Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hunting The Tiger



George and I took an overnight trip for two days of fishing a reservoir known to hold the elusive tiger trout. Ever since reading BG's article on fishing to the mutant tiger trout I have been looking for an opportunity to head out and fish for them. I have caught small ones in Utah where they are stocked quite liberally, but never any larger fish. Tigers are a cross between Brook Trout and Brown Trout and as it turns out they are voracious acrobatic fighting fish that rival any trout comparable in size. We fished from pontoons and using a six weight sinking line deep over the weed cover drew vicious strikes on buggers.



The ferocity of the takes was electric, the rod would practically leap from your hand with a hammering force.



The quality of the fish was impressive right from the start. Fish were consistently in the 18-20 inch range and there were some larger fish in the mix, with a few 21's and my best at 22 inches. I pondered whether the fish was a new state record or not (currently at 21 inches, 3.74 pounds). I did not have a scale and with Wyoming basing records only on weight, I opted to release this bruiser.



The fight this big hook jawed male gave me was the best battle of the weekend. Perhaps I can find him again in the future with a few more inches and pounds on him. The tiger trout kept coming to hand throughout Saturday.



Finally we called it for the evening and went back to the camper. George cooked up a delicious dinner of venison harvested just this fall, potatoes, and green beans. We drank some good beer and marveled at the night sky. With no moon to speak of the milky way was brilliantly bright.

On Sunday morning we awakened before the light of day and George fortified us with bacon, eggs, and country potatoes. I am not used to eating this well while camping. It was a real treat. After that it was back to the lake for some fishing in the early morning calm. The lake was still and fish were rising and active. I decided to stick with the sinking line and the tiger trout fishing continued to be hot.



My largest of the day was a very portly 21 incher that flipped away from me after biting me and also causing my fly rod to go for a swim. I luckily grabbed the line and pulled it up into the boat. That fish definitely got the best of me all around. The tigers were still active but a nice surprise crept into the mix with my first Colorado River Cutthroat Trout of the year taking the bugger. He fought so well I had no idea it was a cutt until I netted him.



By this time the wind was whitecapping the main lake very heavily. I sneaked into one last cove that was sheltered from the wind and found a few more tigers before we finally wrapped up and broke down the camper to head for home. What a tremendously fun weekend, I cannot wait to return and chase these abominations of nature again.

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