Back in June, I had made plans to visit Flaming Gorge Reservoir with a buddy who tends to do pretty well there, trolling. About a year ago, we went out and were able to cross kokanee off my list of species yet to catch. This year, it would be lake trout (and hopefully more kokes).
As the weekend approached, I had been mentally preparing for the big water fishing, when my phone rang and I learned that my Father would be in town for the weekend.
Having been only 10 years old the last time we’d fished together, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to get together with him in a nice setting.
Friday arrived and I had made prior arrangements to take off early from work, check my boy out of school early, get my wife a ride to her job, and venture off into the Uintas for some good looking tigers and brookies.
About 15 minutes into the hike, however, it was obvious that the altitude was messing with my Dad, in conjunction with his heart medicine. His equilibrium was off and he’d actually fallen a couple of times.
We turned back from the original target, which was actually farther away than we’d thought anyway and required a little too much uphill hiking.
Saving daylight, we stopped at Pass Lake along the roadside, hoping to catch a few fish, for the sake of fishing somewhere. The lake was every bit as beautiful as it always is, but the fish weren’t cooperating very much.
Several bites came and went for me, and one for Dad, but in the end, one tiger on my line was all we could get to stay on. No fish for Dad, but at least we fished together.
It was a really nice afternoon though and spending time in the high country with my Father (plus my kids) was especially enjoyable.
There was a moment while we were fishing, where he’d gotten his lure stuck on something, out in the water. After a couple of minutes of trying, he handed me the rod and asked if I had any “magic”.
Almost immediately, the lure gave in and came back to me, to which I responded with a smirk, “Magic”.
The last time we’d fished together, he had spent much of his time unhooking my snags. 22 years later, the tables had turned and it was humbling to see this hero of mine in so many ways have to play the cards that life had dealt him.
It struck a deep chord with me to look into his eyes as he came to the full realization that he could no longer do many of the things that used to be second nature to him.
In another 22 years, there’s a possibility that my own son will be unhooking my snags and helping me off the ground as I struggle to move, prisoner to the medication that keeps me alive.
Life really is too short.
After getting back home that night, I picked my wife up from work, kissed her goodbye, and drove to Salt Lake Valley to meet up with a fellow forum member and his bro-in-law, then we made the long drive to Flaming Gorge.
We arrived at 2:00am. What a sight to see all the stars again! A quick nap in the bed of his truck and we were getting the boat ready for a long day of trolling.
Flaming Gorge really is an amazing place. It’s so huge, yet still manages to keep the screen on a fish finder loaded with arcs, seemingly everywhere.
Using the downriggers, we trolled spoons behind dodgers between 80 and 100 feet, then stacked kokanee gear in the 50-60ft range.
It didn’t take long and we were getting hits. Thanks to the Captain’s homemade rods, the action was easy to detect. Keeping fish on the line was our biggest challenge.
The B-I-L scored first with a lake trout:
More came to hand, including some kokanee, then I finally got my first ever lake trout:
Not a bad one at almost 3lbs. That list has gotten pretty small, aside from some rare species that I doubt I’ll ever target.
Quite a few more fish met the boat throughout the day, though we had a few dry hours in the middle, where nothing was working. We even got rained on and blown around a bit by a couple of quick storms.
Sadly, much of the camera fodder for this trip was never recorded, as my battery died halfway into our morning.
It was a great day though, and the fishing was pretty good for the most part. Special thanks to Mr. Dodger for the invite and great company, and extra special thanks to my loving wife for giving up her husband for a couple of days.
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.