Welcome to the Utah Water Log. Join me as I travel across the picturesque state of Utah in search of great fishing and a chance to take in the beauty that can be found along the way.
Let's Get Elevated
Since the end of May, I've put a lot of miles on my Sentra, and my feet. Between family hikes and fish finding, it's been a great three weeks of stomping.
With an open agenda and without company, I took an opportunity to check an old hunch after getting burned again by the same big fish that have evaded me through repeated, relentless efforts on my part. Not everything has dodged my hand, but plenty of bruisers fought their way to freedom.
A smaller brookie from my obsession spot (possible repeat catch - mouth):
A pretty cutthroat:
Though I couldn't capture any giants, quite a few of the smaller fish came in. Hanging out at that spot is pleasant enough, as is. Sometimes I have to take a break just to watch these fish do their thing.
In this video, the fish are a bit spooked, but they got right back to work a few minutes later.
After the torture of watching nice fish snub my temptations, I decided to get to the day's main objective, checking a hunch.
The hike was a soggy two miles on an ATV trail and I made great time. My findings were that this shallow beaver pond near a spring held no fish and probably couldn't sustain any over a winter.
Tough break, but it's not much of a surprise and it's always great to check off another "maybe". The scenery was nice anyway.
No fish in there either.
Getting back to the car, I salvaged the day with a visit to a couple of lakes higher up the hill.
That one didn't give me much love, but a few bites were missed. The next one had plenty of fish though. Too many, even:
This was the biggest fish out of several:
I'd wanted to get back there again and it was sad to see the average size much smaller than I recalled. Still a good day.
The day after hiking to three different lakes, I took my family out for a couple of short hikes and some local sight seeing.
Here we are at Upper Falls in Provo Canyon:
It's a short hike, but quite vertical. From the base of the falls, several other routes head higher up the mountain, but they're not suitable for less experienced hikers. We then messed around in Diamond Fork Canyon after a family visit in Spanish Fork.
This is the Red Ledges Picnic Area:
It's a neat little concentration of sandstone formations that seem slightly out of place when observing the surrounding area. The lower trails lead to more technical climbs and there's a lot to do and see.
The next day, we went to one of my lunch break spots, where I've been slaying the white bass lately. My hopes were high for my kids to catch some tasty little fillets on their own, but somehow all they caught were mosquito bites while I was the only one to hook any fish.
It's crazy how fish can bite for one person and completely shun the others. Scratching my head on that night. No matter though, the kids found a big snail that kept them happy.
This trip was originally planned with a different purpose, on a different mountain. At the last moment, we decided to keep driving down and to fish a place that Aaron had never been to.
It was a good move and we took a little hike with our tubes to fish a lake that sits at over 10,500ft. Aaron struck first with a good sized brookie:
Soon after, I had some of my own:
It rained most of the day, as has been the norm for the past few weeks. We didn't care though and kept fishing. I got a video of Aaron catching the heaviest fish of the day.
The high country is magical. It's great to be back!
Here's that fish from the video:
More for me:
Even on the fly:
Hmm. We shall name him Derp.
Another lake was close, so we took a break from floating the frigid water and checked the neighbor's.
As expected, the fish were small, but beautiful:
Okay, back to the headliner:
We continued to catch nice brookies and revel in the spectacle of the lake:
We saw a couple of bull elk on the way out, neither of which wanted their photo taken.
As if we hadn't seen enough of the beautiful country, watching the badlands below us glow in the remaining daylight was also rewarding.
Another good trip in the books.
My family and I took another quick local hike to the cliffs of Dry Canyon, overlooking Utah Valley. We came for the sunset and weren't disappointed.
We saw some neat fossils too:
I find that ring intriguing. It almost looks threaded.
A great night!
For the last day of spring, Holdsworth and I chose to keep the 10K theme alive by hiking our tubes into a lake in the High Uintas.
The route provided splendid scenery and a few small fish.
Aaron briefly met a little buddy:
Once we arrived, our patience was tested by the fish, who weren't very eager to bite. It took awhile, and some missed bites, but a good sized tiger trout was first to cooperate:
Aaron got one that size as well. At almost 18" those are hogs by normal Uinta standards.
A smaller tiger and a couple of brookies also came in before I beached the tube to explore a nearby pond I'd seen on the maps.
No fish. S'aright.
Meanwhile, Aaron had kicked around the whole lake, catching a couple of brookies in the process. It's a great feeling sit back on a float tube and enjoy life above 10,000ft.
Another dry spell ensued before I noticed something that followed my jig up to the tube before biting. I saw a golden flash and set to the hook to a magnificently marbled male tiger trout of 20 inches.
What a beast for the Uintas! Heck, that's a nice fish for any lake.
About two hours passed before I hooked my next fish, a 16" brookie:
Another fish operating outside the Uinta blueprint. It's nice to know they're out there.
Before ending our float, I threw a cast next to a floating log by shore and as soon as my jig hit the water, a strong thump set my hook for me. Another good battle was unfolding.
It actually took a couple of minutes to bring in this angry tiger.
Another big guy. I hope to see it again someday.
What a great place!
We got out of there before too long, determined to get back to the car before dark. Aaron had to pick on some small stream brookies on the way out.
It was a wonderful trip and it's great to see fish with size in the Uintas. There are surely plenty of other lakes holding impressive fish, so it's just a matter of time before I find more.
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.