Well I spent a couple weeks trying to drum up a few locals to hit the trails with for a hike. At 330 miles Alpine Utah is becoming more and more local when it comes to Idaho hanging. MuseJr had the weekend free to come up and explore some trail with me. We set out for Boise early Saturday morning to pick up a few last items then head into the hills in search of a fresh trail head.
We settled on hiking into Jenny Lake. I have heard and read things about Jenny Lake off and on for the past few years. Most of which said that the fishing there is pretty good. So loaded down with far more weight than is intelligent to carry we hit the trail around noon. We were each packing our float tubes, waders, fins, more food than we really needed, several rods each. I had 3 Tenkara rods in my pack, enough lines to rig a dozen more and 2 small fly boxes. Musejr had 2 rods and reels as well.
The hike in drug on for what seemed like forever in the heat of the afternoon with our heavily laden packs. We passed a number of day hikers on their way out along with a few mountain bikers. About a quarter mile from the lake we met some folks that had been in for the day that told us that the fishing was good, lots of them in the lake...that helped motivate us up the final hill and into sight of the lake. We picked the first open spot with a fire pit and dropped out packs.
First things first - Lollygagging with our feet up for a bit. Time to get our hammocks hung.
Musejr's Rig......1.0 coyote BB hung on Dynaglide whoopies trimmed out with AHE UQ, TQ and Tarp
My Rig, 1.1 grey BB on dynaglide Whoopies with prototype UQ, TQ and I went topless with the clear skys.
After a bit I was ready to get a line wet, and another camper mentioned that they thought there was good fishing near the outlet. I set out for a stroll and was able to cast to some rising fish. Hooked into a strong 12" cutthroat right off the bat but having left my net at camp he got off just inches from my hand. I headed back to camp excited to get geared up fully. I soon had by tube in the water and was paddling around the lake watching fish cruse by and underneath me.
Sent to me from MuseJr.
As the light faded I was able to get 3 decent sized fish landed. Back to camp for dinner and a campfire to warm up next to. We turned in early as the light faded. Dreams of fat, strong cutthroats danced through my head as I drifted off, swaying slightly with a cool breeze coming off the lake.
The Sun was just starting to hit the water when I got up and started working on some breakfast. Oatmeal and oolong tea with a fruit bar to chase it down. We were on the water soon after with hopes of hitting some morning action.
Musejr had some good luck and reported around a dozen fish to hand while I left the water after a couple hours with nothing working for me. A snack/early lunch and I was ready to do some hiking around the lake. Some other campers had left and I wanted to see if they had left any unused fire wood and to see how the bank fishing was. It took my a while to find the right fly but once I did it was game on. In a 150 yard stretch of steep rocky bank I was able to connect with about a dozen fish from 10 up to 13 inches.
I fished with a new Tenkara Rod that was a bit short for this type of fishing but worked amazingly and will defiantly be in my pack again. The flex and feel of this rod made fighting the larger cutthroats a blast. The feel of them pulling on the short and very flexible rod sends a jolt of excitement down the rod as they would leap and thrash the water fiercely.
I headed back to camp for another snack, some water and to blab about how good the fishing had been across the lake. Muse was soon rounding up his gear and I offered to let him have a chance to play with a Tenkara rod. After a bit of work I had another nice fish to add to my count of the day.
And soon after Muse had his fist ever Tenkara landed fish.
We each rounded back around the lake in opposite directions. On the way I decided to try fishing off the top of a huge downed tree that extended out into the lake 70-80 feet before disappearing under the surface. From the top of the log I was able to see a nice fish holding in about 15 feet of water facing the shore waiting for something to fall in. I cast past him and when my fly and sunk to just above him I pulled the line towards shore bringing the small fly to just in front and off to his right side. Without a second though he inhaled the fly and the fight was on. I ran up the log and jumped to shore so that I would be able to steer him from running below the log. In 30 seconds it was over. I measured twice to be sure I was not wrong, snapped a quick picture and back to the water went the fat, strong 15" cut.
I tried the same trick again on the other side of the log, another fat cut struck the fly hard, thrashed the water several times and ran for the cover under the log. One final thrash of his head and the tippet snapped, sending him running for the deep and me back to camp for a break and dinner.
Soon we had eaten a good meal and were ready to hit the water for the last of our fishing before the sun would set over the ridge.
I fished the area around the large logs for a while with out any real success while Muse worked the shaded side of the lake and the middle till we passed in the middle of the lake, me looking for shade and him for warm sun.
Once I neared the edge of the lake in the shade fish started hitting the mini hopper I had on like it was candy.
I sat still watching for rising fish within range of my cast, about 30 feet from the tube, where I had paddled to about 45 feet from shore. Most of the fish were rising within the 10-20 feet from shore range in about 3-4 feet of water. As I sat casting I heard a noise on the hill side and was soon rewarded with a face to face staring match with a 3 point white tail that was only 50 feet away. I could clearly see the velvet still on his horns.
Little did I know this was not the last I would see of him.
Another hour in the boat and I was ready to get out as it grew dark. We saved up chatting and enjoying a warm fire for more hours than we should and finally decide to call it a night around 12. I lay in my hammock staring up at the stars for some time till I felt sufficiently drowsy. When I finally decided to close my eyes it could not have been seconds later when I heard and felt the dear gallop past me at full steam along the trail right behind the tree that my head end was hanging from. Muse told me in the morning that he had felt and heard the deer messing with his clothes/food bag that was hanging on his suspension and when he had shifted in his hammock the deer had taken off with a start. Throughout the night we continued to hear the deer milling about around our camp. I suspect that it is used to hanging about the area scavenging scraps left by campers.
Finally as the sky began to grow light the deer left us be and I slept for a couple hours, finally rising to eat around 9 am. Ahh to lollygagg in the hammock till the sun is high in the sky.
I fiddled with fishing a little more, got a few decent strikes but one way or another the fish escaped me. I relented and headed to camp where Muse (who decided the morning was better spent lollygagging(and he was probably right)) had already packed his gear. I broke down my camp and packed for the trudge out. We hit the trail at noon and made pretty good time all considered.
The hike was at times slow with the weight of all our excessive fishing gear but we both agreed that that lake was best fished from the boats. The wildflowers were in full bloom and I was able to get this shot that really capped off a great weekend hike.