American Fly Fishing

Gem of the Beartooth Range
By Carl Myers

Stephanie Myers subdues a feisty rainbow from the upper section of East Rosebud Creek. Both forks of the Rosebud are fast-flowing freestone streams well suited to nymphing with fast-sinking patterns. Photo by Carl Myers

Hoping my son’s first view of Mystic Lake would be one he’d remember and not wanting my backside to be part of it, I stopped to let him move in front as we crested the highest part of the trail. It didn’t go as planned. Instead, his favorite ball cap went flying out over the slot canyon on our side of the rim, and I barely managed to grab a handful of his shirt before he also went tumbling off the trail.
            I’m not familiar with the Beaufort wind force scale, but what hit us on that crest had to be at least one notch above gale force. With eyelids fluttering and streams of tears blowing sideways across our faces, we tried to take in the magnificent panorama that I remembered from 20 years ago, but it was all we could do to not gasp and turn our heads back and forth like newborn babes whose faces were being blown into by relentlessly cruel adults.
            We pressed on, though, and as we descended toward the lake, we spied a wave-lapped stretch of beach southwest of the dam and made that our goal. We soon noticed we weren’t the only recreationists coveting this little piece of sun-warmed sand. A circle of wilderness enthusiasts was already forming itself up in our spot. I was still concentrating on not having the oxygen forcibly sucked out of my lungs when I heard my son inquire over the maelstrom, “Hey, Dad, what are they doing?”