Another high mountain lake in the Uinta Mountains, Fehr Lake is one of the headwater lakes of the Duchesne River watershed. Even though the hike to the lake is itself less than strenuous, and is a wonderful hike to take the family on, it is one that lets you know just how rugged the Uinta Mountains can be and though you're less than a mile off of the highway-you would imagine that you had hiked for miles and miles into the wilderness.
To get to Fehr Lake, travel North from Heber City on Highway 40 until you reach the intersection with Highway 32, roughly 4 miles North of town. Stay on Highway 32 around Jordanelle and into the town of Francis until you get to the first stop sign, about 11 miles, and turn left to stay on Highway 32. After 2 miles you will be in the town of Kamas and will turn right on Highway 150, The Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, and stay on Highway 150 for a little over 30 miles. You will go over Bald Mountain Pass and head down the Northern Slope, just about 1.5 miles from the pass you'll see a small pull-out on the right side of the road. This is the trailhead, don’t blink or you’ll miss it. The trail usually opens up about early to mid June and stays open through September, and maybe into October. Be prepared though, the weather changes in the Uintas at the tip of hat, and while it's rare, it has snowed even in July, August, and September.
The landscape along this hike and around the lake itself is high mountain. You are still below the timberline, so you will be hiking through towering pines, thankfully they have not been decimated by Pine Beetles, yet. It is big country and don't hesitate to stop and take in every view that this country offers you. Be prepared with whatever hiking essentials you feel necessary to take with you. Sunscreen, bug repellant, emergency kit, water, etc. Even though you are less than a half a mile in from the highway, a lot can happen in the half a mile. Always be prepared when you are in the backcountry.
Fehr Lake is about 6 acres and has a maximum depth of 29 feet. The depth and amount of water makes it a great lake to either use a canoe or float tube on, if you are willing to hike them in. The North and West shores of plenty of room to get a great backcast, the South and East shores have more timber around it, requiring a more delicate cast. We hiked in with our 7'6" 3 wt rod however, a 9' 5 wt would have increased our ability to get further out into the lake. We wouldn't recommend anything over a 5 wt rod, but the size of fish in this lake make a 3 wt seem a little too small and a 5 wt just a little too big.
Fehr Lake is a natural, glacier carved lake that is relatively untouched by human effort. It has not been impounded like many of the other lakes within the Uintas, and the water level is completely dictated by in and outlet flows. It has a wild population of Brook Trout that is maintaining itself without stocking from the Utah DWR. In fact, we looked at the stocking reports from 2002 to present and Fehr Lake was never stocked during that time. That wild population is beautiful as well, they are big and strong, a real fight that ends with one of the beauties of the Trout family.
Aquatic insects do exist in these waters, even though their hatch cycles are more sporadic than lower elevation lakes and rivers. During the morning and evening, throwing a caddis pattern out will almost always work. During the heat of the day the fish are still looking up though, terrestrials such as ants and small hoppers are great. As the weather cools down, fishing below the surface with a leech pattern or chironomid should work.
Remember that you are in the wilderness on this trip. You are in Mother Nature's home and she makes the rules. Expect to see wildlife and prepare accordingly, this is bear and moose country. Take a first aid kit with you just in case something happens, even though you will only be a half mile from your car. Even a survival kit may not hurt. It is beautiful country that is unfortunately touched by man, help out and take a grocery sack and pack out some of the trash that some people choose not to. As always, Good Luck and Guid Luck!
The weather is beginning to change here in Utah, it's getting colder and the days are getting shorter. For us, this means that it limits the places that we can access to fish. We decided to get at least one last trip in the high country before it closed for good.
It was to Echo Lake in the Uinta Mountains that we were headed towards. Unfortunately, about forty-five minutes on the rough and rocky road the weather turned and we were forced to turn around. We needed a new destination, and something close. We remembered that there was a short trail off of the road just over Bald Mountain Pass. We decided to give it a try.
The trailhead is easily missed if you aren't watching, so we made a U-Turn and pulled into the small parking area for the trail. It started to snow on us while we got everything ready, backpacks and fly rods, but the hike in is only a half a mile, what could go wrong in a half a mile. A lot. But nothing did on this trip, except for the snow.
The hike in was beautiful, as the pine trees quickly covered themselves with snow, it was easy to lose the trail every now and again. The trail takes you far enough in that you forget that you are less than a mile away from the road and your car, and we quickly forgot that as well. All of a sudden a small valley opened up, with cliffs on one side and the forest on the others, and smack dab in the middle was Fehr Lake. This was our first time seeing this lake.
It was actually snowing hard enough, you know the kind, the small pebble kind of snow that appears more like pebble ice than snow, that we chose to wait and see if it would stop. Thankfully it did and we quickly threw out our flies. One of us quickly foul hooked a beautiful specimen, a Brook Trout in breeding colors. Even though we foul hooked it, we were ready to get a real bite. It actually proved easier to foul hook one than to actually entice one onto a fly.
We fished our entire way around the lake. Fishing below and on the surface. One Brookie took a nymph that we were slowly stripping in and another took a royal humpy. We saw plenty of fish and even strike rings closer to the center of the lake. The fish, though, were not interested in anything that we were throwing at them.
As Fehr Lake, and many of her sister lakes, are beginning to freeze and access becomes limited, we can only look forward to next summer when we have the opportunity to get back to this little lake. For more images, check out our gallery.
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.