Tag: public access

Give ’em a shout even if you don’t fly fish in Utah

My first western fly fishing experience was in Utah. Prior to that I’d been consistently fishing smallish tailwaters and creeks out east, and spent the introductory day wondering why my 8X tippet kept breaking. A smart-assed friend laughed in my face, and handed me some fiver. Ok, now we’re talking. Everyone is still laughing in my face, but I hold Utah waters dear because it reminds me of the self-professed neophyte status I struggle to break out of to this very day.

Sadly, access to those precious Utah resources has been under recent attack, after a little known opinion in the case of Conaster v. Johnson et. al. (pdf) came down from the Utah Supreme Court. That opinion stated with slight uncertainty that state waters are owned by the public. Of course, this ticked off landowners, and since that time there’s been a lot of wrangling (and lobbying) going on to change the laws, which happen to date back to the early 1950s. It’s a classic rich versus poor scenario, but it doesn’t have to be.

Utah Water Guardians, a grassroots organization formed by some Utah-based fly anglers including Bryan Gregson, Corey Kruitbosch, Tyson Skeen, and Nick Granato, has been working hard to preserve the rights of fly-fishers (and other water-based recreation enthusiasts) while also respecting the concerns of private property owners. It’s not an easy task, and they need your support!

The folks at Utah Water Guardians are not lawyers or lobbyists, but they’ve been happily reviewing draft legislation and posting details of those reviews for public consumption both at their site and their Facebook group page, pretty much on their own accord. As it comes down to the wire, however, they’ve engaged professionals in the previously mentioned arenas to assist. That assistance costs money.

If you’ve ever fished (or kayaked or tubed or whatever else can get you wet) in Utah, it’s worth your time (and dime) to lend a helping hand. Read what they have to say. Join their FB group and voice your support. Best yet…click on the donation button, located on the sidebar of this wretched blog’s home page, and show Utah Water Guardians how much you really care about recreational access in the Beehive State.

MG signing off (to book some time fishing Utah waters this spring, and hoping I’ll have access)

Keeping secrets and wearing track shoes when it comes to small creek fly fishing

mysterycreekbrownSaturday we happened upon a small creek. It didn’t look like much from the road, and while bush bashing down to it we realized the terrain was more rugged than it looked from afar too. There were large animal tracks everywhere, adding the additional element of spooky danger to the venture. Down by the water, we assumed there was a few hours of small fish opportunities ahead of us. Little did we know we’d be spending an entire day chasing broad-shouldered browns with 6X tippets and dry flies dressed like clowns.

On the way home I pondered how this tiny water could hold such fish. The place in question is not on any credible maps, and no mention of it exists anywhere on the interwebs. Perusing satellite imagery, I noted legal access was sparse – this mysterious water is bordered by and/or running through private property on some sections, and by or through even more adventurous terrain on others. Safe, secure parking exists nowhere. And then there’s the moose.

Our friendly neighborhood small stream mooseWe actually ran into one of those crazy beasts during the backtrack. It was one of my colleagues that first bumped into it, and as he let out a few yells the monstrosity went charging through the brush and right towards lucky me. I heard it coming just seconds before making eye contact – a big bull if there ever was one, across the water from me and no more than fifty feet away.

I made like Usain Bolt, horizontally to its position and mine, and in the opposite direction of its projected movement. My sprint, directly through the creek, was later described as walking on water – moving so fast my feet looked like they weren’t touching the stream bed below. I was never renown for my forty-yard dash times while playing organized sports, but yesterday I found myself extraordinarily fleet of foot. Photographic evidence of the encounter further proves my lightning speed – I was nowhere in sight while the third man in our crew was snapping pics of the fun with the fine furry friend from the safety of the ridge above.

To my knowledge there are at least five human beings on Planet Earth that can identify this mysterious creek, but there is only one person who can run fast enough to fish it again, and next time I’ll be wearing track shoes.