Monday, November 23, 2009

Tiger Trout

After catching my sweetest trout to date, which ended up being a tiger trout on a mouse pattern, Derek was way excited for me. He has painted a lot in the past, but has recently gotten into painting fish. He offered to do a watercolor of the fish to help me remember it. It turned out awesome and it is now going to be a part of my fly tying desk/room for years to come. Thanks Derek!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Provo River

Gotta love Provo river fly fishing. Not really. I went out yesterday solo to see if I could find one of the few big trout in the Provo, I failed. I started low on the lower section, chucking a few different things without much success. I waded up to a few holding fish and decided to switch it up a little bit so I put on a small black zebra midge I had tied up. First cast I hooked up with this little guy, skinny skinny but nice colors. Next cast I picked up a smaller fish, next cast after that (all into the same small hole) and I hooked into another fish. I think I found what the fish were wanting to eat...

As I was walking up to one of the last stretches of river I was going to fish, I saw a lot of flashes in the water. I stopped to see what was going on, and it was just one fish thrashing around without stopping. I walked up right behind it and saw that the fish had some line coming out of its mouth and the line was stuck under a small log right next to it. I grabbed the fish, grabbed the line, and busted it off. So the fish had a huge worm hook deep in its mouth (size 4 or so). The fish had flailed around so much trying to break free that the line had deeply cut into the side of its mouth. Pretty crazy, first time I've seen that. Dang chucko.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

UWG Fund


In order to preserve our rights, a fund has been started

“Donate for (Recreational) Access and Use Utah! Fund” Your support keeps ALL our gained recreational rights preserved! “

For more information visit

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tigers, oh my!

Kyle came up for the weekend to do some fishing. After coming really close to bailing out on me for Saturday, he decided he was going to stick with being a man and go fish. We met up in Heber at 3:30 a.m., nice and early. We were on the water and fishing by 5. Man it was freezing. We were tossing mice, anxiously stripping them in waiting for the loud splash to come from the dark. I was using Mike's mutant mouse. After an hour and a half with only one hookup and no other strikes, we started to get discouraged. As soon as the sun started to rise, something switched on the tigers aggression. Both Kyle and I were getting lots of action, almost every cast would produce a huge wave behind our bugs and we would strip in line just waiting for the vicious take from below. After different stripping techniques, I finally got a solid hookup with a nice fish. I landed him, we taped the fish at 23", snapped a photo and we were back at it for more.

Not long thereafter, I had an insanely aggressive strike and was able to set the hook. After landing the fish, we taped it at 24" without any tail pinching or anything, so it was DEFINITELY at least 25 3/4", Kyle. My biggest to date.

A few minutes later, Kyle hooked up with a nice tiger and landed it. He pulled out the tape to get a measurement and the fish weaseled his way out of Kyle's hands before we could get a pic. We continued to strip mice, excited as 8 year olds on Christmas Eve. The mice action slowed way down so we switched it up a little bit. We each picked up a few more fishing, with me ending with this nasty, hook-jawed tiger. Mice+tigers=fun.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Paparazzi Up in My Stuff

On my birthday this year (May 21) I hooked up with a friend of a friend to do some fishing in So. Utah. His name is Scott Donaghe, California surf fly-fishing pro/photog extraordinaire. I decided it would be a lot of fun to hit a very picturesque skinny water ending in a beautiful slot canyon. The trip was awesome: great fishing and great scenery.

This morning, Nate texted me saying "you're famous." It turns out, Scott got his first photo published. It happened to be the cover of Southwest Fly Fishing and it happened to be me! Pretty awesome! Congrats Scott, hope to see some more of your stuff in mags in the future! Thanks Mike for the screenshot.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


It's not that I haven't been fishing lately, it's that I haven't been able to catch anything really post-worthy. I have been fishing the Provo once or twice a week for a couple of hours, and I have been catching fish, but they just weren't 'get your camera out to stop fishing' material. Today I got off work a little early and headed up to a higher stretch of the Lower Provo to give it a try. I quickly got into a decent bow on a secret fly, my first bow on the Provo and what was my biggest Provo River fish until that moment. He had a nasty battle wound on his side, pretty cool. Today was looking to be good fun.
I didn't have any luck for the next half hour or so with the rig I had set up, so I thought I would try some terrestrials. I didn't see a single fish rise the whole time I was there, but I figured the hard work would pay off if a fatty slammed a hopper or ant up top. No love. I gave up on that hope and started throwing a bugger. First cast with my black bugger and I hooked into a purdy brown.

I unhooked the brown and walked back up to where I was standing when I caught him. I casted about 6 feet further upstream from where I landed him and felt a very solid strike and set the hook. A nice fat bow jumped out of the water and I instantly got excited. The bow put up a really good fight, and after jumping around some logs to not let him escape, I landed him. Attached to this fish was a little surprise, a green caddis larvae stuck in the bow's side, evidence of a previous battle the bow had won against another fly fisherman. I took the fly out of his side and sent him on his way.

I casted my line back upstream a little bit as soon as I stood up from landing that fish, and started lowering my drag. The last fish actually was taking some line upstream so I decided to turn it up a bit. As I'm adjusting my gear I glance over at my indicator and all of the sudden it tanked... so I set the hook. I was amazed that another fish was on the end of my line, I didn't even really cast out in hopes of catching a fish or anything, it was just to get my line out from under my feet so I could re-adjust.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sweet Revenge

My first experiences (last December) with fly-fishing were not very pleasant. I started fishing in the middle of freezing winter on the Provo. I went about a dozen times and caught two little fingerlings. It was terribly cold, slow, and I was by myself all but a couple times, trying to teach myself how to fish. It was rough. My wife and I moved south to be with her family because of our new baby, and I continued to learn how to fish on small, overgrown So. Utah streams. I started seeing a lot of success and grew to love it more and more each time I went. I vowed that whenever I made it back up here to Provo, I would fish the same place I went the most and kill it. Last week I had my chance to make good on this vow.

I arrived on the river at about 3:30. I started out with a nymph rig, secret fly with a sow bug dropper. Within 5 casts I was into a fish, gobbled down the sow bug, I was excited to get the skunk off so quickly at this stretch of stream that made me want shoot myself many times. I picked up a few more on my nymph rig, swapping the sow bug for a PT after two stomach pumps showed fish FULL of mayfly (PMD) nymphs. My buddy Nate tipped me off about some fish that may be holding on a bank because of the higher flows, so I threw on a parahopper and had some good success with it. The PMD's started coming off around 5 and I saw some rising fish so I threw on a small BWO (only mayfly I had in my box, how did that happen?) and started doing really well on it. All in all, I caught a fish about every 15 minutes, nothing of good size really, though. I caught fish on 8 different flies, pretty much everything I threw on produced a fish. I am happy to report that I made good on my vow and got my long desired revenge on the Provo. I must say, however, I was really disappointed with the size of the fish. All the fish I caught seemed to be stunted. The fish pictured below was the biggest one I caught. Is it just me or is this fish's head and tail way too big for its short body? Maybe next time I go I will help out the population and keep some fish?

Monday, August 31, 2009


Kyle came up for the weekend so we met up with Dan to try to get into some fatties. We met up early and headed out to a river that Dan has fished for a long time. I'm always excited to fish new water, especially the type that is supposed to hold fat browns. We got to the first spot and after about 15 minutes Kyle was geared up and ready to fish. Things started off pretty decent, Dan got into some really nice fish, a few of which sadly came unbuttoned before he could land them. It wasn't too long and I was into my first fish on this new river.
Dan and I had a couple of fish under our belts, and Kyle had yet to hook up with anything. After missing a couple (dozen) hooksets, Dan offered to let Kyle hold one of his fish so he didn't go home empty handed. Dan is a nice guy like that.
To help Kyle hook a dang fish, I even counted down for him. He casted upstream and I counted, 5...4...3...2...1... and just after I said one, his indicator tanked. Don't worry, he missed that hookset too. Can't do any more than that for ya buddy. Dan grew up right near this river, so he knows all the money holes. He took us to a private stretch of water and we started fishing. Kyle was re-tying up his rig, which he did most of the day, so I decided to throw my bugs in just ahead of him. It wasn't long and I had this fat boy on, I was really excited, my biggest brown and biggest fish out of a river to date.

We continued to fish, and after about 6 hours Kyle finally hooked up with something other than moss. It was actually a really nice fish, and we were happy that he got that skunk off, it was stinkin' real bad. We continued to fish and got into some really nice ones. We took a dinner break and then headed to a more popular spot of the river. We only fished it for a short time, but Kyle took his necassary swim when he stepped into a hole that took him to his neck until he swam out. Hilarious.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Having just moved back up to Provo, I was excited to get out and do some fishing with my old buddy Nate. Our wives got together to go on a hike and watch a bike race with the little ones, so we headed up to a nearby small stream. Nate has been fishing this skinny water pretty frequently, and it was my first time. We fished big massive meaty hoppers and had some good success. We fished on through some really good holes and made it just further than Nate had ever gone when we got the phones calls letting us know that our wives were headed home. "Ok we can only see one more stretch of water, just one more bend." We turned the corner and wow the water looked money. Fished it out and said, "We really just need to see what else is ahead, just to see." Even better water. This went on for longer than any responsible non-fisher would approve of, but Nate and I have an addiction. Literally.

The water just kept on getting better and better and the fish along with it. The biggest fish Nate (his wife, actually) had caught on this stream was 16". Nate tossed his hopper and GULP, a big fish was on. We pulled this beautiful 17" golden bellied brown out of the net, much to our delight.
Nate called his wife to let her know we would seriously honestly just be a few more minutes, serious this time, and I landed a few more fish. I had switched to a royal wulff about 1 hour 1/2 earlier... it was the first dry I saw when I opened my pack and as I tied it on I said, "I'm just throwing this on real quick because we have to go very soon." I shoulda stuck with the hopper because as soon as Nate hung up the phone he landed this beeaaautttiful 17" cutt. I'd like to think that I missed these fatties because of my small, less hearty of a meal fly. Its the only excuse I got. Even if Nate stole all the fatties, it was an awesome awesome day of fishing.

All photos taken by Natedogg himself (Flikr)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Farewell Session

Kyle and I headed back to the private stretch of water I talked about in my last post. We had high hopes for some hogs on hoppers because of our last visit there just a few days ago. We arrived a bit earlier than last time and started off with some nymph rigs. It was pretty slow going, a couple of whitefish and a couple small browns. Our spirits began to sag as the day progressed and we were seeing no action on top. We had a run in with the same guy that talked to us twice about being on his property. He walked up and asked, "So is this becoming a weekly thing or what?" I replied, "No, actually I'm moving up north to Provo tomorrow (which I am) so this is me saying goodbye." We chatted politics, mutual acquaintances, etc. He is actually a really cool, nice guy. We offered to get him into some fish, and also offered to help around the ranch if he needed it. Both offers were declined and we left feeling confident that we would not be bothered, or be a bother, for the rest of the day. WRONG. Not too far upstream, a diesel truck stops on the dirt road running through the property. An elderly man, along with a younger what seemed to be ranch-hand, hopped out and walked towards us. Without a word spoken, they start throwing rocks and branches into the stream just ahead of us. I said, "Thanks." The elderly man replied, "No, thank you, get the hell out of here!" Kyle piped back, "We have every right to be here, Matt get out your camera and film these guys." Not another rock was thrown and they left without another word. I thought it was pretty childish... not a word, just throwing sticks and stones into the river. Whatever we had fish to catch. About 45 minutes and a PB&J later, the sign letting us know it was hopper time went off... a fish tried to slam my indicator. The rest is history, great fishing on hoppers all day long. Kyle managed to stay dry, and we burned about 6000 calories and our calves probably grew a solid 3/4 of an inch from the walk. Oh yeah, and I caught bow out of the stream. We talked to a guy who has fished this water a ton for 7 years and I think he said he has caught 4 bows so it was a nice unexpected treat.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Gettin' Wet

Kyle, Mike and I headed up to fish a private section of a river in hopes of catching some hogs. After about 10 minutes the guy who takes care of the land for his father rolled up. He told us we were on private property, we knew that. He told us to leave. Thanks to Conaster we were legally allowed to stay in the river to enjoy of its goodness and the big fish it holds. He was a nice enough guy and I understand the frustration of having someone in your backyard, but its hard to say you own a stream or the water or the mountains it comes from. Who knows if things will stay this way in the future, but for the time being we were going to be respectful and enjoy the river, and he accepted our legal right to do so. After a couple "foul hooked whitefish", I was finally able to keep a fish on long enough to snap a photo, beauty of a 16+ brown. We waded through some deep silty river and nymphed for a little while, ducking under the occasional barbed-wire fence.

I can't remember who, but someone casted up to a nice fishy looking spot and bam! a nice sized fish tried to eat the indicator. Cha-Ching. Mike and Kyle quickly changed to hopper patterns while I believed it was a fluke and kept on my nymph rig. I was wrong. We continued up the river and started catching big fish on hoppers. When I started flyfishing a few months ago, my buddy Nate told me of the insane goodness of hopper season. I was starting to doubt it was true, never really getting any big fish on hoppers. Wrong again, hopper fishing exists and its very very fun. The landowner met up with us later and appeared very angry, thinking it was impossible for us to wade up the river so far, but he calmed down after we offered to take him to any place on the river and wade through it in front of him. We kept on fishing and kept on having a grand ole time with hoppers and brownies. Hoppers, brownies, and whitefish in Kyle's case.

Mike had to get to work, so we waded back down to our cars. We were all ready to fall down from exhaustion, and Kyle actually took a few dips in the water to 'cool off' or because of his 'slippery boots.' Either way I saved him from certain death in some quicksand earlier in the day so I was allowed to get a kick out of him falling into the drink. Mike went to work and Kyle and I headed to a small stream on a scouting adventure. We caught a couple absolutely gorgeous small fish. After we saw three snakes, however, we were ready for home.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Spook Creek

Headed to one of my favorites yesterday with Steve and Tyler. Each time I go the fishing gets harder and harder. The water was very low, very slow, and very clear. The fish that were always skiddish became ridiculously spooky. I would frequently see a nice big fish-wake from a spooked fish when I was a good 100 feet downstream from it, not making an noise. It was tough fishing, and I picked up three fish really quick in the lower section which has a few fast spots, but after that it was sloooooow. I missed two after the first ones I landed, but that was it. Steve and Tyler didn't have any luck either.
A little friend on our way back downstream.
After getting our butts kicked, we decided to head downstream from where we began. We have never fished below the bridge where this stretch begins, but decided to give it a try. It's much faster, and a lot easier to fish this time of year. Within a few casts of fishing it I pulled out this little guy.

A few fish later we headed out before we became a mountain lion's dinner. This place drives me nuts. Every time I go I see some really good sized fish. I've decided I will probably not fish this stretch until the browns are spawning, but I have very high hopes for when they do.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Take two this summer for the family trip out to lake powell. Before leaving I decided that I was going to take half a day or so and head out to Lees Ferry for the first time. I woke up nice and early and hopped on the wave runner for a ride into the marina. I had a decent distance to travel, and it was extremely stormy. I arrived at the dock soaked to the bone with no extra clothes. I got to the car, got down to my skibbies, and hung my clothes out the car windows to dry on the way over. Worked like a charm. I pulled up to the Ferry, excited as ever. I walked into the walk-in section, and began fishing. I only saw one other fisherman the whole time I was there, a spin fisherman that got skunked. I had heard that long drifts with absolutely no drag were key. I tried about every midge pattern I had, double rig, single rig, shallow, deep, uber deep. Put on some different buggers, drifted shallow, drifted deep, stripped em a little. No luck with anything. Scuds, PTs, every nymph I had, nothing. I finally ended up landing a 12" bow on an 18 black zebra midge, which was good but frustrating at the same time after 4 hours of fishing. I don't know if it was the big water, but I think it was a problem with my confidence that kept the fish away. The biggest river I've ever fished would fit width wise into the Colorado about 15 times. I was fishing near the Paria riffle when I hooked into what seemed like a FATTY. He actually was running a lot, going into the fast water, darting deep, going all over the place. I got the fish in close and then saw the ugly beast. A big fat brown sucker fish of sorts. Man what a bummer. After 5 1/2 hours and one trout, I hung my head and headed back from some water weinee action on the lake. One day I will kill that place. I'm now very interested in taking a boat up the canyon and fishing it.
The next day on the lake my nephews were in the fish-catching mood. I had yet to catch a carp on the fly rod, seems the dang things will only eat food and trash. I came up with a very clever way of landing one, which may or may not have been covering a fly with some delicious white bread. It wasn't that cheap, but in my opinion it was close... either way I had fun landing this ugly fatty. No, I'm not converted to the hardcore carp on the fly scene yet.