Fat Brookies - Family Trip

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This week's rotation was for a family trip, so I took the tribe down to a place that we love to visit.  This time, the rest of the family would get to experience a couple of lakes they hadn't been to and we were all excited.

The usual morning lag came into play and we really cut into our fishing time, arriving at the first spot at about 2:45pm.  Nobody else was at the lake when we got there, but another party showed up just as we were headed to the shore.

We walked around to a spot that had been productive for me in the past, but the fishing was tough.

Some larger fish were in the lake, last time I visited, but the only ones making themselves visible seemed rather small.  Our minnows weren't doing the trick.

Snags on the bottom or on semi-submerged trees were plaguing us and we lost a good amount of gear pretty quickly.  Needing to figure out a way to keep from hanging up on something, I clamped a split shot weight behind the bubble on my wife's rod to keep the worm dangling.

It didn't matter though.  Lake Snaggadocious ate everything before the fish had a chance, be it jigs, spinners, minnows, or worms.

Finally, Sonia broke the ice and pulled in a skinny planter rainbow.  It was good for her to catch something though:

We released it, hoping for something a little bit larger. Unfortunately, luck wasn't with us for the remainder of our time there.

 My wonderful wife knew I could use some better fishing, so she actually gave me a "bushwhacking pass" and allowed me to take a nasty little hike to check out a hunch that I've had for a few years.  What a lady!

The hike wasn't easy.  It covered a lot of elevation in a short distance. Following the water was fine for awhile, but the brush got pretty tight in some spots, forcing me to circle around a lot of obstacles.

This was the easy part:

When my prize was finally in sight, my stomach fluttered with anticipation, but I didn't cast anywhere. Instead, I sat on a log and quietly observed for about 10 minutes.

What I could see was so shallow, doubt started to creep into my mind that anything might be in this secluded pond. Just as I was about to write it off in my mind and save myself a sloppy trogg through the mucky shoreline, I saw a clear-cut rise from a fish on the other side.

There were, in fact fish and my dear wife gave me this opportunity to shake my stick at them.  Off I went to find some structure and deeper water.

On my way, I noticed a log that just screamed brookie and a well-placed jig was devoured.

Hey, look what I found! What a bulge on that bad boy. Looks like my hunch paid off. He was released and I finished my walk around the pond, to the beaver dam, where I knew I'd hit pay-dirt. Again, I was right.

For the next short while, I was thrilled to dip my jig next to the scum line (maybe 3ft of line out) and watch as several nice brookies shot out to grab it.

This female came home with me.  She promised to be delicious, so I obliged.  The rest are still swimming.

 Let's have another look at that one:  This one had some serious noodle.

 The dreaded water spot!

There were a couple more fish about the same size and color as that last one, so they didn't get a photo.  These fish were mighty gullible and it was a blast messing with them for about 20 minutes.  Staying longer may have provided some larger ones that I had seen, but my gracious lady and family surely awaited my return.

Needing to get back, I kissed those beauties goodbye, vowing to return with a float tube IN THE MORNING, so I can spend a full day reaping the rewards of a newly found gem in the woods.

The hike back up was much worse than the descent and I was glad to see my family waiting patiently when I returned.  My nice brookie was met with some enthusiasm, so the extra time that my side trip required was justified.

There was still some sunlight left, so we thought we'd finish off the day at a lake that I thought would be ripe for the picking with large cutthroat.

Our destination hadn't been stocked for many years and was generally known as a salamander puddle by most.  While perusing the stocking reports, I noticed that it had been stocked twice in the past three years though.

Having visited the lake before any stocking had taken place, I knew the buffet would be on for any fish that were planted.  The water was rich with scuds and salamanders.  My hopes were high.

Apparently, the fish never survived though.  A conservation officer I spoke with informed me that the gill nets have been empty ever since.  What a shame.

On the bright side, we both got action from some brave salamanders that weren't afraid of her worm or my Blue Fox.  That was a first, and totally unintentional.  After a few photos, they were released.

It's too bad the fish couldn't make it. There's a ton of food in this lake.

Throwing in the towel, we gathered up our things and pointed our noses north again.

 The scenery, as always, was splendid.

Happy Fishing, Humans.


The Cutthroat Stream

First, a quick lunch break update:

The white bass have been aggressive to strike, although I'm not seeing them in the numbers I'm used to in some spots.  Other "usual" white bass spots are as strong as ever.

The browns are still biting, but I've lost some jigs to them lately.  In my irrigation box, something BIG took me for a ride into the tunnel and pulled some serious drag before breaking me off last week.  It fought like a brown and carp aren't usually in that spot, that I've seen.  Who knows?

Speaking of carp, they've been pretty aggressive too.  I've caught quite a few that moved their bulk to grab my jigs.  One fatty broke me off.  Probably 30" or so.  Should have landed that one.

Here's 6.5lbs of crayfish food (bad angle, probably about 25"):

And a small one from Friday's lunch break:

It's always nice to have those creeks close to work to keep me going throughout the week.


The forecast called for rain in most places and it seemed only right to get rained on in a place I love, rather than watch through the window at home. One of my favorite places to get rained on is on the Wasatch Plateau.

On the way up the canyon, a quick stop on the creek gave me a couple of missed swipes and a small cutthroat.

Even though I had a destination in mind to explore, I couldn't pass up my favorite cutt stream.  My first stop was a bit surprising, only yielding one fish, where I normally catch many.  This fish wasn't large, but beautifully marked and showed promise for the future.  I'm sure I'll see it again.

Moving around a bit, the fish started to show up in the beaver ponds.  They weren't as quick to take the Blue Fox as usual, but I still made out pretty well with it.  The "average" sized cutthroat came out to play.

Switching to a black marabou jig provided faster action and that worked out pretty well.  Quite a few were caught and released without a photo, but most were the average size.

At one beaver pond, I got a really crooked one.  It swam and fought differently than the others, with its twisted deformity.

Crazy.  It also showed signs of escaping a predator, with a fin ripped up and the other gill plate was also torn.  Those wounds looked pretty fresh, but I didn't get any shots of them..

The jig was perfect for the sections with thick brush overhanging.  A drop next to those almost always produced a quick reaction from the lurking fish.

Much to my dismay, this was the last photo I was able to get before my camera's battery exhausted.

Naturally, once the camera was dead, my catches became more impressive.  Go figure!

My largest fish of the day was in my hand when I found out about the battery.  It was at least 23 inches and hard to hold with one hand.  It was released, but two other big ones were kept.

The stream doesn't get a lot of pressure, surprisingly, and I believe that keeping a couple of fish from time to time has helped increase the size of my average catch over the years.

The photo below was taken after those fish sat in the cooler for a long time, so it's kind of sad to remember them like this.  The small one was 20" and the other was 22".

Though the camera was no longer part of the trip, there was still plenty more fishing to come.  The creek was still good to me on my way back to the truck and I caught many more from the same holes I had just fished.

So I had already fit a full day's worth of fishing into a couple of hours, but my main destination was still calling.  The point was to go and explore some ponds that looked great from the map.  Off to Potter's Ponds, I went.

Potter's Ponds is a very popular put-and-take fishing spot for the area, but just down the hill are about 30 small ponds, all within a mile radius.  

During good water years, some of these ponds hold fish that grow quickly in the fertile water.  Whether they were put there by people or made their way into them some other way, I don't know.  All I do know is that I've caught some solid 18 & 19 inch rainbows from a couple of them. 

My quest for the day was to investigate the others.  It was a lot of traipsing around the hillside, but many ponds were visited and placed in the "no fish" (no water) category.  Bummer.

One highlight was visiting the creek in Potter's Canyon though.  There's actually a good amount of water in the creek and it holds wild cutthroat.  The ones I saw weren't anything like those I caught earlier, but they were still a lot of fun on the fly rod.

It was a fun day!  The rain was only spotty and it actually felt nice when the showers came.  Add to that, it kept a lot of people off the mountain, so the peace and quiet was rewarding.

Sorry for the camera fail.  I gambled and lost on that one.  I've been kicking myself for not recharging it before the trip.

Happy Fishing, Humans.


Millsite State Park, Skyline Drive - Family Camp Out

My wife and I have wanted to go camping with the kids for awhile and this weekend seemed as good a time as any.  She wanted to either go to Red Fleet Reservoir or Millsite and we chose the latter, since we've never camped there.  With a full tank in the Rodeo, we set off on our adventure.

About 3 hours later (family trips take longer), we arrived to Millsite State Park.

Once we got ourselves situated at the campsite, we tried our luck at the fishing.  There were constant ripples by the far corner of the dam, but we couldn't get anything to bite anything.  It was nice to actually fish this place without a ton of wind for a change.


Watching the clouds erupt over the desert was pretty neat.

We ended the night with a surprise skunk, and I took a pretty bad fall from a boulder on the dam, but all was well.  Just some scratches and bruises (and wet shoes/pants).  We couldn't figure out the fishing though.

Back at camp, we grilled some hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, and marshmallows until we couldn't bear any more.  We brought a lot of food for this trip and it didn't go to waste.

The bathrooms near the tent pads have a few squatters:

The moon was pretty cool that night.  Too bad we couldn't catch it when it was full.

The next morning, I took a walk and fished for about an hour and a half without a bite.  Vowing to catch fish on this trip, I decided to bag Millsite (the wind was already howling anyway) and take everyone a bit upstream.

The only problem was that when I marched back to the tent, everyone else was still asleep!  How anyone can sleep that long in a hot tent after sunrise is beyond me.  While they slept a bit longer, I prepared breakfast and got most of our stuff packed up.

After the family was served their breakfast in bed, we finally got moving and headed up the canyon in search of fish lips.

See ya next time, Millsite.

Our first stop was Willow Lake, where I had experienced mass quantities of hatchery rainbow a couple of years back, on almost every cast.

After wasting about a half hour, I gave up and drove a little further.  More stops ensued and more skunkings were dealt.  It wasn't until I reached a fun tiger lake and I finally tricked something into biting my gear.

Although small, it felt good  to catch at least one fish on our big adventure.

Knowing the lake might actually cooperate, I insisted that we stay to try and crack the code, as to what they were biting.  Time ticked on, but my one fish remained as the only fish so far.

Enough with that, there were more spots just up the road and pretty soon, we basked in the spectacle of Skyline Drive's high point.

As was the case last week, there were many photo opportunities at the top that were practically identical to some that I exploited a couple of years ago.  The flower below could possibly be the same one I framed on that trip.

Another repeat shot, just a different camera this time:


It's so pretty up there.  Looking out from the top is a great feeling.

The last time I shot this sign, I took the Sentra.  The Rodeo proved to be needed though, a few miles to the north.

From the high point, we headed north until we came upon Snow Lake, which looked magnificent and even showed sign of some fish activity.

Still cursed, we struck out at Snow as well.  Though we witnessed 2 definite rises, the fish wouldn't go near anything we threw.  It was demoralizing to get skunked at such a pretty lake.  I walked around much of it, looking for takers.

Another spot I had always wanted to visit was somewhat close.  Cove Lake lie 4 miles south, by way of a very bumpy road.  This is where the 4WD was needed.  Getting to the lake took quite awhile, considering the distance, mostly because we had to crawl in so many places.

Our reward was to find a totally vacant venue at Cove.

Though beautiful and serene, it was incredibly shallow.  The entire shoreline was walked without even seeing a fish, looking everywhere for them.  The only life I found in Cove were salamanders, which is odd, since Cove supposedly gets stocked.

Considering the luck I was having though, there were probably hundreds of hold-over brutes just out of sight but they wouldn't hit anything.

My wife wasn't pleased to know that we would have to return via the same road that led us there.  The deep ruts and large, uneven dips really put the tilt on us and made her nervous.  Here's one of the easy spots on the road.

Collecting yet another skunk, we continued our journey, intending to leave the mountain at the next connecting road.

A quick goodbye to Jet Fox and we were on our way.

More vistas from Skyline Drive required a stop and then we took the North Fork of Manti Canyon to get down.

My last fishing stop of the trip was on a small creek, where I missed a pretty good sized brookie that liked my jig.

Gorgeous creek.  Too bad it wasn't as fishy as it looked though.

Sonia and the kids took a moment to get a refreshing wake-up call before we saddled our hides for the rest of our trip.

Regardless of the fishing, it was a great trip and we all stayed in pretty good spirits while we enjoyed seeing new places together.

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.