Saturday, December 16, 2017

Not Dead.

No, I’m not dead and I haven’t given up on this blog. I’ve just been busy building a house and moving. Although I’m not completely done (we haven’t gotten our internet hooked up and my fly-tying/rod building stuff is still in storage) we’re in the house and close enough to done for me to take a little time to update you on the goings-on even if I haven’t been fishing.

Yes, you read that right. I’ve gone from fishing about once a week to not fishing for a few months. I have been hunting a couple of times because, as I reminded my wife, “Hunting season comes but once a year.” The nice buck that I missed on the archery hunt was on my mind so I was really excited to head out during the black powder deer hunt with Atley. Atley  had his second deer tag and a cow elk tag to try and fill while I was still carrying my dedicated hunter deer tag. Our first morning out we came across a couple of cows that didn’t want to play in the fog. We walked a little further down the ridge then bailed off chasing some bugles. After calling a bit and raking a tree we watched a 5 point bull work his way to about 60 yards where he screamed at us and took his frustrations out on the vegetation for about 30 minutes. Another bull had come into the draw to see what the commotion was so we moved into position hoping we could get close to his cows (assuming he had any, the five point didn’t). The bull didn’t like us getting close and let us know by stomping up the draw to about 30 yards. He even had a spike tailing him, but no cows! 

Atley was freezing in the fog so we climbed back up the ridge and headed for the truck. We decided to head over towards where the bucks had been a few weeks before, but before we got there we spotted a buck and Atley jumped out of the truck. I got out too, just in case he needed some help, but I had barely said that it looked like a good buck when Atley made a great shot at about 70 yards with open sights and filled his tag. 

My Dad was shocked that we had gotten Atley his deer so quickly, and I think he was sorry he hadn’t been there for it so he decided to hunt with us the next day. The morning hunt had us chasing elk and trying to get Atley’s tag filled (especially since we weren’t sure if we’d be able to make another trip) but the elk preferred to stay down in the canyon where we just couldn’t go after them with little brother Caden. A few deer were spotted, but nothing that I wanted to hang my tag on.

That evening we decided to head back towards where Atley had gotten his buck, which was the same area where I’d seen some nice bucks on the archery hunt and a few elk too. Deja vu. We spotted a good buck on the way there and I bailed out of the truck. It was a nice enough buck to get me excited and I missed! Luckily the buck stopped to look back at us and gave me enough time to get a second shot and I took advantage of it. I kept my eye on the buck as it went about 20 yards before going down. I stood there making sure the buck didn’t get back up and was joined by Atley while my Dad made sure his truck was off the road enough. When we decided that we’d waited long enough we walked up on the buck. My best buck to date was waiting for us, a tall three point.

Caden and my Dad joined us up on the hill to help with the field dressing and I knew that we had been particularly lucky. Not only to find bucks that we were happy with (and that we could close the deal on) but also to spend time with family in the outdoors. 

Hope you’re as lucky,


Saturday, September 9, 2017


I've been focused so much on building our new house that I haven't been able to get out lately. This past weekend my Dad came down and we were going to try and get some concrete done. Unfortunately (fortunately?), we couldn't get any mud and decided to do what we could then take my Dad's fifth wheel trailer down to storage near where we hunt and get a little R & R while we were at it. Caden has been talking about going hunting for the past few weeks so he was really excited to come with.

Getting a late start on a Saturday usually isn't that big of a deal, so we took our time and got groceries and everything we thought we'd need. We headed out talking about what needed to happen at the house, the possibilities ahead of us and the challenges of being a teacher (both my Dad and I are teachers). My Dad casually remarked on how if he got 15 years out of his truck it would make retiring much easier. Not more than 15 minutes later we blew a hydraulic line and came to a stop in an awkward uphill spot. Trying to get off the busy highway didn't work out too well as the trailer threatened to smash into the bed of the truck because of the steep incline. There we were, sticking out into the highway and making the road dangerous for traffic traveling both directions. Luckily, some good samaritans stopped to help direct traffic as we hooked up a tow chain to try and get off the road. While we didn't get to a great spot, it was definitely more comfortable than the previous one and we were able to call a tow truck. 

The tow driver was a really nice guy that pulled the truck and trailer to a safe spot then took the truck to a mechanic in a nearby town. The mechanic wasn't going to be able to work on it until Tuesday, so we called my brother who borrowed another brother's truck to come and haul the trailer the rest of the way. Del and Atley brought us some dinner as we did the only thing we could think while we waited, pulled out the binos and glassed for deer. Once it got dark we somehow started playing 'Name that Tune' with movie and television soundtracks. 

When Brett arrived we hooked up the trailer and continued on. I drove with Del and the kids because she was too tired to drive back home. In the morning both kids elected to head back home with Mom rather than head up on the mountain with Grandpa, Uncle Brett and their Dad. (I don't blame them, the truck breaking down was pretty upsetting for Caden). 

We spotted some little bucks right off the bat and thought our luck was going to drastically improve, but it turned out that those were the only ones we'd see all morning. I did luck into seeing a 5 point bull elk, but as cool as it was it would've been nice to see an animal we were after. We decided to head down off the mountain and chase after some fish. Just his luck, Brett felt sick and spent the afternoon puking and sitting in the truck. I felt bad for him, but I couldn't miss this opportunity to fish after more than a month without casting a rod. It didn't take long for me to find some willing brownies as the afternoon slipped towards evening on a Bead-headed Hare's Ear and no doubt would've had some caddis action in the evening if I would've stuck it out. But we decided to head up hunting again. 

The evening started off much like the morning had gone, a couple of does but not much else. Then I spotted a nice buck just off the side of the road and slipped out of the truck. I ranged the buck at 60 yards and went through my shooting mantra (lock, level, loose) before letting the arrow fly. I must've missed with the range-finder because my arrow flew over the bucks back. Disappointed doesn't really describe the feeling but I wasn't going to give up that easily. I backed out and ran around to another opening I knew the bucks (he had a smaller 4 point with him) would probably be going through. There he was at 50 yards quartering away. Again I felt like I took my time and made a good shot, but he jumped the string and turned away from where my arrow passed. He decided to take his buddy and get out of dodge so I went in search of my arrows. The lowest of lows crept over me as I collected my arrows. The only comfort that I could find is that I hadn't hit the buck poorly, and that a clean miss meant that he was still out there. 

Glad we had a trailer...
A sleepless night followed with visions of the buck that seemed to grow while I laid there listening to Brett's snores. We were up early to get to where the bucks were the night before. I slipped out of the truck just before first light and took up a post where I could see some potential game trails. Cold crept over me in the gray light as I heard a bull elk bugle. Not much else broke the silence as I waited. Then I heard what I thought was antlers scraping a tree and went to investigate. After sneaking along for about 50 yards, I spotted a small spike buck that was trying to rid himself of his velvet on a small aspen. I was a little let down, but it was cool to get to about 10 yards of the buck before he noticed me. I kneeled down to get a better view and was thinking about taking a picture when I spotted a mature buck that had been hidden from my view only 5 yards behind him. They were both aware of me but didn't decide to run until I tried to pull my bow back for what would've been an easy shot. Just like that they ran and my hopes for the morning, and the weekend, were dashed. 

Even though the hunt wasn't successful, I was very grateful to be able to spend time with my family in a beautiful place and am excited to get back up there. 

Hope you're as lucky,

Monday, July 3, 2017

Hog Hunting

It's been awhile since I last fished with Lane. It's funny how schedules work out sometimes, or in this case, how schedules don't work out so you stop trying. Lane invited me last week out of the blue but I couldn't make it. I had a hunch of what he was planning, so I made sure to give him a heads up when I could make it out this week. Turns out I missed an epic day where Lane caught his personal best cutthroat. 

It's always good to get together with Lane. He's a good guy that just happens to also be a music teacher and a really good fly fisherman. His style is different enough from my own that I always learn a ton whenever we fish together. 

When we arrived at the stream it was pretty obvious that the water level had dropped considerably, and we wondered if it would hold any good fish. Luckily, we spotted a couple of decent fish as we sized up the situation before getting out the rods. 

With the low, clear water the fish were a little spookier than we had hoped. Our best tactic was to take turns on visible fish while the off guy played spotter. I really enjoy sight fishing like this, especially because I get to see how someone else approaches different situations. I'm sure with the wrong people it could feel like a high pressure situation, but with a good friend it just makes it fun to laugh at each others mistakes, and cheer at our successes. The first of those successes came when Lane managed to hook and land a nice cutthroat.

My turn ended with a bigger fish breaking me off in some midstream sticks. After Lane did the same, I managed to land a smaller cutt, so at least the skunk was off. 

As we worked our way upstream we spotted fish here and there that we would cast our dry/dropper rigs to catching more than our fair share, and missing others. Lane was fun to watch as he worked some tricky tight quarter casts and managed to start finding some good rainbows. 

When we moved up near where we both knew that we'd be turning back for the truck, Lane hooked and landed a slob of a rainbow. It seemed that he had caught the fish of the day, and I couldn't have been happier. 

Some risers took our attention away for a little while, but we couldn't get them to touch anything. After changing rigs a few times looking for the magic dry I said screw it and put on a streamer. Didn't take long till I was into a fish. 

During Lane's turn a nice fish was feeding aggressively on dries, unfortunately for him his cast went a little long and got stuck on the opposite bank. He held his line up and out of the way while I lobbed my streamer under. To our surprise the fish ate! It happened to be a nicer fish than either of us thought and once it was hooked lane broke off and got ready to help me land him. The big bow tried to get to the under bank and when he couldn't manage that he ran down into the next pool. I hate when fish get below me because I always feel like I'm going to pull the fly out of their mouth. A quick move downstream by Lane made the fish stop and I was able to catch up and put some rod to him. Thanks to lane and some 4x I had the big rainbow in hand- best bow of the year so far.

We both had caught nice bows and the mosquitoes had taken their fair share of blood so we started back downstream towards the truck. Still looking for fish we spotted a decent one against the far bank in another hard to reach spot. Lane was up and the fish waited for him to basically throw the streamer into its mouth. Really fun to watch, but I wish the connection would've held. 

My turn, but we didn't spot another fish for a while. We stopped to try a spot that had a few fish in it earlier and as I was swinging  my bugger a couple fish false charged. I kept at it mixing up the retrieve, and when I swam it just right the big boy of the pool ate. Lane positioned himself at the bottom of the pool to cut off his escape through a spot I would've had trouble keeping up with him. So he turned and ran me up and down the pool a few times before I managed to get his head up and Lane got him in his small net. A great fish on my last cast of the day, a best of the year cutthroat.

Lane's turn was spent swinging a bugger through likely looking spots to no avail. He let his line drift under a bridge and was swimming his bugger back and forth when he got hit so hard it startled him. How a fish can hit like that and not get hooked is one of the great mysteries of fishing. Unfortunately, no amount of coaxing would get the fish to hit again and we called the day a success. 

Hope your as lucky,

Sunday, June 18, 2017


Caden's account:

In the trip I remember making hot dogs for dinner and we worked on the first legends of Caden! [a book him and his brother are writing] And we went fishing for a couple of hours then headed back to have some cheese burgers! And in the last day we went fishing for a little bit then we went to camp, packed up and left!

Atley's Account:

When my Dad told me we were going fishing/camping I wasn't surprised, my Dad had been talking about camping with Grandpa a lot! So after we were ready we left. We listened to music on the way and had a good time. After we got to Fish Lake we spent a bit of time looking for a campsite. It was so crowded. So many people in one place that wasn't a city! 

After we were done setting up we went fishing at a lake that I don't remember the name of. I fished a little bit but I didn't catch anything. After we left we ate dinner, it was my brother's night to cook so we had hot dogs, they were very good! After dinner I fell asleep really fast! My Dad went fishing in the morning and when he came back, Caden and I were still in bed! It was like 9:30 AM So we ate poptarts and drew until it was time to go fishing again. After we got to our fishing spot I played with my cousins and took pictures it was a crowded area with all of the people. After my Grandpa and Uncle left I fished a little bit and caught a fish it was small.... A little while after, we left and cooked hamburgers at camp for Dinner and it was delicious! We went to bed a while after. In the morning my Dad went fishing. When he got back we packed up and left!

My Account:

My Dad decided that he'd like to go camping before we get busy building houses and preparing for the next hunting season & school year so we made it happen. Decided to get out of the heat and head for the mountains. Fish Lake is a place that we always talk about going to more often but never seem to, so now seemed like a great time to get up there. Unfortunately, some wind decided to make a mess that my Dad had to help clean up and we got a little bit of a late start to our trip.

Once we had made it down to the lake we went out in search of a place to put our trailers and had a bit of trouble finding a good one. My trailer is pretty small and can be set up in relatively small spots, but Weston's and my Dad's trailers are pretty big and so finding a spot to accommodate them was a little more of a challenge. We ended up staying in a campground that cost us a bit of money, but made for a nice camp spot. Weston came up a little later, so he missed out on finding a camp spot but still had to make the rounds in order to find us. By the time camp was decided on and set up the boys were starving, so Caden made some hotdogs that tasted great!

Bright and early, Dad and I headed out to try several spots around Fish Lake but had a hard time finding a productive spot. Dad did manage to catch a pretty splake, but other than that the early morning was a strikeout. 

Decided to head back to camp and get everyone else so we could take a ride to a 'nearby' reservoir to see if our luck would change. Forsyth Reservoir is a place that I'd never fished before but one that I'll definitely return to. The boys and I elected to fish near the dam but Weston, Dad and their families decided to find another spot that would be easier with the little kids. We found a few fish that were willing to come to a Baby Damsel as long as it was near the bottom with a slow retrieve. 

It got hot quick, so we headed back to camp for sandwiches and an unplanned nap. The boys spent their time in camp drawing and working on a story that they've been working on together. Part of me wanted them to head outside and explore, but after spending the better part of the morning in the sun they probably needed a break. In the evening we decided to try Fish Lake again, this time with the whole camp.

Lots of fish were surfacing, so I decided to go with a midge cluster pattern pulled behind a casting bubble on my spinning outfit. Initially it was the bait fishers that did well with my Dad's wife Deb catching a couple of small bows. I think everyone ended up catching a couple and it was fun to see the girls react to the fish. 

After the rest got bored with the fishing, the boys and I stayed on a little longer. Atley finally pulled himself out from behind the camera to fish a bit for himself and caught a little planter for himself. Then we spent a few minutes skipping rocks (the boys know better than to do this while people are trying to fish) and the boys were happy.

One last bright and early excursion for Dad and me found us on top of a mountain looking for fishy water. The first reservoir we stopped at looked promising, but all we saw were waterdogs (my Grandpa always claimed that if a lake had waterdogs it meant that there weren't any fish) so we headed on hoping to catch a few before heading back to clean up camp. 

We found a pretty lake to try out and I used my spinning outfit again. It didn't take long for some rainbows to check in by way of a black Woolly Bugger and Prince nymph behind my casting bubble. A large cougar track on shore was pretty cool to see, until we heard the cat going after some nesting ducks, then it was really cool! Dad didn't have much luck until he slowed his retrieve down, but even then he could only buy a couple of hits before we had to head back to camp.

Cleaned up and headed for home, where we decided to take the trailer straight to our new property. Excited to see that the footings had been poured and the foundation was being formed up!

Hope you're as lucky,

Sunday, June 11, 2017


I wish that my motivations were completely selfless, but I'll be honest, I needed hours for the dedicated hunter program. This will be my third and final year in the program until I apply again, so I really needed to finish up my service hours. I've really enjoyed being able to hunt the archery, muzzleloader and rifle seasons and only getting two tags for the three year span of the program hasn't seemed like that big of a drawback to me. A perk to the program is that if you get a cow elk permit for the same area you can than hunt elk during your deer seasons.

So I needed 12 more hours to complete the 32 required for the program. The chukar guzzler project seemed to fit the bill pretty well and came before we start building our new house, which I'm expecting will take up all of my time & energy. So I woke up early on Saturday to make the drive over the mountains. I enjoyed the views, and seeing some buck deer, but didn't have to stop.

Building the guzzler wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't so far off the road. We started by digging a 4'x4' hole 3' deep. Then I spent most of the day hauling parts while others put it together. Everyone has a role, mine was mule. Pretty interesting to see how these are put together and despite the heat and hard work (or maybe because of it) I thought it was pretty fun. It was also an insight to how hard our Division of Wildlife Resources works for us here in Utah. One more project and I'll have my hours done, then I'll be ready for the hunts to start come August.

Hope you're as lucky,


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Getting Out

It's been a while since I've made it out fishing. Over a month, in fact, unless you count the few minutes I carried a rod while walking by a blue line. It's been even longer since I felt rusty with my fly casting. The water was clear, and the weather was nice, which made it feel great to be out there. The fish were active and excited to try a Tri-Colored Nymph for breakfast, which made it even better. The first awkward cast had me hooked into a fish momentarily and on the second cast I brought a little brownie to hand. Beautiful little fish that reminded me of why I'm so obsessed with fishing. 

Despite it being very accessible, with good numbers of fish and some decent hatches I just seem to consistently overlook this stream. I'd say that I'll try and remedy that, but honestly I probably won't, there are just too many good places to fish near where I live. Makes you wonder why I haven't been getting out, doesn't it?

I was getting consistent action so I took the opportunity to try out some different patterns, with not much hatching nothing worked better than the Tri-Colored nymph that I started with. Though I did get a couple to come up to a Pauterbaugh Caddis, which was the top fly in my dry/dropper rig. Seemed like every hole had a few fish that were willing to play. 

Once I reached a certain bend in the stream the bite just turned off. I still managed to get a couple more fish but they were fewer and further between. I'm not sure if I'd just reached a point where someone else had fished lately, or if it was just time of day. Either way, I'd had a good day and was overdue for heading back home. It felt really good to get out again.

Hope you're as lucky,

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


No, I'm not dead.....yet. I've just gotten busy with stuff that seemed important at the time but now I realize has just kept me from fishing for the past month. I'll change that this week if everything goes as planned. In the meantime I've been thinking about ways to get involved to help maintain and expand opportunities to do what we love, so expect more call to action type material on here. I don't care which way you lean politically, I belong to the party of Hunting, Fishing and Outdoor Recreation. In that spirit here are a few groups that I believe are helping the cause:

Even though I've never been there, I hope to go one day. When I do, it would be nice if the waters remained pristine so that fish and wildlife can still be abundant. This organization is fighting the good fight for Alaska's Bristol Bay: 

If you don't belong to Trout Unlimited I believe you should. It's a great way to help conservation efforts and stay informed on how the powers that be are trying to change the game. Specifically with the terrible idea of transferring our Federal Public Lands to the States. There are a lot of problems with this plan that I'll discuss in upcoming posts, but if you need proof it's a bad idea go look at how states across the west have administered (sold, closed access to, leased, drilled, etc) our Trust Lands. Go to their website, click on the "Take Action" button to help. (You could also become a member and/or donate)

This is an organization that was just brought to my attention this year. I really like their stance on public lands and habitat conservation. They are another organization that has really come to bat for public lands and informing/mobilizing the people to protect what we all hold dear, wild places and the animals that rely on them. They are a great source of information.

If you're like me the past six months have been exhausting with so many political battles and issues to stay current on. Remember that this is our country and the elected officials are supposed to represent what we want done to and for our country. Let 'em know what's important to you!

If you need to figure out who your Senators and Representatives are go to this website:

And now, I'm going fishing.
Hope you're as lucky,

Friday, April 21, 2017

Out With The Boys

I know that no one feels bad for me, probably because of all the fishing and hunting I get to do, but I needed a break. I had a personal day that needed to be used or I'd lose it come the end of May and Southern Utah was calling me. In anticipation of the native cutthroat trout that I imagined we'd be pulling in hand over foot, I signed Atley and me up for the Utah Cutthroat Slam figuring that it'd be easy to cross off at least one of the species. 

I'm not sure if it was just the appeal of a day off from school, or if they actually wanted to spend time with their dad, but either way the boys wanted to come!! On the road for a bit of a long drive but the boys had fun picking what music we listened to and I enjoyed the scenery.

First stop was a cool little spot that Loah at Utah Water Log told me about and it soon produced some beautiful tiger trout that were suckers for a Woolley Bugger fished deep. It was all fun and games until Atley found out how cold the water was when he fell in.

The fish were nice, but the bite was slow and soon the boys wanted lunch and a change of scenery. After some peanut butter and honey sandwiches we were on our way to lake #2 in hope of more fish and maybe some cutthroats. The boys seemed more interested in playing games with each other than fishing, which is fine by me. I love when the boys fish but I was still just happy that they were there with me, and they still ran down to reel in a fish or take a picture of one I caught. 

I'm not sure why I didn't try it at the first spot, but the first fly I tied on was a Barber Pole like my Dad had taught me how to tie about twenty years ago. Maybe I'll show you how we tie and fish them like a soft hackle. The fish sure seemed to like it on a slow strip and we caught one every two or three casts while the hatch kept up. Tiger trout really are pretty, even if they are a little weird. We even managed to get a Cutthroat, our only one of the trip.

As the light went off the water we watched a deer make its way down the hill for a drink as I kept catching fish. The boys were having fun playing with the camera and throwing rocks. I wished it could've lasted for hours. This lake is one of the prettiest I've been to and in the evening half light, watching the deer, hearing wild turkeys and having fish on the end of my line with the boys it was the best place on earth. 

It seems like food was the only thing that interrupted my fishing on this trip, and it wasn't long before the boys were begging for dinner. Reluctantly I ended my evening fishing and we headed out in search of a place to camp. 

We found an amazing camp site under the ponderosa pines where we cooked hot dogs over the fire and hung out. Dessert was supposed to be roasted marshmallows but they were pretty nasty so we burned the whole package. The boys thought it was hilarious how the flames changed colors and it burned for over an hour. The dropping temps of Spring in the high(ish) country prompted us to forego the tent in favor of the cab of the truck. Where we were surprisingly comfortable.

In the morning we set about cleaning up the camp and found a pretty old looking pile of trash. I figured we could take a few minutes and clean it up, but there was so much trash we'll have to finish the job the next time we're there. After we had cleaned up as much as we had space for we headed to a new spot where I know some nice Cutthroats live. Apparently nobody told them they were supposed to make an appearance, but we'll be back. Heading down the mountain we decided to make one more spot to eat lunch before making the trek home in time to color eggs and all that Easter stuff. Started making some Top Ramen for the boys and caught a pretty brook trout before the water had boiled. 

The boys managed to catch a couple of small, but fat, rainbows to end our fishing for the trip. It was a great time out with the boys and I'm glad we got it in while we could. With the upcoming move and house build there might not be too much time for many trips like this. 

Hope you're as lucky,

I found my sign!