Two States and Two Rivers

Vacation time - it's always good to get away for some R&R. In my case, that means heading back to Utah to spend time with family and friends.

Good food, small-town parades, roller coasters and swimming are all on the menu, along with a large dose of fireworks for the 4th.

In other words, exactly what a summer vacation around the 4th of July should be like.

And this time around, I made some plans to hit the middle fork of the Provo river, which is the section between Jordanelle and Deer Creek reservoirs. For those that may not know, the Provo river is labeled Blue Ribbon water due to the amount and/or size of the fish in some sections.

Except for the 5th of July, which is when I went.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - it's been a strange year for weather in the high country, and Utah is no exception. With a considerable amount of snow-pack still left on the Wasatch mountains, and with the reservoirs filled to capacity, the flows on most rivers are still up.

Including the Provo.

Along with high water levels, the clarity of the water left a lot to be desired. And for a sight-nymphing fool like myself, this is not good. Suffice it to say that the day ended in a shut-out.

Now I'm sure some of you streamer-heads out there (Josh) would have some decent luck, but for me and my sissy nymphing techniques, it was game-over by about 8 am.

Which is alright, because I had planned on hitting the Frying Pan on our way home, which just happened to be my son's birthday.

Since his Kid's Day outing back in June, Tristan has been begging me to take him to the river, but I've been hesitant due to the run-off.

Plus, I wanted to make sure I had him on some water that a) had a ton of fish b) was clear enough to see them and c) you didn't have to hike a mile to get to.

Enter the Frying Pan, where the water is clear and cold and there are more fish than you can shake a rod at. And, as I mentioned before, it was his birthday and wouldn't you know it, he happened to get a brand new pair of waders as a present! How convenient!

So we wound up on the river a little after 11 am, and found ourselves on a nice little bend just below the Toilet Bowl and flats. And in the water before us, were a lot of fish, which was perfect for a 7 year-old newbie.

While most of them were average in size, quite a few of them were pushing the 20+ mark - and for those of you that are familiar with the Pan, you know those fish are FAT and can bend a rod like nobody's business.

The twisted freak inside of me was hoping Tristan would stick one, while the rational father in me was praying he wouldn't. Sporting a 7.6 ft 4 wt and a reel made of plastic, the last thing I wanted was for him to hook a sub. Sort of.

His set-up: 7.6 ft 6x leader with about 8 inches of 7x tippet and one fly: the Black Mamba. I also gave him a larger, yellow foam indicator (but not too big), which is what I instructed him to watch.

At this point, I basically turned him loose and, standing a few feet away, I watched, as he side-cast his line up-river, and missed a take as his fly drifted down.

"Remember, when you see a fish move below, and your indicator goes down or stops, set the hook..."

After another missed set, I moved closer to him, and walked him through a cast, a mend, his drift, and a set on his first Frying Pan brown. And he went nuts.

It was then that I realized that I had left the net back at the truck - doah!

After that, I basically sat back and watched him fish - I tried not to yak at him too much, and in the process he missed a few opportunities.

One time, however, I saw his indicator drift down, curve and sink, and just as he pulled his line and said "I caught a fish!" and I said, 'no, you're on the rocks...' his line took off, pulled by a nasty, beast of a fish. Open mouth, insert foot.

While the rush of the set was on him, it also quickly turned to a bit of fear as this big brown damn near pulled the rod out of his little hands - I got over to him just in time to start re-adjusting the drag (which is useless on this reel) and trying to control the situation when the line snapped.

I know adults that haven't nailed a Frying Pan brick...and here's this 7 year-old, 30 minutes into his first taste, sticking a pig. Sweeeeet!

Anyway, we spent a little over an hour on the river, and then it was time to head back to Glenwood Springs for some sushi, swimming and whatever else he wanted to do on his birthday.

Sure, he snagged the trees quite a bit, and at times, his attention span wavered, but over-all he kicked it hard in the teeth, and walked away having scored some hits on the Pan.

I couldn't be more proud of him, and I know that this is only the beginning of his fly fishing adventures...and I plan to be there for quite a few of them, too.


Bigerrfish said...

Awesome post and a great video.
I get a crazy feeling watching these kinds of things take place.
You can tell by the smiles that Tristan will follow in his dads boot steps.

The yacking at him.. you should hear some of the fights Dylan an I get into about mends, sink time, and sets. let's just say I have gotten some dirty looks... priceless though..
Nothing like getting bitched at for an hour cause your dad wants to see you happy... Always comes back to "see son that stuff is important" if you want to hook up.

Happy Birthday Tristan! Good Job on those fish.

Ron, 7x ? !!!! URA crazy man! but respectable..

Let me know some dates and we will work it out.

Colorado Angler said...

Well, I hope he continues to build an appreciation for it over time, and it becomes as much of his life, as it is mine. It's sort of selfish on my part, being that I would love to spend the days on the river with him.

Yeah...7x on the tippet...but I'm thinking I need to go back to my 5x all around since I've been losing so many as of late...as did Tristan.

HA! Maybe I'll get a chance to hear an exchange when I come out for some water time...and I'm sure as he gets older, it'll get a little more intense between Tristan and I, just like you and Dylan.

It's how the world works, isn't it? But you nailed it - it's because we do want to see them be successful and enjoy a sport that brings US so much joy.