And we are so thankful that we did! Not fishing Big Cottonwood for nearly two months made it feel as if we were returning to a lost love. We also decided to hit a stretch that we haven't fished before. Big Cottonwood and Little Cottonwood Canyons are deceptively dangerous. There are stretches through both canyons that will kill anyone who decides not to respect them and you need to be in the right mood and composure to fish a new stretch because you might be spending some time rock crawling and bushwhacking to navigate up the creek safely. Well, we are grateful that we decided to fish this new stretch!
Immediately, the first little riffle that we threw our fly into we had a take from a small rainbow. Things were looking good! Soon after we had a brown on the end of our line. Soon we were going to meet The Rule of Three and we were feeling pretty good for ourselves. The thing is, sometimes things don't work out exactly like you expect.
Finally, we were in another pool and there had to be a fish in it. We cast out, a Gold Devil nymph beneath a Yellow Stimulator. A barely perceptible strike on the surface and the stimulator was gone. A quick set and the fight was on. Time slowed down and the fish swam deep. He wanted to stay down and refused to come to the surface. In and out of the plunge that fell from the rocks above, it was a fight that makes you hope that your knots are tied tight and that you don't do something stupid enough to break the 6x tippet that you're fishing with. Finally he came to the net, a well won defeat. Looking at the Brown in the net was awe inspiring reverence. 14" in most other rivers is a Trout of normal proportion, in a Creek like Big Cottonwood, he is one of the old ones. By far the biggest and fattest fish we have caught in that Creek, there was power and wisdom that kept that behemoth alive long enough to grow that big.
We made it! The Rule of Three had been met and we could continue to fish without that hanging over our heads. There were more fish but nothing like that great old one. The sun came up and we couldn't help but be inspired in the beauty that surrounded us. Even when fishing with others we are reminded of the quote from Henry David Thoreau, "I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude." Alone in that Canyon the world stood still, concerns and stresses melted away and nothing but the rushing water filled our mind. We were one with creation and it is this that draws us back to old loves.