The True Cast Trout Talk

The True Cast - Secret Spots

Secret or sacred spots

As a writer of fishing stories, one thing I wrestle with most is whether to divulge the places where the stories take place. That’s not a new dilemma. Legend has it that when Ernest Hemingway wrote about the “Big Two-Hearted River,” he wasn’t really writing about the actual Big Two-Hearted River.

I admit to doing the same. Sometimes it might seem like I’m talking about a certain spot when I’m really describing two rivers over, or 20 miles downstream. Charlie Meyers used to say that he’d make a judgment call—if he thought the river was big enough and healthy enough to withstand a little extra attention, he’d share the information in the stories he wrote in the Denver Post. But if he thought a river would be “loved to death,” he’d conveniently leave certain details out of the story.

Of course, in this day and age, what a storyteller might or might not divulge is almost a moot point, because the apps you can put on your phone will tell you exactly where to go… they just can’t tell you where the fish are in the river and how many there are.

Secret spots are worth sharing

The best “secret spot” story I can share involves a place (I still can’t say where, other than somewhere in southwestern Colorado) a good friend (D.) took three years to divulge to me, and only after I swore I’d never tell anyone about it, or even reference it in a story, like I’m doing now.

He had to draw a map so I could find it. It was one of those places where you drove down a dirt road until it turned into a mining trail. So, you’d park your vehicle and then hike the trail, up and over a ridge, then take the left fork where the mining trail turns into a footpath. Then climb down the slope by the split pine tree, and you’d run into the river. The directions might as well have included “second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning” because that water was a trout Neverland. Gentle riffles and glides, and cool clear currents swirling through a boulder garden, held big, wild fish, some nearly as long as your arm.

I fished this place a couple times, and was so blown away that… well, I had to tell somebody.

Sometimes trout aren’t as long as your arm but still worth the effort.

So, instead of drawing a map, I took my friend (P.) to this spot, and we caught some fish and had a great time.

About a month later, I went back to the secret spot alone, only to find P.’s truck at the trailhead. I figured he wouldn’t mind some company, so I ambled down the trail and jumped into the river, only to turn the bend and run into my friend D. who had shown the spot to me in the first place. Turns out that P. was so fired up about the place, well, he had to tell somebody, and he decided to show D. this awesome spot that his buddy K. (that’s me) had shown him a month ago but had forced him to take a blood oath of absolute secrecy.

At that point we had a choice to make—we could be mad at each other, or we could accept the realization that all anglers are bigmouths, there’s no such thing as a truly “secret” fishing spot, and fishing spots are actually best shared amongst friends (if not the general public) because that’s how secret spots become sacred spots.

We chose the latter.