Welcome to the Utah Water Log. Join me as I travel across the picturesque state of Utah in search of great fishing and a chance to take in the beauty that can be found along the way.
Uinta High Country
Though I don't like missing Sunday football, that was the only day I was able to fish this week. There was a lake in the Uintas that I wanted to fish with my Dad when he was in town, but we never made it there. In my book, that's called unfinished business.
Word on the stream was that some impressive tiger trout could be found there, plus some nice specimens of other species as well. It's not a lake that gets stocked too often, so I had my hopes up.
En route to the high country, a roadside ditch (sculpted stream) demanded my attention and I pulled over to drop a jig. Just as my curiosity was put to rest by a scrappy brown trout, a woman came out of her nearby home and started barking at me to leave "her kids' pets" alone.
Even though the ditch was outside of her fence line and running parallel to a busy road (100% legal for me to fish), I chose not to make it an ugly confrontation and calmly told her that I wasn't doing any harm and intended to release them after a quick photo. It also seemed necessary to let her know that I'm a bit strange and do this kind of thing, all over the state.
Her response was that she and her family had planted them in there and that they were hers. Aha! This is when I inquired if the DWR had been part of her stocking and she suddenly stopped caring that I was fishing this public resource that was close to her yard. Go figure.
No matter. The neighbors in the house next to hers really enjoyed watching me catch that fish where the ditch ran under the road.
Continuing on my journey into the hills, another stop was warranted at some beaver ponds along Beaver Creek, just outside of Samak. After a couple of misses, I was able to bring in a little cutthroat before proceeding.
While driving higher and higher, I noticed the Upper Provo River diminishing more and more. It was sad to see about 90% of the stream bed, bone dry. There’s hardly any water being released from Trial Lake and the river has suffered greatly.
I promised myself that I’d stop to investigate on the way down, if time permitted.
Finally reaching my parking spot, I readied my gear and set off on foot. From the maps, the hike looked to be a short jaunt through the woods. As is the usual case, I was wrong. It wasn’t brutal or anything, but it wasn’t nearly as fast as I’d imagined.
There was plenty of scenery along the way though and I was all alone. Just what I needed.
Something I’ve always enjoyed is seeing how time and rough conditions affect the plant life of the high country. Old roots get pretty neat looking after awhile.
Arriving at my lake, I noticed one family fishing, and a lone fisherman farther down the shoreline. Not bad for a lake that close to the highway. It’s really pretty too. I can only imagine how nice it would be at full pool.
Like usual, it took me a long time to get motivated enough to pump up my tube and shove off, but after trying the shore fishing for about an hour, I gave in. The occasional large splash in the middle convinced me.
The fishing was pretty slow, but I had quite a few fish take my minnow and swim off, only to whiff when trying to set the hook. That was frustrating, but I eventually got some action from a Gulp! minnow.
The first fish to hand was a cutthroat that was released. They aren’t stocked in the lake, so it was a pleasant surprise.
My second fish was a hard-fighting tiger trout of 16”. It wasn’t a hog as I’d hoped for, but still a respectable fish from the Uintas.
A couple more fish wiggled their way off my hook before I was too cold to stay on the water any longer.
Knowing that there are bigger fish in there, I left, acknowledging that I still have unfinished business at this lake.
On my way down, as I’d promised earlier, I stopped at the falls to see if any fish remained in the many shallow pools.
As expected, the pools were vacant. It seems as though the fish have either moved downstream or they've been picked off by the many birds of prey in the area. Bummer.
On the bright side though, it was a great opportunity to take mental notes of the stream bed layout, in places that the water is usually flowing over.
It’s such a beautiful place. Perhaps I’ll be back before the freeze comes along, or maybe I’ll wait until next year. The schedule is pretty stacked for awhile though.
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.
This is a photo of my kitchen blinds, through the bottom of a drinking glass.
Collect Neat Stuff?
Relic Mercantile might have just what you're looking for.
Travis Sylvester, of Travzart.com
Travis Sylvester is a local Utah artist, whom I've known for a few years. His artwork is sensational and he seems to improve with every new piece. He reproduced one of my cutthroat photos in colored pencil and it turned out great. Check out his website and click this pic.
While Googling trout images one day, I stumbled upon some art by A.D. Maddox and became a fan right away. Photos link to her site.