Fishing Time: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
Weather: Unbelievably warm, clear, no wind, T-60s
Moon Phase: 33% Moon
Location: Weber River
Best Bait: gray sow bug. size 24
Who Went: Dustin Pellegrino, Dunc
I had the day off and no one to fish with so I figured it would be a good day to chase a species of fish that not many fishermen find appealing. I have been trying to catch every species of game fish that Utah has to offer and the mountain whitefish is one that has eluded me for a long time. The whitefish inhabits many of the rivers found in northern Utah, but since most of my stream and river fishing occurs in central and southern Utah, I have yet to cross the mountain whitefish off my list. Today was the day to change that.
I headed towards the Weber River after talking to a few fishermen that frequent the river often and can’t seem to keep the whitefish off their line while targeting trout. Perfect! I don’t want trout today! Well let’s be honest, any fish is always invited to tug on my line, but today was whitefish hunting day.
I drove up river starting from Oakley, Utah, only to find miles and miles of private property. I did find one hole that wasn’t posted so I stopped in to have a look, but found no bites. I texted Dustin Pellegrino (Grino), a fly fishing buddy of mine, and he informed me that he was off work early today and would meet me at a spot where he usually can’t keep them off. I made my way downstream towards his spot and hit a couple other holes below Echo Reservoir on my way, but still couldn’t find any fish.
When I met up with Grino he was amazed at how low the river was. He said it was the lowest he’s ever seen it. This winter continues to disappoint with precipitation, but the warm weather sure makes it nice to walk the river in February. We fished all afternoon in a T-shirt. I can't remember ever doing that in February.
We moved to one of Grino’s other spots and again found low water. I found one fairly deep hole that finally produced a hook up, but the fish came off only a few seconds into the fight. That’s fly fishing. I continued to work the same hole until it finally happened. I hooked up with a small fish and waited in anticipation to see if it was a trout or a whitefish. Unlike most fly fisherman on the river, I was ecstatic to see it was a little whitefish on the end of my line. After a quick fight I finally landed my first ever mountain whitefish.
I worked the hole for another half hour, but he seemed to be the only fish in there willing to bite my offering.
We moved to one last spot upstream between Echo reservoir and Rockport Reservoir and found some better and deeper stretches of water. We fished there the rest of the afternoon, but didn’t land a fish. Grino was not about to get skunked and fished hard, but to no avail. Just before dark we called it quits.
The fishing was horrible, but I was still excited. I waited a long time to check the mountain whitefish off my list and today I’m one step closer to achieving my goal. I only have a few species left and three of them only exist (that I know of) at Bear Lake. Looks like a Bear Lake trip is in my future…