Daniel's, Thistle, & Huntington (Memorial Weekend)

My family and I got out on Saturday, hoping to continue my recent trend of good luck at Deer Creek Reservoir.  As it turns out, my favorite spots on Deer Creek aren't very conducive to family fun, especially when the wind is gusting over 30mph most of the time.

After punishing ourselves for a couple of hours there, we relocated to a more pleasant setting at Whiskey Springs picnic area in Daniel's Canyon, where the pleasant weather and lack of wind was rewarding enough.

Being the obsessed fish-hound that I am though, merely sitting next to a crystal clear stream on a sunny Saturday just wouldn't suffice.  With rod in hand, I got my feet wet and hassled the local wildlife along that short brush-choked stretch of Daniel's Creek.

Right away, a wild rainbow came to hand, but slipped away as I armed the camera.  Shortly thereafter, a couple of small browns and a cutthroat gave me some needed attention.

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Upon my return, the kids made it clear that the picnic was over, so we departed, stopping briefly at the Wallsburg Creek inlet of Deer Creek Reservoir along the way.  That stop provided quick action for freshly planted rainbows and I lost my spinner to a pretty nice one while trying to get the hook out.

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It was good to get out with the family.  Getting such a short tease on Daniel's Creek was too much to handle though and I planned on revisiting the creek the very next day for a solo trip.

As Sunday arrived, my intentions of hitting Daniel's again held strong, until my thoughts drifted toward the central part of the state, where I believed some pre-spawn cutthroat could be waiting for me.  At the last moment, I decided to point myself in that direction.

Along the route, my wandering eyes noted the clarity of Thistle Creek, along HWY 89 and a couple of prime looking fishing holes demanded that I pull over to further investigate.  Though I've driven by this creek a hundred times or more, my collective experience wetting a line in its waters would likely be less than an hour.

There's a lot of private land around Thistle Creek and it can be difficult to tell where those boundaries exist.  Also, my only other attempts at fishing the creek had left a bit to be desired, with only a couple of small fish to hand.

With the day's rather open agenda, it seemed harmless to pull over at an area that looked well-used and hike down into a fishy looking stretch, starting with a small beaver pond.  Right away, that decision proved to be a good one.

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A couple of missed bites later, the bite in that pond died and I found myself marching upstream to see what else I might find.

Oh Thistle, how you tease me.

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The looks of that hole and the next few were just too much and I ended up happily spending the next 3 or 4 hours gleefully unhooking fish and making up for lost time between myself and this terribly overlooked stream, which I had so carelessly neglected, previously.

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Each bend gave way to another great looking stretch of water and the fish were quite cooperative, either giving chase or grabbing hold of my offering.  It was time well spent and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Suddenly, getting to my intended destination didn't seem so important and time slowed down for me while I took note of the "little things" around me, reveling in the glory of a beautiful day.

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This beaver dam was a real treat and I hooked into really good fish below it, and in the pool itself.  Both fish, unfortunately, fought their way to freedom and I wasn't able to meet them.  No matter, I was still catching plenty of others, some of which were actually pretty nice for such a small stream.

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A small side stream entered the creek and I couldn't help but follow it for a short while.  

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Though it was nice and cold, it didn't appear to have many areas suitable for fish to hang out.  I've been surprised by less though.

Back to the main creek, I finally reached an area that appeared to be a property boundary, so I turned around and made my way back to the car, smacking one more brown along the way.

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With that behind me, it was time to finish what I had set out to do.  I made good time getting to Fairview and up the canyon, where I was pleased to see some green on the aspens.  It's the beginning of my favorite time of year, when everything gets really green and lush in the high country.  

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Up at the summit, the remaining snow appears to be fading quickly.

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Some elk were stomping about, just above Huntington Reservoir.

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Even though the snow was basically gone in the area, the gate on Miller Flat Road was still locked, which changed my plans around a little bit.  Instead of fishing my creek, given the remaining daylight, it was ultimately decided to finish off the day at Huntington Reservoir, where I was sure to find some willing tiger trout, which I did.

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I actually caught a lot of fish in a short amount of time between those sizes.  It took a little while to located them and figure out the presentation that they wanted, but soon enough, it was on.

The trick this time was to get to the far shoreline (western shore) and cast out diagonally in either direction about 15-20 feet.  For some reason, casting straight out would leave me empty, but aiming slightly to the left or right got me hits almost every cast.  I was using a Gulp! minnow on a 1/16oz jig head.

Often times, the hits would occur directly below me on the retrieve and I got to watch the scrappy little tigers swooping in and out of view.  Fun stuff!

It was great to visit the Wasatch Plateau, once again, welcoming this summer season, where more good times are surely waiting to be had.

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Happy Fishing, Humans.

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(Happy Memorial Day.  Please remember our fallen soldiers.)


Strawberry and Deer Creek

Over the past few weeks, I've kept my line wet, though trip reports have taken a bit of a back burner.

Three weeks ago, my family and I went to Currant Creek Reservoir, hoping to nail some nice fish like we have before.

The day was filled with small stocked rainbows and many frustrating break-offs with much nicer tiger trout.  It was enough to convince me that I'm not a fan of a certain brand of fluorocarbon hybrid line.  

My standard 4lb mono rarely leaves me dissatisfied, but I thought I'd take a chance since so many people are sold on the newer stuff.

Regardless, my wife (using good old mono) was able to land the biggest fish of the day, which was a big plus for her.  It's been awhile since she has caught any fish, let alone quite a few of them.

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Last week, my buddy J offered to drive for another trip, so we set our sights on Strawberry.  Our first stop was to check on the reservoir near the dam, just to see if it was worth spending any time there before hitting the river.

Instantly, I was hooked up with a pretty good cutthroat.

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It was released without measurement, but I doubt it would have broken the slot.

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From then on, it was about 10:1, rainbows to cutts.  The bows were just below the surface and the cutts were between 10-20 feet.  Gulp minnows, black marabou jigs, and Blue Fox spinners were all getting bites with some frequency.

After several hours of slaying rainbows and a few cutts, we decided it was time for the river.  Armed with his fly rod, J was happy to get a few to hand and I used jigs to catch a couple of browns and my first brookie of the year.

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It was hard to leave the river, knowing about the really nice fish that I spooked in a couple of prime holes.  The decision was made to check the lake one more time before calling it a day, which we did.  

The success rate was a bit slower, but we both ended up with nice rainbows and a few more cutthroat.

Here's my 20".  J caught one at 19".

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It really was a good day.

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Earlier this week, I had some business in the Salt Lake Valley that happened to be right down the road from the Jordan River, the outlet of Utah Lake and major inlet for the Big Salty.

After my formalities had concluded, I stopped in for a few casts and within three casts, had a big sucker on the line, literally.

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This week, pre-set plans for both days of the weekend meant that any fishing would have to be carried out locally.  Checking out my lesser-known spot on Deer Creek Reservoir seemed to fit the bill, so I embarked on the 1.6 mile walk to the "side pocket", as I call it.

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Signs of life were limited to the aquatic insects and a marmot on the rocks, but I thought I'd try my luck anyway.  Being connected to the reservoir, fish are free to find their way in.

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After quite a bit of fruitless casting, I finally got some action.  In fact, I caught four small rainbows quite quickly, using a marabou jig and a rainbow Blue Fox.

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Eventually, I wondered if I would have any luck on the main body of the lake, so I went to check it out.  My plan was to hopefully catch some perch or some bass, but they weren't anywhere I was throwing.

My impression was that it would be a long day and that I might just have to accept a skunk from the main lake, but then a large cloud blocked out the direct sunlight and my next cast yielded a good brown!

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Previously, I had only caught browns from Deer Creek once and that was on my birthday back in December.  Two came in that day, one right after the other.

Well, following that same pattern, my next cast brought in yet another fine Deer Creek brown.

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The clouds moved away for a bit and the sun was shining brightly again. That also meant the bite vanished.

While casting away, I noticed the latest and greatest watersports craze, "Flyboarding".

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It actually looks pretty cool. They can supposedly launch people as high as 40 feet. Neat-O.

Eventually the clouds came back and what else? More browns! A couple of hard tugging bad boys shook off before I met them, but there were still a few that made it in. It may not have been expected, but it was certainly welcome!

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The day went from a big question mark to a big exclamation point and all that needed to happen was for some clouds to move in. Crazy how that works sometimes. There may not have been a lot of fish, but my time spent was rewarded with a valuable lesson in the workings of the enigmatic Deer Creek browns.

I'll have to test this method again in the future and see what happens. For now, I'll just bid a big thanks to Deer Creek for what I would call an excellent day on the water, especially in the short time I had.

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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.