by Kris F
(Billings, MT)



This weekend’s backpacking trip was to a group of 3 lakes nestled close together around 10,200’ in Montana’s Beartooth Wilderness. I packed ultra light since it was just one night, targeting cutthroat trout with my Sawanobori 53. It was about 8 miles to where I pitched my tent, with a perfect chop on the water to make a balanced leech do it’s irresistible dance.

While setting up my minimalist camp, a mountain goat came by for an inspection. He ended up hanging around all afternoon and through the night, where he woke me up several times feeding around my tent. At first I chased the billy away, but he would just stay on the outskirts of camp, lounging in a snow bank or on the hillside. I realized it was no use as he just kept returning and just ended up letting him hang around.

I’ve been getting more proficient with my floating line and indicator set up with a Tenkara rod the last few outings. It took a little practice to develop the right balance between setting the hook quickly, but not too firmly for the light tippet since the rod tip for the Sawanobori travels a great distance with the flick of a two handed set.

My tippet did break once at a knot above my indicator where I had extended the length. I had to sit and watch the fish continue to peck at the leech below, until finally one couldn’t let go and started pulling the bright orange indicator away. I re-rigged my line as fast as a could In order to try snagging the stranded setup, but soon I watched the indicator scurry away about a foot under water as I was following it down the shoreline. I couldn’t help thinking about the scene in jaws where the shark pulled the barrels underwater. I fished a little more before dinner, still keeping an eye out for the indicator as the wind started to die down.

The next morning with the sun not yet hitting the peaks across the lake, the surface was like glass as I sat on a boulder drinking my coffee and watching the fish sipping midges. Down the shoreline to my right, I spotted what I thought was a large insect, waiting for a fish to inhale it. After watching for about a minute I got up to take a closer look. It was my lost indicator. I went back to the tent and set up the rod again. Fortunately, the indicator was within casting range and I managed to snag the line with another weighted leech and made the recovery. I was glad to have the fly back that I had tied earlier in the week, and for the reminder on how to construct my leader so the weakest link is below the indicator.

That lesson should come in handy as I pursue BIG golden trout with my flying dragon soon....

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