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Thread: Better than Lagoon...

  1. #1

    Better than Lagoon...

    Hope it is OK to name names of well-known streams...let me know and I will edit out if not.

    Tuesday, July 7, 2015


    Today, while all the rest of the family went to Lagoon, the amusement park in Farmington, Utah, I spent the day in one of my favorite amusement parks, the mountains of Utah. With the family gone all day, I had planned a full day of exploring some new water. On a whim Sunday, I had called my nephew-in-law Mike Dover, an occasional guest of this blog, and asked if he would be interested in spending the day with me. He was able to clear his schedule for Tuesday join me in my explorations.

    I met Mike in Heber, and we first headed to the "Wild Strawberry", a section of tailwater below Strawberry Reservoir and Soldier Creek Dam. The upper section is hike-in from the base of the dam, while the lower section is reached by road from below. We chose to hike in. The trail follows the river closely in the narrow canyon, giving us a constant view of moss filled slack-water behind beaver dams and trout suspended in the clear water. We had committed to hike in at least 20 minutes before we started fishing to get away from the heaviest pressure, but made it only about 7 minutes before an actively feeding fish drew us to the river. A few minutes later, we continued along the trail, the trout having rejected all offerings we proffered. About 25 minutes in we started fishing in earnest in a section of moving water with mostly riffles and some pools around big rocks. No fish were visible, no rises to swarms of small flies on the water (PMDs?), no darting fish as we walked up through the stream. Fishing for about an hour, we saw only two fish, a riser that Mike cast to, and a nice fish that rose to my fly in the shallows next to the bank. This strawberry was tasting a little sour to us, so we hiked back out to try a different fruit at Currant Creek.

    Currant Creek is a small, brushy stream, also a tailwater, that is noted for having a healthy population of good-sized brown trout. And today, that is what we found. A currant is normally a sour fruit, but for us today, it was as sweet as could be. Pulling into a likely looking access point, we found a small stream with just a little color to the water. I had one about 10" flash under my fly in the first hole, but no takers. A few fish were seen rising in the run above, but again no takers on the dry (Turk's for me with a golden stone dropper, size 16). I found a corner hole up above this, and while Mike was changing to double nymph, I had a fat 11" brown grab the dropper for our first fish of the day.


    First brown from Currant Creek

    Tossing the fly back into the foamy eddy on the far side, another 11" brown exploded on the dry. Things were looking up. After another couple of small fish, we came to a large beaver dam with fish actively rising throughout. I promptly caught another 11" brown, then Mike and I had a double. I think we caught and/or missed a few more before the fish were spooked. Working my way up to the even larger dam upstream, I was waiting for Mike to tie on and come up the other side for first cast into the fresh water. While waiting, I tossed a fly towards a small stream of water coming in from the side just below the dam. The fly hit the water, a 14" or so trout darted out and grabbed the fly, I did the surprise set, and the fish was last seen twirling in the water below the dam trying to get the fly I had broken off out of its mouth. Mike made it up to the dam, and we again found a couple similarly sized fish and missed a few more. With no reasonable way around this large dam, we headed back to the car, having had enough success to want to explore further upstream. That was a good choice.

    A few miles upriver, we found the water clear and a stretch of flowing water free from beaver dams. Some rising fish in the first couple holes, but no takers. Then, the fun started. I had run my dry/dropper through the deeper water of a likely run. Nothing. On a whim I tossed into the shallows straight above me. Immediately the dropper snagged on the rocks. Then the snag started moving and rolling and jumping. The 15" snag below came to hand.

    
    Nice brown from the shallows

    Mike, who had been retying flies after breaking off in the willows (a recurring theme on this stream), then came up to give it a try. I pointed out some sticks on the far side where my upstream casting had ended, and he tossed his fly up above them. As the dry drifted by the sticks, we saw a golden shape drift out, turn, and grab his dropper. The fish took off upstream, giving quite the fight before coming to the net, another fat 15" brown.

    Mike and another nice brown
    A solid 15 inches

    From here on we saw at least one fish in every hole, although most were either missed, didn't quite take, or broke off. The fish in the shallows was no fluke. Pushing through a brushy section, a looked down and saw about a 15" brown sitting next to the bank in water no more than six inches deep. I had one about 18", again casting to the shallows at the side of a hole, that moved slowly up to the dry, sucked it in, and upon my giving the perfect set (no surprise set this time), the line parted at a weak point in the 3x section of tippet halfway up the leader. Aargh! Further upstream, I had seen one about 18" to 20" feeding in a pretty run, and let Mike have the chance to cast to this one as I had just missed a similarly sized one in the bottom of the hole. Mike drifted the fly over, a couple times, then was staring at his boots or something and looked up just in time to see the fly get spit out by the monster. This happened a few more times throughout the day - it was kind of like fishing with Rob!

    As the dark clouds and thunder that had been hanging around us all day started to open up, I found one more nice brown, again from the shallows at the side of the hole. Mike was trying to entice one of the risers above him to take, when a very near crack of thunder through the deluge of large drops finally drove us from the river. On our soggy drive home, we both marveled at the large fish we had caught and missed, and declared with certainty that we would be back here again.

    Last fish of the day

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  3. #2
    I dunno man....that Cannibal ride is pretty amazing. I'd ride that all day if I could.

  4. #3
    Nice post! For the Strawberry River below the dam, you'll want big heavy streamers for the thug browns in there (and the brookies), and for nymphs, the killer caddis is great, also a BH prince.

    Personally, I'm more prone to leaving the fly rod in the car for that river. Spin gear with a marabou jig or a Blue Fox spinner is excellent.

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