Sunday, August 15, 2010

When They Don't Bite on Anything Red

This little creek runs along highway 14 just outside of Cedar City Utah.  The water usually runs clear and cold.  There are many small waterfalls that flow into pools that look like a haven for Trout, but in these pictures this creek looks more like a Lahar due to a pleasant afternoon thunderstorm.  I drove along this road that would lead me to Duck Creek.  Clouds surrounded the mountains and it was easy to see that rain was falling somewhere.  The water in the creek began to rise and turn red.  I stopped to get a picture and watched as 8 to 10 foot sections of creek bank fell into the water and dissolved.  I don't know how anything living in this creek could have survived.  The water was so thick with mud that it stained the plants and sticks that it touched.  It sure would make it a tough day to be a fish.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Southern Utah

Navajo Lake is located a few miles from Cedar City, Utah.  The Pine lined shores of this pristine lake can best be described as quiet, peaceful and full with life.  In the evening I noticed Deer and Antelope making their way down to the water for a cool drink before returning to the safety of the woods.  Birds flew high above scanning the surface of the water, pausing at times, then diving down to catch a Trout swimming near the surface.  As my line went out straight and my rod tip began to twitch I caught and released another beautiful Rainbow.  After gathering my gear I headed back to the road.  Along the way I had to stop and turn back for one more look.  A quiet place, truly peaceful and full with life.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Puffer Lake

If you're fishing Utah and feel like trying some new water look up Puffer Lake.  This lake which sets at 10,000 ft. is loaded with Trout.  I heard it mentioned when I went down to the town of Beaver to pick up some Ice and afternoon coffee from our camp near Kent's Lake.  Someone said, "Puffer is hot, it's a pretty drive too" thats all it took, I'm all in.  When I got up to the counter to pay for my goods the first question was, how do I get to Puffer?  We got out of the store and laid rubber up the hill.  The drive, about 20 miles outside of town, was sure a pretty one.  The road was lined with Aspens and Pines.  We parked the truck and got out the poles.  The walk down to the water was tricky because the shore was lined with big flat rocks.  It was like walking down a pile of dinner plates and a few times I ended up on my back.  We caught and released 7 nice Rainbows.  Had to leave sooner than I wanted to because we were getting chewed to death by biting flies, nobody said anything about that part at the store.  It was a nice place and worth the trip.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Campfire

It was a day to remember, or one I'd like to forget.  They fought well, or they wouldn't bite at all.  However the day turned out at some point I head back to camp, put some chuck together and set by the campfire.
For me the campfire says, "this is home" when the day is done.  It's a place to tell tales, talk tactics and make plans for the new chance that will come tomorrow. 
I wonder how big that one was that broke my line, remember that trip last summer when I landed that big Brown, how about the time I got spooled out on Jackson Lake?  The topics just seem to come up, or just a silent stare as the night sky fills with stars.
As the fire dies down it seems to say, "it's time to rest"  The camp grows dark and the night fills with the sounds of the last few popping embers.  It's going to be hard to sleep as I think about how to approach the water tomorrow, then seconds later I'm fishing in a dream, the perfect cast, pull back some line, he's on I got him.......

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Anderson Meadow

Friday afternoon we headed out for Utah with Kent's Lake, just outside of Beaver, in the cross hairs.  The drive went by quick and before we knew it we were in the little town of Beaver.  A short drive outside of town took us past a beautiful creek and I was tempted to stop and get a line wet but I knew that we needed to get to the campground and claim a spot before they were all taken. 
The road to Kent's Lake has only been open for three weeks.  I found a water quality report that said that the lake was suffering from low oxygen levels due to the large number of winter hold-over Trout.  Well, we can't have that!  I knew that I must try to do something to alleviate the problem.  So, armed with my rod and reel, I decided to throw myself on the front line and try my best to make a difference.
The campground was full so I found a nice spot off the road and out in the "open camping" area.  There are many sites that are out in the middle of nowhere that are used from time to time by campers that prefer to be away from the crowd.  Along the way we passed by a little lake called Anderson Meadow and I thought, "That's the place to fish!"  We set up camp, got the fire going and decided to make Anderson our first stop in the morning.
At 4am I was up making coffee and getting the poles set up.  I wanted to make sure that we got over to the lake before too many people showed up.  We were the first to hit the water.  Rainbows hitting on every cast, it was like a dream come true.  We released all but our limits, had the lake to ourselves for almost three hours and I was happy things worked out the way they did.
Later on we fished Kent's and a few other lakes close by.  Each and every lake was full of hungry fish.  The high temp. was 88 but an occasional thunderstorm passing by brought it back down to the low 70s.  
Kent's Lake was the popular place to be and there were plenty of fish for everyone but it was nice being on some of the out of the way places with no traffic and all the shore you could ever want. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Campsite at Fish Lake

There are about a dozen campgrounds around Fish Lake in Utah and all of them are put together well.  Water, flushing toilets and a few even have showers.  I set up in a site that was close to the lake and not so close to other campers.  The campground, called lower Mackinaw, had about 20 or so sites that were spread out over a large area.  It was sort of neat because you could have your own little wilderness spot without being too far removed from other campers and at 12 dollars a night it was worth it.
After dinner was a good time to sit by the fire and make plans for tomorrow. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fish Lake Utah

Fish Lake is located in Fish Lake National Forest in the heart of Utah.  The lake is seven miles long and one mile wide.  With a depth of 150 feet there is plenty of room for the big Rainbow and Lake Trout this lake is known for to roam.  I have wanted to fish this lake for a long time and last weekend I got my chance.  We headed out Saturday morning around 6:00 and got to the lake around 11:00.  The plan was to find a good campsite,  get everything set up and hit a few creeks in the area for the rest of the day.  Sunday we would rent a boat and spend the day on the lake.  On the way over to the first creek I spotted a part of the lake that had a little cove with a good point that I just had to try so that would be the first stop.  Although the water was perfect I couldn't manage to get a bite.  After an hour or so we decided to move on to the creeks.  We fished two creeks that were beautiful.  They ran through wide open meadows and the water had plenty of character.  We got a few bites but couldn't seem to bring any fish to the bank.  After a while, with the sun starting to fade, we decided to return to camp and go over our plans for the lake.  Sunday looked like a perfect day to catch some Lake Trout.  We got down to the lake around 6:00, got a boat and set out.  After trolling for about 45 minutes the wind started to pick up. A nice thunderstorm rolled in so we headed back to camp and spent the rest of the morning in the tent.  When the rain stopped we went back out on the lake at 2 p.m. and gave it another shot.  We had a troll out for a few hours without a bite.  The wind started to get ugly again so we turned the boat in and went back to camp.  This was a tough trip, no fish and bad weather.  I was glad I packed some steaks to grill for dinner!  Such a big beautiful lake.  I'll have to give it another try when the weather is a little more predictable!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Duck Creek Rainbow

Duck Creek has some nice Rainbow Trout that like to hang out in the faster moving parts of the creek.  We fished places where the water was picture perfect, moving at a slow and peaceful pace through beautiful meadows without a bite.  This fish hit on a Power Egg down stream and getting him up through the white water was a task!  Sometimes you hook up when you least expect it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Panguitch Lake Cutthroat

The Bear Lake Cutthroat Trout at Panguitch Lake in Utah were fun to catch.  These beautiful fish put up a good fight too.  This is a short video of one of the many we caught on our trip to Duck Creek.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Duck Creek Campsite

Fishing new water is always a treat and seeing some beautiful scenery makes it even better.  One thing I look forward to on any fishing trip is the chance to set up camp at a new campground.  I like to look around until I find a spot that feels right.  It's a place to settle down for the night alright, but if I'm going to "live" there for a day or two I'm going to have to eat.  That's where some of my gear comes into play.
I think I can rough it just as well as the next guy, although you won't find me living on pine nuts and berrys, or gnawing the bark off a tree stump.  I like to eat good at camp.  Coffee on the fire, eggs and bacon in the morning, beef stew or a pot roast for dinner.  After a long day of fishing the least a man deserves is a good old fashioned campfire dinner.  You can burn up a bunch of energy fishing all day and I think everything tastes better cooked outdoors.  That's why I like to take along my cast irons.  They can stand up to the heat of the fire and they last forever.  A good coffee pot, dutch oven and a box full of spices and I'm set.
This campsite at Duck Creek was set up pretty good, even had a nice spot for a walk around the woods after dinner.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Panguitch Lake Utah

Panguitch Lake is located about 30 miles north-east of Duck Creek Utah.  I knew the lake was know for it's good fishing, the name means "Big Fish" so I decided to give it a shot.  We rented a boat for the day, grabbed our gear and hit the water.  I had some spoons with me that I wanted to try out, so after clearing the no wake zone the lines went out.  We hooked up right away.
I had read about the "Bear Lake Cutthroat Trout" that could be found in this lake and outside of a few pictures that I pulled up on-line I had never seen this fish.  I couldn't find any information on how they fight or what they go after so I fished them like any other Cutthroat.
About 2 minutes into a slow troll the rod tips went down and we had fish on.  These fish fight well and take line at will.  Throughout the day in spite of 30 mph winds and white caps from time to time we caught and released fish after fish.  The spoons produced well as did rapalas following willow leaf lake trolls.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Off To Southern Utah

I'm getting on the road this morning headed for Utah.  I've got the itch to check out some new water.  Most likely shoot a few hundred pictures so there should be some cool stuff to check out when I get back!  This should be interesting....

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Like a Rock

Among the many aspects of the Eastern Sierra that can grab your attention are the views of the solid rock faces that can be seen from Whitney Portal.  Weather you're in the area for fishing, camping or hiking at some point you will find yourself scanning the range as each turn on the trail opens up a new point of view that can't be missed.  The one thing that has always crossed my mind is how in the world do trees thrive in the cracks of a granite wall?  At night the stars seem so close that you could throw a rock and hit one.  It's a light show like no other.  Here are a few of my favorite shots of the awesome Sierra.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lower Lone Pine Creek

There is a section of Lone Pine Creek that follows the highway up to the campground.  The creek is often overlooked by anglers that are in a hurry to get to where they are going.  I always take some time out to fish a few holes in this area and most of the time you'll hook up. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Phelps Lake

The Grand Teton National Park has more to offer than words can say.  One of my favorite hikes is up to the Phelps Lake overlook.  It's not the easiest stroll in the park but it's worth the effort to be sure.  The smell of the pines on the whispering wind can give you a whole new outlook on life.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Why Do I Do Things The Hard Way?

Most of my favorite creeks are located between Lone Pine and Mammoth Lakes California.  Many of the creeks in this area can serve up some tough fishing.  At the higher elevations the water that barrels down off the side of the mountains can move boulders the size of a house, and the lower parts can be so thick with undergrowth that getting to the creek requires a belly walk.  Around the campgrounds the creeks have been cleared and fishing is easy.  You just follow the well beaten paths to the many spots that are stocked regularly with pan sized Rainbows.  That's not where I fish.  If I don't drag myself back to camp scratched, scraped, spider bit, wounded and dehydrated I just don't feel like I've been on the right part of the creek.  If you happen to be driving in the mountains and see a guy with a fishing pole running for his life while being chased by hornets, stop and say hi, it's probably me. I do creek the hard way, I think it's in my blood, but some people can make tough fishing look easy.
On a recent trip to Big Pine Creek My wife and I decided to revisit a spot where we both had caught and released a few good fish two weeks earlier.  The weather had warmed up and changed the amount of water in the creek drastically during that time.

Casting your bait across stream without rapids taking your line down is tough.  After a few unsuccessful tries I was taught how to do it.  She said, " just look where you want your bait to go, throw it, and there ya go".  Then she caught a fish.

I guess I need to work on my casting before the next trip.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Eastern Sierras at Sunset

I took this picture after the sun had gone behind the mountains.  It had been a long day of fishing at Tuttle Creek.  Clouds passed by from time to time, big clouds that would block the sun.  It was the kind of deal that made you stop fishing for a minute to look around and see what was going on.  The same type of feeling you get when someone important says, "May I have your attention please".  A few times I put down my rod and just watched the shadows move across the valley.  "I'm going fishing" those are the words we say, "did you catch some fish" those are the words we hear.  Sometimes we catch things that are hard to put into words.  Things that set us down and make us think.  When the cloud passes by and we pick up our rods something makes us look back just one more time as if to say thanks, that just made my day.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rock Creek Rainbow

Took a trip to Rock Creek last weekend.  That little piece of water gave us a workout.  With the recent warm weather the snow was melting fast and the runoff had the creek all over the place.  Just about every channel that would hold water was full and running.
This is going to be a great season!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

When to take a break.

After a long hard day a body can get tired.  Going here and there and making sure all the bases are covered.  Thinking about what's for dinner and making the most of every minute.
When you get a moment to rest it's priceless.  Find something good to watch, get comfortable, and relax on a recliner! 

Monday, May 31, 2010

Lost My Hat and My Fish.....

Someone once said, "you can't win them all.." I'm sure he was a creek angler.
I had been working the creek about a mile or so and came across a great looking little pocket of water that had a few big rocks stacked on top of each other.  The water had formed a small pool on the opposite bank that was overgrown with cottonwood branches.  There was no way to get to it from the other side and from my side it was going to be a reach, even with my 8 foot fly rod.  I had to try to weave my rod tip through a whole bunch of twigs just to get close to where I thought a fish would be.  The best way to do this is to draw your line up to the sinker which is about 3 inches from your Salmon Egg and hook.  When I got over the spot I released my line so the egg would drop and before it hit the water it got hammered by a Rainbow.  The fish was hooked, my rod tip was under water and I was stuck with no way to get him out.  I leaned out as far as I could to get some kind of position as my line jerked violently and my hat came off.  I stood watching hatless as the fish fought to get away.  The line now weak from rubbing against branches finally broke and the Trout was free.
I don't think I'm the first person that has lost that fish.  He seemed to know what he was doing.  I didn't get to see how big he was, but he felt big and there was no way I was ever going to get him out of his pool. 
That's creek fishing at it's best.  Many get away and sometimes they take your hat with them.