|My Ride is Here|
|Will the fog lift?|
The pilot wasn't certain we could get through the pass to get to Contact. We flew at a few thousand feet and the mountains were shrouded behind white and gray clouds. Below small ponds left by snow melt dotted the landscape. In those spots where the pond water had drained out dark green ovals remained, giving the impression of an over-sized golf green. They looked about the right size for Paul Bunyan.
The cloud cover lifted enough for the pilot to drop us off after a smooth landing on a small
|Hiking to Contact Creek|
|We are not alone|
pond about a 15 minute walk from Contact Creek. Unfortunately the pond was too small for the plane to take off with three passengers so our exit would require an hour hike to a larger lake on the other side of the Creek. But that hike wasn't on my mind as I followed Kodie down the spongy hill overlooking the creek. As I climbed down to the river plain my first step landed next to a large bear print -- a reminder that we weren't the only ones interested in the fish that swam in the clear water of Contact Creek.
|Sea run char|
Incredulous, I gave it a try and on the first good swing the hole opened and the fight was on. I hooked and landed a few more char this way and even hooked an old, decaying chum salmon. Landing a chum on a 5-weight rod takes some doing but the creature eventually came to shore.
|Flesh Mouse Fly|
As we moved upstream the char thinned out some and there were more rainbows present. Kodie encouraged me to tie on a mouse pattern and cast it under the branches hanging over the far bank. A strong leopard rainbow interrupted my retrieve of the mouse and shortly thereafter I had landed my first Contact Creek trout. Leopard rainbows are remarkable fish. Their green backs are covered in black splotches that give them their name. The tell-tale pink stripe of a rainbow is brighter and sharper than on a standard rainbow. Rainbow trout are so prevalent across the globe that they've been called a synthetic fish. There is nothing synthetic about these leopards. They are pure, wild fish. They fight like it. They jump like it. And they look like it. I feel fortunate to have touched just one, and blessed to have landed several.
The mouse fishing was fast and furious before a brown bear eager to fish our hole pushed us back downstream. One doesn't try to argue with a brown bear over who had first dibs on prime fishing water.
|Snorkeling for Salmon|
The dry fly grand slam was complete: char, chum, rainbow and grayling. Contact Creek was indeed unlike any place I've ever fished; and likely unlike any place I will ever fish again.