When you think of fishing in Utah the first thing that usually comes to mind is trout. Utah is home to some incredible trout fishing.. but an anomaly exists in the central part of the state. Yuba Reservoir is home to lots of carp, low water each year, big perch some years, milky brown colored water, and MONSTER Northern Pike. This story is an account of a a full season of fishing there and what happens when you put your time in.
In January of 2009 we were on the Ice at Yuba yanking foot long jumbo Perch for the fryer. Midway through the morning my best friend Scott hooked a big fish. After a long fight and many close looks we lost the fish at the hole. From then on we were Pike obsessed. When the ice left we hit the water hard. The early trips were far too cold for any real chance but we learned every nook and cranny of the reservoir. The early summer months passed with a few close calls, some broken lines from blistering runs, and a heartbreaking loss of a giant female right at the boat.
Fall came and I set up a trip to fish with Steve Henline who at the time lived in Northern Utah. Steve was the Pike man landing several big fish through 2008. We hit if off instantly on the one hour drive South. Steve told me of his fishing adventures around the world and how Zihuatanejo Mexico offers, as he put it, “the finest blue-water fishing for Tuna and Pez Vela (Sail Fish) in the world”. Its on my one day list. Everything felt good, just one of those days.
We launched the boat, glided up lake, and arrived at the small bay in no time. There I stood, in the front of the boat, rod in hand, my eighth trip to Yuba, still had not touched a fish. Fish of a thousand casts? Try double that. I made a cast parallel to shore along a sweeping gravel line. Halfway back to the boat the line stopped cold. I think I yelled, “fish on”, or something cheesy like that. After two big head shakes the fish turned on the burners and the reel protested loudly. Minutes later she came to the surface and churned gallons of water before taking off again. With shaking arms I somehow got her to the surface and Steve netted her.
We brought her in the boat and just sat there in awe for a few seconds.
Weight: Just under 20 pounds!!
Pictures were taken quickly and then she was revived in the big live well. After she was swimming strongly again we put her back where she came from. No point killing a trophy like that. Steve and I have talked many times since then but we haven’t fished together since that September day. He now runs a guide service at Lake Powell. I hope to spend a day on the water there with him someday, it would be a pleasure to spend a day catching fish and reminiscing of that September day of the giant.