May 9, 2018

More Cutthroats During Run Off

I fished for native, wild Bonneville cutthroat trout the other day in a stream that I usually fish in late May and June. This strain of Bonneville cutthroats are closely related to the Bear River strain, as this stream empties into the Bear River.  They have pure genes and have not been interbred with other species of trout. They are pretty special.

The air was 65º F and the water was 44º F. The water was off colored still, but this is not unusual this time of year. The high elevation snow is still melting and it will take another 3-4 weeks for the stream to clear up. By that time, the water levels will also be much lower. I prefer to fish this stream before the water falls too far.

Because of the off colored water I used flies made for those conditions. I used a San Ron Worm, BH Black Prince and #6 Utah Killer Bug. All of these flies produced.

Most of the fish I hooked were in the 8-9 inch range, but I did hook into two fish that I would estimate to have been around 13-14 inches. I couldn't land either as they both got off when they used the current to get under willow snags. But that's OK, I know they are there and will be back another day to have at them again.

Cutthroat trout are, with out a doubt, my favorite fish to pursue, and when they are a pure strain they are even that much more special!

May 4, 2018

Yellowstone Cutthroats in Utah

Yesterday I decided to find and fish some small, remote steams in Utah that contain Yellowstone cutthroat trout. I can catch this strain of cutthroat trout pretty much everyday, as I live in their historical range. But Utah is predominately a state with other strains of cutthroats like the Bonneville and Bear Lake strains, therefore catching a Yellowstone cutthroat is really special.

There however are a few creeks in far north west Utah that drain northwards into Idaho that historically have the Yellowstone strain of cutthroat trout. These creeks are small and to some, not very satisfying to fish. I like them because they can be hard to get to and fish. They are also not very friendly to fly fishing as there is a lot of cover and very little water.

I drove out into the northern Utah desert and then up into the mountains. This is really remote country. There is no cell service for 25 miles. There are no gas stations and very few people. If your vehicle breaks down plan on walking a very, very long way to find any help. In other words, my kind of place!

I elected to hike into a remote section of one of the creeks. I parked the truck off the 4x4 road in a grove of mountain mahogany, took a GPS and compass/map bearing, and headed off cross country hiking through high mountain sagebrush, aspen and conifer tree belts. There was still snow under some of the trees. After a long hike I found the creek right where I had planned on it to be. It was running cold and clear. It was very beautiful!

After arriving at the creek I stood still, scouting out a few pools. Sure enough, there were trout moving in the pools! I geared up using the modified Suzume, #3 level line, 2.5 feet of 5.5X tippet and a #12 wool kebari. Because of the many aspen branches I had to cast side arm. First cast took the first fish, a beautiful Yellowstone cutthroat about 6-7 inches long. 

As I worked my way upstream I took both cutthroat and rainbows. Personally, I wish the rainbows were not present, as they are an invasive species and will over time interbreed with the cutthroats wiping out their pure genetics. The rainbows fight better than cutthroats, that's probably why they were introduced. But they are not native and are not needed, especially in this remote and pristine part of the intermountain/desert west. After a few hours of fishing, and catching many trout, I hiked back to the truck. 

I need to find a better rod for these small creeks/streams. The Suzume is an unsatisfying rod to fish with and doesn't cast well at it's longest length, but it does have three versatile lengths for these small streams. Finding a rod that fishes and casts reasonably well at 240-250 cm, yet also has some length with good casting dynamics for the more open areas seems like finding the grail. I'm pretty convinced that a rod like this currently doesn't exist. I'll keep looking. 

Anyway, it was a great adventure and I'll be back. There are more remote sections that I want to fish. I just need to get in better shape before attempting them!

April 26, 2018

April 25, 2018 - Bonneville Cutthroats

Most of the creeks and streams that I usually fish are high and off colored right now, so I thought I'd fish a spring fed mountain stream for the endangered Bonneville cutthroat trout. As Utah's state fish, you'd think that it would be plentiful, but sadly no. There are only a few vestiges of wild Bonneville cutthroats around as most of their habitat has been destroyed, or over run with exotic species like brown or rainbow trout.  Catching Bonneville cutthroat trout is a really special event.

Yesterday was sunny and windy. Usually I can get in under the trees to protect myself from the wind, but not on this stream. Gusts of wind came up the canyon making precision casting very difficult. I missed numerous fish because I had difficulty controlling the line.

Still, I was able to take many fish. None were very large, but that doesn't matter to me. These are wild native jewels swimming in pristine mountain water. It was a joy to be there.

I'll be back for sure, hopefully on a day with less wind!

Here is a video of some of the fish:

April 24, 2018

It Finally is Spring!

Spring is probably the most anticipated season at my house. Winter seems to get longer and longer every year, and spring becomes an increasingly more long sought after friend.

I live at about 6000 ft on the western side of the Idaho Rockies and although I like winter, I really love spring. Fishing slows in the creeks that I generally fish (due to run-off), but that's OK. Spring is the time to enjoy nature.

The snow near my house is finally melting. The creek running through my land is clear and cold. The aspen are starting to flower and the chokecherries either are budding, or have just leafed out (depending on which tree belt it's in).

The western spring beauties (Claytonia lanceolata) are up (these have little round tubers that taste like a cross between a potato and a radish), as are the yellow bells (Fritillaria pudica).

 Yes, hallelujah! Spring is finally here!