Tiger Trout Sunday

Despite forecasts of foul weather all over the state, my buddy and I decided to go and try our luck for some big tiger trout.

The last time we visited this lake, we both left quite disappointed, vowing to return with a vengeance. Sunday was the day of reckoning and we arrived with one thing on our minds: big tigers.

We started by throwing spinners and nothing came to hand after at least an hour. Holdsworth stuck to his guns and I started throwing all the tackle I had. We'd also switched locations, and that seemed to help, as Holdsworth pulled in 2 smaller tigers within minutes of each other.

Even though they weren't large, they broke the silence of skunkiness that loomed over our heads from the previous week and that was more than welcome. Soon, it would be my turn.

After trying all the conventional methods, I ended up trying something weird. With a spinning rod, I threw out a heavy black sculpin pattern with a killer caddis dropper. It didn't fly very far, but I only needed to get out a few feet.

Surprisingly enough, a few slow retrievals later, I had my first fish and it was pretty nice.

It measured 22.5 inches and weighed 3lbs, 11oz. It took the dropper and nearly fought the hook straight, peeling off a good chunk of lip in the meantime. Finally! It felt good to have a nice tiger in my hands again.

Shortly after my catch, Holdsworth connected with something worth taking a picture of:

Nice pattern on that one.

The Blue Fox strikes again!

Using the same spin/fly setup, my second beast was on the line about 20 minutes later. Basically a twin of the first, this one took the sculpin and let me get some video footage of its fight, after round 1 was over, of course.

Another 3lb, 11oz tiger, just a hair shorter than the first.

A short while later, I had gone back to throwing hardware and hooked up with a smaller tiger on a chrome/orange kastmaster.

So with that, we'd had our fun at the lake and thought we'd check out one of the creeks on the way home.

The lower stretches of the creek were flowing over the banks and very muddy, flooding much of the surrounding area. No use trying to fish that, we figured, and continued up the canyon. Though the flows remained high, we eventually found some good clarity, several miles upstream.

Holdsworth had the lucky hand here and caught a few while I decorated some bushes with my favorite lures. Here's a video of him bringing in a brown.

Not bad for this creek. Nice way for him to end his fishing trip and I was still buzzing from the angry tigers.

Notice the hint of blue sky in that last shot? The weather was supposed to be awful, pretty much anywhere in the state of Utah, but we somehow managed to stay just outside of the storms. We only got sprinkled a couple of times with rain and some snow, but enjoyed comfortable temperatures and quite a bit of sunshine throughout the day.

Once again, we went home satisfied.

Happy Fishing, Humans.


A "Swell" Day

A "Swell" Day

My family and I had a pretty good Saturday, picking up my buddy Holdsworth and spending all day in the desert. The destination: Millsite Reservoir. Another place that my friend hadn't seen yet, we set off with hopes of sunshine and great fishing.

Well, we got sunshine. The fishing was terrible and all of us got skunked with exception to Holdsworth's only catch, a 9 inch hatchery rainbow.

After throwing every lure in the box and every form of bait we had, nothing was working. We fished the dam first and took a break when the wind picked up, enjoying a nice drive up Ferron Canyon.

Kids sure love to mess with unguarded fishing gear!

Just like the other canyons of the Wasatch Plateau, the sandstone boulders have been artistically sculpted by time.

Out of curiosity, I tried to get to Wrigley Springs Reservoir and check its ice status (if any). The road was great until about 1 mile before the lake, where the first of several snow drifts blocked passage. Now a mile isn't really a tough hike, but we turned around knowing that carrying the gear and the kids would be more trouble than we cared to commit to.

So we returned to Millsite after some lunch and finished getting skunked. At least we got skunked trying.

I've said before that getting skunked in such an area would be a pleasure and that still stands.

We left with only sunburns and as the highway rolled under the tires, none of us felt like giving up on the day just yet. Several other lakes were discussed and we tentatively planned on fishing somewhere else to at least catch something for the day.

It was then that we were given a sign. Really, we passed a sign that read, "San Rafael Swell Recreation Access".

There was still quite a bit of sunlight left and a new excitement grew in us as we flipped the Rodeo around and embarked upon a new journey.

As a family, our trips to the San Rafael have been few and limited to the eastern edge near Goblin Valley, where Temple Mountain Road snakes its way in. We've always been entranced by the peculiarities of the region and have wanted to further explore the swell.

Personally, I've spent quite a few camping trips there with friends, in my early 20's. The Temple Mountain area is where I have spent most of my time, but my first experience was a three day adventure in the Buckhorn Wash area, where our current trip was leading us into.

The landscape is spectacular enough, but one of the main attractions at Buckhorn Wash is Pictograph Panel, where the ancient natives left a storyboard of petroglyphs on a huge sandstone wall.

Fun stuff!

As cool as the petroglyphs are, the swell is a big place and full of overwhelming beauty. Please pardon my trigger-happy string of photos from the rest of our drive, but words simply won't suffice! Enjoy.

It's amazing country and it really saved the day. All of us were thrilled that we took the extra time to go and see this marvelous land.

Some Background...


Why not go jogging, hit the gym, start a garden or whatever it is that normal humans do? What's so fascinating about these slimy little creatures that live in the water?

Fishing is a bit more to me than a hobby or a sport. It's an essential part of life that helps me connect with the Earth in ways similar to the long-practiced traditions of mankind. Wherever man has had a water source, there has been fishing.

It's only natural.

Happy Fishing, Humans.