Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Closing In

The end of summer is feeling way too close for my mental health. Used to be that about this time of year I'd turn the corner and start getting excited about the return to school, but it seems only to stress me out anymore. This summer hasn't exactly been a banner year for outings between all the work obligations and playing opportunities that I scheduled myself out to. It's all good, but it's not all as fun as fishing. With all these happy thoughts I decided to take the boys out for an afternoon of fishing on a local stream.

Good to be back

This drives me nuts

They're learning
The decision to wet wade was just as much out of need (the boys don't have waders that fit anymore) as it was a way to stay cool. The first step into the water reminded us all how cold a mountain stream is, even in July. Luckily, the fish were ready and waiting for a Prince Nymph and the little cutts made us forget about the cold water.


A boy and his fish

It's all coming together
Both boys were able to catch a fish on their own (with varying degrees of help) which makes it really fun. The fish were everywhere you'd expect them to be and as pretty as you could ask for (even though I'm not sure what strain of Cutthroat these are). As we worked our way upstream the fish began coming up for the Puterbaugh Caddis which made for some really fun fishing.

A good size for this creek

It's almost a smile
I think the boys had fun, but they were still ready to head for home before I was. Hopefully we'll be able to slip away a few more times before summer really is over and I have to start "adulting" again.

Hope you're as lucky,

Everywhere you look....

This kid makes some funny faces


Probably not the last trip here this year

Sunday, July 17, 2016


On Friday night I was up in Bountiful playing saxophone in a jazz trio for an art show, which meant I didn't get home until pretty late. Normally this isn't an issue, but when you're supposed to go fishing early the next morning it can make things a little tricky. The morning came quick, but I was good to go after two hours of sleep and the prospect of catching my first pike on the fly helped to get me out of bed.

The first place we tried had some really low and dirty water, but we still gave it a solid effort which only produced a very short lived fight with a miniature pike that ended with a long line release. Seeing the writing on the wall we decided to change locations in hopes of changing our luck. Even with the rising temps we found willing fish right away. Luc got the skunk off with a catfish he pulled in on his spinning rod.

The cats would continue to play throughout the day as we took turns reeling them in on the spinning rod, but they wouldn't come to a fly. The pike, on the other hand, were all too willing to slam a chartreuse Clouser Minnow on a slow retrieve and I soon brought my first pike on the fly to hand.

Luc was having trouble closing the deal with the pike but he figured it out after a little bit to not only catch his first pike on the fly, but also his first pike ever.

It's a good feeling to scratch a fish off the bucket list and we were pretty happy with the results of the day. The heat of the day had me burning up and with the lack of sleep we decided to call it a day. How I stayed awake for the ride home (and the concealed weapons class I went to that night) I may never know. 
Hope you're as lucky,

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Solo Dry

I'm always surprised at how chilly it is before light, even during the summer, and was thinking maybe the long sleeve shirt wasn't quite enough when I missed my first strike on the black wooly bugger. I was pretty mad at myself for letting my mind wander, especially since that was a good sized fish for this stream. Okay, now that I was ready the hits seemed to be few and far between and I only closed the deal on one fish before I was out of stream and needed to turn around. 

Not the biggest fish, but I really like the pic
With the light came the realization that the water was lower and clearer than it had been in a couple of years! That meant sight fishing to spooky fish and a lot of fun. As the air around me began to warm the bugs began to really come out. First was the trico spinner fall that seamlessly moved into a PMD hatch. 

I threw on a longer leader with a Hare's Ear Parachute and enjoyed the first really good dry fly fishing of the year. As I moved upstream I startled a very young fawn out of it's bed. We stood about 15 feet apart, staring each other down. As I reached for my camera the young deer hopped off, and I didn't want to stress him too much, so I let him go without a picture. Lucky the fish were more than willing to come to hand for a picture. 

Only Cutt of the day

This brown thought he was a rainbow and jumped five times before coming to hand
As the rises began to slow I added a pheasant tail dropper and continued to pick up fish on both flies. The rig was a little unwieldy with the 9-10' leader, plus the dropper, on my 7'6" fiberglass rod. This little rod sure made the fish feel a lot bigger than they were though, and it made casting dries especially sweet.

Not the biggest fish, but these wild, dry fly eaters are fun to catch

I love throwing to specific fish that are rising

It sure is a nice set up!

With more fish to hand than I, or anyone else, really deserves I called it a day and made it home by early afternoon to spend some time with the family. Unfortunately, there was something in the air that made my eyes swell up so bad that I was pretty much miserable for the rest of the day and the next morning. Still had a great time and can't wait to get back out there, though I may take allergy pills before I go.
Hope you're as lucky,

Hard to appreciate the beauty when you keep wondering if these are the culprits behind your allergies

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Pig Shoot

I'm not sure why they call it the Pig Shoot, but it's just a 3d archery course that's open on weekends through the summer. Since I was heading up north anyway, I figured meeting up with my brothers for a little practice with my bow wouldn't be the worst thing. Atley even agreed to come along for the ride which makes everything better. 

Pretty good group between three shooters
As crazy as I am about fishing, my brothers are crazy about hunting. I figured they'd outshoot me by far and I'd have to live with some shame for a while (especially since this was the first time I'd gotten my bow out this year) but I actually shot better than I expected and didn't embarrass myself too badly. Atley was pretty tired by the end of the course from all the hiking and playing with his cousin, but he managed to stay awake for most of the ride home to talk my leg off. 

Hope you're as lucky,

For all the marbles 

Sunday, July 3, 2016


It seems like it's always last minute with us. It's true that there are times when a trip is planned well in advance, but usually it's more like a day or two before we just decide it's time to go. That's how it was when my Dad called and invited us to go camping with him up to Strawberry Reservoir. The first thought was to try and find time to get everything ready to go, but with the new trailer most of our stuff was already packed!

When I was growing up we spent a lot of time at Strawberry trolling from our flat-bottomed boat. For a kid that would much rather be casting a fly rod, trolling pop-gear and worm for hours on end is just about the equivalent of hell. Yes, we caught fish. Lots of fish in fact, but the mindlessness of trolling cannot be overstated and so, I hated Strawberry. Conversely, Del's family spent a lot of time at Strawberry when she was a kid too and she has fond memories of camping with family. So, while I wasn't too excited about the trip Del was looking forward to it.

My less than fond memories probably led to a lack of focus on fishing for the trip. The first evening we focused on setting up camp and didn't really have any desire to rush out to do anything else. That night and most of the next day I tried to catch up on the sleep I was lacking from running the Summer Band program that had started up that week. The boys didn't seem to mind since there was a 4-wheeler in camp. Del and I took a nice walk up a tributary that was closed to fishing and spotted some Cutthroat that were traveling upstream to spawn. I'm not sure how they made it so far up this tiny creek with all the pelicans and cranes that were hunting them, but I guess that's just the dangers of love.

Much to the frustration of my Dad and Brother we didn't get around to fishing until that evening and even then it was only for a little while. I hooked one small rainbow on my first cast with a Woolly Bugger behind a bubble on my spinning rod, but that was the extent of our fishing success. The boys had much more fun skipping rocks than trying to catch fish and sometimes that's okay. Back at camp we had fajitas for dinner and the boys had fun making s'mores around the campfire.

The final morning of our little trip my Dad and I took a little drive to a stream that wasn't closed for spawning fish to do a little fly fishing. This was one of the first streams that I had fished with a fly rod and I had fond memories of eager little browns that were real confidence boosters. Not sure why, but Dad and I didn't find that much success early on. We tried a few different rigs/flies but it didn't seem to make much of a difference until mid-morning when the temperatures began to rise. The little stream hadn't changed much in the years since I was last here and my little fiberglass rod was perfect for it's inhabitants. Dad didn't have much success, instead electing to watch me for most of the morning despite my many objections. He did finally make a connection on what turned out to be the fish of the day, and the last fish of the day, when he casted into a beaver pond that really didn't look all that promising (to me at least). The 13" brown fought well and would've made for a nice pic had I not forgotten the camera.

We spent the rest of the weekend hanging out with Del's family for Father's Day and while it wasn't camping or fishing, it was still a good time. 

Hope you're as lucky,