Since my great friend Aaron was still in town, we agreed that a good old camp out was in order and we migrated south for the weekend.
Due to a very late start, we got to the water around mid afternoon. Wanting to set up a base camp there, we postponed that idea for the sake of hiking in to the lake we wanted to check on.
Fishing the first lake for a little while was too much to resist, so the two of us made slow progress to get from A to B.
Aaron got a small tiger to hand after trying for quite some time. I never scored on that lake.
It wasn't long before we realized that our daylight wasn't going to last forever and hopped off trail for a bit of bushwhacking. The hike wasn't easy, but that's a good thing out there.
Marching through tall green grass, fallen timber and wildflowers, the scenery was reward enough.
It's such great country
The footwork ate up precious time, leaving little for fishing, though we still took a stab at it.
The surface showed plenty of activity, though I messed up my fly gear immediately. My preferred tactic for brookies would have to do.
Aaron was the first to score.
The size wasn't what we were looking for, knowing of better fish present, but it was nice to break the silence at that lake. Another small one also paid me a visit.
A few more small ones came in for me before I found one with any size to it.
That was a better fish. Certainly not the biggest in the pond, but it was great to find something that filled my hand better. Doing so in such a setting was something to be grateful for.
Another mid sized brookie came in and some more runts, but I didn't find the hogs, this trip. Aaron got a better one right as it was time to leave.
It was getting late and we hadn't even set up camp yet at point A. Time to gaze across the pond one last time, then make a challenging push up a heavily forested hillside.
Goodnight, nameless brookie pond.
Once we'd reached the car, we noticed the full moon rising and thought we'd hang out on the shore, drown some worms and have some fresh brookies for dinner.
Watching the last of the day's light retreat to the west over glassy water was something I really enjoyed. It's usually a site I take in from a highway. Watching from almost 10,000 feet next to a placid lake without a soul around for miles is what it's all about.
The moon was pretty cool too. We stayed up until 1:30, appreciating its company. We even caught a couple of small rainbows while we were at it.
Due to our late night, the sun beat us to the water by a long shot. We considered our options for the day and settled on a creek that I suggested.
At first, the fishing was slow. We saw only two fish in the entire stretch that we tried at first. The only bite that came of that was missed. Downstream a mile or so might be better.
We took another hike and ended up where the water was flowing a little bit better and harbored more fish. The fishy holes actually had fish in them, but they weren't just biting anything.
A marabou jig got a few cutthroat to play.
The stream had plenty of hiding spots for fish of any size.
At one hole, Aaron and I sat and watched a slightly bigger cutthroat rise over and over, but couldn't figure out what it was coming up for. There were plenty of bugs all around, so it could have been anything.
Determined to catch it, we both threw all sorts of junk at it, hoping it would react. Nothing worked. Eventually, I opened up my fly box and started trying different nymphs with no luck.
After watching yet another rise from this fish, only feet away from us, I tied on a mayfly pattern and placed it on the surface a few feet ahead of it.
Right in front of us, we watched as it effortlessly moved up to kiss the top. Amazed, I lifted my spinning rod and set the hook to a fun battle in the small hole.
It wasn't big, but it was a great way to cash in on all the effort that was put into finally coercing a strike.
The next one got me back though. The creek started twisting its way through some dead fall and a floating Rapala seemed like a suitable lure to work around the structure.
Turns out I was right, but while I was unhooking a medium sized cutt, it went into fits and hooked me deeply. In all of my time fishing, it took until that moment to finally bury a hook past the barb into my flesh.
After the initial hooking, the fish continued to thrash with all of its weight driving the hook deeper. That sucked. As soon as I could, I got the other hook out of the fish and it was free to go.
I, on the other hand (get it?), was still captive. With my free hand, I maneuvered my backpack around and grabbed some needle nose pliers for something a bit more rigid than my hemostats.
After a deep breath and some happy thoughts, the hook was removed without having to clip it. That's still a win in my book.
Back to business, a cute little friend got ambitious.
Unfortunately, Aaron started the day with a killer headache that never let up. It really affected his enthusiasm for fishing and threw him off his game. Though we were pitching the same gear, he still got a fat skunk on the day.
One last cutt came out of hiding for me before we had to hike back to the car, exhausted and overheating (I was in my PVC waders).
It was hard to watch him get shrugged all day, but I suppose going empty handed in such a pretty area would still be pretty nice.
About a week ago, I heard mention that my good friend would be in town soon for a visit. Naturally, I was excited, but not nearly as excited as I was when I found out he was coming even sooner.
Yesterday, Holdsworth stopped in to say hello.
After driving straight through from the San Francisco area of California, he needed to rest a bit. A three hour nap is what he got and then it was time to dash off with my family and I to the Manti for some time on the water.
Surprisingly enough, the creek we went to was really crowded with nearby campers and their dogs, which really threw the fishing off. It took awhile for us to see any activity at all.
First fish was a small cutthroat on the fly:
The fishing was still rough going for the next bit until we came upon some nice holes that hadn't tasted the hair of the dog yet. We managed to spook quite a few fish, but getting them to turn on a hook was nearly impossible.
Finally, a rainbow bit a killer caddis and gave me a good tussle.
Aaron hooked into a good one too:
The fishing died after that and we abandoned that creek for another one with better fishing under the circumstances.
It didn't take long and we were bent again.
Then it was my turn and this little rainbow looked like it was dipped in white paint.
Its buddy's white tip was also quite prominent.
After a few fish like those, we collected the family (the kids were playing in a nearby reservoir) and drove to Huntington Reservoir, where we hoped to find some tiger trout that were willing to play.
Again, the fishing was slow. About an hour went by before Aaron walked to the far side, where he got a small one. After awhile, I went across as well, but we saw the sky and knew that it would be a shame to be anywhere but the summit at sunset.
We arrived at the summit just in time to capture some pretty amazing views.
Amazing sky! That mounting thunderhead we'd noticed earlier was ablaze with sunset shades of fire.
I got a little trigger-happy with that area.
So the fishing wasn't exceptional, but fish were caught and good times were had by all. Seeing an old friend after 2 years was really great. Since he's staying with us for a couple of days, we went for a couple of local hikes today, up Provo Canyon.
First stop was a place that a lot of my friends liked to hike to called Upper Falls. It's a short, steep hike to the falls, then a treacherous adventure higher up.
Having the family along, we decided to stay at the bottom of the falls.
The kids had a blast in this little "wading pool".
The falls are a great place to take in some views and get in a quick hike worth breaking a sweat to.
It was great to revisit old times and finally take my family up there instead of talking about it as we drive by, like usual.
A rare sight on that portion of the Lower, a big beaver dam has formed right around the Upper Falls park. Some nice surface action was observed at the head of the pool.
After that hike, we slowed it down for a gentle stroll on the Big Springs trail, up South Fork.
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.