Sunday, October 19, 2014

Checked

As the year winds down and the temperature drops I always start to wonder, "What did I do this year?" Now, don't start thinking that I don't appreciate the opportunities to fish that have come my way this year. It's just that I set out with a undefined list of places to hit and fish species I'd like to check off the Utah Grand Slam list. The one species that has been on my mind a lot this year has been the Arctic Grayling. 

Since I was a kid my Dad has been telling us about a certain drainage in the Uinta Mountains up in the Northeastern corner of Utah. Among stories of big fish, epically heavy packs, grueling hikes and other feats of daring, there was a certain lake that held a high number of Grayling. The trick was getting myself up to the North end of the state and convince my Dad to head back into the high country. No small feat, especially when there are ducks for him to be shooting, but I got him to commit for the outing.

First things first, Del wanted to get some family pictures done for this year's Christmas card. Luckily, Del has her own camera and I don't have to put up with a photographer. Unluckily, time was running short to get everything done before our weekend was over and I needed to play nice in the A.M. before I would be released to go fishing. As soon as the pics were done I was hauling North to my Dad's, and trying not to get pulled over for speeding.

Grab the stuff, out the door, hope we didn't forget something, crap we did, back in the house for water, double check everything, out the door. Up to the trailhead in a hurry and we were ready to head out. I should've paid more attention, my Dad didn't grab his fly rod, no he had his spinning rod because he knew a fly and bubble would be more effective at getting to those fish out in the deeper water. Lesson learned, the old boy out fished me three to one. Oh well, I still like fishing with a fly rod better....


Lake #1
First stop was the aforementioned grayling lake and it took two casts before I found my first that was about as small as they come. With that checked off the list I was able to relax and enjoy the day. Once we worked our way around to the deeper water near the dam my Dad started the clinic catching several nice (for Utah) grayling. 


I hate selfies, but had to do it to appease Del

Still knows how to work it

They ARE pretty, but it's hard to make 'em that way in pictures

The old boy can fish, but he's not much for pictures

Can't catch the man
With grayling off the checklist Dad wanted to check on a few of his other lakes that he hadn't been to for about 15 years. Couldn't quite find the trail, so we crested a hill and spotted our next destination (advantage of having experience on your side) and made the quick hike down. After a few stunted Brookies (not caught by me) there was another lake to check out before we'd need to head out. 


It looked promising
Some stunted brookies

Hard to see, but he's pulling in another fish

A little bit better fish were in evidence at the last lake of the day but we just didn't have time to really find out how much better. A fish for each of us and we were making the hike out as the temperatures dropped. It quickly became apparent that we'd be hiking the last stretch in the dark so we slowed down a bit to avoid injuring ourselves. With all the exercise involved we didn't hardly feel the cold, but we knew getting off the trail could be disastrous so we took our time and made it back to the vehicle safely.  


Nothing quite like a high mountain lake

It's good to get him up here
Had to stop for one more pic

One more, one more - looks cold...
Great to get out with my Dad for a day in the high country and visit those lakes that I used to hear about when I was a kid. Not sure if we'll ever make it back there again so I'm glad we had the chance. Hope you can get out, be safe, and enjoy the outdoors.


- Kidder

Gotta get out there to see it