While up in Utah visiting family last week, I snuck off for a few hours of fishing on Thursday and Friday. My wife will tell you it was the better part of two days, but you can decide who you want to believe. On Thursday, I went and found a small stream, hoping to catch a few Bonneville cutthroat trout. The first part of the stream I stopped off and tried to fish was flowing pretty fast and had a lot of cover. Both made it difficult to fish. Still, it was beautiful scenery and I was thankful to be out there to enjoy it. I started out using a big dry fly and a weighted dropper to see if I could find any fish. I fished this stretch for about an hour without any sign of success, casting wherever I could along the brushy stream.
After walking upstream around some especially thick brush, I found a nice spot to climb down the bank back to the stream. Unfortunately, I didn't see the largest ant hill I've ever come across. I sat down and began to slide down the bank to the water. That's when I felt the ants start to climb all over my hand and arm. It felt as if there were hundreds on me as I jumped the remaining distance into the middle of the stream and began stripping off my clothes and tossing them onto the opposite bank. I'm glad no one was around to see me thrashing around half-dressed while slapping at the remaining ants crawling over my body. I only had a few ant bites when it was finally over, but I could still feel them crawling on me for hours. Since things weren't exactly going my way, I decided to pack up and move farther upstream. A couple of miles further up I found a nice beaver dam.
The dam had created a small pond that looked promising. As I carefully approached the water, I saw a couple of small trout sipping tiny insects off the surface. I tied on a size 20 comparadun BWO and began to stalk a nearby trout. Crawling on my hands and knees to get close enough to cast through the bushes, I finally presented an acceptable offering and was rewarded.
At first I thought I'd caught a rainbow, but the small, faint orange stripe under its jaw gave its identity away as a small cutthroat. After a quick picture, the little cutt was off and I began untangling my line while waiting to see if another fish would begin feeding again. This was only the second cutthroat I'd ever caught and I was anxious to catch a few more. I spooked a nearby fish and thought I'd be done for a while, but moments later the nose of another, larger fish came into sight again and again. By now, I had my casting figured out for this spot, so it didn't take long for me to catch my 2nd cutthroat of the day.
This was a pretty nice sized fish and it gave a good fight on my new 2wt. I was ready for more, but the mosquitos and flies encouraged me to leave the stillwater behind and go down below the beaver dam to see what I could find in the moving water. There was a perfect spot just below the dam holding several good sized cutthroats. Standing behind the bushes or kneeling in the water beneath their branches provided some good cover while casting.
I could see several fish feeding and chasing each other around in the feeding lanes. A soft and gentle cast was all that was needed before the first one took my fly. It was great to watch the fish see the fly and then turn and follow it downstream for a split second before taking it emphatically.
After catching a few fish on the comparadun BWO, I decided to switch out my fly for another small favorite, a size 20 Quigley Cripple. You can see it did just as well, catching several more cutthroats. The color on these fish was amazing. I love the bold spots back along towards the tail. The orange slash is definitely a highlight as well.
That little spot just below the beaver dam was a perfect place to catch some eager and beautiful fish.
A couple more came from some nice pools and pockets a bit farther downstream, too. I had such a blast catching these awesome fish on my newest rod -- a great way to spend a few hours on the stream!