Lunch Break, Browns, Rainbows, Cutthroat, and Big Tiger Trout

It's been a fun couple of weeks, enjoying the beautiful weather we're having lately.  Starting with a couple of fish on my lunch break, last Friday, the next day at Deer Creek Reservoir also provided some fun.

I finally got a brown from a tunnel I've been trying from time to time, near work.  That same day, another one bit from the under "le grille".  Glamorous, no?

Deer Creek was pretty fun, although I was disappointed to see "No Parking" signs along one of my favorite places to park.  Tragic!  Parking about a quarter mile up the road, I hiked down a really steep hillside to get to a spot that looked inviting.  Mountain goat access only.

Yeah, I got my feet wet today.

Just a few feet underwater, a nice shelf stuck out a few yards before dropping off into the deep.  Hopping a brown marabou jig with a black head along the ledge got some follows and eventually some bites.  There were several that came off before I could get them in, but a few hung on.

The big one of the day was definitely over 20", but it got off at my feet.  These two and a couple of smaller ones were still fun to catch.

On the way home, I stopped along the lower section of the North Fork of the Provo River (en route to Sundance) to try one of my old spots.  Just upstream, however, "No Trespassing" signs started to appear and I had to quit.  The fish in there are super spooky and it was difficult to get the one that I did.

Another stop along the Lower Provo yielded a small brown on the fly rod and it was time to go.


This week:

The family needed to spend a sunny Saturday together and we took a long drive to a place where the tiger trout are big and angry.  It's a windy place that can really put the brakes on fishing and I've left without a bite several times.

As expected, we missed the calm of the day (usually for about an hour or two after sunrise) and a stiff breeze greeted us in the face as we crested the dam.  Sonia and I rigged up our minnows and tossed out.  My usual spot on the cliffs was less than easy access, so I got as close as I could.

My first cast didn't land where I wanted it, so I slowly brought it in, tugging it every few seconds.  Once it was within sight, I let it drift down a little deeper and a bronzy flash zipped around a couple of times before streaking off with it.

It fought bigger than it looked, but it was still a pretty good fish.  It taped out to 20"

Sonia was getting worked by the wind and pretty much gave up, taking cover with my daughter behind an umbrella.  I grabbed her rod and took a walk down the dam to try to get that minnow some attention.  About halfway across, next to a patch of submerged brush (I've never seen the lake so full), a nice tiger shot in to investigate.

It swam around it a few times before quickly darting off to the deep with it.  I set the hook and the fight was on...and on.  It was very aggressive and took a couple of minutes to get close to shore.  Once there, it still required a few more runs to deeper water, peeling drag at will.

Finally in hand, I brought it back to camp and taped it at 24".  It weighed 4lbs, 6oz.

After several hours of casting lures and minnows in all directions, nothing else could justify any further battle with the wind and we stopped along a small tailwater stream on our way to the next reservoir.

Wild browns and cutthroat were eager to bite if I could remain undetected on my approach.  Many tiny treasures were brought to hand and it was nice to trick them for a few minutes.  What a great little stream.

The reservoir above the creek was a different story though.  I've never, in 5 years, caught a single fish from this lake.  I've seen some and know that the better area is near the inlet, but that requires either a boat or a long hike.  Add the typical wind to the mix and it just never comes to fruition for me.

One day I'll just ignore the tiger spot so I can dedicate a full day to the other lake, where wild Bonneville cutthroat proliferate naturally.

Ready to go home, we hit the road, vowing to stop at our favorite rest area, the I-80 Echo rest stop.  The view is spectacular and the prairie dogs are very friendly.  The kids have a blast playing with them and giving them morsels of granola bars.  Okay, we all do.

Overlooking the canyon, the tiny Echo Creek slowly meanders before eventually connecting to the Weber River, below Echo Reservoir.  After our fun with the critters, we decided to take the cliff side road and I stopped to catch a fish in the creek really quickly.

I'd caught some very small cutthroat in there, my only other time fishing it.  This time, I missed two and got one, but it was just what I needed to finish off the day.  I just love fishing in places that others usually drive past.

With that, the day was complete, all of us pleased with our time spent together on another wonderful day outside.

Happy Fishing, Humans.


Strawberry Ice-Off!

With the recent news of some open water at Strawberry, my family and I set off to test our luck.  The latest reports had me worried that there would be a lot of competition for the slim openings, but luckily, the holiday had most people occupied enough to stay away.

Our first stop was at an inlet where quite a bit of open water glistened.  The bay was really shallow, but we found a spot worth fishing from and almost instantly, I had the first catch of the day on my crankbait.

No reason to measure that one.  Back it went.  Casting right where the inlet flowed into the lake, I got two really good fish to hang on long enough to tease me into thinking I’d get to pet them.  Nice colors on those, but alas, they escaped me.

A short while later, my wife got a pretty good one, right in the lip using a minnow.

We didn’t measure that one either, but it was pretty close.

The wind picked up and more people came to invade, so we decided to try another spot.  Driving around to the Soldier Creek side, there was hardly any open water visible and I wondered if my desired spot would still be locked up.

Luckily, my spot had just enough open water to do some casting.  Unfortunately, the fishing was dismally slow and we couldn’t get anything to even follow our offerings.  Having hiked into the spot with all of our gear and a couple of kids, we decided to wait it out for the possibility of catching a lonely straggler or two.  I was sure the spot was good enough to warrant the wait, as it’s becoming my go-to at Strawberry.

After a couple of empty hours and plenty of boredom complaints from the kids, Sonia hopped up and started cranking on something nice.  Her favorite worm/bubble rig enticed her very first slot buster!

Way to go, chica!

*Strawberry Reservoir has a slot limit for cutthroat between 15 and 22 inches.  All cutts in the slot must be immediately released.*

Weighing just under 4lbs, it stretched out a little over 23” and made our day.  Once again, Sonia out-fished me in size and numbers.  This must be her year.  That’s fine with me.  It’s nice to see her light up when she’s got a big one in her hands.

She caught a scrawny little hatchery bow awhile later while I continued to try for my hog.  The best I could do was to get a take on a minnow and have my line break at the knot.  Win some, lose some.

I’d already told myself it was a good day and it was time to go when I finally got something to stay on a hook.  It was a runt planter, so I called James over to reel in for me before we released it.  He needed some action by then anyway.

It was great to see some open water at the Berry again and I’m super proud of Sonia for staying persistent and catching her first slot buster.  Good times are here.

Happy Fishing, Humans.


Peace and Quiet (wild cutthroat)

It’s been a little while since my last visit to the Wasatch Plateau and I took the opportunity this weekend to make the first human tracks at one of my favorite cutthroat streams.

Surprisingly, the snow has really melted away until getting up to the mid 8000’s. Once above that elevation, however, it’s still pretty deep and the top of Fairview Canyon has that familiar look of April.

My stream would require some footwork to get to, and the snow gave out under my weight. This left me punching postholes about 3 ½ feet deep. After a short distance, my heart was really pumping and I was grateful to find some snowmobile tracks that would support me. They got me close to where I needed to be.

Finally arriving at my creek, my tracks were the first, as I had hoped. Furthermore, it looks like I beat the runoff, as the water was crystal clear. That meant spooky fish in shallow holes.

With the deep snow all around, my best trail was the creek itself and it made being stealthy quite difficult. At first, the fish weren’t where they “should” have been and it took awhile to find any, but a beaver pond finally gave up a couple of pretty little cutthroat.

For a couple of my honey holes, it was necessary to do some belly crawling on the snow to get a good angle. Here’s a video I took while sneaking up to the first one I encountered.

That would be the biggest fish of the day and that hole didn’t provide another, even after waiting for 20 minutes or so.

Moving on, I was able to find a couple of really fishy areas that produced well with the Blue Fox until line failure left that piece of jewelry with a would-be fashion model.

Switching to the fly rod, the action wasn’t over and I caught quite a few more of the smaller variety on a black sculpin pattern. They looked more or less like this:

It was great to get out and see that marvelous land again and in a few weeks, it should be ready for those multi-lake marathon days that I enjoy so much out there. The only other people I encountered all day were zipping around on their sleds and likely never knew I was around.

There was also a DNR conservation officer who pulled in to check me before I embarked. He thought I was nuts when I told him what I was up to. It wasn’t that bad though, just a little tiring to get back, as the snow wouldn’t support me as well after being weakened by the warmth of the day.

What a great area and a peaceful place to gather one’s thoughts on a sunny Saturday.

On the way home, I enjoyed some of the trademark sights, characteristic of my trips to the Manti.

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.