Brad Carter | Fish Stories

A year of anticipation…

Written by Brad and posted on August 2nd, 2010 | Comment »

About a year ago I was greatly blessed. It was one of those fishing days that will always be remembered. I think most sportsmen and women can relate. This day can and will be compared to many in the future. It was the second day of my first trip targeting Tiger Trout in one of Utah’s high mountain Lakes. While I have caught much larger fish, the dry fly action that day was awesome. And I discovered one of my favorite trout species. Tiger trout are a fantastic sport fish, they fight hard, are very aggressive and look really cool. All important factors when classifying fantastic-ness of fish. Day one had us on the water early afternoon. The fishing was not fast, but fast enough to keep me entertained and willing to try again the following day. Day 1 also produced my first tiger trout–all 10 inches of flashy fury.

On day 2 we made a point to get on the lake a bit earlier. The fish were jumping like crazy, sometimes sailing 2 to 3 feet in the air. I sat in my pontoon boat, and watched the scene. Across the lake, it seemed there wasn’t a moment without a fish breaking the surface of the water. The next few hours were fantastic.

The fishing was fast, it didn’t really seem to matter what we threw, hoppers, damsels, nymphs, it didn’t matter. Stripping the big dry flies across the surface seemed to infuriate the fish as they would launch to the surface violently.

It was mid afternoon when Dad landed the prettiest and probably the largest fish of the day. Dark markings, a bright red belly, a man could die catching fish like this because he would never stop to eat or sleep.The day continued with countless fish, each fish displayed uniquely different markings. By late afternoon these fish had had their fill of big bugs and settled to the depths to digest. I ended the day with tired arms and a memory that would haunt my thoughts for the next year.

On July 17th I hoped to repeat this epic day. I arrived late morning, nearly 10 float tubes, pontoons, and boats were bouncing along in the wind. Wishing I had brought my pontoon boat, I pumped up the float tube and set out, expectant to find the fish as hungry and willing as they had been the day before.

Sometimes, a good day of fishing can’t be beat. I can blame it all on myself, missing several hook-ups because my line had tangled around the back of my little blue damsel fly, causing the hook to flip around backwards instead of embedding itself into the lips of the hungry fish. I probably should have been on the lake earlier, knowing that these fish are full by mid afternoon. I kicked around for a few hours, missing a few strikes. After kicking across the lake, I was a bit wore out, so I let the wind push me back towards the car. The feeding had slowed, the fish were full…and I had still not netted a fish. As I bobbed slowly in the wind, I made a cast toward the shore. The sun disappeared behind a cloud, my fly bounced up and down in the small chop created by the wind. I watched it bob up and down, matching my own motion, until it slipped beneath the surface. Reaching forward I grasped my line, pulled back to cast — and felt the weight and wiggle I had been waiting for. The fish came in rather easily at first, but decided not to dissapoint in the end and made a few good runs. I played him for a few minutes, enjoying the fight, and set him free.

I’m amazed how 20 inches of fish can make the outcome of a day so much better. My fishing day ended, only one fish netted. A reminder of a day nearly a year ago. Perhaps I had expected too much, hoping to catch dozens of hungry fish, yet I was grateful for this one. He let me relive the experience I had last year, and hope to have again. So I will return again to this water, expectations of quantity may be lessened, but my expectations of  experience will increase. I will return to these waters…for the hope of watching my fly bob along the choppy surface, so I can see hungry, red bellied tiger trout cruising the shallow edges, and most of all, I will return…for the rise.


Brad fell in love with fishing the spring creeks and small rivers of his childhood home in Western Wyoming, however, the opportunity to go with Grandpa to Alaska really set the hook. Brad now lives in Northern Utah where he chases trout as often as he can, and mixes in a few trips here and there to chase more exotic species.

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One Response on “A year of anticipation…”

  1. Nate Says:

    Those are some good looking tigers! On dries sound fun to me!

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