Spawning Cutthroat and a Big Brown!

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 female:

 photo MoCutts002_zps5098d512.jpg

The male:

 photo MoCutts004_zpsf2f1358d.jpg

Soooooooo colorful!

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.

 photo MoCutts005_zpsf8c2cedf.jpg

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.

 photo MoCutts006_zps0988408c.jpg

 photo MoCutts007_zpsaa2a4f7c.jpg

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!

 photo MoCutts016_zps7fa11f8a.jpg

 photo MoCutts017_zpsf8ecb151.jpg

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.

Gladly accepted!

 photo MoCutts012_zpsddc457cb.jpg

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.