2017: Year In Review

 photo DSCN6344 450x600_zpsgcdj5fvs.jpgWhether bully or benevolent, 2017 has come and gone, leaving the way you feel about it in the dust.  There's surely a lot that we could cover in a Y.I.R. about this doozie, but thankfully, this is a fishing site and we'll keep this post related to that!

Personally, I had a decent year and am grateful for the opportunities it presented.  

Though the ice season was pretty awful, just like it had been the year before, we endured and fished the open water whenever possible.  The first trip of the year was to Deer Creek Reservoir, where Holdsworth and I caught a few long but skinny browns, each.

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For our next trip, we swapped DC with OC and ice fished Otter Creek Reservoir.  It was rather unproductive, but I caught a couple of fish, all day long.

This from the river:

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The only fish I caught on the lake was smaller than that.  Just a cold, dreary, slow fishing day.

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Our next target was Starvation Reservoir on ice, but we both got skunked on the hard deck there.  Below the dam was a little better and we salvaged our day on the river.

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After consecutive ice trips that went poorly, we decided to scratch an old itch of mine and get out west to Blue Lake for some warm springs bass fishing from our tubes.  It was a great drive, a nice day, and I floated warm water with a hoodie on in February.  It was "warmly" received.

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Such fun on soft water only fueled our appetites for more and our next date was with Minersville Reservoir.

Aaron made out pretty well, but my own results weren't great.  

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At least nobody got skunked.

The next trip was just a quickie to a local stream for some small browns in a beautiful setting.  Dry Creek (near Alpine, UT) wasn't very forgiving, but we both ended up catching some fish.

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Gorgeous place to visit though.

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By the next weekend, my better half was getting antsy for the desert, so off we went to the Goblin Valley area, where we always have a great time.

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Always a pleasure to camp in the desert with my family.

By this time, it was almost April and I had to get down south to get some open water fishing at a lower elevation lake on Boulder Mountain.  First stop was an up-and-coming pond that has only been stocked for a couple of years.

Hoping for some promising specimen from the pond, I was a little let down to find small brookies on the scrawny side.

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Just down the road, I fared much better and hooked into some chunks.

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Such a haul was quite appreciated.  For the year's first brookies, I set the bar pretty high.

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Aaron and I kept the southern trend alive for our next trip, when we went down and checked on a few mid-elevation lakes at the edge of a vast desert.

We started at an unnamed pond where I had caught many tiny cutthroat, several years before.  My first cast with a fly rod proved that my previous experiences there would not be repeated that day.

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Nice fish!

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Aaron did especially well.

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Once the bite died down there, we moved onto other nearby waters.  The good fishing continued and we had a great day, catching healthy handfuls.

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Our next trip was a windy visit to Red Creek Reservoir, where we hoped to find nice fish.  Paying attention to the stocking reports for the past several years, I had a hunch that we'd find some nice, sucker-fed tiger trout in there.

Ultimately, we weren't able to float because of the howling wind, but we saw some promise in the few fat rainbows we were able to trick.

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Some cutthroat from Strawberry on the way home:

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The time had finally come for the annual closure of many of the lakes on Boulder Mountain to lift and the two of us trout heads took a hike.  Before heading up the mountain though, Aaron made sure to pluck a nice brookie out of a mossy log jam at a lake near the trail head.

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After that, we got marching and eventually made it to our destination, a small series of ponds with tiger trout in them.

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The more easily accessible ponds had smaller fish, but some were actually pretty nice.  I missed a couple of dandies.

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The first good fishing hike of the year was a success!

One of my preferred spots had become accessible for the next trip and my wife joined Aaron and I on a little hike through the snow.

The fishing was slow, but I caught a couple of brookies and cutthroat.  Sonia and Aaron didn't catch anything though.  Still fun to get out.

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My next trip was to a local pond that usually has slow fishing, but some nice fish anyway.  Being the heart of runoff season, the pond was very murky and I only got one bite the whole time.

Lucky for me, that bite held on and I pulled in a 22" cutthroat.

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That was it though.  I planned on fishing a stream as well, but upon arrival, it was obvious that the flow was way too high and murky to get anything done.  A wild 22" cuttie is worth a slow day though.

 The following trip was a long drive south with Aaron and our friend Serge as well.  Serge needed a place to try his new tube out and he'd also never caught a brookie, so to Boulder we went and he actually did better than anyone else on the lake.  Being a good sized lake, I never got a snap of those.

Aaron and I also caught some.  Nothing too spectacular, but some nicely shaped brookies came to hand.

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Good times.

After that trip, Currant Creek Reservoir called us in for some slow fishing.  We endured a stiff breeze in the face all day and I only caught two fish in total.  One of them was worth it though, catching a nice tiger of almost 5lbs.

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Nice catch!  It was puking up redside shiners the whole time I handled it.  Quite the appetite!

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That and a small cutthroat were all I could catch that day.

Next up, the Smokin' Jigz crew paid a visit to Utah and I showed them to a fun lake where cutthroat and brookies were caught.  It was a good day and a lot of fun to finally get to meet them.

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Tons of fun.  Thanks for stopping by, guys.

My next trip involved meeting up with the Aarons on Boulder.  The Aaron's, meaning my cousin Aaron was up from PHX and Holdsworth met him in Southern Utah for some camping and fishing.

I had to work, so I wasn't able to get down there until Saturday.  That was just in time for me to see what Holdsworth caught while I was signing Bills of Lading and loading freight onto trailers.

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Wow, what a tank!  It was almost 8lbs.  Mega tiger.  PHX also did pretty well, catching several fish over 3lbs.

As soon as we all met up, I was quick to lead us on a 3 mile hike to find a small puddle filled with dink brookies.  Meh.

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It was a hunch.  It was wrong.


We had to salvage the day so we went to another brookie lake nearby that held some decent fish.

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As always, it's great to see my cousin whenever possible.  Even better when we get to fish!

Another trio trip was to follow, this time with Serge joining us on the Manti.  My day started a little bit later than the other two, as I ended up helping some girls get their truck out of a snow bank, farther up the road.

The main lake showed promise right away with a few nice brookies being caught, then it slowed down a bit while we were out on our tubes.  Still, we caught some good fish.

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On the way home, we stopped by another lake and caught some small tigers.  One was a pretty good one though.

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Serge caught his first tiger trout, which is worth noting.

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The Manti hosted Aaron, my family, and I for a fun camping trip to Pete's Hole Reservoir.  We had a great campsite and enjoyed a leisurely float that evening on the lake.

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In the morning, we hiked the easy mile to Academy Mill Reservoir, where we floated and caught a lot of fish.  On the way, we stopped at a small stream and fished some beaver ponds.  Aaron caught a wild cutthroat right away and that was it.  Nice catch though.

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Academy Mill was really fun and we each got into a nice tiger while we were out.

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My wife even caught fish, which was great.  It's a pretty little lake along the edge of a big beautiful canyon.

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Our next trip was a slow day on Boulder Top, where only a few fish wanted to bite anything that day.  Still, a day spent at 11,000ft, casting to brookies and grayling is a day well spent.

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Boulder called again for the next trip, but this was to be an overnight adventure.  Aaron and I made a grueling drive up the worst "road" I've ever driven and then hiked a couple of miles to spend the night at a pretty natural lake with some brookies swimming its cold deep waters.

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The weather wasn't great for our camp out, but we made the best of it.  On day 2, we hiked to a tiny pond nearby in a downpour, then caught some deeply colored tiger trout before bugging out.

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The ride down that evil road wasn't without incident.  Let's just say the Rodeo now has some well-earned battle scars that it wears with pride.

Aaron and I fished the Manti again the next week, working all day for just a few fish, but they were pretty nice.

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Good stuff!

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On our way back, we took a little detour and checked out some smaller ponds that I've always wondered about.  Here's Brad's Secret:

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Small brookies in there, but it was a great drive down Six Mile Canyon.

The next week, we finally made it to the Uintas in search of big grayling in remote lakes.

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It wasn't meant to be, but we ended up finding some mid-sized brookies (by Uinta standards) upstream a short distance.

Our next week would be spent pretty much the same way, hunting grayling.  This time, we hiked in to Cirque Lake in the Whiterocks drainage.  We arrived to a murky lake and no signs of life.

Floating didn't bring in any bites, but we had to leave when a freak storm dropped the sky on us, only a couple of hours into our trip.

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Keeping the exploration bug alive, we visited a new mountain and had some fun cracking the code for some decent tiger trout up high.

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It was a fun day and it's always nice to see new places.

Another family camping trip with Aaron was due for our next outing, which took place to the south.  Aaron did really well, but we all caught fish.  Check out this smile.

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After that, I did a solo trip to find somewhat slow fishing for some decent cutts and brookies.

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Aaron joined me at the same spot, a couple of weeks later.  That trip was even slower, but we both got some fish.

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Our next trip was the highlight of the year.  We each caught at least three fish over 5lbs, and several between 3-4lbs.  It was unreal and it definitely a top 5 fishing day.

Smallest fish of the trip:

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Here's a gnarly male for Aaron:

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Some of my tigers:

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A big female for Aaron, at almost 6lbs.

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Then there was this, the most beautiful tiger trout either of us have ever seen:

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Good golly, that's a gorgeous beast!  Still swimming, folks.

The next lake skunked us, but left us wanting more with the big strikes we both missed.  Another time, hopefully picking the right trail next time...

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The next trip was a skunk float on Currant Creek Reservoir:

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We made sure to catch a couple at Strawberry on the way home to at least catch something on the day.

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The next trip was another skunky float at Huntington Reservoir, saved by a quick stop at the dam of Electric Lake, where we each caught a couple of fish.

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No pics of mine, but I lost a real hog tiger trout after a brief battle.  Broke my 8lb Fireline.

Another trip to a brookie lake was in order while the soft water remained.  We didn't catch the hogs we were seeing, but some fish were caught.

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By now, some higher elevations were freezing up, so we embarked on our first ice trip of the new season.  It was a bit risky, fishing the thin ice.  It was also dismally slow, but I ended the day with a pretty male tiger trout of good size and a neat video of the hairy ice conditions.

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Our next trip was on the ice at our brookie/cutt lake.  It was a good one.

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Like usual, Aaron pulled out the prettiest fish of the day.

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Good stuff!  Standing on that lake mid-December is amazing, considering access is usually blocked by snowdrifts by Thanksgiving, most years.  We actually tried to make it up there the next week for my birthday (23rd), but had to turn back a couple of miles down the road due to snow.  Looks like we got there as late as we could already.

As a plan B, I took a big risk and changed our destination to Koosharem Reservoir, a lake I'd never caught a single fish from, in the 10 years of so that I've known it.

To my surprise, I had a solid bite and a round rainbow on the ice within 5 minutes of my first drop!

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Another good one came in awhile later.

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It was a pretty slow day, but I ended up with 4 decent rainbows on the ice and Aaron caught some as well.  Cross that lake off the skunk list!  Finally!

We fished one more time a few days later at Electric Lake, but it was not very productive.  I caught a male and a female tiger, both kind of small and I didn't take any pics.

In conclusion, it was a very good year of fishing and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to get out and explore this beautiful state I live in.

Happy New Year and here's to the best year yet!  Bring on 2018!!!

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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.