Now although this video from my trip last August may look like a cake walk, these high mountain hideouts can be some truly brutal country for the newbie mountaineer. Steep trails, big boulders, and gnarly switchbacks will eat up seasoned flatland hikers with ease. So, if you decide to have a go at finding some of these alpine cutties, here are some tips for making sure you are fit for the task.

Tip number 1: Most importantly…get in shape prior to the trip!

These backcountry areas that hold hungry monsters are not easy to access. Sure, there are a few that you can basically drive to, but that’s not the type of adventure we’re talking about here. Anyway, if you aren’t used to running around at 10,000 feet above sea level with 35lbs of gear on your back, then you’re going to want to hit the gym. Don’t think you can skimp out on training either. If you do, you will pay for it on the trail.

Tip number 2: Be sure to bring some friends to help keep up the stoke.

Listen, we all get tired when spending multiple weeks in the backcountry. Honestly, it is often easy to get discouraged, especially when you have been hiking from alpine lake to alpine lake with little to no success. This is where having a great team of close friends can make a world of difference in keeping up the stoke even when the fish are few and far between.

Tip number 3: Don’t expect to find anything. JUST GO!

These types of exploratory trips are not for everyone. Studying Topo maps and Google Earth looking for monster cutthroat hangouts is enough to get even the average angler pumped up about the trip. However, as you can see in this video, the really big fish are often hard to find and super far out.

When I start out on a trip to a new area, I try my best to expect little to no fish to be there. While it doesn’t happen very often, sometimes you hike for days to a far-out lake and find nothing. As an exploratory high mountain fly fisherman, this is something you have to be ok with.

Tip number 4: Focusing more on the journey and less on the trophy!

On all the trips I’ve been on there are multiple highs and lows, but it’s important to push through and you’ll end up finding some amazing fishing spots along the way. I hope you enjoy the video and consider planning your next adventure to the high country. My guess is you will be very glad you did!

Jesse Males is a self-proclaimed “fly tying guru” and angler, be sure to check him out on Instagram @backwaterflyfishing and his website here!

Check out these other High Alpine Fishing pieces:

https://flylordsmag.com/single-post/2018/01/30/3-tips-tricking-alpine-lake-trout/

https://flylordsmag.com/single-post/2017/07/31/photo-essay-high-country-gems/

https://flylordsmag.com/single-post/2017/06/07/high-country-bliss/