The trip is in Rocky Mountain National Park to Ouzel Creek and then up to the lake. We're seeking the Greenback Cutthroat, a sub-species of trout exclusive to Colorado.
The Greenback went to the brink of extinction and back thanks to efforts to save the bloodline by the Colorado Department Of Wildlife (DOW). The greenback doesn't grow very big and is on the bottom of the totem poll when it comes to competition between the other prevalent species of trout; undoubtedly playing a large part in its poor success with survival. After all, only the strong survive. Naturally, the plan is to hike up into the mountains and catch some of the little boogers.
My brother and I meet up with Jamie and his buddy, Tim, who just got back from Iraq. We set out from the Allenspark trail head around 7:30 a.m. which is hidden in the back of the Allenspark community on the southern edge of the park. Our hike begins in a deep alpine forest...
It felt as if we had stepped into a "Fly Fishing Destinations" centerfold.
The valley looks to have been ripped through by something powerful. Nick and I discuss the very high possibility of the culprit being wind. Car-sized boulders randomly scatter the ruggedly beautiful drainage among clusters of yellow wildflowers.
We all catch tons of brookies on the dry and Jamie even manages to pluck a few greenbacks out of the lot.
We hop back on the trail to move the final mile up to Ouzel Lake.
Pretty much on cue with our arrival the weather turned sour. Dark skies, thunder, and hail pass over followed by blue skies and sun, followed by more thunder and more hail - all in typical Colorado fashion.
All the while a lone ranger stood triumphantly in the middle of the lake donning a pair of waders. He caught fish after fish. His head slowly paned left to right on a well lubricated swivel making sure that everyone was taking notice of his bent rod and splashy releases. I wasn't close enough to see the features on his face, but I could feel his $#%@-eating grin.
We decide to pack it out due to the aforementioned conditions. The dark clouds could be seen whirling around the vicinity of the lake during the whole hike back. We went from 8,900 ft. up to 10,500 ft. and then back again. According to Jamie's satellite pedometer watch we did 13 miles.