Picky Trout and Ambivalent Utah Suckers

A month ago my 4Runner broke down (at first we thought it was a bad fuel pump, but it turned out to be a bad timing belt), and being without a vehicle, I haven't been fishing for that long. I even tried riding my bike up Logan Canyon, but this past winter was especially hard on my waist, and endurance. I didn't make it far before it was obvious riding my bike and wearing myself out and then trying to wade a river wasn't going to be the best thing to do. So I've been jonesing really bad to get out. Thanks to a friend I work with, we got the timing belt replaced, and the 4Runner fixed. So today I decided I'd spend the day swinging my fly rod.
I first planned on just going up to my new favorite stretch of the Logan River, knowing that the river was going to be high. I got on the water just before ten o'clock, and tied a new pattern I've been tying lately, a UV Epoxy Back Pheasant Tail Nymph, with a Woven Pheasant Tail Nymph behind it. Once I got in the water, and saw how high and felt how fast the water was, I knew I was going to be leap-frogging from hole to hole more than I thought I'd be. I fished all the promising spots, but if the fish were there, they weren't interested in biting my fake bugs.

After about an hour and a half of fighting the high and fast current, I decided to pack up and head to Bear Lake and go after the big fish there. I'd always thought the big fish that swam between my legs when I was a kid were carp, but I've recently learned that they probably weren't carp, but Utah Suckers. They look similar, and are just as ugly as carp. I first got the itch to go after carp and muskie last year during the high runoff when any of the rivers around here were too high and fast to fish. I figured that if I couldn't go after trout, I'd get a heavier rod, and go after fish in water that wasn't too high and fast to fish. Carp, and in this case, Utah Suckers, are pretty finicky fish. You have to be able to cast a fly right in front of them and not spook them, and they pretty much have to be feeding to hook into them. They're not a fish that you "prospect" for, or cast blindly, hoping there's a fish there that might take your fly. I'm still learning the behavior of these fish, so I don't know exactly what time of day they feed, and exactly what type of fly to use, besides something that imitates a piece of bread or kernel of corn. Today on Bear Lake ended up being just a couple hours of casting practice. I saw plenty of fish, but none were feeding. I did manage to cast my flies right in front of them, and only spooked one, but none of them seemed to even acknowledge my fly's presence.

I spent a couple hours on the lake, which is really high, and really cold right now, not that I'd expect it to be anything else, and then the thought of Blacksmith Fork hit my mind. So I packed up the fishing gear again, and headed back to Logan, and then south to my favorite local river. Since it was so late in the day, my favorite stretch was taken, so I drove a little further up to a stretch I hadn't fished before. Right after I got in the water, a Blue Winged Olive hatch started up, and the water began to boil. I hurried and clipped the nymph off I'd decided to start off with and tied a hackle stacker BWO on, and missed three strikes in all, before losing my fly to tree. I replaced it with a Purple Haze, but the fish were done with any fake flies that were trying to entice them, so I waded up the river, which quickly turned to fast pocket water, so I got out and drove back down to my favorite spot to see if it was open, which it was. This particular stretch has a big deep pool that always has fish in it. I've only been able to pull one fish out of there in the two years I've been going there. It's one of the hardest holes to fish I've ever encountered. The river enters into it after a long run, and it causes all sorts of eddies, and micro currents that really make good dead drifts a big challenge. Two years ago, the run was pretty shallow, and there was a big tree trunk right at the head of the pool. After last years' high runoff, the run is about twice as deep (about up to mid thigh now), and the tree stump is gone, and the sand bar down stream of the pool is a lot bigger. Despite the changes, it's still as challenging as ever to fish. I missed a huge strike, and after that, the fish were done with me. I even tied a beetle on, and one fish looked up at it, but didn't bite.
All in all, it was a fish-less day, but after more than a month of not being able to fish, it was still a very good day on the water. Or should I say, waters.