I've kept a little hunch spot in my pocket for awhile now and have been hopeful to go and investigate it. Last week, my buddy and I actually tried to get to it, but had to turn around because of a super sloppy road.
After giving it a week to dry out, yesterday (Saturday) seemed like the perfect time to finally put my hunch to rest, one way or another. The road still had some sloppy spots due to remaining snow drifts, but I blazed through those and kept my hopes of giant tiger trout and colorful Colorado River cutts alive...It was then that I rolled up to a locked gate with the ever-present "No Trespassing" painted on its posts. It's private.
My main reason for even knowing about it is because of the DWR stocking reports. It's supposedly Stocked with small numbers of tigers or cutts for the past several years, in an area that receives little fishing pressure, so it really had my attention.
Having to really dig to find its location, I've had the tingles ever since I first mapped it out. My inquiry to the DWR about it prompted a response that they don't know anything about it and that it was probably a typo. Yeah right.
In that same system, I caught a 22" tiger trout from a rare public easement around a bridge three years ago, so my suspicion of serious potential was strong.
I find it rather interesting that farther down the same drainage, another privately owned reservoir is stocked with public resources, also tigers and CR cutts. So far, the only "official" answer I've gotten from the DWR about this has been that they're concerned about the cutthroat restoration program and they've offered to stock these fish so the land owners don't stock fertile rainbows.
I'm usually a big fan of our DWR, but allow me to express my criticism of these practices:
The DWR must approve any stocking of private waters already. How would a land owner get away with stocking a fertile, non-native species in a resto drainage anyway?
If this is the answer I've been fed, I find it hard to swallow.
Most of the water in that fork of the drainage is wrapped up in private land with very few public access areas. The DWR stocks this water that's basically off limits to the public. I don't like it.
But enough ranting! This is a fishing trip report.
After encountering the gate, my heart was broken and I needed some therapy on the double. The nearest option was a rematch with the stretch of river my buddy and I got our butts handed to us on last week.
This option was acceptable, and the clarity had improved a bit in a week's time. The quickest cure for being bummed out is fishing a small stream. It wasn't long and I was smiling again.
The first spot I marched to was a shallow riffle behind a deep hole. A splash of red on the opposite side revealed a pair of cutts, tail-shoveling in the gravel. After not even seeing a fish for the first hour last week, this was a good sign.
It required some patience and several casts to get a reaction, but the Gulp minnow worked its magic and I caught both of those fish.
The next male had some skin issues. It looked as though sand was embedded in it and it was rough to the touch. Very strange.
I saw a few fish with sandpaper skin like that.
The stream was doing wonders for me! The fish were cooperating and I even caught a pretty good one, considering the size of the stream.
So the stream treated me right and my thoughts moved to other options along the route home. One spot that I've enjoyed in the past was a small pond up a side canyon that feeds into a creek I like to fish.
The cutt pond, as I call it, has always provided medium sized cutthroat, with an occasional nicer one showing up too. A different strain of cutthroat (Bonneville sub species), I was excited to see if they were donning their spawnwear as well.
At the pond, my first casts were with a fly rod. A BH prince below an egg pattern provided no action for 10 minutes and I decided to see how a Gulp would do.
My first cast to the deepest spot of the pond was allowed to sink to the bottom. Watching the line until it went slack, I jigged the tip of the rod right into what felt like a snag. Then the snag moved.
At first, it was hard to process what was happening. This little pond was supposed to provide 13-16" cutthroat. After a few shakes and a strong, drag-peeling run, I decided to capture the catch on video.
What a surprise to find such a beast in that pond! Another place that I found on the maps, another one of my hunches paid big dividends.
A new personal record, that Bonnie-binging brown was 22" long (previously stuck at 20"), and 4lbs, 11oz. What a catch!
That was the only fish from the pond over the two hours I was there. It was as if the day was paying me back for the disappointment of not getting to my other hunch.
Last week, my family and I spent Sunday evening at Currant Creek Reservoir. With quite a bit happening in our personal lives lately, it was the best we could do to get out at all, so we were happy to go.
The road going up was dry and in pretty good shape, aside from some rocks that found their way down the hillsides. Nothing hairy though.
Starting at the north end, Low Pass Creek was running muddy and the piped-in Duchesne wasn't crystal clear, but not too bad. Overall, the was on the murky side at the north end.
Up there, I only managed one cutthroat on a jig and decided to try the dam instead.
Though we didn't even get to the lake until about 3:00 in the afternoon, we still had plenty of good daylight to give it a go.
At the dam, water clarity was noticeably better. We didn't see any minnows along the dam yet, but it shouldn't be too long. The tigers were there, and I got quite a few bites and misses to every catch. Quick hits or tail bites on the Gulp minnows were the norm.
A few of those misses were a shame to lose because I was fighting some good sized fish. I ended up holding only one fish over 20" though:
Some rainbows were on the prowl as well, so a few made it in for a greet n' go. They were looking healthy and fought well. Most were around this size:
People are wondering if the ice is gone. It looks as though the snow is almost gone!
Sonia had been fishing the whole time with only one bite on a worm under a bubble. That one got away, so when the bite turned on later, I handed her my rig to throw while I checked the lonely minnow trap.
Right away, she was getting bites, but wasn't having much luck keeping them on. Finally, one stuck and she had her first catch in awhile.
It was a really nice evening. We fished until the sun hit the mountain and drove back home. Even for a short amount of time, Currant Creek can be a lot of fun. My greatest days there have been best in the evenings.
SATURDAY (MAY 10)
My buddy Keala was in town this past weekend and he and I went fishing. We followed a hunch of mine about a stream with beaver ponds on it that I'd never spent very much time fishing, but always wanted to. The hopes were that we'd stumble upon a reclusive population of big cutts and browns (and maybe more) in them.
The reality though, was a good hour of marching the stream without ever really finding much fish. One hole I managed to haphazardly stomp into once I'd let my guard down had at least 5 fish in it. Most were pretty impressive for that size of stream too! There were a couple pushing 18 or more, I would guess.
Naturally, we didn't find any more fish for awhile until I watched a decent cutthroat with a lot of color move across a riffle behind an undercut horn of land around a bend.
It might have been how I held my hand up to signal Keala to stop, or maybe it was the startled expletive, but he obliged and I tossed my Gulp right behind the fish. At first, it didn't flinch, but as I hopped my jig past his right side, he swooped and I had a beautiful specimen from a small stream.
All dressed up for the party at the end of the month.
After that, we there was again, no sign of life for some time. We decided to follow a fork in the stream and actually found some fish that would show themselves. They were pretty small.
Eventually, Keala hooked into a tiny cutthroat that kept aggressively nipping at his line. At that point, he was just happy to catch something.
He started catching similar fish with more frequency and I did too, once I tied a small bead head prince nymph behind my jig.
A small fish hit that right away. It was promising, so I got the fly rod out and caught a couple on that as well. The fish were all small, but they were pretty and the surroundings were phenomenal.
The stream was so overly inviting, it was amazing to us that we weren't catching multiple fish from every hole. Regardless, the place was really nice to explore.
The average catch was about this size:
We had our fun, but the fishing was pretty slow for most of our time there. In the spirit of trying to get him into a big fish before leaving Utah for a number of years, we resorted to fishing Scofield Reservoir for the chance of a monster trout of some kind.
When we got there, it was a bit surprising for us to be the only people at the dam. We got right to casting and Keala struck first with the Lucky Craft. It was a medium/small cutthroat.
My own mid-cutt hit me a few minutes into it.
A smaller tiger came awhile later, after more of the same skinny cutts and a tiny rainbow.
The bites were coming and that was nice, but we weren't seeing anything with actual size. I caught a fat 7 inch chub that was killed and Keala actually lobbed it out there by hand with his bale open, letting it sink to the bottom. We laughed about how great it would be if something actually grabbed that huge offering.
Well, something actually did about 15 minutes into soaking. We were both in awe as we watched line jumping from the open bale. Whatever it was, it was moving fast for about 20 seconds, then nothing. The longest seconds ticked by and the line stay slack. It was somewhat heartbreaking when Keala started reeling to feel only the resistance of the big chub.
He did catch the biggest fish of the day though, as I had predicted to his brother he would. Unfortunately, the only photo I got was from across a small bay and fish slipped at the last moment. It was a pretty nice cutthroat though.
We called it a day without any real trophies to show for it, but it was great to see Keala again. He'll be out of state for a few years before he'll be able to come back to Utah again. Perhaps some of my readers from the driftless area can throw me some details about trout fishing in Iowa that can be put to use...
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.