Southern Salvelinus

The past two weeks have been very enjoyable, chasing brookies in southern Utah waters, but I'll get to that in a moment.  Before any of that happened, Holdsworth and I visited Strawberry Reservoir in search of big cutthroat.

Choosing to float near the dam, along the cliffs, we did alright for 20" cutthroat.

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A 20 inch cutthroat is not small, but for Strawberry, it's a standard.  To be "big" in Strawberry, it needs to break the slot (22" or better).  We didn't catch any of those.

After floating for a few hours with only slot cutts to hand, we decided to see what we could do on the river below the dam.

In one of my favorite spots on the river to dip a jig, I got a solid hookup from what would have been my biggest brown from that river, looking to be at least 2ft long.  Sadly, it broke me off quickly between the branches of a half-submerged tree.

Ultimately, I had to settle for a small brookie from the river before calling it a day.  So we ended up with nothing very noteworthy on the day, but it's always fun to get out.

Next Saturday, I compelled Aaron to decide where we'd go for the day and he voiced his interest in revisiting a place we'd gone to, years before.

This lake really kicked our butts on our last trip, not in terms of fishing success, but in terms of getting to the lake.  The tightly wooded hillside leading up to the lake seemed devoid of trails at that time and we essentially bushwhacked our way to it.

It was pure punishment to push through the downed timber and living trees and our reward was to catch small brookies, almost at will.  It was a rough trip, but still a good one.

This time around, I had since done a lot more research and exploration of the area, leading me to believe a better way to the lake existed.  We followed my inteded route and actually kept the bushwhacking limited to the last couple hundred feet.

At last, an easier way to this beautiful natural lake.

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Expecting to catch small skinny brookies, we were very pleased to see some healthy fish filling our hands, pretty much right away.

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Not only were they healthy and biting agressively, they fought really hard too.  We had a great time and the fish were more than willing to come visit us.

We ended the day with more fish caught than we cared to count and broad smiles across our faces.  My biggest on the day was 16.5" and sturdy.  It was wonderful to see such a positive change for that lake, and for our fishing success.

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Our next trip was a 400 mile day trip for the purpose of fishing a couple of lakes we'd never visited.  The first lake was one I'd wanted to see for the past 10 years or so.

After an easy 2 mile hike, a dream of mine came true.

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A beautiful natural gem in the rocks seduced me as I stared in awe from shore.  The crystal clear water made it difficult to grasp just how deep the lake was, but floating it demonstrated that fact quite well.

Gaps between huge boulders that rested only a couple of feet below the surface were anywhere from 15-30ft deep and the fish could be seen throughout.

Those fish were also able to see us and it was difficult to trick them into biting.

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Eventually, I cracked the code and was able to coerce a few of them to play my game.

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Scar face:

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Several fish came to hand for me, all of which were beautiful Colorado River cutthroat.

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Aaron had a harder time at the lake, but did catch two fish, one of which was a 17" tiger trout that took the jig direcly under his tube.

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Nice fish!  We continued at the lake for a short while longer and I caught a couple of beauties before we set off to the next spot.

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Cutthroat colors will always make me smile.

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This guy had a mean overbite.

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Our next lake was just a quick hike away, but worlds different as far as fishing action was concerned.  We had a plan to fish this one and, believe it or not, everything went as planned.

Once we were in position, fat handful brookies came in, one after another.  It was lights-out, great fishing.  My first four fish came to me in about 10 minutes total, only having migrated about 10 feet from where I started.

We were vertical jigging, mostly, and it was very effective.  It was so effective that I strayed from the plan and tried different presentations in different areas, just to break up the non-stop action (plus I needed a break to eat a sandwich).

Aaron was in heaven and I believe he spent more time with a fish on the line, than he did casting/jigging.

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It was a great day!  Every fish fought really hard and we only had a few come to hand that weren't decent sized brookies.

Aaron caught the biggest one of about 16" and just a hair under 2lbs.

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Not only was the fishing incredible, but the scenery of the lake, plus a beautiful sky really made the whole thing gel into a very memorable trip for us.

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Thanks to a quick afternoon thunderstorm, we had a lot of clouds painting beautiful pictures across the sky.  The calm silence after the storm also did wonders for the surface of the water, which was gladly photographed.

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We stayed a bit too long to get out during daylight, but it was worth it to see the beautiful sunset from such a place.

A perfect way to end another fabulous day of fishing in southern Utah.

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Happy Fishing, Humans.


Utah Fishing, April-July [MEGA POST]

Hello everyone! It's high time I let you all know what I've been doing for the past four months. I'll give you a hint: I've been fishing. Ha!

The weather was pretty strange in April. Winter didn't really want to make way for the spring and we continued to have cold weather with only short stretches of warmth. Getting a whole week of temperatures in the mid-60's or better was somewhat rare throughout April and even well into May.

April 9

One of those warmer weeks back in April gave me an itch to check out one of my favorite spots, so Holdsworth and I hit the road in hopes of getting close enough to hike in.

We failed. The road was still snowed in a few miles below our target. Plan B would have worked out well, but the rain started falling and Plan B has a notoriously slick road when it's wet. Scratch that idea.

Plan C was a bit out of the way, but the day was still young and fighting some big angry rainbows sounded fun. We arrived at Otter Creek Reservoir to a stiff breeze and really slow fishing.

After only one missed bite in a couple of hours, we left to try our luck on some moving water. The river wasn't too murky and we stopped at a deep hole, pitching jigs and plastics.

After a short while, I finally caught the first fish of the day, which was a pretty nice brown.

He'd already met someone else recently, as that bloody lip wasn't from me.

A little farther upstream, I picked up a couple more, though they were ratty and had nubby fins. I suppose the DWR had some brooders they needed to get rid of.

Eventually I caught another good brown with fins intact.

Aaron got a healthy one too.

A little while later, I snagged a big sucker on accident. That was a good fight.

About 10 minutes later, Aaron got one too.

A few more browns of smaller size came in before we called it a day. Far removed from Plan A, the salvage trip to the river served us well enough. It's a nice area.

Plan A would have to wait another couple of weeks.

April 16

Reports of good fishing for fat rainbows prompted another trip that fizzled out at the lake, where we couldn't buy a bite with anything we had. Once again, moving water would have to suffice, where some good browns kept us occupied.

Even the river was a bit slow, but we were still able to make do and catch a few fish.

April 23

It was time to get back to Plan A from two weeks before and we had our fingers crossed for a clear road, at least clear enough to get close.

As we crossed the spot on the road where we were forced to turn around last time, we both bit our tongues so we didn't say anything to jinx our mission. It seems as though we do that when we comment on the road condition, heading that way.

At long last, we made it around the landmark bend in the road that serves as the line for our willingness to finish on foot. We even made it a bit farther before parking and prepping our gear. It was only about a third of a mile from our usual starting point. Chalk it up as a win!

The weather had been slightly warmer for a few days leading up to our trip, so we were nervous about the condition of the deep snow we saw blanketing most of the ground. The hike isn't too bad normally, but when the snow is deep, it's an exhausting feat of will to get through. We hoped for the best, expecting the worst.

My first step onto the snow pack brought me a wave of relief as it supported my weight, tamping only slightly. Another win, at least, for the time being. We were very fortunate to stay on top of the deep snow, which only gave way in a few spots to reveal just how deep it really was.

One errant step sent my entire right leg into the snow, stopping at the hip when I hit the ground. That was hard enough to get out of with a tube on my back, that I didn't want to imagine trying to do that all the way back.

Arriving at the lake, we were elated to see that all the ice had melted and the pesky weeds hadn't developed yet. This allowed us to fish freely, rather than being limited to a few small areas, like usual.

It didn't take long before I had a fish in my hand.

Then a small brookie came to visit:

It was nice to get some quick catches from shore before shoving off on the tubes. Just as I was arguing with myself over getting my fins on, I made another cast and stuck a really nice one with a big round belly. Aaron was solid with the camera work:

Great fish!

After that, it was time to float! Getting back on that water felt great, albeit a little chilly. Quite a few smaller cutthroat came to hand, but I was able to trick a couple of better ones into biting as well.

That last one fought really hard. I thought it was a brookie for most of the fight, until it breached the surface. That was fun.

I was already quite satisfied with the day by then, so I switched over to the fly rod, just to see if it would be productive. The usual vegetation puts a damper on the effectiveness of fly fishing, at least for the brookies that are normally right at the edge of the weeds, on the bottom.

This day was different though. Casting to a rocky section of shoreline, I stripped a big dark cone headed abomination for a bit. A hard take caught me by surprise, but I managed to save the hook set as I stretched to high-stick while regaining some slack.

It was a big brookie. I knew right away. It battled bravely, but in the end, it was at my mercy.

In all my time fishing this lake, I had never caught a "big" brookie on my fly rod. Sure, I'd caught them on flies with my spin rig during the cutthroat spawn, but never could keep them on with the whip.

It felt great to have broken down that wall. The fish was given mercy, until we meet again.

The cold water had my legs starting to cramp, so I beached the tube and continued to fish the rocky shoreline with jigs. Several nice fish were observed as they rolled on the scented plastic leech I was using, but most escaped. Another good brookie was hooked though.

I was finally having a really good day on the water! It was long past due.

Meanwhile, poor Aaron was stuck on small cutthroat though and he really needed a nice brookie. His history with the lake is to catch the fish of the day as I'm nagging him about needing to leave.

True to form, he didn't disappoint!

Despite my poorly chosen angle, his fish was the biggest of the day. It weighed .05lbs more than my big one.

What a great day! We really needed that.

Our next trip was a family/friend combo camp out to Goblin Valley. Yes, another trip to Goblin. This time, we had a clear mission: Get to the Goblin's Lair.

Having spent a lot of time at GV, I was very excited to learn of the "Goblin's Lair" following our last trip in January. It was then we decided that our next trip would be centered around finding the lair.

Having Aaron along this time, we thought day 1 would be best spent showing him the Wildhorse Window, which has almost become an automatic visit for us when we're in the area. It's too close to the park and too easy of a hike for us to ignore.

Here, my boy poses as a "Wild Stud", so says the sign (which used to read: Wildlife Study).

The hike was fun and Aaron loved seeing the window. Even better, we got one of our preferred camping spots and had a lot of space to ourselves this time.

In the morning, Aaron and I took a little hike to a set of cliffs that overlooked our site. Great view up there. The whole area is a true wonder. I could spend the rest of my life hiking around and still miss most of it.

Great campsite too.

After our hike, we made our way to the park and got started on our mission to find the lair. Apparently there are two ways to get there, with one requiring a 90ft vertical drop and a special use permit. No thanks.

We chose the alternate route that only requires a hike around the back side of the valley. Having only viewed that side from above, it was really nice to see it from the ground.

Our little stroll culminated with a set of switchbacks leading up to the gaping mouth of the "Goblin's Lair", which is really just a large cavernous room with a couple of sky lights.

So cool! It's amazing that such a large-scale feature of the park was previously unknown to me, after all these years. Never stop exploring, right?

Aaron actually took a rough landing on the way into the lair and rolled his ankle pretty hard. Though the day was still relatively young, we thought it best to call it a day after a little bit more exploring by vehicle on the "Behind the Reef" trail.

We believe our next primitive campsite will be in this area.

Here's a boulder that stands out as unique to me:

That sun-baked mud pattern is not a cap to the stone, but part of the stone, itself. Pretty neat, I thought. That boulder likely weighs 300lbs or so. Really, it doesn't take much to find something amazing out there.

Ah, good stuff. It's worth missing a chance to fish to go and see this amazing land.

The next week, Aaron and I went to Currant Creek Reservoir, hoping to find some big tigers.   We didn't, but at least some fish were caught and we got our tubes wet.

Catch of the day:

Hoping for a bigger one. Oh well!

For our next trip, I had bigger plans. A growing hunch and some recent information had my needle pointed south. Boulder was calling.

We left in the early hours, long before daylight teased the eastern horizon. Our drive was long and we were headed to a part of Boulder Mountain that neither of us had been to before. I'd heard stories of the nasty road for years, leading up to the lake, so I was quite nervous about such a long drive, especially with the chance of drifts blocking our passage.

The road was actually great until we got about 3 miles from the lake, where a steep climb met some gnarly cobble at the top. Up to that point, I would have easily taken my Sentra. After the cobble bounced us around briefly, we had a relatively smooth couple of miles before the last stretch that was really steep and really bad. My Rodeo was up to the task though and we were elated to pull up to that lake of lore for the first time.

The lake had two main features that we expected to find fish around. Aaron floated off toward one while I set off to explore the other. I was hopeful to run into a density of fat brookies, but the place seemed lifeless at first glance. Eventually I did find a couple of fish, but it was not what I was primed for. At least I got a good brookie though, at 19" and almost 3lbs.

Meanwhile, Aaron found the hangout where apparently most of the fish were. He had hooked several while I was on the other side, trying to kick through a mess of vegetation. Once I had finally arrived to his area, the bite had worn off and we struggled to get any more action. He did score one more while I was present though:

The days were still short at that point and we eventually had to call it, with a couple of stops to fish some moving water on the way back home. It was a good day, but we both felt it should have been better. Still, I'd be a fool to complain about catching a 19" brookie.

The stream fish were pretty and fun to catch too.

A crooked brown from the Fremont River:

Our next trip was another southern water adventure in hopes of satisfying a curiosity I had about a tucked away lake that was rumored to be quite difficult to find.

I'd known of this lake for several years and had a pretty good hunch that we'd not only find it, but enjoy some good sized brookies as well.

Though it was difficult to locate, even with a waypoint in my GPS, we eventually rounded a bend to behold our hidden gem:

We made our way to the rock slide to assess where we should start casting. It wasn't too long before a small brookie came in, leaving me a bit nervous about whether or not we'd see anything bigger.

A few casts later, a better one came in and gave us hope:

That healthy specimen turned out to be the average size of the fish. Aaron had his share of decent catches as well. Here's a pretty good one:

This male was especially photogenic:

Another thick reward for Aaron:

What a wonderful place!

They weren't huge, but it was well worth the effort to get back to them.

The fishing wasn't lights-out fast, but it was steady enough to keep us happy. Speaking of happy, here's Aaron with the fish of the day, taped at 18". Nice catch!

As if that wasn't enough, he caught another really nice one that was barely smaller, right after that:

We wondered just how big those fish got and considered bringing float tubes next time.

My best fish of the day wasn't quite as nice as Aaron's, but it was still a stout 17" meat missile.

How about that water?

Always a pleasure to visit Boulder Mountain.

The next week, my wife and I were graciously afforded a "date" trip. With the kids at Grandma's all day, we made our way south to visit a few places. Originally, the plan was to fish, but ultimately, that idea was cast aside for some desert exploration.

Capitol Reef National Park was to be our host and going in through the back door (from Thousand Lakes Mountain), we toured the Upper Cathedral Valley first.

Gypsum Sink Hole - We missed this, our first time through so it was good to finally see it.

Continuing into the main Cathedral Valley, we drove around until we found a good place for a scorching hot hike. That day was the first of a big heat wave, with temps over 100 degrees most of the week, back home. I can only assume that the temps were higher where we were that day.

Not long into our hike, we needed some shade.

Our hike led us behind what I call "the Fin", which is a long wall of tall sandstone that separates a small valley from the rest. I had wanted to explore the far side of it since my first trip through the park.

The hike was Sonia's favorite part of the trip, she has said.  After the hike, it was time to finish the tour.  Next stop, temple town.

Here's Sonia standing on Glass Mountain, with the Temple of the Sun, and the Temple of the Moon behind her:

Glass Mountain isn't much of a "mountain", but an exposed hill made almost entirely of Selenite crystals.  It's pretty neat to look at, up close.

Our day needed to wrap up so we could get back to our kids, but not before making our way over to Hwy 24 to cut through more of the park and to grab a bite in Torrey.

Along the way, we passed through Fruita and stopped to see some signed petroglyphs.

Slacker's Burger Joint in Torrey treated us right.

Fry sauce is always nice.

We had a great time together and it was really needed.  Special thanks to my Mom for watching the kids for us.

Next week, the southern trend continued as Aaron and I traveled to another first-time lake for us.  We were charged up for a fight with some big tiger trout.  The drive was beautiful.

Our lake was very charming.

Unfortunately, the big tigers eluded us.  I had a big one on the line for a bit and it broke off near my tube.  Wish I had that one back.  Still, fish were caught and it was a good day.

I met a beautiful cutthroat.

Aaron had an interesting day.  Having just recently gone through a couple of spendy rods in two trips, he actually dropped a new one overboard.

I'm sure the man felt sick.  *Gasp!  I've been there.

How crazy is it that a little while later, he hooked that rod and reeled in that, and a tiger that was on its jig!  Gotta love getting your "lost" gear back!   

Can't complain about the bonus catch either.  I was on the other side, so no pics, but it was 16-17" I think.

Another oddity, he also caught a brookie in a lake that isn't supposed to have them.  He did that last year too.

It was a good trip, but it was hard to leave, having no "big" fish under our belts.  Next time.

The following week, my boy and I went fishing.  Just us.  I really love it when I can get him to go with me on a special day.  He's usually pretty excited too, but there's always some drama when patience is tested by the fish.

We tried a few spots at Strawberry Reservoir with no luck for awhile, then went up to Currant Creek Reservoir to finish off the day and hopefully catch a fish.

It's hard to fail your son in presenting fishy situations, but we tried until it finally happened.  He got a cutthroat near the inlet with a Gulp minnow.

I got a few of my own, with this skinny cutt being the longest.

So he finally caught one and was pleased enough with that.  One day I'll get him into some better fishing.  He really enjoys catching them, but has a tough time getting there.  Once he gets into a mess of fish, he'll be back for more.  He was glad to head home, at last.

My next adventure was a somewhat ambiguous trip to the Uintas with Aaron.  We had some plans, but after realizing that he had never held a golden trout, it was clear that a bumpy road was in our future.

Echo Lake is truly beautiful, but it is overloaded with tiny brook trout.  The goldens had somehow remained in small numbers over decades without supplemental stocking and I was able to get a hold of a relic a few years back.  Took all day.

In recent times, the DWR found a source of some golden trout eggs for the first time in ages and Echo is being stocked with them, once again.  Another area on the eastern side, south slope is also getting stocked again, but that's a really long hike, vs a crap road for an hour.

Being hatchery raceway fish, they tend to have worn out fins.  Their color is still spectacular though.

Eventually Aaron got his first one.  Check that one off the list.

Do you think golden trout should be stocked in other Utah waters?  If so, please get a hold of the DWR and let them know.  I've been speaking with a couple of biologists about it and have a few suggestions on good beta lakes (no inlets/outlets).  

Feedback hasn't been terribly promising.  More specifically, I'd like to see them in some southern Utah waters.

All that aside, Echo remains the easist spot to nab a golden in Utah.  Just fling small bugs at them and they're bound to bite at some point.  Aaron's sunflower seed shells that fell onto the surface were attacked multiple times.  I even attempted to make a fly out of one, but without glue, the shells just split.

Pretty funny anyway.  We enjoyed our time at the lake, then started marching up the hill to check the other lakes that were somewhat nearby.

Climbing up the steep rocky walls for several levels affords a much better view of Echo.

We fished Gem Lake and Joan Lake for a bit.  Gem didn't offer any fish, but it seemed deep enough.  I have a feeling I may have quit that one too early.

Joan held fish though and anything bigger than Echo's runts was welcomed happily.

I'm pretty sure Aaron caught a splake out of Joan.  Forked tail, no red spots, and no blue halos.

Really pretty lake.

It was a good trip and nothing beats the high country on a hot day.

My family hasn't been out hiking together as much as last year, but we still make time to do it every once in awhile.  Aaron came along with us to "our waterfall" and we enjoyed the spring water next to the falls.  Real water from Nature's limestone teet.

The spring drips in behind them.  Cleaner than the tap!

As always, it was a great way to spend a couple of hours with my family and our friend.

The next trip was a major, big deal, super duper thing.  I'd been wanting to do a long backpacking trip into the Uintas for a long time.  Sometime last year, I made the decision that it had to happen this year.

Map nerding hit a peak with this research mission and the destination was set.  First weekend after Independence Day, we were going to Red Castle.

The upper basin of the East Fork, Smith's Fork drainage holds quite a few lakes, some of which hold nice cutthroat, so goes the story.  On the map, it looks as if several lakes could be fished in a day by a determined angler.  My hopes were high for some great fishing.

Just one thing; it's a 12 mile hike!  Luckily, it's a pretty mellow 12 miles.  Still, a 50+lb pack is not fun for very long.  Aaron even brought his tube, waders, and fins.  Mine is just too ridiculously big to even try.

Along the way, we stopped to filter some water and I threw a few casts into the river.  First fish of the trip was a little river brookie.

We only had three days to get this done, so it was really important to get as much hiking in as possible on day 1.  

Murphy threw the book at us at the trail head and we had a rough time getting things packed for our hike.  The major delay sent us onto the trail at 2:15pm.  Not good.

Add to that, Aaron's boots chewed his feet up right away.  His moleskin had rubbed free and actually caused more damage than anything.  Within the first two miles, we were stopping to address that.

Aaron's pack was heavier than mine and we both needed rests frequently.  As dusk fell upon us, we'd barely made it to the grand meadow where Red Castle mountain is first visible before setting up camp.

The campsite was perfect though and we had plenty of pre-cut wood stacked next to a good pit and nice flat ground.  We really needed the rest after a rough day.

After breakfast, we got packed up and convinced our bodies to take us the rest of the way.  It took a long time, but we finally arrived to the area I wanted to camp at, near lake G-49.

Once we established a camp, it was time to race up the mountain and get to at least one of the main destinations.  The elevation gain is more significant once the Lower Red Castle Lake is out of the way.  

We didn't fish Lower, or plan to.  Our time was short though and it was obvious that we were only going to fish one or two lakes on day 2.  

Remember what I said about what the maps looked like earlier?  Yeah right!  Everything is a lot farther apart than what I thought.  I need a week up there.

The scenery is really what it's all about up there though.  It's considered one of the prettiest areas of the Uinta range by most.  I'd have to agree.

The Red Castle, itself:

After making the hump to the top of the shelf that holds Red Castle Lake, a breather is needed.  Look at this guy in his waders.  He said it was more comfortable than his hiking boots.  Ouch.  Poor guy.

Red Castle Lake is the 2nd largest natural lake in the Uintas.  It sits just above the timberline.

It's also over 100ft deep.

The view surrounding it is really something special.  We earned the right to see this, which is a major reason we went.

Red Castle wasn't what we were there for though.  We needed to skirt the right-hand shoreline below and get up to the next shelf, where Upper Red Castle awaited us.

After a bit of stomping, we made it.  Finally, we could fish!  Notice the ice on July 8th?

We didn't catch any hogs, or even any cutthroat, but there were plenty of snakey tiger trout that loved a beadhead prince nymph.

They ripped it to shreds and just kept hammering it.  I even caught one on a bare jig head, just for kicks.

Aaron did well from his tube as well.  Not many people get to say they floated Upper Red Castle.  Not many without horses, at least.

We had our fun and made our way back to camp before it got dark.  We stopped to fish Red Castle Proper for 20 minutes or so, with similar fishing to Upper.

Hiking down, we enjoyed the alpenglow of the Red Castle.

Our camp was situated near the base of the rock slide of Red Castle.  We were about 500ft from G-49, the next lake downstream from RC Proper.

In my time staring at the maps and other data I could find about the area, I imagined that this would be a perfect lake for evening fly fishing at the inlet, which emerges from under the rock slide just upstream from the lake.

I was right!  The light faded away as I hooked beautiful little brookies on dries.  It was the perfect way to pay my daydreams their due.


Aaron stayed behind to get a fire going and get our monster dinner onto some coals.  He didn't want to hike any more than he had to at that point.

Did I mention he brought 10lbs of potatoes, onions, and garlic?  No?  Yeah, he did that.

*Ahem*  WE did that.  (Crazies)

We ate like Kings at the base of our castle.  We worked hard and earned it.  We hurt ourselves.  It was great.

I have unfinished business up there though.  There simply must be another trip some time in the future.  More days needed.  More lakes remain a mystery until next time.

We didn't fish at all on day 3.  The hike was just too long and we knew we had to stay focused.

Next week was a solo trip to Huntington Reservoir and some nearby water.  A gentle stream entertained me with my fly rod for a couple of hours, but the fish just weren't there.  Two fish hit my fly the whole time, but it was fun to hook them, even if they both got off.

Huntington treated me much better though.  With my tube, I assaulted the middle of the top end of the lake, where the tigers were more than happy to play.

The fish below shows about the average size.

There were a few bigger ones though and they were a blast.

I had almost forgotten how fun a good day on Huntington can be.  It was really enjoyable and the fast fishing was just what the doctor ordered.

Another good one.  I lost one at the tube that was bigger.  This one taped at 19.5".

The next week was high time for another family getaway.  Always invited, Aaron came with.  In all our family camping trips, we'd never actually camped in the mountains together.  It's hard to believe, but it's true!

They've all been in desert settings.  That was about to change.

The Wasatch Plateau (aka: the Manti) was to be our playground for the weekend and we setup camp within walking distance of a great little lake that holds tiger trout.

Sonia and the kids stayed back at camp while Aaron and I floated.  The fishing was great!

This little guy was somehow short, but tall at the same time.  Crazy little fish.  I hope its body keeps growing faster than its spine does for our next meeting.

An average catch for the evening:

Some went above and beyond average though.

Great little lake.

A nice colorful one:

Aaron stayed busy catching them too.

Great place.

We both brought fish back for the campfire, which was well received by my waiting family.

Day 2 was to be historic, I determined.  I had a score to settle with a lake that had always skunked me on my previous visits.  Aaron was hungry for revenge as well, having been with me on one of those skunkings.

The water level was low, leaving two different bodies to fish.  Our first shot was the bigger pool, which turned out to be very shallow and weedy.  Still, I broke my curse and caught a couple of small rainbows.

Getting to the smaller, deeper pool, I was thrilled to hook into a beastly looking tiger trout that put up a serious fight.

It was a mere 16" long, but it had a girth of 12.5" and weighed over 2.5lbs.

What a fish!  One more look:

Another nice tiger was caught as well.  It was 2" longer, but weighed slightly less than the first.  It had a nubby dorsal fin, which was a bit of a turnoff, but still put up a hard fight and took to the air multiple times while we battled.

The highlight was a huge rainbow that followed my jig to the tube and rolled on it right in front of me.  It was a glorious beast.  Beautiful colors and dark, pronounced spots.  I got a good look at it several times throughout the 4 minute battle.

It's not often I catch a fish that has me audibly hollering and laughing with glee, but this was not the kind of fish I catch very often.

It took decisive runs away from me, but I got it close several times.  I remember stretching my arm out with the net and laughing to myself, "Yeah, like that's going to hold it".  It was definitely over 2ft long and well over 5lbs, thinking quite a bit more.  

It broke me off, just feet away from me, after such a grueling duel.

Heart breaker.  I screamed in disbelief.  A creative combination of profanities escaped me.  It was RIGHT THERE!  Easily my biggest rainbow of all time.  It was gone.  I felt robbed.

After thorough analysis, my conclusion was that my knot slipped the gap of the hook eyelet.  Had I only scooped it up on its second pass by my tube (the closest)...

Oh well.  That's part of the deal when you go fishing.  I resolved not to let it spoil the trip for me, which was really fun.  Aaron broke his curse at the lake as well, catching a couple of tigers on our short float.

This past weekend, Aaron and I went back to Boulder Mountain, this time up on top.  Our last trip to the top together, Aaron got skunked.  Two days in a row on Boulder and not a single fish to hand.  It was tough to watch.

We made sure to get that taken care of quickly this time.  Floating one of the lakes with better fish, we started strong and each had a fish soon enough.  My first was a pretty male brookie:

Nice looking gent.

The skies were beautiful for the morning.

So were the fish.  Here's a healthy girl:

A marabou muncher:

Pretty nice fish in that lake.

After some time there, we departed to get to a lake we didn't make it to, last time.  An evil mud bog forced me to make a rational decision and turn around.  This time, the bog was much better looking and we made it to the spot where we'd park for our quick hike.

We didn't expect much for size, and weren't disappointed.  Here's an average brookie:

Gorgeous lake though.

For some reason, I wasn't having any luck with my fly rod.  There were grayling actively feeding, but I couldn't dial them in.  It was by mistake that I caught my only grayling of the day on a jig I was throwing for brookies.

Just a little guy.  Aaron also got a grayling on a jig, which was actually about 12 inches. 

Shortly after arriving, Boulder's notorious summer weather decided to unleash on us.  We heard it coming while out in the middle of the lake.  It sounded like wind, but when we turned to look, we saw a wall of precipitation coming.

It came out of nowhere and it hailed like crazy on us for several minutes, then turned to a downpour of rain for awhile.  The downpour turned into a gentle drizzle and we got out of there to fish another lake.

The weather at this lake was much calmer.

The crystal clear water made the bottom visible throughout the lake.  I floated over what looked to be a nice brookie, but all we could catch were dinks.  Here's the biggest one caught there:

I also saw a nice grayling under me at one point.  Guessing about 13-14".  My bad luck with the fly rod continued though and no more grayling met my hand.  Aaron, on the other hand, actually did well on the fly rod, catching 6 or 7 grayling throughout our stay.  Way to go!

This was just a crazy day trip, so we had to get going around 7:00.  Another nearby lake hosted us briefly, while we lost jigs in the shallow rocky snag trap that holds little brookies.

Aaron caught a couple of fish and I had a couple on for a moment.  It was just a curiosity stop and with that satisfied, it was time to go home.  What a day!

So there we have it, folks.  Four months of fishing in this great state.  From the north to the south, it's been a great time.

I'll do my best to post more frequently.  We need a new computer and the one we have is terribly frustrating to use for the time being.  That contributed to me "going dark" for the past while.

As always, THANK YOU for reading and sharing these trips with me.  

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.