Life never seems to go quite as planned but if you’re prepared for the unexpected, sometimes things can turn out better than you could’ve hoped for. One weekend this past April was a perfect example of that. Chet and I had made a plan early in the week to do some ice off fishing on a quality stillwater with hopes of catching a big Tiger Trout.
Everything started as planned, we arrived at the lake, started fishing a spot that we’ve had success in previously. We gave up on that spot after less than an hour of dragging in weeds and numbing our feet and went for a drive to check out another spot we had in mind. We crested the hill that overlooks the cove we intended on fishing and it had to be every bait fisherman in Southern Utah lined along a 100 yard stretch of shoreline.
Neither Chet nor I had any interest in combat fishing so we made the easy choice to find somewhere else to wet our lines. Chet knew of a great stretch of creek just a few miles down the road and we were sure to be the only ones there. Not so. Another group of anglers had beat us to it. We contemplated jumping in a ways upstream of them but decided not to be “those guys.”
We got back in the car, I was discouraged and I could tell that Chet wasn’t happy either. We threw around different ideas of where to go but decided most were either too far away or would be difficult fishing due to runoff with the recent warm weather we’ve had.
We decided on a nearby headwater stream that I’ve had success on in the past. We jumped in the car and drove at lightspeed to our destination only to find a road closure that blocked our route to the upper portions of the stream where I’ve caught fish before.
Our persistence had finally paid off, the stream was running a little high and off color but nothing that a little extra splitshot and tungsten head nymphs couldn’t handle. The stream is narrow in most parts, but deceivingly deep and swift. The fish are eager to eat your fly, but you have to get past the swarms of 2-3” brown trout that feed voraciously near the surface. I caught the first fish, maybe five inches at best, but a fish. A few minutes later while I was changing up my rig, I heard a holler from Chet, he had hooked into a quality fish for this creek (most I’ve caught in the past are in the 8-10” range and this one was probably close to 14”). We leap frogged each other for a couple miles upstream and stopped to enjoy a beer or two on the bank and take in the beautiful day. I was completely mesmerized by the sky that day, the clouds looked like a painting against the deep blue background.
Long story short, always have a plan C.