Written By: David Danley, Falcon’s Ledge
My friend Jeff and I recently took our families to explore a high elevation lake and stream in the Uinta Mountains of Utah for a couple of days. The hike to the lake was only about a mile, but we had heard good things about it.
When we arrived, a storm moved in and dumped rain most of the evening, so we hunkered down and trying to stay as dry as possible. The next morning, we went and explored the lake with rods in hand. We started by fishing some deeper sections, but had no luck for a couple of hours. We also tried working flies around submerged logs in the lake, but still found no fish. As we fished we noticed there were a few rises in some shallow weed beds of the lake, so we decided to change tactics and give the weeds a try. I tied on a damselfly nymph, while my friend put on a Balanced Leech, and we began working these flies around the edges and openings of the weed beds.
We were into some large brook trout almost immediately. The action was fast and furious, and we each caught a half dozen big, fat fish in less than an hour. I learned an important lesson that day: Brook trout become fairly predatory as they get larger, so it pays to fish damselfly nymphs, dragonfly nymphs, and Woolly Buggers. Every lake is different, and the trout will hang out in different areas. Sometimes they will be cruising weed beds looking for damselfly and dragonfly larvae. Other times, they will be hiding along drop-offs or under logs, waiting to ambush minnows or leeches as they swim by. When you fish a new lake, take a little time to examine the topography of the water, as well as the food sources. This will give you a good idea of where to start fishing and what flies to use.
We also took the opportunity to teach our children more about fly fishing. We took the kids on a stream just down from the lake, found a nice open area, and let them practice casting, setting the hook, and playing fish. The stream was full of small brook trout, and it gave the kids lots of chances to hook and play fish. High-elevation streams full of brook trout are a great opportunity for children to practice fly fishing and have a lot of fun doing it!
David Danley is the Operations Manager for Falcon’s Ledge, in Altamont, Utah.