Looking Back...or Forward

One of the few things I enjoy at the same level as fly fishing is hiking into the wilderness, often in search of a river or lake in which I can fish. The Pacific Northwest offers an incredible number of fisheries to those who, like myself, think of hiking boots and a sleeping bag as critical to a fly fishing trip as extra tippet and floatant. Those willing to put in some miles before ever considering rigging up a rod will usually be rewarded with no crowds except wildlife, pristine wilderness landscapes untouched but for the trails that go through them, and fish that willingly rise to just about any dry, and who fight a light weight rod with the strength of a fish 2 or 3 times their size. But, since winter has officially set in, we hiker/fishers are left staring at the mountains developing mental images of what our favorite areas look like buried in snow, and wondering how the rivers' structures and fish will be impacted by the increasingly heavy rains of recent years. Don't get me wrong, I love fishing through the winter for steelhead while occasionally squeezing in a trip to North Carolina for trout or Louisiana for reds. Through it all though, I'm left dreaming of a Gregory pack with sleeping bag and pad, stove and fuel, and a fly rod and reel with a small box of dries heading down a trail in the Cascades, the Olympics, Northern Idaho, or anywhere else where there are native fish waiting to rise. Here's to counting down the days...
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