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SIERRA Amid the spectacular reflection of a high-country landscape, Joe Rodriguez surveys the lake. (NANCY RODRIGUEZ)

grabbed our fishing gear and started the journey to our brown trout honey hole. We would be targeting browns for the day. We ducked and weaved to avoid low-slung, snow-covered pine branches as we hiked, slipped, and stumbled down the hillside and through the forest. After a short hike, the thick trees gave way to open shoreline and I spotted a lessthan-ideal obstacle between us and our honey hole: a frigid stream that had to be crossed. The creek was running fast and I knew the water was going to be seriously painful. Joe and I simultaneously removed our shoes and socks, rolled up our pant legs, looked at each other and shook our heads. We jumped into the knee-high creek. Within seconds, the ice water produced a notso-pleasant electrical current that pierced our feet, ran up our legs and quickly jumped into our brains as if to ask, What the heck are you doing?! By the time that registered we were halfway across and our feet were far too numb to feel the river

rocks we were scrambling across. Unfortunately, that didn’t lessen the pain signal bouncing around further up our bodies. After what felt like forever – it was probably 30 seconds – the two of us stumbled up the bank on the other side. We piled up onto the icy rocks

and cradled our now frozen, wet feet and just laughed. What we won’t do for a fish!

WITH OUR FEET DRY, our shoes on and steam issuing with every breath, I hiked along the shoreline and constantly scanned for any sign I might

Later in the season as the weather and water temps get warmer, the Rodriguez team will fish from a kayak, but in winter they prefer casting from the banks of their backcountry brown towns. (NANCY RODRIGUEZ) 90 California Sportsman APRIL 2018 | calsportsmanmag.com

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Cs 4 18 web