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Fishing With Family And Friends .

I am lucky in life that I can call this my office sometimes. Sure, there’s no desk, no computer, but trust me, I work hard when I’m out fishing. This time was a little different than other trips in that I had company. Imagine that…someone wanted to fish with me. After squealing like a little girl and jumping up and down, I composed myself and said, “Of course I would like to go fishing. You know…if you want to and all.” We were set, me, my dad, and a family friend, Wayne.

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Couple things about this trip were new to me. 1, I had never fished with Wayne. And 2, by dad bought a fishing license. He probably hasn’t had a license in over 30 years. Go Dad. We hit the summit at just over 9000 feet. Snow drifts lingered on the northern slopes and under shaded trees. We fished for Tiger Trout, and got skunked. The closest thing to a fish was when I had a bite and set the hook like Jeremy wade catching a 200-pound catfish. Needless to say, it was most definitely not a 200 pound anything. My knee jerk reaction left me fishless and the poor fish, wondering how a worm and marshmallow could be so cruel as to attack him and not let go. Do you think an injured fish gets a fat lip?

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The lack of fish coerced us into a venue change. We stopped at a little puddle of a reservoir and set to catching. They were average 9- 10 inch Rainbows and Cutthroat. The cold weather had made them lethargic and slow to bite. We managed a few each, Wayne using the dreaded power bait. My kryptonite. Dad dangled a worm from a bobber, and set at them with my fly rod. We rounded the day out with hot dogs roasted on the fire. The scenery was spectacular, as was the weather. Fishing in jackets and hoodies at 8000+ feet in the middle of October…who’d a thunk it? A trip I am excited to make once more.

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Fall Colors

With the turn of the seasons becoming annoyingly depressing for someone who doesn’t care to ice fish, I best get out while the getting is good. The colder weather does several things which I do enjoy. The colors of fall are spectacular in Utah. In more ways than one. Spawning fish are spectacular. As many are out searching for their next four-legged trophy, they neglect the rivers and the running fish. The Kokanee Salmon are one fish I have come to admire, and one I love to catch. Their aggressive nature during the spawn causes bites out of irritation rather than for food. After all…they have more important things on their mind.

Besides trying to help ensure the next generation of salmon, their bodies go through wicked transformations causing the back to arch, creating a hump that is often spotted sticking out of the water. Their jaw hooks and extends allowing a set of nasty looking teeth to become visible.  Better still, they change to the most beautiful oranges and reds, while the face becomes green. They are a sight to behold.

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Approaching the mouth of the stream, it was easy to spot the giant red schools of fish stacking up, waiting for their chance to make their final journey to spawn. They would dart around, jump and twist, in what I can only imagine is frustration from the rapid changes to their bodies. To say it plainer, they are teenagers in heat. Having the lake to myself I sat and watched them for a period until i could no longer wait. I had to get a line in the water.

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From prior experience, I learned that they will bite things that infringe upon their space, or annoy them in general Therefore, a large, 2, or 3 inch Wooley Bugger in browns and reds seems to do the trick.(If you look close enough he still has the bugger in his jaw). I have used lures in the past, but tend to snag them more than I would like to. Not to worry, the flies didn’t let me down as I caught several Kokanee and a few rainbows for the day. Had it not been for the bitter wind and the white caps, I might still be there, loving, at least for a moment, the colors and joys of fall.

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Wooden Rod Building

Do you ever wonder how, or why things are made? Here is a short video about making fishing rods in the 1930’s. maybe I shouldn’t be as amazed as I am, but craftsmanship such as this has long been forgotten in some places. We look at rod building today, where we can buy, for lack of a better word, model kit. Everything today is done with molds and synthetic materials. Watching the video gave me greater appreciation of generations of fisherman before me.

Be Quiet Or You’ll Scare The Fish

How many of us have heard this over the years? Not just from my own family, but other people I have come across as well. It seems to be a common belief among anglers. Personally I think making noise has less to do with scaring fish, and more to do with annoyed parents. The following link is a list of common myths among anglers. How many of these popular myths have you fallen for?

https://lineandsight.com/31-fishing-myths-debunked/

The Unconventional Bachelors Party.

Who says every bachelors party needs to include strippers and booze? Dumb question if you’re a guy. Right? However, in the past year I have watched my brother walk the path to sobriety. He is due to get married this weekend. To celebrate we did something that is more befitting his lifestyle now. His only request, he wanted to go fishing with all his brothers. Sounds creepy when you say it like that! Sounds like he is dying or something. I don’t know, marriage…death…? Tough call. But either way, a chance to go fishing? Well then, fishing it was. The plan was to hit Strawberry Reservoir in hopes of some good fish and a lot of fun. We met just after 9:00. The water was beautiful, cold and clear. We all had our gear set in the water in record time.

The sun…wow it was hot. I can now say I sympathize with a piece of bacon frying in the cast iron. In other words, it was hot! Together we sat in the sun and fried. Telling fish stories, and coming up with new ones as the day progressed, “The fish must have hung me up on the bottom,” “I swear I had a fish,” “no, I’m letting you guys catch them today, don’t want to out fish you all,” and the list of B.S. goes on. Well the catching side of fishing was rather anticlimactic. 5 hours, 6 to 7 rods in the water, and we ended up catching two trout. Both of them in the slot so they had to be released. Now, I’m not one of those, “It was meant to be” type guys, but I couldn’t help being a tiny bit curious, when it was the groom that was the only one to catch fish. Hmmm.

Of course there were some small chubs and some crawdads, so the rest of us can admit to being schooled, but not skunked. We roasted some brats, the boys went swimming, and we even got called “Bad People” for not allowing a family to put up their awning and have a picnic right where we had our tackle, rods, and coolers. The nerve of some people. With over one million square acres of water, you’d think they might have tried somewhere else.

We ended the day with a stop in at the fish trap marveling at the size and colors of the spawning Kokanee salmon. All in all, it will go down as one of my best days. With my family being spread out, we rarely take the time to all fish together, so I hope this day meant as much to them as it did to me. I’m already looking forward to the next go round. In the meantime, I get to proudly stand next to my little brother as he straps the ol’ ball and chain around his ankle and marries the love of his life. Cheers Jeff! (It’s root beer, I swear)

The moral of this story, it proves that men will use any excuse to go fishing.

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Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after. Henry David Thoreau

A Whale of a Tail

Save The Whales, a term coined in the mid 80’s when a worldwide ban on hunting whales was put into effect. Since that time, organizations like Green Peace have headed up the project. Centuries of whaling has brought many whale species to the verge of extinction. Great effort has been made to try to save these beautiful mammals. A disturbing trend off the California coastline has caught the world’s attention, and the endangered whales are once more in the spotlight.

An article written by Kate Wheeling for the Pacific Standard, highlights the ever-growing number of whales entangled in fishing nets. Over the past three years, sightings of entangled whales have become more common. In response, the Center for Biological Diversity has filed a law suit against the California government for not doing more to protect the already endangered whale populations.

A  video taken in March of 2017 took the media world by storm when it went viral, showing a family outing turned rescue operation. They happened apon what they thought was a dead whale, however when it took a deep breath the family saw the whale was in trouble and they radioed for help. With the animal in obvious distress, the family took immediate action and began cutting away the line and netting. The video goes on to show the whale thanking them by giving them a show they won’t soon forget, diving and breaching for an hour, reveling in its freedom. The video may be one of a kind, but the incidents are not.

Of the over 70 entangled whales spotted each year, rescuers are only to help a handful of them. Although entanglements are not always fatal, with the whales already on the edge of extinction, even one or two losses could severely hurt the dwindling population. Through the continued effort from organizations and individuals, there still may be hope to save these magnificent creatures.

 

 

Wheeling, Kate, et al. “An Alarming Number of California Whales Are Getting Caught in Fishing Lines.” Pacific Standard, Pacific Standard, 29 Aug. 2017, psmag.com/environment/alarming-number-of-california-whales-are-getting-caught-in-fishing-lines.

Not So Wild Fish

If they are not wild, does that make them tame? The way these Cutthroat put up a fight, I would say they were anything but tame. This is, of course, another stream on another day. Part of the Manti La Sal National Forest, this pristine stream was loaded to the gills with fish. See what I did there? Cheeky! My only wish is that I had more time to  fish it. Started with bright sun and high clouds. Before long it was dark rain clouds with a heavy down poor washed us out for the day, but not before we landed a few nice ones. For the water being not much more than ankle deep, most the fish we caught here in the 11 to 14 inch range.

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It was a strange day for bugs. Even though there were hoppers and mayflies tearing it up around the river, I didn’t really start hitting till I thew a small Elk Hair Caddis, alternating with a Mosquito. Throw one fly for ten casts, then swap out. The combo did the trick. When the rain started i was able to land a few while hunkered under a tree. I’m pretty sure if Charlie Brown was a fly fisher, he would be drawn to the same pine tree that swallowed four of my flies. Yes four! I tie my own so I don’t mind losing a few rather than spooking the hole.

So not really the post about wild trout like I had promised, but good fishing…well, its good fishing.  Hopefully a little less rain and some cooler temperatures will get me back out sooner than later. In the meantime, I’m happy to catch these beauties all day.

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Some of you might even be impressed by my catch and release skills.

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