Have you ever been to Utah? If not, you need to travel there to see spectacular mountain ranges whose color and appearance change with the seasons, and situated among those mountain ranges are some of the best fly fishing trout streams in the west. My son lives outside Park City and his girl friend’s brother, Berk, is an exceptional fly fisherman, and in fact he is very close, in my opinion, to being an expert fly fisherman. He he knows the rivers in this part of Utah, ties his own flies, studies insect hatches, mastered fly casting techniques, understands trout feeding habits, fishes many rivers in the area, and as it turns out he is a very good fishing guide. My wife and I visited our son in May 2015, and during this visit Berk took me fly fishing on the Provo river about a mile below the Jordanele Reservoir dam. The Provo river below the dam is a cold water stream because water discharges from the bottom of the lake which makes for ideal trout habitat. He even provided all the fly fishing gear and waders for my first fly fishing excursion.
Fly fishing in the Provo River
This was my first time casting a fly rod but I had a basic idea of what to do by having watched fishing shows. However, watching others cast a fly rod and actually casting one yourself are two different things. Berk was a very patient instructor but he was constantly reminding me to watch my back cast, keep my rod tip path straight, keep my rod tip up, mend the line if the slack went downstream of the strike indicator (flip the rod tip upstream so the extra line is above the strike indicator), keep your eye on the strike indicator, etc. With each cast I seemed to forget at least one of these techniques and had to be reminded again and again. Like I said he was very patient. I must have done a few of those things right because I ended up catching 3 German brown trout that day. In addition to teaching me the basics of fly fishing, Berk managed to catch 5 or 6 of these beautiful fish himself.
Beautiful German brown trout
On another visit in December 2016, Berk offered to take me fly fishing on the Weber River across from Taggart’s Grill, a restaurant he and his family own “nestled in a picturesque high desert canyon in scenic Morgan, Utah. They offer a diverse menu featuring classic American entree’s, gourmet burgers, hand crafted sandwiches, and decadent home-made desserts. The grounds surrounding the restaurant feature lush landscaping with a variety of vibrant flowers and foliage, a beautiful Koi pond featuring cascading waterfalls, and a small family of friendly peacocks.” The restaurant is located just off I-84 between Morgan and Henefer Utah. If you haven’t had the pleasure of dining at Taggart’s Grill you are denying your taste buds a very special treat.
Taggart’s Grill near Morgan, Utah – photos courtesy of Mike Baker
After that brief commercial break let me get back to my fishing tale. December in this part of Utah is what you expect of winters. Cold and snowy. The temperature on this day was 29 degrees and there was a foot or more of snow along the banks of the Weber River which was running clear and very cold. We left the restaurant late in the day and walked under the interstate highway to the river. The sky was overcast and snow flurries drifted down around us. Again, Berk provided all the gear and equipment I needed. About a week before I arrived Berk had two pesky raccoons that were residing in his chimney or somewhere on the roof of his house. Being a fair minded individual he told the raccoons they had 8 hours to vacate the premises or else. Well, or else happened, and since he ties his own flies, Berk took some clippings from the raccoons fur and tied a few flies and gave me the honor of testing his new flies on the German brown trout population in the Weber River. After several casts upstream and letting the “raccoon” fly drift downstream I hooked a trout. Berk was happy his “raccoon” flies proved worthy and I was glad to have participated in his experiment. We fished for a couple hours until the light faded and our feet and hands were nearly frozen. I managed to catch 3 trout and Berk caught a half dozen. We released these fish, as Berk always does, unless he wants a few for a meal or a friend asks for a few trout to eat.
Sorry for the blurry picture
My wife and I look forward to our next visit to Utah to visit our son and his girlfriend, a lovely young woman whom we consider our daughter-in-law. They live up in a canyon at about 8,000 feet above sea level which is inviting to a lot of the local wildlife such as moose and elk. We look forward to visiting at a time when there is not several feet of snow on the ground which keeps these large creatures down in the lower elevations to forage for food. For now we regularly get pictures and videos of moose and elk wandering through their yard seemingly unconcerned about the human inhabitants.
This young bull moose almost came to the back door – photo courtesy of Mike Baker
This gal slept outside their bedroom one night – photo courtesy of Mike Baker