It's been a while since we've been able to get in some fishing. A couple of things have contributed to this dilemma, 1) We have had a "normal" winter here in Utah and most of our fishing spots are snowed in or frozen over, and 2) a couple of our extra-curricular activities have taken over a lot of our time.
Spring, however, is trying to make a quick comeback here in Utah and some of our fishing spots are opening up, namely Big Cottonwood Canyon. The fishing on the creek was pretty good. We used a standard dry-dropper rig, a 16 Orange Stimulator and about sixteen inches behind that was an 18 Gunslinger. We got into both Brown and Rainbow Trout, primarily Rainbows though.
We were able to land into two decent sized Rainbows on this trip. Both of them were pushing over 14 inches and for Big Cottonwood Creek, they are the heavyweights of the river. The larger fish on this trip took the nymph while the smaller fish took the stimulator from the surface. The Rainbows in Big Cottonwood Creek are a wild population and they swim hard and the minute that they are hooked they swim down. If you want to get into the Rainbows you'll want to fish above the power plant.
One of these Rainbows was our Moby Dick for this stretch of the creek. We have hooked in with this fish multiple times and it quickly puts a bend in our 3 weight rod and it quickly spits the fly. It's dark red lateral line standing out against its aged, brown body. Today we were lucky enough to feel it tug on our rod and we quickly set the hook. It had the rod bent and quickly swam into the log jam downstream. In between the submerged limbs it went and we thought we had lost him. Using the rod, we were able to guide him away from the obstacles and get him into our net.
The wilderness is powerful, beautiful in its cruel evenhanded nature. Today we had the opportunity to see that very principle in action. Coming around a bend in the river we were startled by a large, hairy animal in the water. It took a quick, second look to realize what had happened. In the water lay a young moose, one that could not have been more than two years old. Coming down to the water for a drink, the moose found itself unable to get back out of the small canyon that the water had cut. It could have broken its leg, the snow may have been too deep, but there it lay. It had been there a while, snow still covered it in places. Nature is cruel and beautiful, ever pushing us to do more with the time we have.
For more images, check out our gallery.
This was our first trip out to the river in 2016. We were able to slip away after work in the early afternoon, roughly around 12:02 on Friday. So, early January and we only have a few hours to go fishing before we need to meet the misses for lunch, where are we going to go? Early January and we are having an average Utah winter, unlike last year's winter, where can we actually access the water? With all of these questions looming all of our head we only had one answer...Big Cottonwood Creek.
It's been almost a month since the last time we hit the water, holidays and all. We rigged up and got into the water at our favorite spot. What amazed us, especially after last years winter, was how much snow there was!! Probably a good two and a half feet in the open areas, it's shaping up to be a good Winter. But all of that snow comes with a cost, access is limited and natural destruction. Some of our favorite pockets were completely changed due to the trees that had fallen into the river from all of the snow that they were carrying.
That wasn't going to stop us though. We rigged up our go to rig, stimulator and a hotwire prince nymph about twelve inches behind. It took us a few pockets of water to get our sea legs back and quit spooking fish, the rocks definitely got slicker in the course of a month! Finally we hooked up with an average size Brown and the day got rolling.
Big Cottonwood Canyon is truly beautiful in the Winter. It is the home of two ski resorts and when the mountains are covered in that pristine powder it is easy to see why. We constantly found ourselves stopping and just enjoying the scenery that we found ourselves in. The sound of the low stream gurgling over rocks, the softly falling snow, and the cold crisp air easily stole our breath.
Suddenly we realized that it was 2:00 and time to meet the misses for lunch. Getting out of the river and making the short walk back to the truck, we realized why we enjoyed fly fishing so much. It's not only the thrill of the fight or figuring out how to catch that fish that has been eluding you on multiple trips. More than that, it is the connection to the natural world from which we sprung, it's the chance to get out of your own head. It's the beauty of nature! Check out our gallery for more photos.
Growing up along the Provo River in Utah, I've seen countless numbers of Fly Fishermen search for the Tug. It's in the small streams that the dream is realized.