Fishing the Fifty
My Quest to Fish All 50 States
Colorado was one of the states I was most excited about visiting when I started this quest. I love the Mountain West and could not wait to visit a state whose beauty I had heard so much about. I hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park, explored Black Canyon of the Gunnison, and, of course, went fishing. I chose Ryan VanLanen (fishbluemesa.com) because his lake trout pictures from Blue Mesa Reservoir are simply unbelievable. This was my first lake trout trip out West, and only the second time I had ever targeted lake trout.
The day was beautiful but very windy, with sustained winds ranging from 10 to 26 MPH, and gusts of up to 38 MPH. Ryan was able to keep us on his spots, though, and I am very thankful he did. My first Colorado fish was a 39-inch, 32-pound lake trout, which easily dwarfed my previous personal best of the time. This beautiful fish was 24 inches around and earned me my first Colorado Master Angler award.
I then caught a five-pound lake trout and a seven-pound lake trout in quick succession. For my encore, I hooked a 37-inch, 25-pound lake trout with a 22-inch girth and quite the bad attitude; it peeled off drag and then swam right back at the boat so many times I thought I was going to lose it. Fortunately, I did not, and I earned another Colorado Master Angler Award.
"I expected the Rocky Mountains to be a little rockier than this."
"I was thinking the same thing. That John Denver's full of s**t, man."
Another Colorado native greeting the tourists
A Colorado native and her family welcome me to Rocky Mountain National Park
Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
Historic Alma: America's Highest Incorporated Town
My first Colorado fish, a magnificent 32-pound, 39-inch trophy lake trout with a 24-inch girth caught on 10-pound test
My fourth lake trout and second trophy, a 25-pound, 37-inch beauty
My second and third lake trout hit in quick succession: a five- and a seven-pounder
A windy day on Blue Mesa Reservoir
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
Sunset View overlook
US-50 is a little more scenic here than it is near my house in Virginia