October 13, 2017

Big Fall Browns!

 Caleb and I hit Willow Creek last month. The water was a little off color and the fish didn't seem to be looking up much. We fished through a few holes before finding a winning combination of a hopper-muddy worm dropper. Caleb must have tapped into his Fetzer-flyfishing genes because he was hitting each spot with great precision.

About 10 fish into the trip we came upon an elbow in the river with a deep undercut bank. The first cast into this spot elicited a voracious hit and subsequent hook-up. I could see the fish had some heft but had no idea it's stature. Caleb masterfully landed the Brown--largest I've witnessed in 5 years of fishing this stream--with a grin from ear to ear. I couldn't have been prouder in that moment!

Later last month...

I've been preparing to take the GRE all summer and on the eve of the test I needed to unwind. A solo trip to my favorite stream to fish in the fall was in order. It was briskly cold and cloudy; a perfect day to chuck meat. Mouse patterns were on the menu and that's what I tried to serve the trout the entire afternoon. It was slow at first and I began to doubt my game plan. I retreated to casting a streamer and began to catch some scrappy rainbows on a fast retrieve. But I realized I was catching most fish when the streamer barely skimmed below the surface of the water.  Once I tied on a smaller mouse pattern, it was game-time! And it wasn't long until a big boy peeked it's head out to play. One of the fattest, largest, and prettiest Browns in my history!

September 21, 2017

Boys Trip **earlier this year**

 We took the raft out on it's first voyage and had mixed success. We decided to bring it along on our camping trip and launched it on Panguitch Lake. It was VERY windy but the boat tracked accross the water fairly well. But the oar-lock system I came up with to attach to the PVC pipe was inadiquate so I had to use the stock oar-lock; which was too low in conjunction with the frame. No fish were caught but the boys had fun taking their first raft ride.

We had Smores that evening and the boys played on the rope swings in camp. The river was still to swollen; that didn't stop me from trying but nothing came of my efforts. The following day we went to Mammoth Caves; the boys have been hounding me to take them back since our first visit last year. It was an exciting boy's trip and fun to make these memories.

June 16, 2017

First Willow Creek Session 2017

 Sam, Craig, and I had our first Willow Creek adventure a few weeks ago. The main stream is blown out but there's a tributary that's first to clear and we were lucky to have it for ourselves. I replenished my box with Muddy-Water Worms since my trip to Vernal and was luckily prepared with the right fly and enough to freely share with my co-anglers. A pink Chernobyl Ant and a sparkly pink work was a deadly combination for these small stream trout.
Craig and I have been coming up this mountain seeking solace for years. The frequency of our trips dropped off some the last few years. But he's since moved back to southern Utah so I anticipate many more adventures on this stream in the near future. Although it was mostly subsurface action, Craig was able to abandon his dry fly purity for an afternoon and roll around in the mud.  
 The following week I took my family back up the mountain in hopes of getting Katy onto some small stream fishing action. But when we arrived to our destination there were already anglers rapping and pillaging the fishing hole...literally. I don't understand why someone would keep such small fish, but maybe their extraction of a few fish will help the other have more room to grow larger.
 We ended up at a favorite picnic spot (and camping too as long as there aren't too many ATVs driving by). We didn't find any willing fish in the adjacent stream but the boys had fun shooting BB guns and building forts in the bushes.