With this prolonged winter finally subdued by the summer heat, access to the High Uintas has finally opened! Learning of this news halfway through the week, my destination was solidified.
One of my bucket list goals has been to catch a golden trout in Utah. There are only a couple of places, literally, that still hold remnant populations of them from stockings in the 70's. My quest for the week was to try and scratch that goal off the list...
The Uintas are magical. It's such a beautiful place with miles upon miles of unspoiled Nature. Any visit here is a special experience and leaves the soul wanting more.
The drive to my spot was a rough one. I thought I'd taken my worst road last weekend, but I was waaaaaay off. It was slow going for several miles, as I carefully crawled over the "road". Somehow, I managed to keep from bottoming out or scraping my skidplates. There were many areas along the path that looked hungry for an oil pan.
Though I couldn't make the last 2000 feet due to snow drifts, I was grateful to give the Rodeo a well earned rest and made the short walk to my target.
A gorgeous venue, indeed. I had the whole place to myself.
The fish were plentiful, but very small. This was to be expected, so it wasn't a let down by any means. The brookies have overpopulated, as they tend to do in western waters that are suitable for natural recruitment. This leaves them small and easy to catch, but I wasn't after the brookies. My intent was to catch only one fish, the golden trout.
Having to compete with the aggressive reproduction of the brookies, it seems miraculous that any goldens still survive. Finding one through the masses of brook trout would prove to be a difficult task and thankfully, I knew of a couple areas where they'd been found in the past.
Regardless of my prepping, the areas I initially tried failed to produce my trophy, but I caught some beautiful little brookies.
Pretty much anything that got wet was catching fish, so the fast action was nice. There still weren't any goldens coming in though and I could visually tell that all the fish in the area were brookies. Knowing I needed to try a different approach, off I went to improvise and hunt down the rarest of trout in Utah.
It certainly wasn't the most probable place to look, but after spending most of the day unhooking tiny brook trout, I finally found my golden.
My bucket list just got shorter! What a treat to hold this precious little gem in my hand, knowing that there aren't many people who can say they've done the same (a golden from Utah, at least). Mission complete! I'm just thrilled that I didn't have to take a 30 mile, round trip hike to get my golden (that's the other place that has them).
With my main objective successfully met, I was able to "unfocus" and just have a good time in the high country that I've missed so much.
What a pleasure! I took my sweet time on the ride home and ended up taking a couple of short hikes to follow some running water. None of these produced any fish for me, but it was still nice to chart unfamiliar territory and a good way to top off another great fishing adventure.
Thanks for reading and I wish everyone a safe and happy 4th of July weekend!
Happy Fishing, Humans.
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