Photos and Story: Into the Yosemite High Country

Written by: Matty Wong

Wild brook trout in crystal-clear water made for some exciting fishing in the backcountry lakes of Yosemite National Park.
Photos by Matty Wong

The weekend had finally arrived, and a few of buddies and I had permits to camp at the summit of Twin Lakes in Yosemite National Park. It was a seven-mile hike in with a 50-pound pack, but we were determined.

The only way to get to these fish is to invest a little boot leather.

Once we got to the first lake, I noticed a brook trout swimming near the shore. What to cast? I thought of all the mosquito swatting we had done on the way up and tied on a little Mosquito dry fly. A delicate leading cast was all it took to intrigue the adolescent trout. Hanapa’a! (That’s “Fish on!” in Hawaiian pidgin.) Once we knew they’d eat a Mosquito, we all took turns wearing the brookies out.

Solitude, stunning scenery, and willing trout made the hike in worth it.

My buddies and I grew up in Hawaii, so seeing this distinctly different kind of beauty for the first time was surreal. The crystal-clear waters teem with brook and rainbow trout, and we were surrounded by giant granite mountains that make you feel so small and insignificant in a grand way.

The trout were willing to take any well-presented dry fly, especially Mosquito patterns.

We had set camp less than 30 yards away from the lake. It really doesn’t get more surreal than that: the acoustics of the mountain air and pine trees creaking. Our day ended as we enjoyed a steaming bowl of Ramen while star-gazing in a sky completely littered with constellations. It was a good weekend.

This landscape feels otherworldly to guys from Hawaii.

Matty Wong is an outdoor photographer, surfer, and fisherman. He’s also an ambassador for Brown Folks Fishing.

Sometimes you have to just sit down and soak it all in.

The trout were cruising the shoreline, so stealth was at a premium.

As night fell, the stars offered a dazzling display.


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