Emerald Lake is one of the many high alpine lakes that can be found in Bozeman, Montana’s backyard, and it’s full of Arctic Grayling.
It was early on a Sunday morning when I headed out to Hyalite Reservoir, a popular recreation area just south of Bozeman, Montana. Hyalite is nestled in the northern regions of the Gallatin Mountain Range and is home to black bears, mountain goats, and of course fish.
I arrived at the trailhead by 7:30 a.m. and frost covered the ground as I strapped my fishing pole to my backpack and hit the trail. My plan was to first hike to Heather Lake, a body of water above Emerald Lake. The total distance was 5.5 miles. After two hours I was sitting on the banks of Heather Lake just as the sun made its way over the rocky cirque surrounding me.
I stayed on the banks of Heather Lake for a while as the ground warmed up and I caught my breath. After several casts into the blue water I had no hits and saw no activity, so I decided to retrace my steps to Emerald Lake. When I arrived I was amazed at the green hue of the water.
I sat and observed for a while and noticed the fish were starting to break the surface of the water. Walking around the banks I found a nice deep pocket and made it my point of attack.
Shortly, I had a hit. I quickly set the hook and started reeling it in, but upon seeing its white belly through the water it wiggled off the lure.
Nevertheless I continued to cast into the deep green water and shortly I had another bite. Trying my best not to lose this one, I set the hook again and reeled with immense vigor.
Soon the arctic grilling was on the banks of the lake, and I snapped a quick picture before releasing it back into the water.
Seeing as how my goals for the day were complete, I decide to head back to the trailhead. I was happy to have unplugged from the real world for a while and get to experience the sheer beauty of the greater Hyalite recreation area.
As I headed down the trail many passersby asked how the fishing was, and for the first time in a while, I was able to say it was great.