The Writings of LaVarr B Webb
On the East Fork of the Sevier River, below Tropic Reservoir near Bryce Canyon, is a delightful place
to camp. There are acres of meadows, great ponderosa pine trees, and a slow moving creek with nice
holes. The reservoir, itself, was blue and placid the last time I was there. The scene, the lake, the trees,
the grass, and the blue sky, looked like it had been lifted from a picture post card. Up the road, above
the lake one or two miles, there is a spring that has, I think, the coldest and best tasting water in Utah.
Some of the spring water is piped to a fountain, and I love to stop there for a drink on a hot July day.
I had my first opportunity to fish with a pole on the East Fork of the Sevier River. The pole was a
willow cut from the bank of the stream. A hook was tied to the line, and the line was tied firmly to the
pole. A squirmy worm was threaded on to the hook, and I was in business. I don't remember how many
fish I caught on that trip, but I know they were many, but the twelve incher that I battled for all of ten
seconds will live in my memory forever.
That trip and those fish completed my induction into the ranks of the avid fishermen, and for that, I am
most grateful to my father. Over the years, however, I had the feeling that he might have been a little
sorry that he taught me to fish, because it wasn't long before I was catching more fish than he, and he
sometimes seemed to be a little piqued.
I remember the first time he took me to Chalk Creek up above Coalville. By then I had my bamboo
pole with safety pin line guides, and a leader on which to attach my hook. When I met my Dad on the
stream, quite late in the day, I had more fish than he did, and I can't forget his chagrin.
Later, I bought myself a steel telescope pole and a reel. That was my lucky pole, and I loved it like a
dear friend. I was using that pole up on the Strawberry River one cool spring day. Dad and I were
trying to fish the river together, but it was in flood stage, and the water was muddy, and the holes were
Dad became discouraged, and went back to camp. I continued to fish, and caught a few in the very
small holes at the edge of the stream. I, too, soon became discouraged, and decided to take a shortcut
back to camp. The river made a bow, and I figured I could shorten the distance by going straight back,
rather than making my way around the bow.
A short distance from the stream, I entered a meadow with small streams threading through it. There
were a few trees scattered across the meadow, and it reminded me of a park. A heavily timbered bluff
marked the boundary between the meadow and a range of hills. At the foot of the bluff, I found some
deep holes that had been gouged out of the ground. There were three or four of those holes, and each
was about ten feet wide and thirty feet long. The holes were full of very clear, cold water, and there
were trout in the water. I could see them lazily swimming back and forth in the crystal clear depths.
I thought I had stumbled upon a private fish hatchery, but there were no buildings, no roads, not even a
trail, so I went fishing. The fish were eight to twelve inches long, and very hungry. I relaxed on the
bank of one of those pools, and caught my limit. Then I trudged back to camp with my fish strung on a
willow sapling, and when Dad saw me, he about had a conniption fit. He yelled, "Where did you get
those? In a fish hatchery?" He didn't know it, but he was almost right.