Having lived in Laramie for six weeks without putting a line in the water, we decided it was time to take the bait and do a little fishing. My previous experience with this art was mixed. As boys, my brother and I reeled in a dozen trout a day at Lake San Cristobal near Lake City, with nothing more than a bobber and some salmon eggs. As an adult, fishing was something that happened once and a while, for a little while, during a vacation while managing a campsite and children. I probably caught more in one day on Lake San Cristobal than I have in total since.
Never mind the past. We live 30 minutes from Curt Gowdy Park, home to two shiny blue reservoirs, so we headed to the West Laramie Fly Store to gear up. As newby Wyomingites, we didn’t qualify for the less-expensive in-state licenses; a couple of reels (I already had some poles) and the necessary fish-attracting hardware (flies, bait, hooks, bobbers) pushed our total into the ‘small investment’ category. No matter. The Fly Store proprietor gave us some advice on rigging the lines and told us what the fishes in Curt Gowdy liked to eat, and we were ready!
Monday was our first day out. Full of optimism, we chose the farthest of the reservoirs, Crystal, to ply our new trade. Like an uncooperative child, one of the reels almost immediately became a contrarian mess: six-pound test line wrapped around every part of the reel while an inconsolable ball of the stuff flapped haplessly in the breeze. Think string theory meets chaos theory. Cutting the line and untangling the line from the reel seemed like a good idea, but in the wind proved more than our combined patience could tackle. Fishing 1, Joneses 0.
A little while later, the line of the second pole snapped during a cast, sending the bobber, swivel, and fly combo I had patiently rigged the night before into the water and leaving me gawking at the empty end of a translucent line. Fishing 2, Joneses 0.
Not all was lost. It was a gorgeous day. We restrung the rod, and with the help of some rainbow colored Powerbait reeled in our first, and only, catch. We grilled it in foil and ate it that evening along with some chicken, corn, and balsamic roasted Brussel sprouts. Fishing 2, Joneses 1.
We ventured to the same spot on Tuesday morning, a bit earlier this time. Within ten minutes I’d caught a rainbow trout with a caddisfly (I think that’s what it was) and the game was on. But as the sun rose, so did the wind speed. Two hours later we headed home having claimed a small victory, which we beheaded, disemboweled, and put in the freezer for another night. Joneses 1, fishing 0.
This morning we found a beautiful spot on the Park’s other reservoir, Granite. Cindy hooked one quick, but it slipped off the hook before I could get a net on it. After that we went biteless. At two fish every three days, we’ll be able to pay for our investment in a couple of years, but that’s not really what it’s about. While loading up, a wise man who’d parked near us asked what people usually ask: “How’d you do?” After I answered him, he said, matter-of-factly, “Well, we come to fish, not to catch fish.” Yeah. That’s it.
Joneses for the win.