Saturday, July 2, 2022

An Epic Day

Jeff called and wanted to get out and do some fishing and I was more than ready even if it was a weekend. There were people everywhere, but we decided to try and go where we wanted and if it was too busy we had backup plans to float a nearby lake. Luckily, there was only one vehicle at the trailhead, so we loaded up and put some trail behind us before starting to fish. Right away Jeff was into his first fish of the trip on a yellow Chernobyl Ant and he followed that up with two more quick ones! 

It took me a minute, but I found my first fish on a tan Puterbaugh Caddis. We were catching most of our fish on top and they were a good mix of browns and cutts. 

Between the stoneflies we were seeing on the bank, the mayfly spinners over the water and the cicadas in the trees picking a fly pattern to go with was a little tough. Jeff switched to a Chubby Ant in cicada colors and fish started smashing it, I soon followed suit and we had consistent action on the dry fly for the rest of the day! 


We were working our way upstream, trading off fish when I hooked into one that was significantly bigger than what we'd been seeing. The fish ran all the way into the rapids above the pool where we started the fight, then rocketed his way to the riffle below keeping me off balance until Jeff was able to get below him with the net. Not exactly the way you're supposed to fight a big fish, but it worked. This is by far the biggest fish I've seen from this stream and one I'll be remembering for quite some time. 


As we continued to fish our way upstream we had to figure out how to go over, around, or through the many log jams but the great fishing kept us moving forward to see what was around the next bend. We ended up going a lot further upstream than I've ever been from this access point and it only made me want to see more. Every likely spot held a fish that would either smash the Chubby Ant or take our dropper. We didn't have consistent success with any dropper until I put on my old reliable Mod. Hare's Ear and then it seemed like we were catching fish on almost every cast. 

Even though the fishing didn't slow down, we definitely were feeling all the effort that we'd exerted. With a long hike back to the truck, we decided to call it after one particularly good hole that yielded several fish for both Jeff and me. We were so satisfied that we didn't even stop to fish any spots on the way back. Anytime that I can get out and fish is a good day, but this was more than that. We caught lots of fish, some really nice ones, a bunch of them on dry flies and all without seeing another person. It was truly an epic day. 

Hope you're as lucky,

Kidder




Monday, June 20, 2022

A Fisherman's Word

I've been tying a bunch of flies in anticipation of another trip to southern Utah to hit some stillwaters, but when my phone fell out of the car while we were driving it kinda put a snag in my plans.  Fortunately, my son Atley is a technowizard and could fix me up with a temporary phone while waiting for a new screen that he would eventually install for me. Jeff still wanted to get out so we made plans to meet at my house and hit a stream that I hadn't been to in a couple of years. (You can read about that last trip HERE

Once we arrived we could hear all the cicadas in the trees and I was really excited to finally get to use the flies that I tied for a trip to the Green River last year (you can read about that trip HERE & watch the video on how to tie the fly HERE).

I caught a nice fish right out of the gate on the cicada, it was a beautiful cutthroat that rose so slowly you'd think it'd never reach the fly. After that, we worked our way upstream, thinking the fishing would only get better the further from the parking area we were. While fighting my second fish on the big dry fly I felt the horrible cracking sound reverberate through my rod and knew that my favorite rod had broken again. (Read about the first time HERE)


Rather than share a rod for the rest of the day, I decided to quickly make the walk back to the truck to swap out my rod for a spare that I'd brought along. This rod was my little fiberglass rod that would make these fish seem like monsters. We were only a half-mile from the truck so it didn't take too long, but while I was gone Jeff caught two fish on dry flies. He was using a 'Top Shelf Hopper' from Drew Looknfishy that you can see how to tie HERE

When I got back it took a little time to find some fish, we weren't helped by the fact that every few casts or so we'd have to clean the moss from our flies. The moss made it almost impossible to fish a hopper-dropper rig, so Jeff elected to only fish one fly while I decided to fish two dries. Almost right away the dropper, a Purple Haze, produced fish. One fish rose to look at my flies three times before finally taking on the fourth. 

We worked our way upstream taking turns throwing to all the likely spots and getting a couple of rises out of each. I know we could've caught more fish if we would've been able to effectively fish a dropper, but it was really fun watching all these fish rise to our flies. We caught mostly cutthroat with the odd brown mixed in which kept the day interesting. Late in the afternoon, we decided to call it a day and started our long walk back. We were surprised to see a badger cross our path, but he got out of there too quickly to get any pictures so I guess you'll just have to take my word for it. 

Hope you're as lucky,

Kidder

Monday, June 13, 2022

The Next Fish

For whatever reason, there was an area in the state that I've been wanting to get to for a long time, but it seems like I just can't make it happen. I'm sure it's only because of all the options closer to home that keep me from making the long drive, but this summer Jeff became curious about the same area and convinced me to make the effort. We decided to take our boys, Caden and Luke, with us (Atley had to work). 

When we arrived at Jeff's, we moved all our gear into his rig so we could drive to the lakes together. He also has a side-by-side that we'd be using on some of the notoriously bad roads. When we got to the first lake I found a fat rainbow pretty quickly. 

After catching that rainbow the fish at that lake all seemed unwilling to play our game, so we moved on to another lake. We took a hike that was steeper and longer than we expected to a group of lakes. Jeff caught a small tiger and I hooked into a fish that could've been huge but got tangled into some logs so quickly we'll never know. We didn't take nearly enough food or water with us, so we had to head back sooner than we would've liked but the hike was much easier on the way back down. 

The last lake of the evening held a bunch of brook trout and tiger trout. It was a lot of fun fishing to rising fish, so we stayed past dark. At first, they liked the Purple Frenchie, but as the night when on it seemed like we kept having to change flies to stay in the action. Wired Stones, Zebra Midges, Prince Nymphs, Purple Reign, Chironomids, Griffith's Gnat, Parachute Midge, and finally an Adams were all tried. The Adams was the answer to what they would take from the surface.

First thing in the morning we looked at another lake, but decided not to fish it since there wasn't really anywhere to cast a flyrod. Moved on to a bigger reservoir, but only saw a couple of fish w/o any feeding action. So we decided to hike to another lake, one that I've wanted to fish for a long time. The hike wasn't nearly as bad as the first one of the trip. Right away we found some cutts. The boys even managed to hook into some. Luke caught his first fish on a fly rod! 



We spent longer than we should've at the last lake which meant all that was left was to load up and head for home. We talked about other areas we should explore and made some plans for future trips, always looking ahead to the next trip, the next cast, the next fish. 

Hope you're as lucky,

Kidder



Saturday, June 4, 2022

Hoping For

Once school is out I have a few weeks without work, so my schedule is pretty open. Unfortunately, my wife Deli's schedule isn't. She has to plan for a vacation for quite a while, and she's the type of person that won't take a vacation if it's going to be inconvenient for her coworkers. So we planned on taking a few days and going camping, but we were locked into those days even when the weather looked like it wasn't going to be that great during our trip. 



Last year when we made the trip to Flaming Gorge I got hooked on fishing for kokanee salmon (read about that trip HERE). This fish puts up an amazing fight, is super cool looking, and tastes great. I was really excited to get back after them. Unfortunately, we couldn't find any kokanee this trip. Not sure if it was the weather, time of year, or just bad luck, but we couldn't seem to track down any salmon. So, we did what anybody who has been to the gorge probably would've done and switched gears to catching lake trout instead. 

These fish are what they refer to as 'pups' and are relatively small for lake trout, but seemed plenty big enough to me! I still can't wrap my head around the fact that a 20-24" fish could possibly be a little one. The DWR encourages people to keep these fish, so we did our part and had plenty for a good fish fry.


We didn't really use our boat too much at first because of the weather, and instead, I would go out in the mornings with Weston in his boat then the weather would keep us off the water for the rest of the day. Once Weston left, we broke out our boat and my Dad and Atley both found good fish. 


The weather completely changed for the better, but everyone had to go home so Deli, the boys and I were the only ones left to enjoy it. We managed to find another good fish before we had to call it and head back home. The first of many trips out with the boat (I hope) this year was a success, even if it wasn't exactly what we were hoping for. 




Sunday, April 10, 2022

Try, Try Again

As I've gotten older I've noticed that going alone is starting to lose its appeal, and I'm starting to really search out opportunities to fish with others. Especially if the 'other' is someone like Lane that really knows what he's doing. As usual, we met up before light in a random parking lot and rode the rest of the way together. This time Lane was a little late, so he drove the rest of the way. 

Right away, I hooked into a little rainbow that liked my Zebra Midge but we didn't see another fish for quite a while. What started out promising quickly turned into a rough morning with only a couple of small fish each and almost as many fly changes. There were people everywhere and that made us decide to change spots for the afternoon. On the way back to the truck Lane started picking up some fish by skating a dry fly. Then we watched an osprey dive out of the sky and catch a fish just upstream of us, then it flew a few laps around us showing off its fish. 

When that action subsided we got back to the truck and headed for Plan B. Plan B is a spot that we always leave in our back pocket just in case our day doesn't go the way we hoped. Almost right away, Plan B got us into fish right away on a Wired SJ Worm. 

Fishing is funny sometimes, but it seemed to me like today was my day as I was catching fish with ease while Lane seemed to have to work for each one. Then Lane caught the biggest fish I've seen from this stream and just like that, it was his day.

Right before dark, I managed to catch one on a dry fly which was pretty sweet. I couldn't see my fly, so I'd cast and then just strike if a fish rose where I thought my fly was. It works more often than you'd think. If it doesn't work the first time, you just gotta try again. 

Hope you're as lucky,

Kidder



Sunday, March 6, 2022

Back Again

I'm always looking for new places to fish. Sometimes that means heading to a new stream or lake and just trying it out to see what lives there. Other times that means talking with people to see if they'll let a hint drop on where they fish. Usually, people guard their best spots pretty aggressively but if you read between the lines sometimes you can get an idea of where to start looking. Then there are the places that you've been, you know it's supposed to be good, but you've yet to have a stellar day that could turn this occasional spot into a regular. That's the way the stream that I headed to the other day is. It's supposed to be good, but I've only ever caught fish from one little section of it and I've never had a banner day. 


I arrived and decided to walk down a little further than usual before starting to fish, hoping to expand on my successful area. Before deciding which fly to start with I flipped over a couple of rocks to find ridiculous amounts of midges that were very active. So, a couple of zebra midges in red and black went under an indicator and I started fishing the first hole. I played with the depth, starting shallow and working my way deeper but nothing seemed to want to play. Rather than panic and start changing flies, I decided to move up to the next spot to see if that would yield anything. Almost right away I was into a great fish for this size of stream and after a quick fight I had my first fish in hand.



I kept hoping that the midges I'd seen when I first arrived would soon be hatching and I could get some dry fly action but I didn't see any rises. The section above where I'd caught my first fish was pretty shallow, but I did finally manage a couple small fish. 


Then I was back in the water where I usually started, but fishing really didn't improve. The water being so low was definitely making things tough on me because of the nymph rig I was using, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while and I managed another fish. When I went to take the standard one handed picture I noticed the picturesque towering cliffs. It's kinda funny how we can get so focused on what we're doing we sometimes don't notice really cool things around us. 



After this hole I decided to jump back in the car and try a new spot. What I found was basically still water and not what I was hoping for. So, back to the car to head down river and try one more spot before heading for home. What I found was exactly what I was looking for: a meandering river with pools deep enough to hold fish. I thought for sure this would be the prime spot and tried everything I could to get into some. The fish had to be there, but they didn't seem too interested in what I had to offer. I did get into one more fish and decided that was a great way to end my day. Maybe that's how this place will become one of my regular spots, by giving me just enough success to lure me back again. 

Hope you're as lucky, 
Kidder


Sunday, February 27, 2022

First of the Year

Ideally, the temperature reaches at least 40 degrees or more to give you a shot at a good midge hatch. Even if the hatch doesn't pan out, those kinds of temps would at least keep the ice out of your guides. You really should invite someone to go with you, just to keep you from getting into trouble out there if nothing else. You could always stay home, and that thought has more than crossed your mind as you lie in bed, but you haven't caught a fish yet this year, and even though it's only been a couple of weeks that still bothers you on a deep level.


Fishing alone does come with its advantages, like not having to share the morning's donuts, and not having to discuss where you'd like to fish today. You know where you're going even if it is a little bit longer of a drive. Not having to run that by someone, or have any compromises feels pretty good sometimes. So you head right to where you want to fish, but the first hole only ties you to a small fish for a moment before he throws the hook. Working upstream produces a handful of missed fish and nothing brought to hand, how long has it been since you last fished? 

Right when you start wondering if it just might not happen today, you catch your first fish. A nice-sized whitefish that fought really well and took your zebra midge perfectly. You know these fish are looked down on in some circles, but you can't help but admire the iridescent scales in the light before accidentally releasing it because whitefish are too strong to hold with one hand like you do when taking pictures of trout. 

Fishing nymphs under an indicator always starts out as a guessing game, then you catch a couple of fish and get that confidence back. Your fly, which a few minutes ago you were about to change, is the one they've been waiting for all morning. You watch your drifts meticulously and set or at least check every time that indicator stalls or dips. Consequently, you start hooking into more fish but is it because your fly is the right one or because you're now fishing it like it's the right one? 

You spot the odd rise across the stream in a back eddy and even though you're still picking up fish on the nymph rig you start planning your approach once you've switched over to the dry. The rises become more regular so you wade back downstream to where you can easily cross and sneak up the other bank. It's a back eddy, so you circle wide and approach from upstream so the fish are facing away from you. A Griffith's Gnat is the fly of choice and as you're tying that on it becomes apparent that the pod of fish is actually one fish that is working around the eddy. The first cast shows that the swirling currents aren't going to make it easy on you, but as the fish works its way back to the head of the eddy you make a good cast that drifts drag-free just long enough to fool the fish. A quick but gentle lift of the rod and you're hooked up with your first fish of the year on a dry fly. 

You could've stayed in bed, slept in, and spent the day checking some honey-dos off the list. Instead, you got out there, braved the cold, and caught some fish. On the ride home, while finishing up the last of the morning's donuts, you're already planning your next trip out. 

Hope you're as lucky,

Kidder





Saturday, January 29, 2022

The Off Season

In Utah, there is no 'Off Season' or at least no closed season on trout fishing. Certain waters do get closed for parts of the year to protect spawning fish, but there's always somewhere to wet a line if you're feeling the itch and can withstand the cold. That's IF you can withstand the cold and a lot of people I know refuse to get out there and freeze. I can't really blame them, it's not much fun to bundle up so much it's hard to walk just to chase after a few fish that you'll most likely release anyway and come back with no feeling in your extremities. 

But there are some advantages to winter fishing. For one thing, there aren't as many people out on the water so you can go to the popular tailwaters without it feeling like combat fishing. The people who are out are just as crazy (or crazier) than you so they either won't bother you at all or you might actually be able to have a decent conversation with them. These aren't your tourist fisherpeople, these are the hardcore, committed, obsessed, crazies that can't help but fish every chance they get. In other words, these are your people and they probably won't take time away from freezing just to talk to you. 

Of course, it's easy to find reasons not to go fishing. Projects around the house need doing and if you get them done while it's cold out maybe you won't have to work on them when the weather is nice and the fishing will be better. Laying the flooring in my basement seems to be the project that never ends, but it will, and hopefully, before the temps regularly rise above freezing and the bugs (and fish) become more active. Of course, once the flooring is done there will be doors, trim and more painting to do. There is always something and it's easy to let it keep you home. 

So you don't let anything keep you home and get out there despite your internal dialog that says it's a waste of time. What you find is the weather isn't that bad through the middle of the day and it's nice to be outside again. Whether or not you find fish is a whole other issue, but it really is nice to be out there doing it instead of spending inordinate amounts of time tying flies and thinking about fishing. Sometimes it works out and you manage to catch some fish, sometimes even on dries. Just like that. Days that work out make you wonder why you haven't been getting out every chance you get. Then there are the days that you don't even see a fish and it seems to confirm that you haven't been wussing out, just biding your time until the weather and the fish are more hospitable so it's not a waste of your time, money, and effort. 



Working around the house watching birds and the mule deer that sometimes wander through the yard does wear thin though....maybe I'll go fishing tomorrow.

Hope you're as lucky,

Kidder



Sunday, January 2, 2022

Despite the Weather

Ever have the feeling that if you didn't move quick you were going to miss out on something? I felt like if I waited to go fishing I'd end up not going and would regret that because a busy January is waiting for me on the other side of the break. Weston and my Dad said they had to wait until later in the week so Jeff and I decided to head out without them. The drive was long and pretty sketchy in spots but we made it in time to do some fishing the first afternoon. Right away we were both on the board with little rainbows, Jeff's came on a nymph rig under an indicator and mine on a woolly bugger.

We weren't finding the size of fish we'd hoped for, so we changed spots and Jeff found a nice fish right away. Unfortunately, I was fishing quite a ways away from him, and with frozen guides, he was having trouble landing the fish alone. I got there in time, but when I went to net the fish Jeff's line caught on my back and the fish got off. He was/is pissed, but I'm not sure what I could've done differently. To help ease the pain of a lost fish I let him net the fish I caught only a few minutes later.

I worked away from where Jeff was, making it up as I went without much luck. He didn't call me over to help when he hooked into a nice rainbow and a decent little largemouth bass!?!

With nothing happening elsewhere, and Jeff's disappointment eased by the catching of a couple fish, I went back to see if it was the location or my rig that was making fishing tough. I realized it was the rig as Jeff continued to have hits while I stood there looking like an idiot. Jeff suggested I try a streamer and I agreed, making the switch quickly. It didn't take long before I was hooked into another good fish. Thinking that maybe the code was broken, I moved back over to where I hadn't found any success before and almost instantly was hooked into a great fish.

The fishing turned off cold again after that, so we ended the evening back where we'd started and Jeff found the fish just as willing, but they didn't like my streamer presentation. Back to town to find an overpriced hotel and a half-decent night's sleep before heading back and trying it all again. 

The next morning we were up before our alarms and getting ready for a day of fishing. The beginnings of a cold had settled on me through the night, but I was still determined to get some fishing in even if I wasn't so comfortable doing it. The morning eventually came, cold and cloudy with an icy breeze that made me question why I do this to myself. We started where we had found the best-sized fish the night before, but only found a few smaller fish. We moved up to where we'd caught all the little ones and that's when we started finding better quality fish. Weird, they seemed to trade spots during the night...

The wind chill was getting pretty uncomfortable so we decided to drive to another spot for a chance to warm up. Conditions were tough at the other spot with super spooky fish so we moved quickly to another spot that we knew could be great or really tough but it usually wasn't anywhere in between. The short walk was made a little tougher because of the snow on the ground, but we made it quickly to where we wanted to start.  Aside from a couple of medium-sized fish, there just wasn't much happening at this spot. 

We decided to head back to the truck and plan our next move, but we spotted some fish on our way back and couldn't help but make some casts at them. It didn't take long before I was hooked into the nicest fish of the trip!

With that success, Jeff was interested enough to climb down the bank and join me, but after a few casts his line got hung up in the willows behind us and somehow his fly rod got broken. He seemed to take it really well, maybe because this was the 3rd time this rod had broken on him. I couldn't help but make a few more casts and was rewarded with one last fish.

At this point, the fish were wise to our game and I was feeling pretty sick so we walked back to the truck. Once we were there with the heater going we discussed our next move. I did the math and realized that if we left now, we could be home before it got too late. Jeff wasn't too keen on the idea, but I think he realized how sick I was feeling and agreed to head for home. It was a long drive, but the trip was definitely worth it despite the weather and how it left me feeling. 

Hope you're as lucky,

Kidder