Warming Up!

Ah, the springtime is upon us! The apricots are blossoming, daffodils dancing in the breeze, and trees are budding all around. Songbirds serenade the sunrise and warmth finds its way back into our world. Life is stirring, once again!

It seems as though every winter gets more and more difficult for me to deal with, in terms of patience. Anglers are supposed to excel at being patient, aren't we? Well, when it comes to old man winter, I'm ready to run him off the road long before his reign has passed.

Granted, I still get out and fish, but my sanity is truly tested as the gloomy months of frost slowly slither into history. I suppose my foul-weather map hounding and subsequent research only further fuel the insatiable appetite I have for sunny spring days on a float tube. These wounds are self-inflicted.

There's light at the end of the tunnel though and the magical days of spring are emerging! All over the state, ice is rotting and pulling back from shorelines. It won't be long and we'll have our precious waters back.

The past two weeks have been very nice, weather-wise. Temps in the 60's and 70's have graced us, providing beautiful days to actually enjoy (rather than endure) some time on the water.

My last report mentioned several new items that I've been glad to put to use. Holdsworth has also caught the new gear bug and gone a little wild with it.

Our last couple of trips have focused on getting this new gear wet!

Last week, we fished a great stream that usually treats me right. In the narrow canyon, large boulders and a steep gradient make for some fantastic pocket water, where the browns lay in wait for an opportunistic snack.

This stream will leave an angler soggy and sore, but nonetheless, smiling.

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The new waders served Holdsworth well. Hopefully they continue to - hold worth (See what I did there?). N'yuk, n'yuk.

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A fine stream, it is. A full day is hardly enough time to play here.

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I got in on the action as well, getting several smaller browns and a couple of cutthroat.

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There were some line issues I encountered, snapping off several times while attempting to set the hook on some impressive fish. One of those was tucked away in the rare slack water froth, found in a few areas.

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My theory is that the first 20 or 30 feet of my line had been compromised from abrasive concrete culverts, while pitching under roads on my lunch breaks.

Aaron had his own bout with misfortune as well, when a snag eventually culminated in a loud crack and a stumpy pole.

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Poor guy. That rod was only a month or two old. He'd go on to replace that later, feeding that new gear bug again.

Not all the fish were small though. At the last hole we fished, a good sized brown took me for a short ride before introducing itself...and it's deeply colored adipose and caudal fins.

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It was a tougher day than usual for that stream, but neither of us were skunked and it was great to catch up with that sweet stretch of water.

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Throughout the work week, like usual, lunch break fishing kept me content while awaiting the coming weekend. Some largemouth have been hitting, so that's been fun, but one catch really stood out.

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What?!? Just seeing a turtle is a rarity to begin with, but catching one on hook and line? Well, write it off as another strange catch on lunch break.

It showed up while I was pitching for LMB, then moved upstream to hassle some big carp. As my soft plastic leech rested on the bottom, I noticed the turtle coming in for a closer look.

"No way", I thought, as it extended its neck and started to chomp on my offering.

Hooking a fish is one thing, but turtles aren't fish. I don't see them as meat with fins (or a shell in this case) and I really didn't think it would actually go for my jig. It started to swim away with my stuff and I didn't want to hurt it, so I slowly lifted my rod and, sure enough, he stayed on.

The hook actually got him right behind his head, in one of the neck folds. Getting it out presented its own set of problems, as turtles tend to hide in their shells when they feel threatened.

This whole episode surely left the turtle feeling threatened, but eventually I got the hook out and he was no worse for wear. I didn't even notice any blood, which made me feel a little better about it.

After the hook removal, we had a little moment together. I stared at him and he stared right back. I could see him inspecting me up and down, side to side, observing, thinking.

It was then that I gained an entirely new respect for turtles. They seem to have a different kind of intelligence than fish, despite the urge to eat scented plastic. Gently releasing him, I vowed not to let turtles eat my baits anymore.

This past weekend, Holdsworth and I met up with our old room mate, Corbin, and set off to fish Joe's Valley Reservoir.  We hadn't fished together since our cohabitation, so it was great to get out again.

Our first stop was in the dam arm, where I typically do really well, most trips.  It took about a half hour, but then I found a good spot to cast and landed 4 medium sized splake in about 20 minutes.

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Then one at 18":

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After that, the bite went dead for the next while.  We decided to wrap around to the inlet to see if anything was stirring over there.  A rumor I had heard about springtime tactics at Joe's was to be tested...

It was also an opportunity to get out on my tube, plus to give Holdsworth a chance on it, for his first float.  Once the tube was ready, I kicked around for about 2 hours, only catching one small cutthroat, missing a couple of hits, and losing a new rod off the side (cheaper rod - no biggie).

After coming back to shore, I gave Aaron his first taste of float tubing.  Shove off, buddy!

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He enjoyed it and actually stayed out for awhile.  No fish were caught, but at least he got a chance to get a feel for it.  Hopefully he gets his own tube soon enough because we have some serious water to tackle this year.

While he was out, I remained on the shore with Corbin, who lost a dandy right at his feet.  That was his only action to that point.  It was bigger than any fish I have personally seen at Joe's.  Pity.

Eventually I got something to bite, and reeled in a cutthroat.

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Another long spell of empty casting ensued before I got a good take and reeled in my biggest splake to date.

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At 19", it fought quite hard and gave me faith in JVR's ability to kick out some quality fish.  Reports of 12lb splake occur every once in awhile, so they're certainly in there.  The tiger muskie that were stocked several years back have reportedly done well also, with fish over 40" being caught in the past couple of years.

Grabbing my fly rod, I whipped an olive sculpin pattern around for some time and actually did alright for small splake, catching several in a short amount of time.  It was good to get a bend in that new rod.

Right before Aaron kicked back in, Corbin finally hit paydirt and horsed in a 21" bruiser.

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Nice fish!  It's hard to watch someone get worked all day with nothing to show for it, but I love it when they get a break and end up with the fish of the day.  We fished hard and got home late.  Joe's is a lovely venue with beautiful water.  My only regret is that we didn't have enough time to fish the tail water creek.

The nice weather has been wonderful and I look forward to everything coming.  Thanks for reading.

Happy Fishing, Humans.


Slow Start 2015

Much like last year's early months, 2015 has held a lot of slow fishing for me.  Despite my long day trips, the fastest action has actually come on my lunch breaks.

The year kicked off with a feisty largemouth:

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That same day, a big channel cat paid me a visit:

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Currant Creek Reservoir teased me with smaller fish while two really nice tigers broke free.

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Another attempt to catch better fish resulted in a long drive for one missed bite and two rainbows for Holdsworth:

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Back on lunch, a local creek that connects to Utah Lake has proven to be a fun stop, providing a few small browns and quite a few sightings of northern pike.  The pike aren't supposed to be there, so our DWR is quite concerned.

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A foul-weather day kept me local one weekend and I marched my way up Battle Creek, just to see if I could find some fish in the tiny stream.

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It was a great hike, but no fish were sighted.  Call it a wild hair.  The only fish of the day came from one quick stop from the Provo River on my way home.

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Lunch, again, gave me something to wrap my hands around.

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Holdsworth and I tried our luck at some freshly-thawed water at Minersville Reservoir, but our efforts led to only a few fish for me and a skunk for Aaron.

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The Beaver River ran low and clear, making it difficult to catch anything in the canyon.  A few still came to hand though.

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Beautiful Canyon!

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Another trip led us out to Starvation to fish more open water, but I got served a steaming pile of skunk while Aaron picked up one good rainbow all day.

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A small window of open water at the Ladders of Strawberry was loaded with tiny rainbows and we picked on those for a few minutes on our way home.  They don't count.

With much of my fishing gear in dire need of replacement, I obliged and picked up a decent spinning outfit.  It's always so nice to cast new line from a new reel, flying through the eyelets of a new rod.  I had almost forgotten that feeling.

A nice largemouth gave me my first good battle on the new rig:

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Handled it nicely!

My "new gear bug" still wasn't quite satisfied, so I cleaned out some broken old rods and a damaged pair of waders to send in for warranty replacement.  I've been putting that off for far too long and it felt great to watch it all drive off in a brown van.

Good customer service should be recognized and I feel as though my returns were handled well.

My first fly rod, a 9ft 5wt was a charming stick to swing and we roped a lot of nice fish together.  Temple Fork Outfitters took great care of me and had my rod back to me within a week of sending it.

My second fly rod, a Redington RS4 (8ft, 3wt), proved its worth on a few stream outings, but it was short-lived.  The fragile little rod didn't last very long and it's nice that Redington replaced it as best they could, having since discontinued the RS4.

In its stead, the newer Voyant is what they sent me, at 7' 6".  After a couple of trips, I have yet to land a fish with it, but I'm looking forward to giving it some real work soon.

My other return is still traveling back to me, but William Joseph is also treating me right and replacing a pair of waders whose knee blew out.  Another discontinued model (V2), Willy Jo let me select the replacement waders out of a couple of choices.

I'll make sure I get some good use out of those when they get here.

To those companies, I extend a very warm thank you.  A satisfied customer, I am.

Last week, staying local was needed to keep the peace at home, so I went to my preferred spot on Deer Creek Reservoir and surprisingly lucked into a bunch of browns.

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Catching 5 or 6 of those and a rainbow, it was a nice trip with decent action.  Considering most of this year's trips, I was glad to catch anything at all.

The last day of February led Holdsworth and I to check on suspected open water.  My timing was slightly off and we were a little early.  The only open water was in shallow, weedy areas and it seemed as though the fish were scarce on that side of the lake.

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We each caught one smaller fish in our hours trying for better.

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The fishing was lousy so we hit one more place before calling it a day.  Right away, a couple of thick rainbows cooperated with me, which was really needed.

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As slow as it's been on most of my trips, I've still held some pretty nice fish in these first three months.  More water should be opening up soon enough and the rewards should only get better.  We've got some big plans for the fairer weather this year and I can't wait to get that rolling.

Until then, I'll keep staring at maps and daydreaming about what's coming.

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.