Sunday, January 22, 2012

Flaming Gorge Off, Fish Lake On!

Fishing Time: Sunday and Monday
Weather: Windy at first, then calm and cloudy, 30's

Moon Phase: New Moon
Location: Fish Lake
Bait: 7-inch tube jig
Who Went: Rick, John, Me

My buddies and I planned an ice fishing trip to Flaming Gorge, and were dreaming about catching state record lake trout through the ice this weekend, but the weather in Utah this year decided to stomp on our dreams by giving us record high temperatures all throughout January. It’s so weird because all I wrote about last year was how much snow and rain we received and all the records that were broken. This year is the exact opposite and there’s hardly any ice on the reservoirs. Needless to say the Flaming Gorge trip was cancelled due to no ice, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t fish somewhere else. We decided to try our luck for lake trout down at Fish Lake. John and Rick had never been there so it was exciting for them and I have seen some big lake trout come out of there in the past. We drove down to Richfield on Saturday night and just as we were pulling in, the snow began to fly. By morning we had a fresh 6-8 inches at the hotel and close to a foot by the time we reached Fish Lake. The biggest surprise was arriving at the lake to find only half the reservoir was frozen. This about blew my mind as Fish Lake sits at over 9,000 feet in elevation! Of course the area that I wanted to fish was open water, so we had to pick a random spot to set up shop. We got out of Rick’s jeep only to be hit in the face with 30-40 mph winds. It was brutal and with the freshly fallen snow being blown around like a sand storm, we could barely open our eyes as we walked out onto the lake.
It took us a good hour or two to set up Rick’s new shack and get all our gear set up. Once the shack was up the wind died immediately and turned out to be a really good day, figures. Ice was around 8 inches thick and our depth was 75 feet. I rigged up my mack rod and sent it down to see what was doing. John and Rick mack fished, but were also determined to catch a splake because they had never caught one before. It didn’t take them long as they both landed one. John put on a clinic for catching rainbows and he seemed to have one on at all times. Rick caught quite a few as well. I didn’t catch any rainbows or splake as I focused only on the larger macks the whole trip. The mack fishing ended up being a bust and Rick was the only one who landed one. Unfortunately it was smaller than most the rainbows and splake they were catching. We stuck it out all day and then left our shack out overnight with all our gear in it. The next day turned out to be more of the same, with Rick and John catching a bunch of rainbows, but no macks on the ice. We saw very few lake trout cruising the bottom and even when we did they didn’t bite. It was a disappointing lake trout trip, but fun none the less.

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