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 Forty fish in two hours

Summer trout fishing is fast in the high mountains.

Scott Root
Scott is the DWR's conservation outreach manager in central Utah. He works with the public, the media and anyone who has questions about wildlife. He enjoys hunting, fishing and wildlife watching, especially with his kids.

This year, the Boy Scout leaders, myself included, decided to spend our week-long scout camp near Mill Hollow Reservoir. We took the trip last week, and to say it was a success would be an understatement.

One of 40 fish I caught and released last week near Mill Hollow Reservoir.

One of 40 fish I caught and released last week near Mill Hollow Reservoir.

This is an area that I’ve hunted and fished for 35 years. Mill Hollow Reservoir is located on a gravel road a few miles off of Highway 35. Highway 35 is several miles east of the town of Woodland and south of the more popular Highway 150 near Kamas. Both highways parallel each other; Highway 150 leads to the more popular high Uinta lakes, such as Trial and Mirror Lake, and Highway 35 leads to Duchesne.

We stayed busy with a variety of activities from archery and canoeing to leather and woodwork. After spending a lot of time with energetic scouts, I opted for a little alone time before the troop awoke one morning.

I snuck away from the group to go fishing on a small stream within yards of our camp. Not knowing what to expect, I grabbed a little fly from my tackle box, needle nose pliers and my fishing pole. I threw the little beadhead nymph into the stream and immediately felt the strong vibration of a small fish.

Wow! That was quick. I admired the beautiful brook trout and took a quick picture. I wanted to prove to the group that there were indeed fish in the stream nearby.

Within two hours, I had caught and released 40 brook trout ranging from 4-12 inches. As I experienced one of the most enjoyable two hours of fishing in my life, I was privileged to see over 20 birds species, several deer and other wildlife. I couldn’t have asked for anything better on a gorgeous June morning.

The kids had a blast casting PowerBait and seeing vibrant albino rainbow trout up close.

The kids had a blast casting PowerBait and seeing vibrant albino rainbow trout up close.

After reporting my success to the troop, the boys all wanted to fish. Several of the scouts and leaders followed in my footsteps and had similar success.

I encouraged the boys to use a fly or spinner because the fish can be easily unhooked, since they usually get hooked on the mouth with these fishing techniques. If you choose to use bait, bring lots of hooks and simply cut the line at the fish’s mouth with the hook still inside. The hook usually dissolves within days.

Since these stream fish are smaller, none of our scouts were interested in keeping them for dinner. We turned our attention to Mill Hollow Reservoir. This waterbody is well stocked by DWR and like its neighboring Uinta lakes, the fish go crazy on the surface in the early morning and evening hours. A fly and bubble combination can work great during these lower light fish frenzies.

A view of Mill Hollow Reservoir—the perfect summer fishing spot.

A view of Mill Hollow Reservoir — the perfect summer fishing spot.

Because many of the boys wanted to cook fish for dinner, they decided to try PowerBait. The most effective colors we tried were orange and red.

One of my favorite parts of Uinta lake fishing is being able to see albino rainbow trout swimming in the water. The boys had a blast casting PowerBait about eight feet from the shoreline and seeing the bright whitish-orange fish take their bait.

We caught rainbow, albino rainbow, tiger and brook trout averaging 12 inches long. We cleaned and wrapped the fish (skin still on) in foil with some butter, salt and other spices and then eagerly waited for the campfire to cook them to perfection. Perfection is what we got.

As we sat around the campfire, eating delicious, fresh trout, we talked about this great fishing experience and all of the other high-mountain fishing opportunities in the state. Summer and early fall are the best times of year to find fast fishing in many high-mountain lakes.

Check the latest fishing reports before you head up. And, as a friendly reminder, bears enjoy fish too! Make sure to remove fish entrails and leftover bones from your camp area and dispose of them properly.

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