As life goals go, this isn’t exactly curing cancer or even running a marathon, but I really wanted to land a laker on my fly rod. And Taltheilei Narrows, which just may be the best lake trout hole in the world, seemed like the place to do it. Using my tough 10-weight TFO Mangrove rod, a big-game reel spooled with full-sinking line and a nine-inch-long fly, I began casting from the boat and letting the line swing in the current. It was a pretty cumbersome operation, especially with two other people aboard, cringing and ducking every time I waved the nine-foot rod. So, I did what everyone else does in the narrows: I trolled.
I’ve picked up a few tricks for trolling flies, but honestly, I didn’t expect much. Yet after only 15 minutes, as we turned across the current behind a small island, my line swept downstream and went tight to a fish. What followed was one of the most intense and thrilling fish fights of my life—a crash course in managing a powerful trout from a boat in moving water (below).
There were tense moments, but with a team effort, we got the fish in the net. I then hoisted the vibrant, red-finned laker for a quick photo (top of page), which perfectly captured that indelible moment of jubilation and relief, along with a little disbelief.