That never came to fruition, even though I've driven by the river countless times since, while on the way to other water bodies.
Knowing that the stretch of river I was most familiar with was all wrapped up in private land, I hounded the maps for what looked like fishable areas on public soil. After much research, my course was plotted with a solid destination.
Of course, it seemed necessary to pull over several times to fish some of the water passed along the route. Though I've fished Soldier Creek plenty of times, I had never tried the lower stretches, like this one in the "Red Narrows" area of Spanish Fork Canyon.
After burning over an hour in that stretch and only a missed bite to show for it, I hoped that wasn't a foreshadowing of what was ahead of me. Luckily, I stopped at one of the usual spots and picked up a couple of quick catches, further up the road.
The little cutthroat and occasional browns are never very big, but they're still fun to catch and there's very little pressure on the creek.
A few miles further along my route, I thought I'd check on Clear Creek, a tiny stream flowing into Soldier Creek that flows next to the north end of Skyline Drive. In the past, I've caught some beautiful little cutthroat in very unlikely spots on this creek.
This time around, the fish weren't holding where I hoped they would, but I found quite a few in a pool on the downstream side of the highway and messed with them for a few minutes.
Just a couple hundred yards from there, another creek flows into Soldier Creek and I had never taken the time to check into that, despite much temptation. Today seemed like the perfect time to give into that urge and I found myself at the confluence of Starvation Creek (top) and Soldier Creek (left).
It was at that hole where I was really caught off guard. After catching a small cutthroat and having another swipe and miss, I tossed a perfect cast right into the seam where the waters met. I allowed the spinner to sink for a half-second, then cranked slowly and smoothly until my rod doubled over and the water exploded.
A beastly brown was hooked and a violent battle ensued. Finally, I was able to bring in this unexpected treat:
The fins looked a little chewed up and I thought it may have been from navigating the shallow channels of Starvation Creek and possibly from spawning activities. What a catch! I hope to meet that brown again in the future.
Having just seen the big brown, I wondered what other tricks this area had up its sleeve and continued up Starvation Creek a little further. Most of the creek looked pretty difficult to fish, being so shallow and heavily weeded, but I was able to find a pretty good hole and got into a couple more browns.
Not a bad little spot. The bigger one was tucked away under those roots (top right).
So before I even arrived at my destination, I was feeling pretty good about the day's events, having caught a good number of fish and a really nice brown for the size of water I was fishing. There was still another surprisingly large fish that would show itself before I got on with the drive.
Another one I hope to meet again someday.
The hillsides are really popping with the "autumn bloom". It's dazzling, but signifies that it won't be too long until I'll need to bundle up and carry an auger around. Ugh.
Finally arriving to what I thought was my destination, I came upon a foreboding sign that made my heart sink.
Not knowing quite how to interpret this sign, I didn't fish the river and I left, disgusted. The disgusting part is that our public resources have gone into stocking this river with fish, but the public isn't allowed to access most of this water, as far as I can tell. A sour taste filled my mouth as I moved on.
Now with an open agenda, my mind shuffled through the nearby fishing options. Scofield Reservoir was close, but the fishing there has taken a serious dive over the past couple of years and it didn't seem too appetizing.
After a bit of thought, I figured that my moving water mojo was working pretty well for me so far and that I should keep that flow alive. The Price River would be my next stop.
Having never really fished this river, my hopes were up in the air. I had paid attention to the stocking records over the years and knew that my possible catches were plentiful. Browns, tigers, cutts, and rainbows could all be in the river, either from stocking or washing out of Scofield, then downstream.
My first stop was near a bridge (I love fishing around bridges - fish love bridges) and my first cast painted a broad smile on my face as I latched onto a thug tiger trout of 21 inches!
This broke my personal record for tigers on moving water, so I was pretty pleased. It also made this the third week in a row that I'd caught something over 20 inches and that's a nice bonus too.
Tons of fun and a terrific fight. My luck at bridges has always been pretty good. It seems like there's always a good fish or two that will hang out under a bridge. Speaking of which, here's bridge fish #2:
What color on that brown! Its belly was black, which isn't something I see everyday. I guess the black on its belly was making up for the lack of black in its speckles. Another satisfying catch for the day.
The river provided plenty more entertainment with smaller browns and a couple of cutthroat, none of which were very noteworthy but still fun to catch. I wasn't sure I could have topped what had already happened anyway, although I did have something on for a few seconds that pulled like it may have been a real hog.
Once again, I was beaming as I drove home from yet another excellent day of fishing in Utah.
As if Saturday wasn't good enough, there was one more treasure to be had today.
I promised my kids a trip to the park today and had recently found a local spot with a tiny creek running through it. After running some other errands, we stopped by for about an hour and while the kids enjoyed the playground, I took advantage of the wet stuff.
Would you know it, a well-placed Blue Fox provided me with one of the prettiest rainbows I've ever had the pleasure of holding! The photos don't do the colors justice, but this wild hog was practically glowing with deep reds and purples, as well as gold. Just amazing, especially considering where it came from.
It gave me an excellent battle too. Jumping high above the surface on a creek that was only about 8-12 inches deep and only two feet wide, it was a real thrill ride fighting it to hand. Unbelievable.
It seems to me that the community surrounding this park is oblivious to the treasure flowing through many of their back yards. Had they known otherwise, I seriously doubt I would have met this hog. This next shot really captured the girth of this porker.
I'll be back to see if I can find this guy again. He swam off forcefully after I held him in the current for a moment.
I'm beside myself with this catch and the incredible fishing of yesterday. What a way to start October!
Happy Fishing, Humans.