Big Bad Brookies - Uintas

A few forum members and I got together to raid the Uintas on Saturday.  Scientificangler (Keoni), Brookieguy1 (Dave), Sawsman (Jason), and myself had a collective mind to hunt down some nice brookies in a region where smaller fish are typically the norm.

This was sure to be a good trip, considering the guest list and the venues.  Having been forum buddies for quite some time, and part of our little “trout underground”, it was a bit strange that Keoni and Jason had never actually met each other in person until this trip.

Our first stop required a bumpy ride and a little stomping, but promised healthy brookies for the willing.  Near the lake, we stumbled upon (and subsequently awakened) a crazy old Russian guy who had been camping in the area for some time.

He was quite protective of the mushrooms growing in the surrounding area and was quick to shoo me away from “his” prize, an 8 inch muffin that I thought was neat.  His plan was to take it home on Monday, he explained.

Once we’d shoved off in our tubes, Jason started the catching clinic, hooking up left and right.  Keoni seemed to keep his rod bent too.  Both were getting some pretty good ones in the mix, up to 18 inches in length.

My own success was limited to a lot of missed bites on jigs and flies.  For some reason, I had really hard time setting the hook.  In retrospect, using my stiffer rod I had may have increased my catch rate.

Not all the fish got away though.  A couple of smaller ones stayed on for me and a pretty good one at 17.5".

Unfortunately, what seems to be a trend of bad luck continued on this trip for Dave.  Whenever he and I fish together, he gets wet.  Somehow, it never fails and I even predicted it this time.

Starting out with a leaky bladder in his tube, he was banished to the shore, where the fishing on this lake would be much more difficult.  Deciding to wade out for a better casting position, we were all glad to see him hook up with a keeper.  Nobody would be skunked today.

It wasn’t too long after that, we all jerked our heads around in response to the high-pitched whooping of poor Dave, whose head and shoulders were all that remained above the water.

He had stepped into a deeper trench next to a beaver lodge and had taken “the plunge”, which was jokingly forecast earlier.  We all had to laugh, but still felt bad.  It’s never fun to fill your waders with cold water.

After Dave had some time to dry off and attempt a jerry-rigged fix on his tube, we decided it was time to investigate our other lake, which required yet another bumpy ride.  The drive took a pretty long time and we enjoyed some gut-busting laughs, swapping stories along the way.

Finally reaching our target, we all hoped that the lake had fared well over the 2 years since Dave had last visited.

Time ticked on and all casts were unmolested by the mythical fish that supposedly existed.  We were all a bit dumbfounded, wondering what we could be doing wrong or if the lake might have somehow killed.

Shuffling through our tackle boxes and trying every trick in the book, the outlook was grim until Keoni finally coerced a gorgeous beast into munching a Gulp! leech.

Needless to say, this gave the rest of us hope and we continued to work hard in search of our finned friends.

Despite our efforts, the action was still brutally slow and it took a long time before a brown maribou jig was taken by what might be my new personal best brookie at 18.5":

What a beautiful specimen!  It was quite the surprise to me that I’d catch something like that from the Uintas, of all places.  Sure, there are some real sleepers within the thousands of waters in this mountain range, but it’s great to have some confirmation.

The next to score would be Keoni again, across the lake from me.  Jason finally nailed one too and was pretty close to me when it happened.

As I was preparing to get a photo of the nice female, it was able to free itself and slipped away, sadly.  It was also a good sized fish.  He was able to wrangle in one more during our float, a little while later.

Dave’s bad luck continued, however.  He diligently worked the fishy looking structure and the lily pads, but just couldn’t buy a taker.  While I was in the same area, he finally hooked into one, but it shook off, only a couple of seconds into the fight.  What a tough day for Dave!

One more fish decided to grace my hands before we left, eating a nightcrawler I was drifting as a last resort.  It was a 17" female that I somehow failed to photograph.

What a great bunch of guys to get out with!  It’s been awhile since I’ve laughed that hard and had that good of a time fishing in a group.  Special thanks need to be extended to Keoni for driving, and to Dave for being the “martyr” of this trip.

I had a blast and would gladly rearrange my schedule at the drop of a hat to fish with any of these guys again.  Thanks, guys.

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.