Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In Search of Cutthroats Part 2

Since Scott was in town taking a course that ran every day for a week, we were limited to some late afternoon/evening outings after his classes ended. With the sun setting around 9 o' clock we had plenty of time for a nice fishing trip. The second day of our cutthroat search led us to a hike-in stillwater. Scott, David, and I all drove separately for time's sake and met at the trail head. We decided to strap float tubes to our backs which made the hike very tiring. Once we reached our destination we quickly rigged up and kicked our way towards the inlet stream. No action happened on the way over nor once we got over to the inlet. I decided to mix things up and switch to a nymph rig and make some dead drifts in the current. Fairly soon I had the fish of the day (size wise) on the end of my line. I was able to land a beautiful cutthroat after a brief battle.

The action went to a halt after this first fish. After a bit Scott landed a nice little fish on a nymph rig as well. The first few fish both came on chironomid imitations. We all had some more hits on the chironomids but we all struck out and set the hook too late. There were fish that were rising sporadically from the time we arrived and when the frequency of the rises started to increase I decided it was time for some dry fly action. I threw on a small adams which was a good imitation of the small midges that were hatching. Soon enough I had a nice little cutthroat to hand that came off the dry fly. Evening was approaching fairly fast and the topwater action continued to increase. After another fish on a dry fly Scott and David decided it was time to switch over. We kicked our way around the glassy water following the pods of rising fish. Soon enough David landed a beauty and Scott followed suit with some nice fish of his own.

The fly pattern didn't seem to matter too much once they really starting focusing on the surface. There were a small handful of fish landed with many more missed. The activity continued on the oily smooth surface of the water all the way until we had to get out of the water in order to get down the mountain before it got too dark for safe hiking down the rocky trail. We slid our tubes up onto our weary shoulders and enjoyed the quicker descent down the narrow path as the light faded from the horizon which ended a memorable day of fishing for native cutthroats.

Friday, July 10, 2009

In Search of Cutthroats Part 1

One of the top priorities for Scott during his visit was to catch some cutthroats. The best option was to hit some stillwater. We met up around 6pm in Salt Lake then headed up Parley's Canyon, past Park City, down through Heber, and up to Strawberry Reservoir. We pulled up to the parking lot at one of Strawberry's many bays and there were no cars and no one was even fishing in the entire area as far as we could tell. The light breeze was dying quickly and it looked like it was going to be a great evening. We got the tubes pumped and our rods rigged up and we got into the water as quickly as we could. We trolled and kicked over to a fairly steep bank. Before we got all the way over Scott hooked up and landed a very fat rainbow.

On the way over we also noticed some consistent rises in one area. When we got to the bank we wanted to work we noticed that there were fish sporadically sipping within a few feet of the shoreline. Scott made a nice cast with his bunny leech to one of the rises just off the bank and he immediately had a fish on. This pattern continued and over the course of the evening he landed several quality fish.

I seemed to always be out of position once a fish rose, or I made a cast that was too short or too sloppy. It was just not my night. On one rare occasion I made a very confident cast to a likely spot right along the bank and low and behold I got a hook-up. I was excited but once I got the fish close I noticed it was a fat chub! Such is fishing. To overcome my casting woes I should have just trolled along the shoreline but I wanted to mimic what Scott was doing since he was having success. It was getting later and Scott threw on a mouse pattern and started working the banks in the same fashion. Although I did not witness it Scott said that on one cast he saw a wake appear just behind his fly and a fin broke the surface like Jaws. The fish slashed once, twice, then took the mouse but Scott reacted a little too fast and missed the carnivorous cutt. It was very exciting to say the least and Scott said it was one of the coolest things he has seen. I tried throwing a mouse for a little bit too with no success, surprise surprise. It was getting pretty dark and we were tired from kicking around so we just trolled slowly toward the car. Scott immediately had a few hits and then was able to hook up with two fish on the way to the car. One of the fish started flying out of the water over and over so he called rainbow which was confirmed as the fat specimen was landed.

It was an awesome time out on the water. We could not have asked for a more beautiful evening. Kicking along the oily smooth surface and looking down at the weedbeds through the crystal clear water was very rejuvenating and therapeutic.