Pluggin' Perch @ Deer Creek

Needing to stay close to home this week, I thought Deer Creek deserved a day trip.  Given my sour history on soft water at DC, my hopes were that the colder weather may have turned on the trout and that I could actually catch some without fishing through the ice.

Arriving early, I took a long walk along the trail and stopped to cast some lures at one bay, where I lost my only size 2 Blue Fox (Doh!) and didn't get any bites.  

Now casting a size 3 Blue Fox (rainbow pattern), I kept making my way along the shoreline until I reached a spot that just looked fishy.  It was a good hump that protruded out a little farther than the surrounding straight, steep shoreline in both directions.  

It didn't take too long and I had a hard hit and an impressive battle with a sturdy female rainbow.  She was dropping eggs at the lightest touch and I'm not big on eating "hollow" trout, so I let her go.  Nice fish though and my biggest from the soft water at DC to date.

(I should explain:  The rainbows from one hatchery in Utah have been tricked into spawning in the fall and Deer Creek Reservoir is stocked with some of those, as well as normal rainbows.  There's a spring run and a fall run in certain Utah waters.  Crazy, huh?)

Over the next half hour, I pulled in a couple more and lost some, all about this size:

After that, the bite died down and I walked a bit more before settling into a nice little spot that showed promise.  

The water was calm and the air was cool.  My first cast in the new spot had a couple of bumps and I was able to see a small flash behind my lure on the retrieve.  The next cast got a solid hookup with something I haven't seen much of at Deer Creek for awhile:

A slightly smaller one followed after a few more casts with bumps.  Figuring that I was in the middle of a good school of them and not having any more luck with the large hooks on the lure I was using, I switched through all sorts of tackle in hopes of getting more of the feisty perch for a good fish fry.

Nothing seemed to work, not even worms, so I tied the Heddon Sonar lure back on (first day trying this) and continued to get follows without hookups.  Finally, I turned to the fly rod and worked a black sculpin pattern.  Many hits were missed, as the perch would only take quick nips at it, but every once in awhile I connected.

Perch on the fly!  That's a new one for me and it was actually a lot of fun.  I missed so many bites, but ended up catching quite a few of them in that spot before it died down.  It was a little surprising to find them so shallow in that spot.  The smaller ones were released while the biggest hit the chain.

One ratty planter rainbow came to play as well and it was released.  I had already made my decision to eat perch for dinner last night.

Now I know I've talked plenty of smack on "stupid perch", calling them "bait thieves" and whatnot, but truth be told, they were biting and the trout in DC were currently in a spawn, so the chance of getting a mushy or hollow fish was high.  Not my favorite thing to eat, so seeing the perch on my line was quite welcome.  Plus, catching anything on a fly rod is a good time.

One peculiar thing I noticed while at that spot was a dark mass in a shallow area, just a few feet off the shoreline.  At first I didn't think much of it, but it seemed to change shape, which prompted me to have a closer look.  Visibility wasn't great and I wasn't able get a really good look, but the mass turned out to be a tight school of little black fish.

They scattered when I got too close and a few of them swam right in front of me, where I got a much better visual.  I can't say for certain, but my best guess is that they were fingerling catfish!  Square heads, a very clumsy wobble to their swim action, and black.  They were probably 1.5 - 2 inches in length and looked just like the groups of baby cats I'd witnessed on the Jordan River a few years back.  Seeing them in DC was a bit unexpected, although I had heard of them being in there in the past.  Crazy!

As mentioned, that bite died and there was still room on my stringer for more fish.  I moved one more time to another area and starting working it over.  Nothing I did seemed to do the trick, so I decided to throw on a worm and a full water bubble, throw it out as far as I could, and just kick back while it sank to the bottom.  If something bit, great.  If not, no biggie.  I already had a couple of perch and that would be a good snack.

Having the bale closed on my reel allowed me to see when the bubble hit the bottom, as the taught line would go slack.  To my surprise, there was movement and that slack line went tight again within moments.  

Picking up my rod, I started cranking and reeled in yet another perch!  Looks like I just had the perch mojo yesterday.  Those perch were really deep, so their swim bladders were fully inflated upon retrieval.  They were pretty decent in size too, although not quite as large as the ones I got on the fly earlier.

Liking the way that rig was working, I set up my second rod with the same and threw it out only about half as far as I had been, just to see what might happen.  

It didn't happen quickly, but after about 10 minutes, something messed with my line and it felt bigger than the perch I had been catching.  Bigger it was and I was happy to see a largemouth bass thrashing about.  It wasn't a big one, only about 10 inches, but it was round and angry.  Sadly, it escaped while I was getting my camera out.  Oh well.  It would've been released anyway.

Dropping my next cast on that rod to the same general area, another wait ensued and I pulled up something I was used to seeing at DC, the dink smallmouth.

The wind picked up and the sun got closer to the horizon.  I took my cue to leave and embarked on the long walk back to my car, perch in hand.

Not a bad haul for the day's efforts, especially since I let most of them go from the shallow spot that I first found them in.

All in all, it was a good day and it's nice to know that I've got Deer Creek within 15 miles of my house and it's not as bad of a place as I've made it out to be in the past.  

The Heber Valley Railroad rumbled by me three times throughout the day and I had to make sure to take a couple of pics for my boy, who is absolutely crazy about trains.

I got home at a quarter after seven and pleasantly surprised my wife with some white-fleshed bounty for dinner.  Very tasty and pretty easy to fillet too!

Happy Fishing, Humans.



Well the lunch break spots have still been kicking out fish here and there. Most have been either white bass or smaller browns. Awhile back, I hooked into a big walleye that I was unable to get out of its spot before my line rubbed the grill of the culvert enough to break.

I've been pretty determined to get it ever since and many a lunch break has been spent looking like a weirdo on the side of a road, fishing a "ditch".

As the days came and went, I encountered some carp and some browns and even a bluegill, but started to wonder if the walleye was still around. I know that it still had my hook, so I hoped it didn't die.

A few days ago, I picked up a bolt in my tire while on lunch break and had to take it to the tire shop for some warranty work. While waiting for that to get wrapped up, my curiosity led me to explore an area where I thought some water should be. I knew a small creek in the area that went underground about a half mile upstream from there and figured it might see some open water somewhere in the vicinity.

Well, I laughed when I saw it, but I found a small hole in the ground where the creek was exposed. It was probably only 6 feet long at most, but it was a hole, nonetheless.

I laughed even harder when I actually pulled a small rainbow out of it!

It was definitely a stocked rainbow that had swum down from another spot upstream. Catching that was pretty neat, I thought. It's still in there, so maybe I'll give it some time and hopefully the hole doesn't get buried anytime soon.

All that has been fun, but I still hadn't seen my walleye again and my quick stops on lunch and after work had started to become an obsession to land it. Fearing for my mental well being and wasting way too much time on the side of that road, I was relieved to finally get my walleye and put that obsession to bed.

Targeting walleye is something I've never done and all of my previous 'eyes were by chance. Most were between 8-12 inches with a couple going 14 and my former best at a solid 18 from Willard Bay.

Well today I beat that personal best by 8" with this 26 inch lunker that weighed 4lbs.

Darn water spots!

What a head on it! Kinda skinny I thought, but definitely not the standard size that I'm used to seeing.

After weighing it and marking my rod at its length, I revived it in the stream for a couple of minutes until it was kicking its tail every couple of seconds. It's back at home and I even got a chance to extract my old hook from its mouth before saying goodbye.

Persistence really pays off sometimes. I'm just glad I can be done with the obsession. Onto the next one!

Happy Fishing, Humans.


Family Day at Currant Creek

My family and I got out this weekend to poke around the Currant Creek area. It was a pretty good trip and both Sonia and I caught fish, which makes it a success.

Using the Co-Op Creek route (gates closing Nov.1), we dropped down into the valley and my little lady was kind enough to let me have some fun on the beaver ponds before we got to the lake. The scrappy little cutthroat were more than cooperative.

Our first stop at the lake was at the north end, where we watched thousands of whitefish make their annual run to the inlets. Hoping to find some trout in the mix, we fished the immediate area for about an hour without a bite. It seemed time to find another part of the lake to fish.

We drove around to the dam, only to find a stiff breeze blowing directly toward it. This foiled my plans to get in a float on my tube, and it didn't seem conducive to a good time for my family either. Back the way we came and a little farther toward the campground, we settled into a fishy looking bay and got busy.

Happily, we found the trout and they were quick to take a spinner or a minnow. Whenever I hooked one, I let my boy reel it in for me and that kept him in good spirits, despite the chilly wind.

Momma got herself a few fish and that made everyone happy.

A couple that James and I caught:

The catching was pretty good for awhile and many smaller fish were released. There was a bigger fish that felt pretty good, but it slipped away before I could pull it in. Probably a good tiger, but we'll never know for certain.

Before we knew it, the sun crept behind the hill we were by and the wind got a bit colder. It was time to move along.

Of course, on the way down (we took the mostly-paved route back), the beaver ponds on the lower creek were too much to drive by and I just had to check on them.

As nice as they looked, most were rather shallow; on the rebuilding stage after this year's blowout spring runoff. Finding a decent hole was tricky and it was frustrating to cast into what looked to be a perfect pool, only to reel in some weeds.

Finally, I found a good run between ponds and missed a couple of bites before connecting with a surprising catch for the creek:

It isn't hard to believe that a few tigers could have washed down the spillway this year. A little brown also made my acquaintance and we hit the road.

The fishing was really good on the creeks above the lake. The lake was alright, although I really wish I could've seen the bigger one. The creek below showed promise and we all had a great time spending the day together.

Happy Fishing, Humans.


Autumn Action @ Strawberry

Awhile back, one of the local forum members had sent out an invite to myself and two other members to meet up and fish Strawberry Reservoir from his boat.  This was something I had never done and I also had never actually met Keoni, even though we've spoken for about three years.  His brother, Keala and I have fished together a few times though.

The plan was to have everyone meet at the parking lot at the mouth of Provo Canyon at 4:00am to get an early start on the morning bite.  Everyone was on time and we were on the water by 5:15 in the dark.

Despite our early arrival, the fish hadn't become active yet.  We didn't get any action until the sun had risen.

Scott was the first to score and had a couple others before anyone did.  They were in the slot (between 15-22 inches - mandatory release - cutthroat only) and released before I could snap a pic.

Brandon got a pretty good one in the slot:

Keoni with his first catch (Scott - background):

Keoni's friend, Jordan, who showed up later on his tube.  Another slot cutt:

My first catch of the day (slot):

Keoni with a skinny one:

Jordan got quite a few while kicking around, including a chubby rainbow that we was happy to take home.  Keoni followed suit with his own fat bow:

Brandon with another slotty:

The catching continued throughout our time on the Berry, but taking photos seemed less important due to the catches all being slot cutts between 19-21 inches.  We headed back to the dock to drop Scott off, who had some commitments to attend to.  It's sad to have to go while the catching is good.

We motored out again and found another good school to anchor over.  More cutts came to hand and back to grow larger.

Finally, I got a break.  While tending to my minnow rod, I sat my jigging rod down, but noticed a strange bounce to the tip that couldn't be attributed to waves or any wakes from passing boaters.  Out of curiosity, I picked it up and it flexed downward for a throbbing fight to the surface.

It had inhaled my jig all the way into its gill rakes and was bleeding heavily, so I hoped it made the mark, which it appeared to before measurement.  Confirming this with the tape, it stretched out to 22.5 inches and I was relieved that first, I got a slot buster, and secondly, I didn't have to release a doomed fish.

This would end up being the only one over the slot for the day, but we really did pretty well, overall.  Having the advantage of a boat on the Berry was great and I've never caught so many nice fish there in one outing.  Very fun!

After some more catching, we decided to get off the lake and do some stream fishing.  I knew a good one within our range and we spent about an hour working whatever holes we could find.  Having three guys on this small creek was interesting, but we made it work and all took turns working the next hole up.

We weren't expecting to catch anything with size, just some pretty cutthroat and maybe some browns and rainbows.

The first catch came on my Blue Fox from a really nice looking hole under a spill.  Gorgeous cutthroat!

Immediately after my catch, Keoni tried his luck in the same hole with a black marabou jig he tied.  What a surprise to see this beautiful brown dart out from under some roots to snatch it up!  Great catch for this creek:

Another look:

Brandon got a cutthroat after we'd marched upstream a few stretches:

Another look:

The next cutt to hand was really nice looking.  Nothing beats catching good looking fish like these on tiny mountain streams!

One more and we called it quits for the creek.  Brandon had somewhere to be and we'd had plenty of fun for the day.

We got back to the mouth of Provo Canyon and bid each other farewell.  It was a really good trip and I enjoyed the company of some really good guys.  Keoni and I will likely get out in another couple of weeks to spank some brookies before winter locks them away for a few months.

With my house being just a short drive from our meeting place, and so much sunlight left for the day, I couldn't resist trying my luck on the raging Provo River.

Just casting my spinners I got 5 browns, all within 100 feet of each other.  This was a good note to end the day on and I took my cue.

What a day!  Thanks to Keoni for extending his invitation to me and thanks to Brandon and Scott for providing good company.

Happy Fishing, Humans.

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.