Southern Utah’s Pine Valley Recreation Area

The Pine Valley Recreation Area was not yet open, likely due to CV19, but you could hike through the area. Dave was ready to stretch his legs for the walk. The reservoir is not quite a mile up the road from the gate. 

I enjoyed developing my angling skills on the waters around Pine Valley in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. A youthful mid-twenties body stimulated my rustic romanticism for pursuing trout in streams and creeks. Now, as a sexagenarian, I no longer bushwhack and boulder-hop up and down streambeds alone, or at least not for far. Nonetheless, I am still nostalgic about fly angling small streams. There likely were several factors driving my interest in stream fishing. I was certainly influenced by the trout angling literature of the day that was predominantly focused on moving water. That was compounded by the first books I read on the subject that I borrowed from my brother Neal’s outdoorsman library. His books had an old-school New England approach to fishing for trout with a fly (think classic dry fly angling). That was a conundrum for me because Neal favored wet flies, nymphs, and streamers.

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Pine Valley Reservoir, Southern Utah

This photo looks through the little meadow from which the Santa Clara River enters the small Pine Valley Reservoir. The “river” nomenclature is a misnomer; in reality it is a small creek. Note the two bait anglers settling in near inlet that I had just vacated. 

It seemed to me it had been a long time since I had an out-of-town angling adventure. Excluding a 90-minute visit to the local Cold Creek pond, my last fishing trip was with my son Doug over eight weeks ago. I feel as though I missed the best part of the spring fishing. Maybe I feel that way because I anticipate next year will be difficult for spring fishing due to Nevada’s biennium legislative session, but who knows. Regardless, I know the anxiousness I feel about missing the productive early spring season seems directly related to God’s timing.  

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Santa Clara River, Pine Valley, UT – Chan’s Way

Baker Reservoir, just off Utah Highway 18 between Veyo and Central – no ice!

Many folks take up fly fishing but quit after a while.  I suppose we get attracted to hobbies for one reason or another, and once we learn more about them our interest wanes for who knows why.  Perhaps it’s not as fun as we imagined, or the hobby is too costly, or maybe it’s harder than it looks.  For fly fishing, the most common beginner complaints are the cost and the difficulty as compared to other fishing techniques.  I attempted to address those two fly fishing complaints in my beginners blog, but I know that fly fishing still requires a certain adventuresome spirit to fully embrace it.

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Pine Valley, Utah

This Pine Valley mansion overlooks the cattle pasture and the Santa Clara River that flows just below the white fence in the distance.

Holiday weekends don’t usually entice me to travel. I like to vacation between the weekends so as to keep the crowds to a minimum. It’s not that I’m introverted or antisocial, but truthfully, who likes to struggle in crowds on a vacation. Fishing works the same way, but for different reasons. When I venture outdoors I like to pursue the feeling of wilderness (even when it’s not reality). It’s a throwback to my youthful hiking days; always wanting to trek where no one has gone before, to see things as natural and undisturbed as possible. Currently, fishing on weekdays before or after the holidays is the best I can manage to create the sense of solitude and peace.

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Pine Valley, UT

Typical long, deep Santa Clara pool

The weather report was showing a few more warm fall days. It seemed like this was my last chance to fish before the real hustle and bustle of the holidays hit and the fishing fell into the doldrums of winter. I had been talking about a fishing trip, out loud to myself, and Denise must have overheard me. Monday she stuck a note on my side of the mirror saying how much she appreciated my help and what it meant to her, and finished by saying that she wanted me to stay around through Thanksgiving and not go fishing… took the wind right out of my sails. After checking my calendar and giving it some thought at work, I asked her if I could go Wednesday preceding Thanksgiving, a workday, if I promised to be home by 6:00 pm. I argued it would be just like a regular workday to her, and she said “yes”.

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