Wednesday, September 19, 2012

T.F.M. Spotting - A Day In Moraine Park

Remember the T.F.M. post from a few days ago about a friend of mine that I sent a few items of fly fishing gear and a copy of A Fly Fisher's Guide To Rocky Mountain National Park with before his trip?  Chris Ellisor and his wife are home now and he sent along this report along with a couple photos for the T.F.M. Spotting Photo Contest.

Chris wrote...  "Well, we got a late start to park but hey we're on with us never having the chance to travel the park I got an even later start fishing.  I loved the RMNP and we must have stopped at every pull off for everyone of God's beautiful creatures that we were blessed to see.  

My plan was to get to Bear Lake Road and hike to an upper lake and as a second choice fish Moraine Park and the Big Thompson River.  Being that I had never visited the park before, being new to fly fishing, and to be honest have only fly fished for bluegill on our private pond...I didn't want to stray too far from the road and the comfort of knowing how to navigate back to my ride.  When we got to Bear Lake Road the road was closed due to road construction.  I spoke to a ranger in the parking lot of Moraine Park Visitor Center and he explained that the road was closed until four o'clock and I couldn't park and walk in due to construction and a full parking area.  My wife and I decided to look at Plan B, The Big Thompson...however we were informed that we had to be out of the meadow by five o'clock due to the rutting elk.  It was about already late afternoon at this point, so down the road to Fern Lake trail head we went.  It was packed with vehicles parked every where and no where for us to park near the trail head.  We settled for pulling off the road in the first area I could and walking into the meadow.

I threw a few casts and wouldn't you know it...the biggest bull elk I have ever seen came into the meadow from my right, bugling and corralling thirty cows with him.  It was one of the most beautiful outdoor experiences in my life.  I was grinning from ear to ear as the elk moved across the river from my wife and I.  I continued to fish for a bit but it didn't take long for every photographer in the area to make there way to us.  I decided to call it a day and broke down my equipment so we could pull up a rock and take in the entire moment.  At least up until that giant bull elk chased a rather large cow onto our side of the creek just twenty yards from us.  I decided it was time to head back to the vehicle and enjoy that magical moment from behind the wheel.

I learned one cannot expect to get some fishing in on your first trip to Rocky Mountain National Park since there is just too many photographic moments.  I will defiantly return and this time pack a tent."

I've spent quite a few days in Moraine Park and this report confirms that I've got to get back there soon. 

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