After two hours of steady uphill climbing, the lake came into view. Its water seemed to come from nowhere, as no visible inlet could be seen. We stopped to marvel at the lake and its beauty.
Large rocks lined all of its shorelines. Some rocks were tipped with small pine trees, taking on the appearance of neatly groomed bonsai. A pair of loons glided on its surface. Their familiar sounds echoed through the trees, pleasing both the eye and the ear with their presence.
The two hour hike was not a high price to pay for the beauty I saw and felt.
We came to this Boulder Mountain lake in search of large brook trout, which we were told lived there. As we gazed at the lake I knew the trip was worthwhile, even if we ended up fishless.
As we neared the lake the loons took flight, running on the water before gaining enough speed to escape from its surface. We saw no fish rising, so we searched for a suitable place to erect our tents. We found a spot under some pines — where the fallen needles would make a soft cushion under our sleeping bags.
Chipmunks ran up and down the tree trunks, their loud chirps audible for miles.
It was now close to noon and our stomachs felt empty. We ate our lunch on the banks of the lake, on one of its large boulders, the sun reflecting off the rock keeping us warm. Few words were spoken as we enjoyed our lunch, and our surroundings. Even the most expensive restaurant could not compare.
We assembled our flyfishing gear and found a wadable section. Since large rocks lined the lake, there were few such places. I put a large red and yellow streamer on and cast it out into the crystal clear water. My friend started joking that this was a fishless lake, since none had been seen.
After three casts I was beginning to believe him. Until I felt that familiar tug. Setting the hook, I felt the trout's strength. It ran deep several times, stripping line from reel as it went deeper and deeper. Then, suddenly, I felt no pressure. I stripped in line as fast as I could, but could not feel the fish. I examined my line, only to find my leader and fly gone. The fish had broken my six pound leader.
Shaking, I tied on another leader and bright-colored streamer. My companion suddenly cried out: "Fish on!" His fish also ran deep several times, but he landed his a very beautiful 16 inch brook brook trout cradled in his hands. The fish was photographed, then released.
I cast out my new fly, and retrieved in short, even jerks. No trout this time. I cast again and started my retrieval. I felt a hit but was not able to set the hook. As I continued my retrieval, I felt the fish take it again.
This time I felt his weight as he tried to break free. The fish didn't go deep like the others. It leaped several times, showing the brilliant colors on its sides. This fish was not as large as my friend's, but still as beautiful. He was quickly released.
Trout started to rise now, as a hatch of tiny mayflies came on to the lake's surface. We could tell that some of the fish were fairly large.
As I tied on a fly I was sure imitated the small mayflies, an eagle came out of nowhere and dove into the water, talons outstretched. He grabbed one of the brook trout and flew into the trees to enjoy his meal. It took a couple of minutes after the eagle left for the trout to start feeding again.
On my forth cast a trout finally took my fly and leaped several times. It came to the new quickly. To my surprise, a 16-inch cutthroat rested on my palms.
My companion hooked a fish and quickly landed it. This fish was the largest so far, and easily measured 20 inches. It too was a cutthroat, but lacked the red slash mark under its gills. We fished the hatch till dark, catching many trout — mostly brookies, with an occasional cutthroat coming to our nets.
Our campfire soon warmed our supper. I tied flies by its light. I had lost my two yellow and red streamers, and they had to be replaced since I had hooked several fish on them. We fell asleep to sounds of owls hooting in the forest.
When we awoke the lake was alive with activity. Fish were rising everywhere. On my first cast a trout took my fly and ran deep. It felt very large, it's strength bending my rod's tip. I played it carefully and landed him — a very large brook trout. He measured a full 23 inches. I popped my Mayfly imitation from his lip and watched this trophy swim back to his home.
The loons came in for a landing and started their familiar calls. If heaven is on earth, I was sure I was in the middle of it.