Forest and Lake to Fork

I grew up with a pretty good understanding of where food came from, with a giant garden in our yard and an even larger one at my grandparents’. I knew the farmers that raised our beef. Grandpa taught me how to fish so I also knew some meat could come from the end of your line in the lake. But no one in my Minnesota youth took up firearms to solicit protein. I came to Colorado via Oklahoma and never gave much thought to the concept of hunting, or at least not much positive thought. It didn’t seem fair to shoot critters in the woods. That perspective has rapidly evolved with a little bit of living above 5000 feet near the mountains.Last week I experienced a new Colorado first. I sent my husband off to the Uncompahgre Plateau with a bunch of guys and guns. I have never waited behind at home wondering whether the hunter would triumphantly deliver bird to the kitchen. I was apprehensive and excited when I got a text “got one”–my concern over what sort of shape this recently dead turkey would appear in my home, not certain I wanted to deal with the unpleasantness. It turns out he had a good mentor out there and our meal arrived neatly carved into breasts, not the least bit unpleasant.

The best part wasPhoto Sep 27, 16 42 00 the large supply of gorgeous feathers that came home to me. I never imagined the iridescent beauty of turkey feathers. The birds seem so brown and black beside the dirt roads we travel. Yet here I was eager to start tying kebari flies with the wonderful hackles of many colors. Twenty four hours later I was at my desk and loving the look of turkey and thread on hooks. The question then became “do trout appreciate turkey?”

The answer is apparently yes. We hiked the two plus miles up to a glistening alpine lake this weekend. Swimming in that clear teal water were the most vibrant cutthrout and they were feeling very pilgrim. They took the turkey feather flies with fervor. For the hunter it was a full circle, forest to lake to table. He was thrilled. I’m always giddy to see trout accept my flies, but this was particularly rewarding.

On Sunday we had trout for breakfast and wild turkey breast for dinner. Our Colorado transformation is nothing short of tasty.

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