Well, I guess I’m a fisherman now. HA! Fishing at Joe’s Valley for Trout has brought back so memories of fishing when I was younger with my Grandfather back in Concord MA.
We used to go every summer to this hidden little spot back behind a sleepy little neighborhood where there was a Vets lodge and a small pond that the lodge stocked with Bass. We had so many great times out there mostly catching sunfish, but every once in awhile we’d bring back a bucket full of catfish and bass to eat.
Those were the days.
While on the road, I’ve been mulling over getting some fishing gear. However, I thought the smell would be too overwhelming and put it off for a very long time. That all changed when we ( The Chosen Family ) stayed at Joe’s Valley.
Joe’s Valley is about midway through Utah in the Manti-La Sal Forest. It’s crazy: you drive through desert for about an hour, get to a small town called Orangeville — which by the way has a great small skatepark with a 6ft metal mini-ramp, from Orangeville you take a windy two lane road up through a small valley into this insanely beautiful lake into the Manti-La Sal Forest. It’s really breath-taking.
I did some research about the area, and I found out it’s a premiere fishing location with TONS of Trout, Utah Chub, and this thing called a Tiger Muskie. A Tiger Muskie is this crazy monster of a fish that was introduced to the reservoir to hunt down the over-populated Utah Chubs. I mean look at this thing:
Seeing this fish and knowing we have the opportunity of catching something like this helped me realize I need to try fishing again.
Fast forward to the next day.
I got my fishing pole, bait, license, and hopes-up that I would be catching Tiger Muskie by the dozen. This was not the case.
The fishing bug caught on with some of The Chosen Family. Bill and Dwight both got their license that day too. Loaded up with our bait and rods, we set out to the reservoir.
Day 1: Nothing.
Day 2: Caught a bunch of Chubs.
Day 3: MORE CHUB.
Day 4: Stupid Chub.
I met two local guys that stopped my on my walk back to camp and asked,”Whatchu using for bait? Goober Bait?” I told them worms. “Goober Worms?” What the hell is goober worms? Apparently I was using the wrong bait. They then laughed and told me to get some Yellow Power Bait.
Day 5: Got Power Bait and more Chubs.
Bill and I decided that since there was so many Chubs, we’d catch two big ones and use those bastards for bait. Done.
What we didn’t think through was… who was going to chop up the Chub for bait? We both had a a fish and a look on our faces like:”Do we really want to kill a fish?”
Yea, we wanted to catch a bigger fish but kill these guys? Bill went and got a knife. When he got back, again we just looked at each other. So, we said a quick thank you to the fish spirits for giving us this bait to catch some REAL fish. And off with their heads! We got bait.
Day 5 1/2: Fishing with Chub bait was different.
After, we moved to a new spot and felt way more opportunistic about our chances catching something else beside the pesky Chub. But those Chub were still biting! It was getting dark and our hopes were diminishing like it did every time we went out fishing. THEN BOOM! My bobber went down and went down. Hard! I half felt “Great another CHUB.” But this time was different.
Whatever it was was, it was fighting a little stronger this time. I started to reel the line and saw a much bigger fish than a Chub with more color on the sides and a longer mouth. And when I pulled it up, out of the water, we saw it wasn’t a normal trout. It was the athlete of trouts. A Cutthroat Trout.
The Cutthroat Trout.
The Cutthroat Trout was one the coolest fish I’ve ever caught. When I brought it to shore, we all marveled over how beautiful it actually was. The colors, the purity of it, the muscles… everything about this fish was incredible. This is a wild fish. Like, remote-wilderness wild. I can’t really explain it, but it wasn’t like any other fish I’ve ever caught or held. We all felt the same way. Bill and Pierce each held and felt the fish while each had the same reaction I had. We also knew this fish was going to be dinner tonight.
Bill found a piece of washed up driftwood that I used to lay the fish on, which worked perfect to fillet the fish. Once again we thanked the lake for providing up such a beautiful fish. Not those CHUBS! The fillet is super easy with trout. Simply cut the fish from butthole to chin and scoop out the stuff. Easy peasy.
The best way to enjoy our catch was to cook it over an open fire shared with The Chosen Family that night. And man, when I tell you that fish was good, it was DAMN GOOD.