This week was supposed to be a family trip, but the weather was just too cold for all of us to have a good time, so I went alone.
A few waters have recently opened up and I'd heard rumors of a fishable amount elsewhere, so I thought I'd give it a go.
Though the ice was still holding strong at my main destination, I worked the small open areas as best I could.
It was actually pretty discouraging to be locked out of my preferred areas on the lake. 2 hours passed before I got my first strike, which came after the wind gave me enough room to cast a Blue Fox.
Eventually, I switched back to the black marabou and jigged it in a hole I had made a bit earlier with a rock. A nice 20" cutthroat was ready for that one.
Finally getting some action on the jig motivated me to test more of the open water. Seeing a nicer cutthroat was comforting, as it had been awhile since a big one graced my hand.
The ice sheet was lined up with a good casting area and I was able to skirt the edge of it over some deeper water. Going on my 4th hour and only 3 fish caught, it was a major relief to feel a good pull on the line. A beautiful 22" tiger slammed the black marabou forcefully.
It was quite the handful and much appreciated after working all day for it.
Not long after that, I picked up a 23" female while hopping my jig along the bottom. As neat as that should have felt, she was actually pretty ugly. Scrawny body and a parachute face.
Sometimes those mutant tigers just don't grow right.
Catching another big one was more than welcome though.
Having satisfied my interest in that lake, it was time to head out. There was still time to go out of my way a little and work some healthy rainbows. This proved to be a great idea.
At first I thought I was in the wrong place. Nothing was biting for the first 20 minutes, but then I dialed in on how to present. Again, they wanted the black marabou.
Hopping it on the bottom produced smaller bows, but dropping it to the bottom, then gently jigging it up through the water column was money. The next 40 minutes was the perfect way to top off my day.
That 19" tank fought like crazy! What a fish! Its buddies weren't bad either.
Nice and thick.
A day like this was exactly what I've needed. The rainbows wrecked my jig, which was newly tied on for that lake.
I even got home before dark, which made my wife happy too. Bonus!
Life sure has its way of making people busy! Over the past few weeks, I've kind of had a mix of that and some less-than-stellar fishing, so posting trip reports hasn't been much of a priority.
Two weeks ago (Feb 16):
The family and I went down to the Manti area and drilled some holes. The first spot was horrible and left us without any bites, but Palisade yielded quite a few small, dull rainbows.
Nobody but myself could get anything hooked after the bites came, but I was glad to get some help reeling in.
Fishing the trench running W to E, almost every new hole I drilled provided at least one fish. Most came right over the outflow box though, near shore. Mealies and small minnows were working well, paired with white cutt'r bugs.
Though they didn't get any hookups of their own, my family kept trying.
Once the kids' attention span was exhausted, they turned their focus on the destruction of my ice scoop, which proved to be successful, later on.
The ice was plenty thick (two weeks ago) at around 9 inches or so, though there was open water on east side, like usual.
On the way out, many turkeys lined the side of the road.
Need a ride?
It's strange how some days when the catching is good, the overall experience just doesn't quite provide the "fix" that was sought. That trip was one of those days, but it was better than sitting at home and surely better than working.
Lately at work, my lunch breaks have been focused on other things and fishing has mostly taken the back burner, which is sad, but I managed to get out a few days ago and caught a little brown.
That was needed, especially since that particular stretch will be closed for a couple of months now.
With tax returns helping me out, I was able to get some needed work done on my Sentra and that's going to save me a TON of money this year on fuel expenses. The Rodeo has been killing my wallet and the 40+ mpg that the Sentra offers has been greatly missed.
To celebrate, my family and I decided to head out to the Joe's Valley area to see the sights that we love so much. Our "picnic spot" was calling and this trip was long overdue.
Getting the usual late start, the expectation wasn't necessarily to get any ice fishing in, but all that gear was brought along, just in case. The main idea was just to get out there and let the day take us from there.
Though there were a lot of places I wanted to pull over and fish, I resisted the urge until we were actually in Straight Canyon, where the creek was just too gorgeous to ignore. The water practically glowed in the sunlight and the deeper holes screamed for attention.
There were three really good looking holes in a row right there and each had fish that gave chase, but wouldn't fully commit to the bite. Farther upstream, the "picnic spot" provided better fishing and a nice lunch!
The fish were in predictable holding spots too.
They really liked this drop-off too.
What an incredible place! The fish were small and I really didn't spend a whole lot of time chasing them, but somehow this trip was exactly what I needed. Getting back to the area is what really mattered.
The creek has healing waters.
After the picnic spot, our next move was to get to visit Joe's Valley again. The lake was still completely capped and the ice looked safe, although I didn't even test it.
The afternoon was slipping away too quickly to get everyone down to the water, holes drilled, and multiple poles rigged, plus the rest of the family was content without all of that.
Instead of fishing the reservoir, we drove around the area for a little while to take in the scenery. Lowry Water beckoned and I couldn't resist a short diversion, fishing under the highway bridge.
A tiny splake took the first toss.
After missing a couple of follows from other fish in the hole, I crossed where the creek was frozen over and dangled my jig through a small hole in the ice. Much to my surprise, I yanked a small BROOKIE out of that hole!
It wasn't expected, but it was welcome. Good to know...
So we never even fished Joe's, but we came, we saw, and most importantly, we felt great to be out there again.
One more stop in the canyon on the way down and we were home free, spirits refreshed.
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.