Fishing Utah 2018

Prior to the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition conference in Salt Lake City, went on an awesome fly-fishing trip, hosted by Brent in Provo, Utah. My previous trip was in 2008 (http://phwl.org/fishing-renovating-and-ballroom-dancing-in-utah-2008/).

Here we are in the high country, with myself on the left, Brent in the middle and Ken on the right.

Day 1

Arrived in Los Angeles at 6am on the 12/6/2018. Ken had the rental car ready by the time I reached Salt Lake City at 11:20am. By 4:30pm, we were on the water.

As the sun started falling, Ken was into fish, having caught them on a fly called a “Chubby Chernobyl”, which is a stonefly imitation.

The result was zero fish and a terrible fishing day. I hooked the trees behind, grass in front and nearly fell into the river with alarming frequency. Guess it was jet-lag. Anyway, I don’t like to peak too early on a fishing trip…

Day 2

Fished the Provo River which was very high, so high that even Brent nearly floated away while wading. He played a very large fish for a while but it broke his line.

A swarm of butterflies.

Don’t know why these sheep were herded down the cliff.

We went to Sportman’s Warehouse to buy some flies for the afternoon.

Since we did so well the previous afternoon, fished the same river. This was my first brown trout of the trip.

Went to Walmart to buy supplies for the next day as we were going to a town called “Paradise”.

We also had to fill up for petrol and was genuinely shocked by the 100 oz (3 litre) cups. If you were to fill it with Coca Cola, it would contain about 0.3 kg of sugar and 1200 calories. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends about 38g per day.

Stayed in a cabin at Sportsman’s Paradise.

The next morning we were met by our guide Dan who had a degree in fishing. Dan was impressed with our gear and stories of success the previous days and we were worried we might have oversold our abilities. We told him not to judge until he saw us actually fly-fish. He then asked if we were into catching large fish on dry fly. What that a rhetorical question?

The Chair Pond which was a shallow pool with lots of clearly visible large trout, which as promised proved frustratingly difficult to catch. We beat the water to a froth for about half an hour, putting down most of the rising fish until Brent hooked the first.

It was a beautiful, obese rainbow trout.

Soon after, I figured out what to do: look for a cruising fish and lead them with a tiny ant pattern which was about 3mm long. I hooked one which immediately launched itself in my direction, creating slack line and throwing the hook. About 5 minutes later, using the same strategy, I managed to fool this nice rainbow.

We then fished along a canal where there were plenty of fish. Here is Brent netting one for Ken.

Dan’s fancy rod holder setup made from Harbour Freight magnets and sticky tape.

Then we visited the “Hatchery”, there is no way anybody can fail to catch a fish here, and it was a complete turkey shoot!

Sportsman’s Paradise reminded me of the following quote from John Milton in Paradise Lost:

“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven..”

Day 3

Went up into the high country, about 10,000 feet (3000 m) above sea level. Stopped at a local supermarket for food and was impressed they had fishing, camping and ammo departments.

Here we are at the carpark, about to start our hike.

The walk was difficult as the air was quite thin due to altitude. We huffed our way up to the high lakes. The scenery was spectacular.

It wasn’t looking good initially, with very few fish being seen. In fly-fishing, there are sometimes moments of perfection. We saw a fish rise and I cast a Royal Wulff to it. The fish was completely fooled by the fly (actually mountain fish are quite dumb as not many people fish for them), and I was rewarded by my first brook trout. These don’t grow as large as rainbow trout and brown trout, and this one is quite a good specimen. Note the spots are a different colour to browns and rainbows, and the bottom fins are red.

We then fished an even high altitude lake. Up there the ice was still melting.

We did very well on the last lake, catching lots of brook trout but none of them very large.

Day 4

Fished a different river which was very clear and lots of fish. Fishing was not great as they were very spooky, as dozens of anglers had fished through before we got there. After about an hour, I did get a fish to take a nymph (underneath power lines which I am certain attract fish) but didn’t hook up.

I did learn a new word though: “s’more” (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%27more).

That evening we took our hosts to Texas Steakhouse in Brent’s car.

I like that place, while waiting they have complimentary peanuts and you can throw the shells on the floor.

Day 5

Got up early and fished the river of Day 1 again.

Nice brown trout.

We did really well and caught lots of fish. We were congratulating ourselves that we had peaked at the right time on the last day but were sorry Brent wasn’t there. We fished the bridge next to the carpark and raised another couple of fish each and then Ken took a pretty good brown.

We then went to a new place next to a bridge. On my first cast a huge fish poked its head out of the water to inspect my fly but didn’t take it. It was so big it left me shaking. I then caught a few fish out of that pool and went to the next.

My first cast into the next pool had me connected to a large fish. It swam upstream but I managed to keep it from getting too far away. It then charged downstream and I had to apply a lot of force to keep it in sight. After quite a struggle I got my best fish of the trip to shore. I had already taken my camera out but while trying to set up the shot, it shook its head, broke the line and disappeared.

Went to find Ken (Brent didn’t join us as it was Father’s Day). He was in the process of landing this large rainbow trout and he had similar success. What a wonderful end to a fantastic trip!