Thursday, July 2, 2009
Churchy Location 3
Church and Brit had one thing left to taste before they found their way back home. My family joined us(Hudson and Tara) for the Apache leg of our journey.
The plan was to spend the day up in the high country of Arizona. Searching the nooks and crannies of a remote stream some forty-miles from paved roads of the White Mountains.
Apache's aren't necessarily difficult fish to catch if you know where to find them. It's been a while since I spoke with the recovery team for US Fish and Wildlife Services, but I believe there were over thirteen distinct populations thriving today in Arizona of Apache Trout a couple years ago. I know that on the reservation that effort has been expanded in the last couple years significantly. No matter what the number is, they fish is thriving in the cold water streams and lakes of Arizona.
It didn't take long for Brit and Lee to score one of this particular streams resident Browns, but we weren't after them. So we pushed on, pitching our flies under brush and hanging grasses, exploring all the ambush points Apaches use to hide as they lay in wait for prey.
Please excuse the tilt-shift. This trip was my first real time bringing it out into the field and I fell in love. Barely taking the lens off the entire day fishing this stream.
I really like the movement the lens gives to the images, directing focus intentionally by bending images to a focal point. Barely even touching the potential of this lens, expect more to come.
After a few more browns and a surprise rainbow, the moment was at hand and Lee caught himself one of the rarest trout on the planet, an Apache. From a hosting perspective you can't imagine how big a weight lifted off my shoulders the minute I saw the gold dance at the end of his line. The first couple locations I took them too (in previous reports), were tough. Not that Lee and Brit couldn't fish, just very technical fisheries and not a lot of players wanted to convert from scratches to connections. From the perspective of wanting to show my friends who drove all the way from northern Minnesota down to Arizona to fish with me, a good time: the pressure was really on. So when Dr. Church set the hook and I saw the flash of gold as the trout flinched in reaction to the initial set, I couldn't help but hold my breath and pray silently that this fish would not get off.
We had paid our dues the last couple days and Lee got to taste, in a small way, the rewards of building up fish karma. In my mind fish are the ultimate barometer of Karma, and we earned ours the last few days.
We parted company that day, I was glad to get home, but a bit sad as we drove off. I will have to wait until October to fish with my friend Lee again. Although, we didn't set the world on fire on this leg of his epic trip, we had a good time all the same. Close to 1100 miles covered in Arizona this time, seven bodies of water, and five species in total were caught. Although out sites were aiming a tad bit higher, it was with out doubt, a privilege to be a part of it.
Thanks for coming down guys. Until Muskie season, may your travels be safe and your casts long. There is a key under the mat for you, my friends.