Friday, July 31, 2015

Crowded Hike

With the kids visiting their grandparents and the Wife at work I took the opportunity to head out fishing. I picked up Ross and his brother Luc and we headed to a stream that I 'needed' to fish before Summer was over. We got a bit of a late start and were disappointed to find two other fishermen just heading out on the trail as we pulled up. With a few miles worth of good stream available, we figured it still would be worth the effort and headed out. Once we caught up with the other anglers we stopped and talked with them for a moment to make sure we weren't going to mess up their plans. They were going to fish up stream from where they were, so we hiked in a considerable distance before starting to fish. 
I'm yet to see an elk here, but I won't be shocked when I do
Lucky for us my favorite part of the stream was down here, so it wasn't much of a sacrifice for us. This hike always gets me in the mood for hunting season which is right around the corner. Once we started fishing it set the scene for most of the day, we missed a lot of fish. I don't know if it's just because I haven't been fishing much but it seemed like none of us could make the connection. 

Lots of wildflowers

It's a nice place to be

I think he caught the most fish today

Big brother did okay too

Lil brownies
Finally we all managed to hook and land a fish to get the skunk off. They seemed more than willing to take a well placed terrestrial, or a BH Prince Nymph dropper. The fishing was definitely picking up until we reached the first waterfall, then it seemed like we couldn't buy a fish. 

There's a few of these on this stream
We kept on keeping on, trying some different flies and hoping that fishing would improve, when we found a place where a few active fish kept our attention for a few minutes. That's when a couple of guys came up from behind us. At first they seemed okay, asking what direction we were heading and if we'd had any luck, then they walked up to the next decent pool above us (yes, we told them we were working our way upstream) and started fishing. Rather than playing leapfrog for the rest of the day we elected to hike up and out of the small canyon to get way above them. We didn't see the anglers from the morning, but we went far enough up that we would've avoided them too. Our fishing luck didn't seem to improve, but Luc did make an interesting catch.

Not the funnest lil canyon to hike out of

Felt bad for this bird
Didn't even fish the beaver ponds this time
Luckily the bird was just tangled in the line, and not actually hooked. I was shocked that she didn't even peck at me while I was working to set her free. We managed to miss a couple more fish to finish out the frustrating day before making the hike back to the car. Once we were in sight of the parking area, we were spotted by the guys that cut us off. They quickly jumped in their vehicle and drove away. I'm sure they were trying to avoid some choice words that I'd saved for them. Oh well, at least we were able to get out and see some beautiful area. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy nature.

- Kidder

Cool lookin' spring

I may have been a little distracted...

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Family Camping, pt. 2

If you missed part 1, check it out here 

It definitely felt good to be out and away from people. For the first day and a half we were the only ones up there. A few people came and went, but they stayed far enough away that even though they were around, they didn't make themselves known. 

He's good to take me fishing
On Sunday morning we decided to all sleep in a bit and have a nice breakfast together. Del likes to make omelets for the family once just about every trip. Ever since she came across the idea of making the omelets ahead of time, with all the ingredients in ziplock bags, then just cooking them in some boiling water (still in the bag) Del's been more than happy to make some up for our camping trips. Lucky us! These omelets are really good, with onion and mushrooms. After breakfast we all headed down to the shore to get some fishing in. Just after getting set up, I pulled in the first brook trout of the trip.
Decent brookie
Ever since I was a kid camping at Mirror Lake in the Uinta mountains I've always enjoyed fishing my way around a small lake. I managed to talk Atley into the endeavor and we set off to do some exploring and fishing. We definitely found some great spots to fish, although getting to some of them was pretty tough. Next time we'll just hot spot it and avoid the harder to get to parts. We both hooked into some fish, but the nicer ones we spotted seemed to avoid meeting us this time.

Workin' it
Once back at camp we found out that we'd missed lunch (the lake's a little bigger, and the hike is a little longer, than I anticipated) so we had to improvise a snack to get us by. The rest of the last day in camp was spent relaxin. I pulled out my new hammock to give it a try and found out some important things. First, the new straps work like a charm (the first set had some issues). Second, without something to insulate it's really easy to freeze your butt off (even in the middle of the day). And third, if you don't adjust how you're laying in the hammock the pressure on your calf can make it less than enjoyable. I'm still not sure if hammock camping is for me, hopefully I'll strap on the backpack before the end of the Summer and find out. 

Pretty nice view for my relaxin
We had everything down to a system at this point, so after dinner we had another fire, a few more s'mores, and spent our last night without any problems. In the morning came the work of breaking camp and heading home. A couple of quick stops to look at wildflowers and spot some deer and we were home well before most of us were really ready. Such is life. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy the outdoors.

- Kidder

Didn't think Del was ever going to come back to the truck

Nice shot

A reminder that these roads can be a bit treacherous 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Family Camping, pt 1

I've mentioned this in previous posts, but in case you didn't catch it, this Summer has been really strange for me and my family. Del has a new job, so it's just been me and the boys at home. So we haven't been able to slip away anytime we like, which isn't a big deal, just means we actually have to plan our trips now. With that in mind Del took a couple days off to make the most of last weekend and we headed out to a lake that I haven't been to in a couple of years.

Loading up was the usual geometric challenge, but all went smoothly until we were a couple of miles down the road and realized we had forgot the toolbox and shovel. So, before we left our driveway (again) we talked through everything we hadn't forgotten. Once we agreed that we had everything we'd need and more we headed back down the road. 

I like this little lake
The ride consisted mainly of going slow on washboard dirt roads, but it took us up out of the heat and where everything is still green. When we started getting close to our destination the roads began to get pretty muddy, and the increasing number of sheep on the hillside was disconcerting. Once at the lake it was pretty obvious that if we stayed here we'd be right in the herd of sheep and dealing with more than our share of mud and other stepping hazards. So, onward to the next potential camping spot. 

Really pretty place
The next spot was somewhere I had never been before, but a lake that was one of the many placemarks spots on my Google Earth. The trouble with places like this, especially when its evident that the area has received some rain, is that you never know how the roads will be. Luckily, we didn't run into any issues and even found a great place to camp within sight of the lake. The rain started to fall as we set up our tent, then the hail started to come once the tent was up, so it made the process take a little longer than usual and set the stage for a cold first night. Good thing the boys and Del all got good sleeping bags for Christmas! 

I think he came for the smores
This doe seemed to have no fear, and was intent on joining us in camp
I was up bright and early the next morning and successfully slipped out of the tent to get some fishing in before breakfast. Good thing I did, because the big fish of the trip was waiting for a Gulp! Minnow to be thrown his way.

Love finding nice fish in small lakes!
Once the day warmed up a bit the fish started rising and I went to find my fly rod. When we were packing I noticed it wasn't in with the fishing stuff and asked Atley to run and grab it. He must've gotten distracted by something because it still didn't get packed and I was stuck trying to get by with only a spinning rod. Some guys can do this, but it drove me nuts not being able to fish the way I usually do. Fishing was a bit more difficult than I would've expected at a high elevation lake like this. The fish were more than willing to follow our jigs, flies and lures back near our feet but were reluctant to commit. Del came down after lunch to try her luck with her preferred method, Power Bait, but only managed one lil tiger.

Laid Back

Prettiest fisherwoman I know
Once Del was done I decided to make my around the lake to some likely looking spots with logs that protruded out from the shore. Making my way across the outlet was easier than expected, as there was very little running water. The logs proved to be a good spot as I placed a couple of casts near the first one with a jig and was quickly into a mid-sized tiger. The second log still had enough branches that casting close was more of a challenge than I was up to with a spinning rod. So I snuck out onto it instead and dropped my jig down to see if anyone was home. Another mid-sized tiger took my invitation to come up and say hello, but managed to break me off before I could get ahold of him. I didn't have another jig like the one I been having success with on me, so I had to improvise. On went a weighted streamer (that still wasn't even close to as heavy as the 1/16 oz jig) and I made an attempt. In the blink of an eye a fish bigger than I thought would be living in this lake slammed the fly and I missed him! I tried to coax him back out until Del called me back to camp for dinner. On the walk back I teased another smallish tiger enough to hit, and found an abandoned brookie tangled up in fishing line and dead. Accidents happen, but I hate to see a wasted fish like this. Good to know there might be some brook trout in this lake though...