Monday, February 17, 2020

Valentine's Day

Paper hearts, chocolate, love notes and romance are what most people think of when February 14th comes around. This year I had a day off and thoughts of hitting a stream with my fly rod was all I could think of. This is the time of year where fishing could be great, even if it's unlikely. Most of the time it's a lot of casting, lots of fly changes, lots of layers of clothing, lots of ice in the guides and (if you're lucky) a couple of trout that freeze your fingers. Still, the need to get out and do something can really weigh on you until you start to lash out at those around you without cause. Spring Fever. 

A few years ago, I lived just minutes from the Weber River and rarely fished it. Different streams and lakes held my attention along with going to school and providing for my young family. Still seems like I squandered some opportunity, but with it in the past there's nothing I could do about it even if I wanted to. Now, it's a long drive passing by several other places that I like to fish and a drive that I haven't been up to make for a while. My dad grew up fishing the Weber and with him being retired now it didn't take much to talk him into it. 

The drive up went surprisingly fast, and before I knew it I was meeting Dad at his house for the final push to the river. Our first stop was a spot where we've fished before and found some success, although the water this time was really low and clear. I was worried that fishing would be tougher than we were up for but when the first whitefish ate a red Zebra Midge on the first or second cast my fears subsided and we just fished. 

Dad usually loses enthusiasm for fishing nymphs under an indicator pretty quickly, but he seemed happy to just be out fishing no matter what the method. With an indicator, weighted flies, and additional weight all trying to go different ways with each cast tangles were inevitable. A mixed bag of browns and whitefish were the payoff, with both of us finding fish.

I know that some people have some disdain for whitefish, but I don't share it. Growing up, we only fished dry-flies on the streams so we never caught whitefish. I've spent most of my adult life living in Southern Utah where there aren't any whitefish in the local streams. I think they're a fine fish. Like a grayling without the showy dorsal fin. Many times, especially in the winter, catching a whitefish is the only thing that keeps the skunk off.

Another peculiarity of winter fishing is that we don't cover near the water that we would in the warmer months. Eventually, the first hole stopped producing and we decided to move up stream. The second hole wasn't as productive as the first, but it did give up some good fish including a brown with a deformed mouth. Not sure what happened, but it didn't stop him from eating. 

There's always a hope that temperatures will climb high enough to get some fish looking up. Dry fly fishing is always a welcomed reprieve from fishing weighted flies, but when the wind kicked up significantly our hopes of dry flies and rises went out the window. In fact, the wind started blowing so hard that the water was being churned up pretty good. Before retreating to the the truck I had to try a few casts back into the hole where we had started and I was sure glad I did! The wind made casting difficult, but anytime my flies hit the water it seemed like the fish would eat. The fish kept up the excitement up for a few more minutes, but once the bite slowed down we headed for the truck and a break from the wind. 

We made one more stop on the way back to my Dad's, but we decided to not fish even though we spotted a very large whitefish from the road. I had some stops to make and Deli was home waiting for her Valentine's lasagna dinner.

Hope you're as lucky,


  1. The jaw on that brown is all jacked up. Nice pics. Glad to see you getting out even with the snow.

    1. Fishing is only going to get better from here on out. Thanks for dropping by!