After a peaceful, quiet, and especially good night of sleep we packed up our hammocks for the last time, loaded up the car, and headed down the road and through town toward Bonneville cutthroat trout territory. For the first time all trip we stopped for a legitimate breakfast at the Woodland Biscuit Company. It was very good and I’d recommend it to anyone driving through Woodland on Hwy 35.
The stream we fished was a tributary to the Provo River and like I mentioned before is home to Bonneville cutthroat trout, the last species we needed for the slam.
The Bonneville cutthroat is Utah’s state fish, they can be found all around the state in coldwater streams that drain into the Great Basin.
We put the AWD Kia Sorrento to the test driving to our destination, but the bumpy dirt road was no trouble for such a capable vehicle. I’m not being sarcastic either, okay maybe a little, but honestly we had one for both the Wyoming and Utah trips and it made it through everything we threw at it so I’ve got a lot of respect for them.
The stream was fairly small, but had a lot of character, it had lots of different types of holding water and made for great fish habitat. We hiked down a ways before fishing it and in retrospect we should have hiked down even further because the lower section was far more open than the upper section. I was first up since I didn’t have the slam yet and it only took one run to catch the fish I needed.
Slam complete. Blake was up next and didn’t waste any time catching the fish of the trip.
I had no idea we’d run into a cutthroat of that size here. The pool he lived in was tiny by comparison – see below:
It was a good thing I was downstream of Blake with a net because once hooked the fish went to flopping and with his size and the strength of the current he was prepared to put up a pretty mean fight. The current worked in our favor though and took him right to me waiting with a net in a pool below and we were happy to lay eyes on a supersized Bonneville cutthroat.
We spent the rest of the day leap frogging each other and catching more Bonneville cutthroat trout.
Blake got a pretty good shot-for-shot sequence of one that I put a bow-and-arrow cast to.
The stream fished pretty well, it wasn’t on fire, but the action was fairly consistent. Aside from the big fish Blake caught, the size of the cutthroat was about what I figured it would be for this trib, not too big, not too small, they were big enough fish to keep us entertained. As we moved upstream we moved out of the more open casting water and into heavier streamside vegetation. It was getting pretty dense in places and we had been seeing several yellow jackets hovering just above the water. We finally found a nest, then another, and considering how many bushes I had been walking through during the day I was happy we had not been stung yet. I figured it was best to quit while we were ahead since things were getting skinny and our cutt slam goals were accomplished, so we called it a day, found the trail and headed out of there.
We made it back to the vehicle, drove down the bumpy dirt road, then hit the pavement and headed back towards civilization. We stopped in Park City to do the tourist thing and grab some lunch at Red Rock – the Elephino DIPA was pretty tasty for anyone keeping score.
After lunch we headed to Sugar House to stay with my buddy Eric that night. He graciously accepted us into his home where we were able to do the one thing we had not done all week – shower. One big difference in campgrounds in the south and campgrounds out west is the lack of shower facilities. We are blessed with an abundance of water though. There really is nothing quite like that first shower after a week of fishing and camping, it’s truly sublime. After cleaning up we hit the town, another brewpub for dinner, and a stop at the Black Sheep at Epic Brewing for a tasting of some of the best beer Utah has to offer. I only mention this because I was seriously impressed with the number of beers Epic has to offer and they will let you sample anything for $1 or $2 – whether it’s on draft or in bombers, they will open a bomber and pour you a 4 oz taster without even batting an eye.
We had a great time that night and I want to thank Eric for his hospitality and letting us crash at his house before our flight out the following morning. I’ve known Eric since kindergarten and though I hadn’t seen him in a few years it sure didn’t feel that way while we were hanging out.
The trip went incredibly well, Blake and I really enjoyed our time in Utah. A lot of planning went into the trip in order to ensure we’d have success and with that planning came a lot of outside help from a number of different sources. Books, maps, websites, forums, social media, people – all were used to put together an awesome trip.
I’ve got to thank a couple of biologists with Utah DWR who were a big help when I was trying to narrow down where we should chase each cutthroat species down, Matt Mckell and Michael Slater. We probably could have completed the slam without their help, but with it we were confident in the places we fished.
Another guy we need to thank is Matt over at What Are You Wading For? who was a good follow on Instagram (@whatareyouwadingfor) leading up to the trip because his big browns and cutthroat were getting us giddy down here in Louisiana as the trip approached. He was a big help when we were up in the Logan Canyon.
I really enjoy these slam trips, I enjoy planning for them, and then getting out there having success and accomplishing the goal of catching the slam. Talking with other folks who are just as stoked on catching native fish as I am is a big plus too. If you want to do something similar, like go for a slam or catch some native trout somewhere, and you think I might be able to help you, feel free to get in touch with me, I’d be more than happy to try and help.