This last early summer Mike and I were fishing up on Glacier Creek, but way down in the gorge. As the Bear Lake road closes at 9 a.m. this summer for inbound traffic, we had the entire gorge and outflow to ourselves. And it was Yellow Sally time, and PMD's were everywhere one early morning as I was fishing some foam by a large flat rock bathed in sunbeams. Hundreds of tiny bugs were over the water and rock and foam, so it would be a good place to drop a dry fly, so that is what I did. I feel a little strike and then I lift and it is a brookie, a small one, maybe five inches. I just laugh at his jump in the air, and see all his colors, and say "oh you are a little guy, we will just let you go now"...as I bring him across the creek, with falling water over large rocks to the right of me, a bit like a washing machine.
As I am bringing him in, I look for him and line and I cannot find him. I said "where did you go?" And I look down to my left and I see something on my line and say "oh there you are, and oh my, you have moss all over you! Let's get that off..." Then I see that the moss is moving side to side at that back end, and that it is a fish! A fish had taken my fish. A big fish had taken my fish, out of a little creek! I think, as he is at my feet and not at all afraid or letting go of his brunch, what do I do here? This has never happened to me! Fast on my feet I say out loud "net that fish!!"
Sweeping him up I see that he is a male brown, with a top jaw line of about four inches! He fills my 20 inch net, just missing an inch on one side, so he is near 19 inches! And out burbs the brookie, alive an well, and both are in net side by side. I think no one will believe this, and grab my cell phone to snap a shot. But big Willy is not having this easily, and while in the net on the ground, flips out to of it. I needed two hands to get him back in so I could let him go helpfully, and right side up, but getting him back in the net is like arm wrestling a big man, he was so strong! I snapped this shot of him, with pine needles on the guy and half of him out of the net, but he was OK.
When I showed this to my angler friend at the shop he said this was an old fish, by the glassy looking eye. He was even more golden that my photo shows. And most likely came out of the "washing machine" water fall.
In the meantime Mr. Brookie is at my feet in the water, still on the small hook. I have some work to do.
I get this big guy back in the water, and boy he is super strong, and easily swims away, such stamina in this fish.
The little guy is saying "hey there, remember me, hello"....and yes, he is revived to a fast motion and swims away from my fingers on his tail, back to tell his sisters "guess what happened to me today"...
I named him Jonah.
What a fish story, hey? And there he is, just for me to remember, as I could not believe it either.
Once in a lifetime on a creek, in the Rockies....!