Fern is a fish. Fern is a lake. I have this tendency to name my fish, but I never said I was clever about it. Fern deserved more of a title for his resilience in avoiding my fly but catching my eye. Henceforth he shall be Fernacious His Majesty, Trout Prince of Fern Lake.
I am grateful for gatherings of like-minded individuals and the prospects of learning and friendship such brings. Or at least that’s my theoretical approach to such. My introversion usually kicks in once gathered. The Tenkara Summit back in September was just that kind of event and I had my typical reaction. I was eager to get there, excited to hear the presentations, stoked to see all the gear and gizmos, and then ready to escape almost before it started. I hadn’t pictured how many zealots of streamlined fishing would attend. It’s truly impressive to see how many other Tenkara enthusiasts are out there, but the full room made me crave the company of trout.
Fishing is safe haven for someone like me. Solitude is part of the sport. We hooked up with a friend to fish the Big Thompson the next day. As we left the Fern Lake Trailhead at Rocky Mountain National Park I was already contemplating a departure from my comrades. We raced to the Pool under a blue sky backlighting the first of the golden aspen leaves of the season and by the time I caught up to the guys dragging out rods by the tumbling water my mind was made up. They could have the river and canyon of pockets. I was going on to Fern Lake to find a spot where I could sit quietly and enjoy the companionship of trout. River fish are elusive, rarely seen until splashing on the line. Lake fish are muses that taunt and amuse.
As I arrived I had the lakeshore to myself. Eventually others would arrive, toss packs near the spot the trail dumps them at the lake and proceed to use louder than necessary voices to proclaim the beauty of the lake. Touristy lakes are like that. But for a good long while it was my spot. And I caught a couple of trout friends. Then I met the tenacious trout that kept swimming laps almost right to my feet, out past my fly, and back to his hiding spot. Fernacious possessed a curiosity that bordered on bizarre. I stopped trying to catch him on my line and captured him with camera instead. He schooled me and I eagerly studied until it was time to pack things up and rejoin my party down at the river.
The guys had success on the river that day. They’d each caught some nice brook trout in the usual sorts of places. We’d all walked our own route to fishing bliss and better mental health. It’s the beauty of the pursuit, it can be social but for the most part it is you, a line, and a trout you can name whether or not you catch him.