Busy June

My last update finished on the first week of June, where I had just caught a new personal best trout.  Days like that don't come around too often, so I've been content with exploratory trips since then, plus a family camping trip, the very next week.

We usually do desert trips, but being June, the mountains seemed more appealing and off we went to the Wasatch Plateau.  Our campsite was right by a fun lake, but we spent most of our time fishing a different lake, with very picky fish.

We didn't have any luck with that lake, but in the morning, my boy and I fished the one we were camped by and a couple of small tiger trout were caught.

After that, we fished the hard lake a little more, than took a nice ride along Skyline Drive.  The views were incredible, as always.  It was really nice to see a part of that road I previously hadn't, though we were still forced to turn around because of a snow drift.

Here's Emerald Lake from above:

Island Lake:

They're both such beautiful lakes.  It's a pity that Island can't seem to sustain fish life.  It would be a charming venue to catch high mountain trout.

It's so beautiful on the Wasatch Plateau.  All our high plateaus in Utah are amazing.

Speaking of high plateaus, Holdsworth and I visited another good one last week, meeting up with a couple of web buddies from Nevada. 

The lake we chose to meet at turned out to be a bit of a flop.  The fish looked unhealthy and lethargic, hardly bothering to notice us as we stalked them from shore.  I got one legitimate strike that I fought with for a moment before the fish escaped, then I accidentally hooked a tiny one in the tail somehow.

Aaron got a decent one to play.

We left to try our luck at a different lake, where we really needed our waders to get through the marsh.

Pretty lake, but from shore, it didn't look very fishable.  Even with a tube, there's a lot of shallow weedy muck to push through before finding any depth. 

Any casts would be covered in slime instantly, so it really looked grim for us.  Eventually, I got brave and found a patch of grass to hold me up long enough to drop a jig next to the undercut shoreline and instantly pulled in a fish.

Then another from three feet to the left.  This one was a little bit bigger.

Another drop about 4 feet to my right required a couple of hops of my jig before a big brookie came out and hammered it.  Unfortunately, this brookie had some tricks and somehow left my jig lodged into the shoreline grass as it escaped.  Had to be over 18" and pretty thick. Bummer.

Oh well, that'll happen.

Sometimes good things happen too, like this week!  Holdsworth and I brought another buddy of mine (another Aaron) and took another long drive to hopefully sniff out some big grayling in new places.

We finally arrived at our first lake and it still took awhile before I was able to get anything to bite.  Eventually, I found a presentation that worked.


The brookies liked it too.

The brookies were on the small side, but not the grayling.  I only measured one of them, which was 16", matching my personal record.  Then I caught a bigger one.

It was at least 17".  A new personal record grayling.  Very cool.

The brookies tried their best to get in the way, between the grayling.  They fought hard though, so it was fun, especially on the fly.

Aaron W was able to jig a few brookies to hand, but Holdworth wasn't getting anything from his tube.  One fish gave him a short-lived battle on the fly rod, but his line went limp and it was back to the drawing board.

I gave him one of the flies I was using and he eventually got a good sized grayling.

That one may have broken his personal record.  At least by length.

Meanwhile, I was hooking up somewhat regularly and this was the smallest grayling I caught all day:

After awhile, I even switched back to jigs, just to throw something else and I caught both a brookie and a big grayling with that.

What a great place!

We saw two other people show up and leave right away, but otherwise had the lake to ourselves.

Columbines seems to be present in the places that have treated me the best this year.

With a long drive home in front of us, we left with a plan to swing by a couple of other ponds on our way off the hill.

Our next stop was surprisingly productive, though it would have been easy to dismiss at first glance.

Aaron W scored first with a pretty little cutthroat:

Then Holdsworth with a nice grayling:

If his first one likely broke his personal record grayling, this one smashed it.  Awesome catch.

I finally sent out my first cast on my fly rod and quickly found a beautiful cutthroat to play with. 

That was a really pretty one.  Great colors.

Aaron W had a couple more come in and Holdsworth actually got an even bigger grayling right before we left.  I was too far away to grab a pic, but he was really happy with that one.

One last stop was warranted, so we made our way over there for a few casts.

It was really shallow and weedy.  Casting from shore wasn't productive because the jig or lure would get slimed right away. 

I took a little walk along the shoreline and found a small opening in the weeds, where I dipped a jig and pulled out a small brookie, then missed another.

That was all I needed to see and we left shortly after, enjoying the splendid scenery on our way down.

It was an incredible day and we crossed three more lakes off our list, with pretty good results!  I've needed a good grayling day and this one definitely filled my quota for awhile.

Happy Fishing, Humans.


This Will Be Hard To Beat

Saturday had a plan.  Holdsworth and I were supposed to drive for over three hours, then hike for at least another with our tubes.  Our hopes were to find big brookies in a new (to us) water.

The information I recalled indicated that the fishing at this lake was similar to another on the same mountain, but with better fish.  We each did our homework and carefully planned our approach, even going as far as making plans to meet up with someone else while out there.

It wasn't until late Friday that I received more current info from last year, stating that the fish were mostly small runts.  We didn't want to put in all that effort to be disappointed, so both parties agreed to do their own thing and hope to run into each other the next day.

Saturday morning came nice and early.  Aaron and I got ourselves on the road a little bit earlier than normal and were able to get to our targeted area before too long.  My thoughts were of a different lake in the region initially but as we got closer to another, it was decided to go for it, where we ended up.  Something about the water just "called to us".

My anticipation grew as I readied my gear on the shoreline, preparing to float.  Just for fun, I grabbed my fly rod that was already rigged with a Frankenstein Sculpin pattern from Fly Fish Food and tossed out a cast into the deepest water I could reach in the shallow puddle.

A few quick strips along the bottom and I felt the fly stop abruptly, followed by a hard shake, a flash in the water, then nothing.  Broken leader!

I should have tied on a fresh one prior to starting.  Oh well.  A new 10ft section of mono was tied on and a new fly.  This time, an olive Sculpinator from the same shop was selected.  Once that was tied on, I got on the tube and headed out for deeper water.

It wasn't long before I had another fish hit and I knew immediately that I wasn't messing with a chump.  It was pretty far away when it bit, so I had to work it for quite awhile to gain any line back.

The battle went on for several minutes and my forearm was really feeling the burn.  The fish on the other end still had a lot of fight left and had taken some strong runs, peeling out drag from the reel.

Letting the rod do the fighting, I reeled in the slack and finally noticed some fatigue in the massive tiger.  My rod is 9ft long, but the leader was a tad longer, plus I didn't want to let the connecting knot where the leader met the fly line get into the guides, just in case Murphy was hanging around.

This meant I was high sticking, but still couldn't reach the fish effectively.  No net either.

Eventually, I worked it out to where I leaned way back and had the fish basically swim up onto my legs, then a quick toss from the legs to the lap, then a bear hug, of sorts.  The beast was landed!

When the dust settled, I was happy to hoist my prize up for a few snaps and measurements.

 photo DSCN7159 600x450_zpsutwtgw0g.jpg

What a monster!  7lbs, 10oz @ 27 inches!  A new personal best for me and somehow it came to me on the fly rod!

 photo DSCN7157 600x576_zps7hjtfp4e.jpg

What?  I really didn't expect that to happen.

 photo DSCN7161 600x450_zps6xnb0cof.jpg

Shortly after, I started throwing jigs on my spinning rod.  It didn't take long to hook up with another fish, though this one was much smaller, at only 20" and pushing 3lbs.

 photo DSCN7163 600x450_zpsbtnilxgu.jpg

Gotta love it when that's a smaller fish.

Again with the jig, I had another good fish on the line, this time a 4lbs, 3oz tiger with an attitude.

 photo DSCN7167 600x450_zpshd5bmc3w.jpg

The day was rolling out nicely already and I couldn't imagine it getting any better, but then it did and I hooked into another beast that like that marabou jig I was throwing.

 photo DSCN7170 600x450_zps2zeqqhnu.jpg

Another great fish at 6lbs, 9oz.  That one would have beaten my former best trout, had I not caught her big sister earlier.  I got a video of this catch.  Notice how I had gotten better at landing big fish with no net.

Somebody pinch me.

 photo DSCN7173 600x450_zpsepenubzp.jpg

Meanwhile, Aaron's only action so far was taking pics of my monster.  I felt bad for him and hoped he'd get his bruiser soon.  Strange how the fish gods can shine a light on someone some days, while totally snubbing another.

To make matters worse, I hooked yet another pig tiger trout.  Another large female.

 photo DSCN7174 600x450_zpstmkpz3k5.jpg

I got a video of the release of this one.

Ridiculous!  Cloud 9 was hardly visible from where I was sitting.

Switching back to the fly rod, I ended up breaking off again on another nice fish.  Another great fly was gone, but I still had one more Sculpinator.

Throwing that around, I connected with the smallest fish of the day.  That didn't stop it from putting up a great fight (or maybe my forearm was still worked from the hog) and as I brought it to hand, I realized that there was something a little extra "special" about this fish.

 photo DSCN7179 600x450_zpswohh2b8j.jpg

So how about that for a productive fishery?  Even fish that can't close their mouths can grow to a healthy 20" by swimming around with their mouths open.  Must be because of these:

 photo DSCN7178 600x450_zpsp1ccftaf.jpg

Definitely because of those.

One last good fish gave me another battle before my day was done and I was happy to finally land a solid rainbow from there, which had eluded me on former trips.

 photo DSCN7180 600x450_zpsvhhg4dzx.jpg

Looks like this one only has one good eye.

 photo DSCN7181 600x450_zpsaujw4oaj.jpg

We stayed for awhile longer, praying for Aaron to get some action, but it just wasn't meant to be.  He was obviously happy for me, but I'm sure that burns.  The poor guy had to watch me battle monsters all day, only to come up empty-handed.

It happens.  Next time, it's his turn.

 photo DSCN7168 600x450_zps604mrpzi.jpg

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.