Yankee Meadow Reservoir

I may be incorrect, but I believe the volcanic ridge to the east of Yankee Meadow (seen here) is on the edge of southern Utah’s Markagunt Plateau, a prominent volcanic field with a high point of over 11,000 feet. These meadows were beautiful on this sunny September day, but I bet they are even more awesome in the spring.

I have known of Yankee Reservoir for many decades. It was my brother Neal who told me about it, but I do not recall ever fishing it with him or anyone else. Yankee Meadow offered Brook trout back then (probably Rainbow trout as well). I suspect our New England roots fostered Neal’s sentimentalism for the Salvelinus fontinalis (the genus Salvelinus is sometimes referred to as a Char because their dark bodies are overlaid with unique light-cream, blue, pink, or red spots as contrasted by darker spots on the lighter body of the other trout genera).

The Utah Division of Wildlife website indicated Brook trout were still being stocked in Yankee Meadow. Perhaps, like Neal, I felt a nostalgic impulse to see if I could catch a fat Brook trout, but the attraction of fishing new waters was likely the determining factor in choosing Yankee Meadow. I proposed my concocted adventure to my friend Luis, and he was enthusiastic to accompany me.

Luis with the Fish Taco; we had just crossed the cattle guard near the campgrounds, and were anxious to proceed up to the reservoir.

Since I am obviously fixated on the taxonomy of trout, excuse me while I dive a little deeper. I am not a biologist, but I have always been interested in the relationship between salmon and trout (salmonids) as well as between the many trout species. I think it evolved from my discovery that the Salmonini fish tribe’s Brook trout (Salvelinus Fontinalis) was not in the same genus as Brown trout (Salmo Trutta), and that the Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus Mykiss) was in a whole different tribe (Oncorhynchini). The deeper I submersed into trout angling, the more alluring the variety of Rainbow and Cutthroat trout subspecies became. My brain began to spin, and my fascination peaked after I caught my first Cutthroat in Mammoth Creek. Exactly which of the fourteen subspecies of Cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii) did I catch? Was it a Bonneville cutthroat, or perhaps a Humboldt cutthroat? Maybe it was a Whitehorse Basin cutthroat or even a Yellowstone cutthroat? Oh my, I became lost in the romance of trout taxonomy…

Taxonomy of trout and salmon, i.e., salmonids.

Taxonomy aside, fly fishing is the main event. No matter what species you catch, it is a divine blessing to be out in nature having a lovely day with a good friend. It was just this past March when Luis picked up his first fly rod. The following April, after some dry casting lessons and tutorials on the use of fly line, leaders, tippets, and flies, he caught his first small Rainbow trout at Cold Creek. We ventured to Comins Lake in May for his first significant fishing trip. Although action was slow for Comins, Luis did manage to land a nice Rainbow and a Largemouth bass. But on this trip to Yankee Meadow, it appears the angling hook was set into Luis as he connected with a good number of Rainbow trout. He kept the largest two for a fish fry; one was a solid 14 inches and the other was 15.4 inches. The Yankee Meadow Rainbows fought hard, and Luis was surprised by their tugging power. I had warned him that light fly fishing tackle can break off a strong fish, and that sometimes you must be patient and let the trout have its runs. He did well for just his second “real” fishing trip. He was happy at the end of the day, and I was happy for him.

Luis with two nice Rainbow trout, one of about 14 inches and another over 15 inches. He has learned the craft of fly fishing well enough to catch some respectable sized fish.
Luis discovered that there were plenty of trout along the western shoreline. It was there he caught all his trout. Here he is playing one of the smaller trout.

As for me, I tried the weedy eastern shoreline all the way down to the little stream inlet. I was interested in exploring for Brook trout, but all I caught were 9 inch Rainbows. When I approached the stream inlet area, I did see a decent size trout porpoise in the current, so I changed over to a floating line and a foam terrestrial. I only got one look, and I missed it.

Mid-afternoon we took a little break. Luis was excited to describe his success on the western shoreline, after which he lifted his “dinner” trout out from the water with a big smile on his face. He convinced me to try that side of the reservoir after our short rest. As the shade from the pines grew over the western shoreline we continued to land many Rainbow trout. I kept a 15 inch Rainbow to be added to Luis’s fish fry stringer, but my fish of the day was an athletic Rainbow. She was the only acrobatic leaper of the day, and she measured out at 43 centimeters, or slightly over 16.9 inches. I did not keep her.

My fifteen inch rainbow added to the fish fry.
There were a lot of algae particles in the water, as is evident in this photo of a healthy rainbow that was released (apologies for out of focus photo).
This crazy leaper fought hardest of all my trout, and her athletic two-foot-plus jumps were exciting to watch. She was a fine specimen of just under 17 inches. Her reward was to be released to fight another day.

Yankee Meadow proved to be a particularly good choice. We did not catch any Brook or Cutthroat trout that are known to be stocked in this reservoir, but the Rainbow trout did not disappoint us. Luis and I counted our many blessings: our undeserved salvation, loving wives, awesome children, blooming grandchildren, good friends, peaceful retirement, and reasonably good health. We have nothing to complain about; we are blessed and content. Although we are undeserving, we have been divinely blessed.

Taking our mid-day break at the boat launch ramp, as was the kayaker paddling in.
On the eastern shoreline there were large swaths of burnt pines and aspens. In fact, as you looked up towards the slopes below the volcanic ridgeline, the thick dead trees resembled an old gray-haired man who had not shaved for several days.
The view of Yankee Meadow Reservoir looking north from a nearby hill.
There are many striking sandstone formations all throughout southern Utah, so these red cliffs were no surprise on the drive from Parowan, UT to Yankee Meadow.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9
FisherDad, with the volcanic cliffs in the background, at the end of wonderful day fishing new trout water.

Author: FisherDad

I am a Christian who has been married to my wife for over four decades, with six children and four grandchildren so far. I have retired from a string of successful occupations as a certified public accountant, a chief financial officer, and a registered municipal advisor. I have been a fly angler for almost five decades. My one and only article submission was published by Southwest Fly Fishing magazine (now American Fly Fishing). You can learn more about me by clicking on “About” on the top of my blog page.

10 thoughts on “Yankee Meadow Reservoir”

  1. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for this wonderfully refreshing post. You have an impressive way with words.

    This weekend I’m at a small Moto Guzzi Motorcyle Rally in Dayton, NV and thought of you, my Brother.

    Take care and God bless,


    1. Thank you Randy for the undeserved compliment. I have driven through Dayton once that I recall. The Carson River does flow through the town. I’ll pray for smooth and safe travel to/from your Rally.

      Have a great time, and Blessings from Vegas!

      – Mark

  2. Hi Mark:

    So good to see you enjoying your retirement.

    I never seem to be in the Southwest at a good time of the year. Either too early or too late. Have convinced my cousin-in-law to move to Cedar City so there is a chance. Red Creek Reservoir used to be a favorite of mine and Minersville is said to be the home of some real trophies.

    At 79 years old I am very much in the survival mode.

    Carry on.
    John in Marysville WA

    1. Hey John, thanks for the comment. Red Creek Reservoir was our backup plan. Red Creek, also known as Paragonah Reservoir, is pretty productive as well. They started stocking it with Tiger trout (also called Marble trout) that are a sterile hybrid between Brown and Brook trout… a sort of fishery biology abomination. But, as a sport fish many anglers enjoy catching them.

      Be well John, and manny blessings your way.

      – Mark

  3. Hi Mark.
    So nice to see you up and about being able to enjoy your passion in retirement. Love the pictures, beautiful area. You look good in the pictures. Wishing you continued health and joy in your retirement 🙏❤️

    1. Hey Steve, thank you for posting a comment. I pray you are doing well on your recovery journey. Many of the guys who comment on my blog are in our age bracket with all the usual illnesses and infirmities. We all do what we can to manage and get stronger. We have so many things to be thankful for, and as Paul writes to the Phillipians, “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
      Many blessings to you, Rosemary, and the whole family.

  4. The pictures of Utah are breathtaking. I always enjoy your references to our brother. You look good Mark and are quite impressive with your trout taxonomy.

    1. Hey Sister Belle! Always pleased to know you like the blog. When I think about my gateway into fishing, fly fishing in particular, memories of Neal wash over me. Well before these fly fishing organizations for those with PTSD came to be (see The Purpose of Mending Your Line), I always knew that getting Neal out of the urban city and into the mountains was the best I could do for his mental health. Unfortunately, it was never enough. Thank you for posting your comment.

      Love you,


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