The Uinta Mountains offer incredible scenery.
It was a perfect day—cool enough to tickle the nose and discourage bugs—clear, comfortable and calm. And, out in the middle of Lost Lake in the Uinta Mountains, the water was marked with expanding ripples. Fish.
My fly dropped down without a sound and as I slowly pulled it back to shore, watching the ever present "V" in the water, I was certain a fish would bite. But none did. Not on the first, second, third or fourth casts.
Discouraged? Not at all. That’s fishing. On the fifth cast the surface water exploded, the fly rod bent and the fly line went taut. It was a rainbow. Not particularly large. It was a plant. But, it made the morning. The other three fish I caught that day were a bonus.
Guess that’s why I like to fish the high-country lakes during the hottest days of summer. I also choose to fish high in the fall. Along with good fishing, it’s not crowded. For some reason fishing pressure drops in the fall.
So why do I like the Uinta lakes?
For starters, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources focuses its summer planting program on high-elevation lakes.
Thus far, between the Kamas and Midway hatcheries, more than 150,000 fish had been planted in the roadside lakes by early August.
Again, most of the fish aren’t particularly large—8 to 10-inches—but with light tackle, they’re fun to catch and release. Another reason is there’s a good chance in the early morning and late afternoons that the catch is a tiger trout.
The tiger trout is the offspring of a male brown trout and female brook trout. The combination produces a trout with a maze-like pattern of colors similar to a tiger’s. It is rapidly becoming one of the more popular fish in Utah. There are more than 40 waters in Utah stocked with tiger trout, including several waters in the Uintas.
Most of the trout caught these days are plants.
Trout are most active in water temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees. That’s when fish tend to rise to feed on or near the surface, which makes them more likely to take a fly.
Just how to present a hook is a matter of choice. One of the more popular methods is to cast a bubble, three-quarters full of water, with a fly tied three to four feet behind. And, while lower lakes and reservoirs are unseasonably low, lakes in the Uintas are in good shape. Thunderstorms have kept the water levels up.
Another reason I like the high country lakes is that during the mid-day breaks from the best fishing times, I can always enjoy a picnic, take a hike, go for a drive or simply sit and enjoy the country.
It’s absolutely incredible.
Where: The Uinta Mountain lakes are located along Mirror Lake Highway out of Kamas.
Popular lakes: Mirror, Teapot, Lost, Butterfly, Washington.
Best fishing: Mornings and late afternoon.
Flies: Caddis with green or peacock body, Griffith’s Gnat or Renegade.
Lures: Jake’s Spin-A-lure, Crocodile or Daredevil.
Bait: Nightcrawler, PowerBait and Gulp in rainbow or salmon egg colors.