Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Fluke?

This year Father's Day weekend just so happened to also be the last weekend before I go back to work running our district's Summer Band Program. It's not exactly a full time gig, but it does prevent me from randomly taking off during the week till the Fourth of July. So, I decided to use both of these occasions as an excuse to go explore a part of Utah that I've never been. So after a quick stop at the local Ranger Station to pick up a couple of maps (one for this trip, one that I've been needing for quite a while) Atley and I were off on another adventure.

We are ridiculously spoiled here
After driving past so many places that I know can fish really well we were astounded to have eastern Utah laid at our feet. The pic above doesn't do it any sort of justice. Capital Reef National Park, San Rafael Swell, Goblin Valley, Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park, the La Sal Mountains are all in front of you. It's easy to imagine seeing all the way to Colorado. (I don't know how much of all that you can actually see, but it FEELS like you can see it all).

Once we arrived at the lake, after referring to the map several times, we set out to get the lay of the land without our packs. Despite looking at google-earth and the newly acquired map we followed the sign and ended up wasting some time hiking up a hill. It was some great looking country though, and we were able to find a good outlook to find the lake we were after. Just glad we were hiking without the packs!
Not sure what kind of flower this is, but the boy thought they were picture worthy
It's a nice tree
Once back to the truck we ate some PB&J sandwiches, rehydrated, and got ready for what looked to be a quick hike into a pretty little lake.

Looks fishy
Finding a place to camp and all that could wait. I strung up a rod and tied on an Olive Woolly Bugger. First cast was met with enthusiasm from a small tiger trout. It had to be a sign.
Gotta love the tigers
Seems like every cast I had a hit or at least a fish following it in. Atley was having fun playing on shore and taking pictures.
Hump-back tiger

They come in bigger sizes too!
These were some of the prettiest tiger trout I'd ever run across! It was awesome fishing with some larger fish mixed in to keep things interesting. Soon, too soon, we had to start thinking about where we'd be sleeping and cooking dinner. So we packed up headed around the lake to a more camping friendly spot. Once there I found the fish were just as willing here, though it was a mix of Cutts and Splake.
This splake looks more like his brookie parent in my opinion
I'm always a sucker for a native
After seeing Dad catch so many, Atley finally decided to give fishing a try and found some Cutts that liked the look of his Orange Asher.

It's a different way to hold a fish, but it worked

A little fish for the little guy
It was at this point that we drew the attention of the local beavers and they made us know that weren't really welcome at their pond. Still shocks me how loud their tail slaps can be! It seemed like a signal that we should light a fire and cook our gourmet dinner. After our ramen was gone I went back to fishing while Atley kept the fire going. Once the light was off the water the Cutts seemed really eager to slam a mouse pattern on a slow retrieve. If I live to be a thousand, I still won't grow tired of throwing mouse patterns. Something about setting the hook when hearing a splash just doesn't get old to me. 
Atley snapped the pic as I was saying something, I'm not actually mad
At about 11:00 I said something to Atley and he didn't reply. I turned to find him asleep on the ground by the fire that had burned low. It was time for bed, so after drowning the fire thoroughly (one of my worst nightmares is starting a wildfire) we hit the sack for a terrible night of insomnia. Atley of course slept like a rock but I laid awake for a long time. As I first started drifting off to sleep I heard something scuttling up the bank, then it scuttled away even faster. After a splash I heard the tail slap that told me the beaver had dropped by to see if he'd scared us away yet. He wasn't happy to find us still there. He let us know about his displeasure for the next couple of hours. Between that, the super bright moon (why wasn't I still fishing?), and the fact that my new backpacking tent is about three inches too short for me, I had a rough night. Despite the lack of sleep I was still up early to fish before we had to leave.

Not a bad view to wake up to
Despite the nice midge hatch the fish were still very willing to slam my bugger till I lost it on a log. Next up was a fly that I've heard was good, but was still yet to catch a fish on. The Black Egg-Sucking Leech was met with enthusiasm as long as it was falling but they wouldn't touch it on the strip. Managed to catch the three species of fish in the lake while sitting next to Atley on a large rock. Pretty cool really.
Look at those colors!

It's fins are purple. PURPLE! Such pretty fish here.

A more lake trout looking splake
All too soon it was time for us to leave. So we packed up and made the short hike back to the truck for the long ride home. 

He's a good boy
It won't take me long to find my way back down here and give some of the other lakes in the area a try and find out if this trip was just a fluke! Hope you can get out and enjoy the water.

- Kidder

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