Colorado

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 (https://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.