March 25, 2014

Eyeing the Walleye at Utah Lake

With spring brings all the different seasons of fish on Utah Lake. It starts off with the Walleye, which is really good fishing right now. The Walleye are doing their love dance this time of year. You will find them cruising rocky shorelines. Early morning and evenings have been the best for me. I've caught a couple on crank baits, but most have come from slowly working curly tails on the bottom. If you go out, bring lots of gear, because you will lose it in the rocks. Also, Please release all the females.
 
Last night a took my float tube out to a spot that is know to have good numbers of walleye. I left around 7:30 p.m. The lake was calm and peaceful other than the occasional carp letting me know they were there with their jumping tail dance. Once I arrived, I set up for the night and started making casts. I didn't have much action until it got dark. After losing two crank baits due to snags, I switched to the cheaper curly tail jigs to save my fishing budget. My first hook-up came about an hour into fishing. I got the fish to the net rather quickly, and it was a nice hen walleye which I released.
 
I landed a few smaller males after that, but they progressively got bigger as the night went on. When I hooked into the last fish of the night, I knew it was big. I felt a couple good head shakes as I battled this fish in the dark. When I got him to the net, I knew I had just landed the biggest male walleye I had ever caught. He measured out to 24 inches! On that note, I called it a night. I ended up catching nine walleye, with five keeper males. This was the best night of walleye fishing I've experienced. We will be eating well for the next few days. Now to find a good walleye recipe...

Beautiful calm night heading out.

Sight fishing at night.

Biggest hen of the night. All hens were released.

This big hen kept swimming within feet of the rock I was standing on.

Biggest male walleye of the night at 24 inches long.

Loaded up, and ready to head back to the truck.

I got 4.5 pounds of delicious Fillet's from tonight's outing.

March 17, 2014

Trips to the Jordan River and Utah Lake

 
This time of year, the fishing can be hit and miss on both Utah Lake and the Jordan River depending on the weather.The past week, we've had all four seasons of weather which has really messed up the fishing. The first trip to the Jordan, I managed a little largemouth bass, while seeing countless other fish that had lockjaw. It was the same story this morning when I took my niece and nephews out to fish. The day went from cold and windy, to hot, then back to cold and really windy in a two hour period. We all got casting practice while on the river, and that was it!
We fished Utah Lake for about a half hour, and managed a really nice 26 inch hen walleye. She was chuck full of eggs, so we got a few quick pictures and released her back in the lake safe and sound. The walleye spawn is happening now, so now is the best chance to catch a few. Please release any females that you catch if you go out. The cold wind made short work of us at Utah Lake, so we called it a day. I'm hoping in a month when they come to visit again, the white bass will be ready to tangle.

Schools of two inch black bullhead catfish.

Only fish from the Jordan.
 
Spiderman pole.. check... game face... check!

26 inch hen Walleye.

Check out those chompers...

March 10, 2014

Newport Beach; Party Barge Style

Work took me to Southern California last week, so I did what any fishing addict would do... Find a way to get some fishing in. The conference wouldn't allow me to get out during the day, but I found that Davey's Locker out of Newport Beach offered trips from 7 to midnight on Friday and Saturday. They even offered a coupon, so the price for getting on the boat, license and tackle was almost half off. I couldn't pass that up!
 
I headed down Friday after the conference to find Newport Beach almost deserted. I found it odd for a Friday night, but It made it nice to walk around the uncrowded shops.  I also had a bite to eat before the trip that was excellent.
 
Newport Beach was almost empty.


Enjoying some stuffed orange roughy before the trip.

getting geared up at Davey's Locker for the trip.
There were around 30-35 anglers on the boat. It was a 35 minute ride to get the the structure we were going to fish. The deck hand were busy getting gear ready and giving advice on the way out.  I am a rookie when it come to this kind of fishing, so I asked questions the whole way out. what should I feel for, how to tie the knots they used, how to present the bait, etc. My goal on this trip was simple: catch as many species as possible!

The first hour, I didn't catch a thing. A few other anglers pulled in a few fish, but it was slow!. The captain moved us a short distance away to a new spot. soon the fish started biting. The Key was to make sure you could feel the weight bouncing on the rocks. That way, you knew you were in the zone. Once you set the hook, you had to reel! If these fish bit, and then got in the rocks, you were toast. There was also a young sea lion that was stealing all the bait as anglers cast out. He actually got hooked three different times by other anglers, but luckily got off without having a hook stay with him.

My first fish of the night was a blue perch. I followed that up with several sculpin. The crew advised everyone not to touch the sculpin because of there poisonous barbs along their back and bottom fins. They said it felt like a hornet sting That lasts for hours. I found that if I dropped my bait straight down, I would get sculpin after sculpin. The other side of the boat were getting into sand bass, so I went over to see what they were doing different.

Fishing stories abound on the ride out.

My first catch of the night; a Blue Perch.
 
Sculpin

Young Sea Lion that loved stealing bait.

Sculpin
The trick to getting the bass was to cast out as far as you could, let the bait hit the bottom, and then slowly reel in. Sure enough, my first time trying it produced my first calico bass. I also managed a gopher rockfish casting out as well. what still seems strange to me is the left side of the boat caught nothing but sand bass, and the right side only caught calico bass.
 
Once the trip ended, I had caught the most fish with 12, and the most species with 4. but the biggest sand bass won the anglers pot at the end of the night. I love trip's where I add multiple new species to my catch list!
 

Calico Bass

 

Gopher Rockfish

Sand Bass

The crew filleting tonight's catch.
 

March 5, 2014

First Carpin of the Year

I took a few hours today and went to Utah Lake to scout out some of the spots I like to hit. People are still ice fishing the harbors, but the lake is really starting to open up. It won't be long until we will be able to launch the toon and get after it.
 
I checked several spots, seeing if I could see anything to cast to. Most spots had nothing to speak of, but one spot was chuck full of carp. It was game on, as I tied on an orange and black beaded woolly bugger and made my first cast. It took me some time to figure out what presentation they wanted, but once I did, carp were more than willing to dance. The bite was crazy light, and I missed several fish.  I finally had a good hook set, and I started to strip him in. I don't think the carp knew he was hooked for the first few seconds, but my drag let me know as it started singing as he tore off . There is seriously not a better sound in the world than the sweet song of burning drag!
 
I played the fish for several minutes before I got him to shore. I had a little tripod for my phone that I used to get a few pictures (I need to work on that). I ended up landing a few more before I packed it in. I'll take four carp in two hours anytime. admittedly, this made that itch to get out on soft water that much worse. spring can't come fast enough.

First Carp of 2014.
 
Even ugly fish need some love...

A shot of the second victim.


March 4, 2014

More Browns From The Weber

Last Monday a friend and I made a trip up to the Weber to see how the Brown Trout were biting. I had heard that the Weber is down to a trickle compared to what it normally is on some sections. When we arrived we found that the rumor was true. I've never seen the Weber this low ever! It pooled in places, but several spots were dry that I've caught fish at in previous years. That said, we still got into some quality fish, and had a great time.
 
Kevin started off, catching the first three before I got on the board. The fishing was fairly consistent throughout the day. I would say we landed around 20-25 fish between us, with Kevin catching the most. The fight of these fish never gets old!
 

 

 



March 3, 2014

Hiking Bryce Canyon National Park

A few weekends ago, we took our scout troop on what was supposed to be a cross country ski trip down to Bryce Canyon National Park. We planned it a few months back, but due to the dry Winter that Utah has experienced, the trip turned into a hiking adventure.
 
Bryce Canyon is one of my favorite National Parks. There is nothing else like it anywhere. We hiked from Sunrise Point to Sunset Point which is only a few miles. The kids had a great time exploring the many hoodoos the trail wove through. It even tunneled through some of them. 
 
Pictures can never do this place any justice. Bryce Canyon should be on your bucket list of places to visit if it isn't already. 
 
A few of the boys at Sunrise Point.


Hiking into the valley.



Making our way to Queens Garden.

Can you spot the two land bridges?




Some of our group at Sunset point.
 On the way home, our car stopped to see Cove Fort. I grew up close to Cove Fort, but no one else I rode with had seen it. We stopped and took the half hour tour seeing all the rooms in the fort. It's amazing to me how the pioneers made things. It's a cool place to visit if you've never been. I recommend going in the summer when all the attractions around the fort are open to see (barn, blacksmith, etc.).

Cove Fort. Built in 1867
 


Working telegraph.