If you read my blog from time to time, you most likely know some of the waters I most like to visit on fishing trips: Santee Cooper, Reelfoot Lake, the Buffalo, White and New rivers... That list actually could go on for quite a while, I suppose.
Rarely mentioned are the waters I fish vicariously through web articles and photos and daydream about from time to time. Of course, when I dream about places I've never been, the fish are always biting, and I unfailingly choose the right baits and presentations. My wish list could go a lot of different ways, and top spots shift from time to time. Lately, though, I've been dreaming about trout waters, mostly in the Western U.S., where I've never done much fishing. With that in mind, here are five that really intrigue me.
Eastern Sierras - I've actually been to this astounding region once, but I didn't get to fish. It is a trout culture like none other I've ever seen, with a mix of catch-and-keep bait fishermen hitting heavily stocked high-country lakes and fly-fishermen working pristine high-country streams. The towns and the resorts are all about trout fishing throughout the warm months, and there are fly shops, outfitters, fishing resorts and bait shops everywhere you look. The scenery is splendid, and the trout grow big. You could spend all summer in the Eastern Sierras and fish different waters every day.
North Platte River - Rising in the mountains of Colorado and flowing north through Wyoming, the North Platte begins as a spectacular wild trout river and pauses in a couple of reservoirs, emerging to form a couple of the nation's most productive tailwater sections, with big and abundant trout of several kinds in more than one section. It can be waded or floated, offers good prospects year 'round and varies enormously in character and in how it fishes based on season and water levels.
Middle Fork Salmon River - I admittedly don't know much about the Middle Fork except that it's supposed to be wild, remote and tremendously beautiful and that it supports an excellent population of native cutthroat trout. Trips typically are set up as expeditions, floating multiple days in rafts or drift boats between canyon walls and camping by the river.
Provo River - Like the North Platte, the Provo has multiple sections, each quite different from one another in character, and each with its own intrigue. I'm extra aware of this river, which doesn't get talked about as much nationally as some other western flows, because of a friend who spent time in Salt Lake City and used to slip off into the mountains to catch trout whenever he got the chance. Like a lot of western rivers with special regulations, the Provo gets heavy use by fly-fishermen, but I don't think its rainbows and browns see many jigs or plugs.
Chile - If you're going to dream, you might as well dream big. Right? I don't know stream names or specifics about the region because I don't have reason to believe I'll ever travel to Chile. As far as exotic international adventures go, though, none intrigue me more than this part of the world, its river and its big and beautiful trout.