Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Cast & Blast

I love and hate this time of year. I love it for the chance to have some time with family, take a mid school year break, and head to one of my favorite spots to fish. I hate it because of the cold, snow, and limited fishing closer to home without going out on the ice. 

So with my Dad, two brothers and myself all being teachers we had some time to plan a trip. We decided on doing a jack rabbit hunting/fly fishing trip. I think my brothers tend to get more excited about hunting while my Dad and I were really looking forward to the fishing. Awake(ish) at 2:30 AM to hit the road at 3:00, a short three and a half hours later we were nearing our destination and seeing good numbers of rabbits from the road. Hit it hard and saw rabbits consistently throughout the day, burning through a significant number of .22 shells and getting some rabbits. Around midday my enthusiasm was waning but my brothers continued to hunt as my Dad and I waited in the truck. I pointed out that my bros were a bit crazy, my Dad pointed out that they hunt the same way that I fish. Touché. 

I think that night's stay in the motel really brought how tired we all were into focus. Some ill advised discussion of politics (we don't see eye to eye) and general bickering points were brought up. We couldn't quite stay awake to watch the last NFL game of the season. Then once we were asleep some pet names were uttered that shouldn't have been (I've never been called 'Peaches' before...). The next morning came early with some seriously cold temperatures and some storminess that would assure our isolation while fishing. 

It was a bit cold
We found some decent success in the AM with a couple of decent trout in the mix to keep things interesting. My older brother Jeff hasn't had much experience fly fishing, but he was able to get into some fish and really improve his casting. 

The typical size, we caught a lot of these

A nicer one. Dig the automatic reels.
Weston and my Dad caught as many as they could wish for but didn't find any better ones. Fish came to a mix of nymphs and Woolly Buggers with nothing really out performing anything else. I was able to finally pick up some fish on my 8wt which was a blast to cast. 

A good one. You know it's cold when your smile ends up being a grimace.
Around midday we started searching out different places to fish in hopes of finding some better sized trout. What we found was dirty water and unresponsive (or non-existent, not sure which) fish. I managed one more decent trout on an olive bugger but Jeff broke the tip off of his rod and lost any enthusiasm he had left for fishing. 

Pretty girl
We were about to call it and make the long trek home when my Dad suggested we stop at one more place. Amazingly there were rising fish waiting for us there. They were pretty picky, but we picked up a few on hanging midges and Orange Ashers. My Dad fished circles around me on this last spot just to prove he still could, and I couldn't think of a better way to end the day. 

A nice buck. Sorry about the pic quality, all I had was my point & shoot.

The ride home was a bit messy with a complete whiteout and an unexpected layover that made the long ride even longer. Rather than just get another room and wait out the storm we decided to push through and make it back to my Dad's in the AM. After a quick night I loaded up my stuff and made the drive back home feeling sick, but happy about the successful trip. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy the outdoors.

- Kidder

I think it's letting up!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Early Christmas

After sleeping in, and medicating up, I was able to get out for an afternoon of fishing with my youngest boy Cado last Saturday. He was really excited to borrow his brother's "thingies so he can walk on the water." Despite the late start I was really excited to get out and we headed south to a stream that has been really good to me. 

Ready to roll

A little skinny
The water was a bit low, but Cado was ready to go! Seemed like the first few spots that should've been holding fish gave up nothing. But we found some fish in the smaller water, basically the spots that most people wouldn't bother with. Maybe we weren't the first to fish this stretch today.

Almost looks like he's threatening you with a fish

Don't know why his hands got cold

Love it when we find something other than a brown
Soon we found a pod of rising fish and it was time to try out a new fly I'd tied up (details here). First cast brought a fish to hand! Managed to hook two more, miss one, and land three before spooking the hole. I'd say the fly is a success! 

Proof's in the puddin'
Hope you have a Merry Christmas, get a gift as great as I got (getting out and fishing with my boy) get outside, be safe, and enjoy nature.

- Kidder

He's a fishing rock star

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Doctor's Orders

After spending the past week trying, unsuccessfully, to cough up a lung I finally gave in and went to see a doctor. Even when leaving the house for the appointment I still figured that I'd be back home soon with a "stay home and get some rest" type prescription. Well, I was only half right. While the doc did say I should try and stay home to get some rest, she also prescribed an inhaler and some antibiotics. Turns out I have bronchitis and strep. Guess I should've gotten to the doctor a little sooner. 

Oh well. Guess I'm stuck at home for the next little while tying flies and entering contests. Don't worry I'm sharing all of them over at my Facebook page so you can enter too. I'm sure I won't win, luck has been too kind to me already, but there's no harm in trying.

Most of the flies I've been tying have been standards in my boxes. Things like woolly buggers, mod. hares ears, brassies and zebra midges. Then I got thinking about the last time I was out, and those fish that were taking midges in the surface film (I think). So, I tied up a hanging midge. Basically just a zebra midge without the bead and a parachute post. Put it on a scud hook so the the body would dangle down through the film.

Not too bad, if I do say so myself.

I'm tying them in four colors right now: red, olive, black and orange. All with a silver "barber pole" and a grizzly or dun hackle. What do you think? Will it catch? I'm betting it will.

Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy the outdoors.
- Kidder

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


I have a lot to be thankful for. I have a great Wife (who made an amazing Thanksgiving dinner) and two awesome sons. I have a good job, a nice house and lots of opportunities to get out into nature (and a Wife that puts up with my adventures, did I mention she's great?). I was also raised by some pretty great parents and had the opportunity to get out fishing with my Dad for Black Friday. 

Nothing quite like waking up at 2:30 am the morning after eating way too much turkey, but at least it wasn't to go shopping. No, we were hoping to maximize our time on the water by getting there at the crack of dawn. 

Ever wake up so early you feel sick to your stomach?
Got there a little early, even for us, but the fish were ready and willing. We got a lot of little ones early on, almost every cast, on pretty much any nymph we tried. It quickly became clear that we needed to try some different spots to find the better fish. So we headed over to a spot where my Dad hooked into a nice fish last year, only to lose it, and hoped that he could get some redemption. After only a few minutes Dad again hooked into a great fish only to find that we had left the net back up at the truck. In the two minutes that it took to go and get the net the fish found a way to come unbuttoned and my Dad was thinking luck wasn't with him. Thankfully he was wrong about that.

Great lookin' bow
Of course the one that got away was bigger, as they always seem to be, but this was a great looking rainbow. Next it was my turn to find a couple of nice fish.

I was pretty satisfied with the trip at that point! My Dad had found a couple of nice fish and landed one. I had managed to catch a couple of nice ones. Now we only had to try and find my Brother a decent fish (not that he needs much help). We figured that this spot was spooked so we ought to try some other areas. Among these was a spot where I caught my personal best rainbow just last January. The problem with this spot is that it seems like I'm the only one that likes it much. I can't really blame them though, the spot does seem to favor me. Sure enough, after a few casts with my olive woolly bugger, I hooked into a quality fish. I played it as tough as felt I could, but it still was taking line whenever it felt I was getting too close. After about 4 times of getting her close only to induce another run the hook just came free. That fish worked me over and left me standing on shore looking like an idiot. 

This seemed like a good time (to My Dad and Brother, I never want to stop fishing) to go and do a little rabbit hunting. I knew going into the trip that this was part of the deal. Now, don't get me wrong, I like hunting. It's just that I love fishing. Especially when the fish in question tend to be nicer than the fish I usually catch. Just had to go with the flow on this one, and ended up having a good time. After some indecision, some arguing, and finally letting a coin decide our fate, we decided to spend the night and do some more fishing in the morning (and some more hunting in the afternoon). It didn't take long for my Brother to find the fish that eluded him the day before on a red zebra midge.

Check out all those spots

Then I hooked into a good one on my olive woolly bugger.

At this point we decided to hit up a spot that had given up some nice fish in the past. We found some small to average sized fish that were coming to hand on about every other cast. As long as you could keep the weeds off your fly the fish seemed to be pretty easy, and there were a couple of bigger fish mixed in to keep things interesting. 

They are such fat fish
When it was getting to the point that the wind was dictating the drift more than the current it became clear that it was again time to go hunting. But before we got out of there, my Dad found another quality fish.

Good times
It was a great weekend of fishing and spending some time with my Dad and Brother. With any luck we'll be able to do this a few more times this Winter. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy the outdoors. 


Monday, November 17, 2014

Purple Rain (tying video)

So here's how I tie a nymph called Purple Rain. It's like the underwater version of a Purple Haze and I've had a lot of success with it. Let me know what you think.

Hope you can get out there, be safe, and enjoy the outdoors.

- Kidder

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Dog Days are Over

Had to get out while the gettin's good. That was what I kept telling myself all week. The options were to head out to try to find some soft water or grab my bow and chase some deer. It was a tough decision, and even last night I was considering going hunting, but when I got out of bed there was no doubt what I'd be doing today. 

After getting all the gear ready (but apparently forgetting the camera) I decided to follow through with a suggestion my wife made and put the dog in the truck. Where I was heading there wouldn't be any other people (at least not at this time of year) and she doesn't like to swim much, so why not? 

When we reached the trailhead the thermometer in the truck read 29 degrees and there were several inches of snow on the ground. Welcome to Winter. 

But hey, I was there and some fish might be waiting for me if I just put in some effort. So, against what some might think of as common sense, we set out in the cold. This was one of only two times this dog had seen snow and she was loving it. I was trying really hard to not step in every drift, creek, and not trip over every log. This was definitely easier the last time I made the hike! As we came up over the last hill, sucking air, we saw the lake sporting a fresh hardtop. Luckily, a few more steps made it clear that there were still open spots. 

Kind of an "Oh crap" moment
I still had a small streamer on my rod from who knows when so I dropped it in between some logs to see if anyone was home. Before I could even start to imagine seeing fish I had one on. Too bad he was too smart for me and hauled off under the logs to break me off. Quick re-tie, drop it down another brookie flies in and slams the fly and I miss it. That pretty much sums up the action for the trip. Apparently, the fish all got lockjaw. So rather than quit I decided to try and make my way to the other end of the lake to try my luck. Bonnie (the dog) had the same idea but tried to take the riskier route across the ice. This ice was definitely not safe, so I tried to convince her to get off of it. Luckily the ice only broke when she got within a couple of feet from shore. Good thing too, because if she'd have gone down out a little further I wouldn't have been able to help her out. So we tried the safer way, but with the snow, down timber and rocks there wasn't a way that didn't involve more effort than I thought it was worth. So back to original spot for one last try before taking off.

Good thing we did, because it provided with the only fish to hand for the day. I wish there were more of a story to it, but I spotted a nice fishing holding between some logs, tossed in, and a different fish slammed it. The fight was short because I was trying to keep him out of the logs. Nice colors on this great fish that was also a personal best brookie.

After that the hole was spooked and it was time for us to head for home before the snow really started falling. Holy crap that was a tough hike! Between extra layers of clothes I was wearing, the logs and the snow the relatively short hike seemed like a death march. The truck never looked so good. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy the outdoors.

Good to get out

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

White Out

Seems like my life is filled to the brim right now with lots of stuff. Every time I think there's a break coming it's filled up with more stuff. There are a lot of good things happening, like how we visited family last Saturday, but it does tend to cut into the fishing time. Most of the year this isn't as big of a deal, but this is Fall. This year doesn't have much sand left in the glass and I can feel the options closing down around me. Oh well, at least I got out fishing with Atley for a couple of hours on Saturday.

We started out by checking on a couple of small streams we're yet to fish. Unfortunately, the first stream was running off-colored and the second failed to show any signs of life. No worries, we still know where some fish live and headed there to avoid the skunk.

Still haven't written this stream off, just need to hit it on a better day.
Our time on the same small stream as last weekend started out great, with Atley catching four fish quickly. I even had the presence of mind to shoot a couple of little videos and take some pics of the boy.

This kid is really starting to get it

Big fish of the day. The smile says it all
The fish were eating MHEs and Chubby Chernobyl's, though they didn't seem overly picky. Unfortunately, it didn't take long for the storm to find us and make the fishing a bit too cold for Atley. His hands got pretty cold when he got them wet (by touching fish) so I took over as we made our way up to an easy place to get out of the ravine. The snow was really coming down! 

Some pretty cool little bridges

Only Rainbow of the day was the last fish
Made it back home just fine and the truck's heater took care of chill. Very well could be the last time we hit this small stream until next year, but I'm glad we've had a place to get in a couple of afternoon quick-trips. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy the outdoors.

- Kidder

Sunday, October 26, 2014


This was a hectic week! Every night I had some sort of work, whether it be my main job or my second, and not a whole lot of time to relax. Saturday felt good to be with the family. We went "Up North" to catch a marching band competition and pick up some new fish for the aquarium. Sunday began with plans to go fishing but first I 'needed' to make an order for some new fly tying supplies. Nothing too crazy or different, just some stuff I've been needing. If you haven't checked out you definitely should, they have some great stuff and awesome customer service (No, I'm not affiliated with them). The only type of shopping I actually like took long enough for the whole family to wake up and decide to join me. We decided to try a small reservoir that we'd never fished before.


Why haven't I fished here?
The kids had some fun with their BB guns while Deli took some pictures and I tossed some flies. What I found were some scrappy rainbows that ranged between 11 and 14 inches. They seemed to like my Fathead fly in golden olive and black. Even so I tried out a few different flies dropping off the back just to see what would happen, but they still seemed more interested in the streamer. 

Pretty lil' bows
Talk about a great decision! The only thing I'm wondering right now is why I haven't been up to this lake before. Not only was it a great looking lake with lots of willing fish (read: great for kids) its not even very far from my house. 

Old boy
After the Wife & Kids completed their trek around the shore I knew it would soon be time to go. Not wanting to leave without giving something else an effort I strung up a spinning outfit with a jig to try my hand. I don't have a lot of experience at this type of fishing, but the fish didn't know that and were more than willing to play. After a few more tugs we packed it up and headed for home, though I wasn't quite set for the week.

Once we were home and got the dogs put away I convinced Atley to head out with me to try a small (really small) stream. I've had a hunch about this stream for a long time now but can't ever seem to commit to trying it. It's not really on the way to any of my other usual spots and it's in that awkward size category where it could hold fish, but it also could not. Perfect for a late Sunday afternoon extension. 

It's amazing how much beauty is all around here

But are there fish??
Once on the stream it was apparent that we should have brought the waders! Atley was having fun jumping around on the rocks, trying to get in position to make a cast but I would have preferred focusing on the fishing. The first good looking hole seemed to be a dud until I had a little strike as I was pulling the fly up. It was enough to keep us going and at the next hole we found a few willing fish. Nice little cutties mixed with 'bows just to keep everything interesting. All they wanted was a MHE, though a few took the Indicator Chernobyl only to be missed.

Workin' the outside corner

Stealth mode
Lots of these

Looks good in my vest too

The bows all had parr marks

They all seemed pretty fat and healthy, even if they weren't all that big
Atley kicked butt on this stream, catching 8 fish and both the largest and the smallest fish were caught by him. It was great to see him getting interested in fishing again. On the way home he was talking about coming back to show his brother. I can't wait. It was the perfect end to a nice weekend with the family. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy the outdoors.

- Kidder

Love it when this kid fishes with me

Sunday, October 19, 2014


As the year winds down and the temperature drops I always start to wonder, "What did I do this year?" Now, don't start thinking that I don't appreciate the opportunities to fish that have come my way this year. It's just that I set out with a undefined list of places to hit and fish species I'd like to check off the Utah Grand Slam list. The one species that has been on my mind a lot this year has been the Arctic Grayling. 

Since I was a kid my Dad has been telling us about a certain drainage in the Uinta Mountains up in the Northeastern corner of Utah. Among stories of big fish, epically heavy packs, grueling hikes and other feats of daring, there was a certain lake that held a high number of Grayling. The trick was getting myself up to the North end of the state and convince my Dad to head back into the high country. No small feat, especially when there are ducks for him to be shooting, but I got him to commit for the outing.

First things first, Del wanted to get some family pictures done for this year's Christmas card. Luckily, Del has her own camera and I don't have to put up with a photographer. Unluckily, time was running short to get everything done before our weekend was over and I needed to play nice in the A.M. before I would be released to go fishing. As soon as the pics were done I was hauling North to my Dad's, and trying not to get pulled over for speeding.

Grab the stuff, out the door, hope we didn't forget something, crap we did, back in the house for water, double check everything, out the door. Up to the trailhead in a hurry and we were ready to head out. I should've paid more attention, my Dad didn't grab his fly rod, no he had his spinning rod because he knew a fly and bubble would be more effective at getting to those fish out in the deeper water. Lesson learned, the old boy out fished me three to one. Oh well, I still like fishing with a fly rod better....

Lake #1
First stop was the aforementioned grayling lake and it took two casts before I found my first that was about as small as they come. With that checked off the list I was able to relax and enjoy the day. Once we worked our way around to the deeper water near the dam my Dad started the clinic catching several nice (for Utah) grayling. 

I hate selfies, but had to do it to appease Del

Still knows how to work it

They ARE pretty, but it's hard to make 'em that way in pictures

The old boy can fish, but he's not much for pictures

Can't catch the man
With grayling off the checklist Dad wanted to check on a few of his other lakes that he hadn't been to for about 15 years. Couldn't quite find the trail, so we crested a hill and spotted our next destination (advantage of having experience on your side) and made the quick hike down. After a few stunted Brookies (not caught by me) there was another lake to check out before we'd need to head out. 

It looked promising
Some stunted brookies

Hard to see, but he's pulling in another fish

A little bit better fish were in evidence at the last lake of the day but we just didn't have time to really find out how much better. A fish for each of us and we were making the hike out as the temperatures dropped. It quickly became apparent that we'd be hiking the last stretch in the dark so we slowed down a bit to avoid injuring ourselves. With all the exercise involved we didn't hardly feel the cold, but we knew getting off the trail could be disastrous so we took our time and made it back to the vehicle safely.  

Nothing quite like a high mountain lake

It's good to get him up here
Had to stop for one more pic

One more, one more - looks cold...
Great to get out with my Dad for a day in the high country and visit those lakes that I used to hear about when I was a kid. Not sure if we'll ever make it back there again so I'm glad we had the chance. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy the outdoors.

- Kidder

Gotta get out there to see it