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4/22/12

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.

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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.

3 comments:

  1. Beauty fish and pics man. Those are some healthy looking trout. Congrats on that hog of a fish. Tight Lines.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I often wonder, with the places some of us fish, if we shouldn't have repelling gear in our vehicles?

    Mark

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great post. I always like hearing about your lunch breaks and what you manage to catch in odd places.

    ReplyDelete

Like it? Hate it? Drop a line.

Some Background...

WHY FISH?

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 animals 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.

THE PAST

As a fingerling, I only fished a few times with uncles or my father. We typically never went out of the valley except for a couple of trips to Deer Creek, where I remember catching my first perch.

My Dad took me to the Provo River a few times and once up to Ruth Lake in the Uintas. It was always a fun trip, no matter where we went and it got us out of the house. I wish I would have asked to go more often at that age.

At age 14, I went with the Scouts to climb King's Peak, the high point of Utah. We had to hike some 8 miles with heavy packs to get to our campsite at Dollar Lake in the High Uintas. At that lake, I caught my first trout and never got around to fishing again for several years.

When I rediscovered the joys of fishing in my early 20's, a close friend named Holdsworth and I spent a lot of our time at a handful of places within a reasonable driving distance. The first lake that gave us any trout was Currant Creek Reservoir. The fish weren't huge, but they were gorgeous and plentiful once found.



We made it a high priority to fish there every weekend for much of the summer. Every time we went, however, the monkey on our collective back grew a little bit stronger while passing the intimidating Strawberry Reservoir.

Eventually, the seduction of the Berry's fame lured us to turn onto the Soldier Creek Dam Junction. Never having fished it before, we thought we'd start at the dam and test our luck.

We didn't get a bite for over an hour and I started to doze off. I was awakened when my Ugly Stik swept over to the other side of my lap from where I had it resting. Coming to, I started reeling and fought in a feisty rainbow of around 18 inches and fat. We'd never caught anything like it up at Currant Creek, so a new weekly destination was born.



Moving forward a few years, Holdsworth had since moved to Germany, but I continued to feed my passion for fishing. I joined a wildlife forum online, sponsored and run by the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR). The DWR forum had an eclectic stew of sportsmen and women from all over the state and abroad.

Participating in the forum made me realize that my fishing license was valid anywhere in the state and that taking on a few new venues couldn't hurt. Ever since I joined, my summers have been spent trying out new waters in between trips to the usual haunts and fishing has never been better for me.

Much information was shared freely between the sportsmen of this online community and it was a good place to get in some useful reading. Being active in discussions there and applying new ideas really helped me develop into a better fisherman.

In the "Fishing Reports" section, you could read about recent trips to places all over the state. Reading the reports, I was inspired to begin recording my own experiences. Why not? Writing was always something I enjoyed doing plus I had a camera and web access...

From then on, I posted detailed write ups of my exploits quite regularly. Positive feedback prompted me to continue and now I have almost as much fun putting the report together, as I do actually fishing.

The DWR forum was shut down abruptly in September of '07 due to bureaucratic red tape. A slew of new "replacement forums" popped up in hopes of gaining the now disbanded 5000+ members.

Once the dust settled a bit, a clear replacement appeared when the former moderators of the DWR forum got together with a former member named "Petersen" to start the Utah Wildlife Network.



Quite a few members donate (myself included) and that helps to keep the site running. Additionally, we're not in any danger of the gov. stepping in and pulling the plug, as this forum is privately owned and operated by Petersen.

Once the news caught wind that a true replacement was found, the pages started looking more familiar with old screen names showing up left and right. It didn't take too long and we had our spot back, essentially.

Aside from the UWN, I also check in with a few other forums, including Big Fish Tackle, (BFT). This nationwide forum is full of knowledgeable anglers from all over the world and can be a great resource.

...But really, if I burn all of my time on the internet, there won't be any left for fishing!

Due mainly to the forums, my fishing eyes have been opened. Now more than ever, I really make it a point to explore new waters and fish the spots that nobody talks about. My day trips have gotten much longer and involve many more stops than before.

Please stay tuned for trip reports and feel free to explore the links in my highlights section, where I go into more detail about specific waters and areas.

Happy Fishing, Humans.

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