February 25, 2013

A Winter Weber Adventure

This fishing trip started out partly cloudy with moments of sunshine and ended in an all-out blizzard. We arrived just before sunrise, and while Rob was putting his fly rod together, I went down to the river to make a few casts. My first hookup came on the second cast, and a few head-shakes later, I landed a nice Brown. He was a little on the skinny side, but this catch gave notice that we were in for a great day on the river.
Once Rob was set up, we walked to the first hole and both of us were into fish quickly. Rob was using a beaded hairs ear with a rainbow warrior dropper, and I was flinging some jigs. This first hole produced a couple fish each with several misses mixed in. I caught the tail-end of Rob's first hookup on video (I love my new iPhone), and you can see it for yourself below.
First fish of the day.
The next few holes and stretches of river didn't produce much, but we did land a few here and there. The fishing seemed to pick up as the weather deteriorated. The harder the snow fell, the more the bite picked up, at least that's what it seemed. Breaking ice out of our eyelets became a constant battle, but with the catching being good, it didn't seem like that big of a deal.
One of several Cutthroat trout.

Beats Skiing if you ask me...
We continued fishing as the snow continued to fall harder and harder. It wasn't bad at all until the wind started blowing. It went from lightly falling down to blowing sideways which made it feel like needles hitting your face. That's when we called it quits and started back to the vehicle. The walk back seemed like it took forever. The wind was blowing directly at us, which made visibility almost zero. This was the only part of the trip that wasn't fun.
I enjoyed watching Rob catch fish on the fly as much as catching them myself today. I'm going to make a greater effort this year to get better using a fly rod. I do alright on lakes, but don't have the feel for it as much when hitting rivers. I'll admit that it's hard doing the switch when you have confidence in what you're used to doing. I guess you will see how I do with this goal later this year.

Like a Boss...
Bad weather never felt so good!

February 21, 2013

Frozen At The Berry

We had our winter camp for Scouts at Strawberry Reservoir this year. The plan was to camp on the ice and fish, but we arrived late. We decided to set up by the vehicles since it was dark. We made dinner and stayed close to the fire. Sitting around the fire is one of my favorite things about camping. Stories always seem to be better around a fire. After a few hours, we all hit the hay in hopes of staying warm through the night.
As it turned out, the majority froze. It was a balmy -9 degrees as we woke up and got ready for the day. He quickly had heaters running and started getting breakfast ready. It was interesting cracking frozen eggs in preparation of making french toast. While we were doing this, a couple of air boats cruised by on the ice. The snow the fans kicked up instantly turned to fog which lingered for about an hour.
As we wrapped up breakfast, it was voted that we pack up and hit a pond closer to home with warmer weather. We headed back to civilization, and allowed our bodies to thaw along the way. We reached the small pond and once we found the fish, we caught several. Some of the boys fished while others went sledding and had snowball fights. We spent a few hours doing this and wrapping up the trip with a hot dog lunch. We returned home tired, and with sunburned faces. It was a fun trip, but I'm all-the-more thankful for a nice warm bed.

Swamp People... Utah style!

All the kids thawing. The car heaters were popular on this trip.

Getting breakfast ready.

This is what frozen eggs look like.

One of about a dozen fish caught. The warmer weather was a plus!

February 17, 2013

A Bitter-Sweet Reunion In Texas

I received the sad news that a close friend had passed away this past week. To be honest, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had the pleasure of spending a lot of time with Tanya and her family when I lived in Texas. After failing to find a flight, I rented a car, and with Taylor, made the 24 hour drive to attend the funeral. Once we arrived, it was a barrage of mixed emotions. While it was great seeing all our friends again after such a long time, there was a sadness present with everyone not having Tanya joining the laughter and conversation. The night we arrived was the viewing followed by the funeral the following day. She had a wonderful service and will truly be missed by those who knew her.

Tanya Lynne Gilliam-Griffin 1955-2013.  You will be greatly missed. "Love ya bye".
Later that day, Several of us decided to go out and fish the Griffins private pond, and continue to catch up. We had planned on catching varieties of pan fish, but it turned out to be a bass-a-thon. They had told Taylor and I that there were bass but we weren't expecting to catch them like we did. We also didn't expect to catch the size of bass that we did. There were several landed that even surprised the Griffins. We used top-water plugs, jigs, and several soft plastic baits catching fish with all of them. It was so fun watching these bass explode on different poppers and plugs.
 We were only a few miles away from Lake Fork, but with the quality fish in this pond, we didn't see the need to hit it. We fished a few hours the next day with the same success. We then made the long drive back to Utah. It was a whirlwind trip, but more than worth it.
It was so nice to see my Texas family again. It had been way too long since I had seen them. I loved hanging out again, and can't wait to get back down for a longer trip.

Tanya's grandson with the first bass landed.

Who needs Lake Fork when you can catch this in your back yard?

Taylor with a nice bucket mouth.

The only pan fish caught amoung all the bass.

Taylor lost this top-water popper on his first cast when this bass broke him off. He got it back about 2 hours later when the same bass was caught again.

Cameron showed us how it's done on top-water. 

A surprise Bullhead Catfish on bass gear.

A great way to finish the trip.

February 8, 2013

Catching Browns With A New Personal Best

After ice fishing for the past month, I figured it was time to change things up and go try to wrangle a few Brown trout. The stretch of the Weber I fished today was as low as I've seen it in recent memory. On top of that, the water was  milky making for poor visibility. It wasn't opptimal conditions, but I figured a few a few fish would still want to show up to the party. 
I started out fishing my go-to swimbait for the first hour with not a lot of action. I would pick up a fish here and there, with long stretches in-between. It took some time to get dialed in and after a few adjustments on presentaion and switching to a lighter swimbait, it was on! It went from slow fishing to fast catching in a hurry.
Average Brown trout today.

The only Rainbow of the day.
I came to a hole with the main current going through the middle of it. I made a cast on the right side of it and as I worked down the column, I had a good hit, but missed him. I immediately cast again and this time I hooked up. After a short fight, I landed the only Rainbow, which is pictured above. After working the right side of the current, I made a cast on the left side. The line immediately went heavy, and I could tell right away that I had a nice Brown on that was ready for a tug war. This brusier gave me several powerful head-shakes trying to bulldog his way off the hook, but it was all for not. I soon had the first 20 inch brown of the day landed, as you can see in the picture below. From here it was a lot more Brown trout action with a few Cutthroat sprinkled in.

One of the many 20" Browns on this trip.

Biggest Cutthroat of thhis trip. 
Making my way further up river, I soon realized I interupted a town council meeting in Hogville because the rest of the day, I didn't land a Brown less than 20 inches! It was one epic fight after another with a few happening on back-to-back casts. The three largest fish are pictured below, including a 24 inch beast that is my new personal best. To top the day off, I found a few duck decoys in a debris pile along the river that are in working order. Without a doubt, the Weber was good to me today!

Third place: 22 inch Brown trout.

Second place: 23 inch Brown (tied personal best).

New personal best! 2 feet of Brown trout!

It was a day of Weber monsters!