If you are looking to beat the summer crowds, get some exercise and fish in some unbelievable mountain locations, strapping on a pack and hiking into some high mountain lakes and streams is a great way to break up your fishing routine. Although the sound of fishing in a high mountain area sounds appealing getting there can be a lot more challenging then driving your truck to a DOW parking lot. In fact the task can sometimes be daunting and extremely physically demanding. Having the appropriate gear can make your trek a little more enjoyable and easier on your body. Number one on my list of high country gear is footwear. Too many times I have seen people on rugged terrain in street shoes with no support, this sounds like a no brainer but believe me some people do not realize the importance of ankle support and tread when it comes to hiking in the backcountry.
Last fall I bought a pair of LOWA Hiking Boots and it has changed they way my feet feel after a long day hiking. I have heard people say these boots are like slippers before but I always thought it was BS. I mean what kind of boots are that comfortable. Well after breaking in the LOWA boots I find myself saying the same thing (
to myself of course). They are a little pricey but come with a lifetime warranty, are lightweight, Gore-Tex and extremely comfortable. I will wear these boots until the tread wears out. If you do not have a decent pair of hiking boots with good ankle support I urge you to take a look at these.
Pack only what you need. Lightening the load will allow you to get to your fishing destination sooner and take less of a toll on your shoulders and back. A day pack that can carry a couple liters of water, some snacks and extra layers is plenty. I wear an old Fishpond Backpack that works well for day hikes. I also try to dumb down my fly box. More than likely you will be fishing in an area where trout are not really picky. Generally stimulators, small streamers and a handful of nymphs will do the trick with high mountain trout.
Bring a map and a compass. I use my cell phone as much as the next guy but sometimes these pesky little gadgets run out of battery or do not get a signal in remote areas. Spend the 12 bucks and buy a map of the area you are hiking. It is easy to get turned around especially once you start exploring. Tell someone where you are going and what your route is. This sounds redundant but people get lost or injured in the backcountry frequently and it is important to let others know where you will be and a time of return.
I am sure your pack is a little different than mine but here is a list of essentials I bring on my day trips into the high country.
Map/ Compass, Lightweight quick drying pants, Rain Jacket, Fleece, Sunscreen, Bug Spray, 4piece 7 foot fly rod, box of flies/ tippet, knife, water (lots of water), snacks (fruit, granola, cheese sticks, jerky), extra pair of socks, headlamp, matches
Be safe out there and have fun we live in a beautiful state.