also a downside to backpacking for trout. The downside is that as the as the decades have passed, I am no longer in as good a shape as I was. In 1967, a 7-mile backpacking trip was a walk in the park.

But in over 40 years, I have slowed down and am packing a whole lot more weight. The hills seem steeper and what was once a walk in the park has now become a marathon.

Still, at the urging of my son, he and I are going to give it a try. While you can hire a packer and a guide and ride a saddle horse to trout in the High Sierra, it somehow seems like cheating to ride when you should be carrying your own pack.

I know that I really should ride a horse instead of walk, but I always said that I never wanted to wither away in a rest home. I want to go out with my boots on, literally.

Still, it would be rather unkind to my son for me to get way the heck back in the wilderness and kick the bucket. Thus I have begun a get-in-shape campaign for the next 30 days to get weight off and muscle tone back.

I’ll let you know how it goes. In addition to the normal reasons for getting in shape, my son and I have made a substantial wager.

Come hell or high water, I’m going to be fishing for Trout in the back country before the end of summer.

Until Next Week,
Tight Lines
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