Choosing to float near the dam, along the cliffs, we did alright for 20" cutthroat.
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.
Expecting to catch small skinny brookies, we were very pleased to see some healthy fish filling our hands, pretty much right away.
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.
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.
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.
Eventually, I cracked the code and was able to coerce a few of them to play my game.
Several fish came to hand for me, all of which were beautiful Colorado River cutthroat.
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.
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.
Cutthroat colors will always make me smile.
This guy had a mean overbite.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Happy Fishing, Humans.