It was well into December before it finally started feeling like winter in southern Utah. The cold wintry weather doesn't, however, stop me from fishing.
The other day I decided to try my luck on the East Fork of the Sevier River, near Osiris. With companions Phil and Jerry, we arrived at a favorite spot, but were disappointed to discover the snow from the previous night has caused the stream to run very murky, making it less than appealing. So me moved on down the road toward the town of Antimony, where a small stream flows down from the Aquarius Plateau. I suggested we give it a try. It's calling Antimony Creek and it was running crystal clear when we found it, so we followed the road which winds through pastures along the lower portion of the stream.
Once inside the Dixie National Forest, we stopped and tested the fishing. The water was starting to freeze along the edges of the stream, and there was a brisk nip in the air. Before we rigged up, I picked up a small rock out of the cold water and found many cased caddie fly larvae. I also found many ephemera and small dark stone fly nymphs, and showed them to my companions, letting them make their own choice from my fly selection. Both picked a pheasant tail nymph to start with.
I chose a gold-ribbed hares ear. After catching four fish in the first hole, I decided to check on Phil. He had caught nothing, so I offered him a hares ear. Jerry soon changed his fly also.
This stream is by no means easy to fish; it is very narrow and has trees and brush right up to its banks. It does take imagination when it comes to casting. There are, however, some beautiful holes. Once we were all using the hares ear, we all landed many wild rainbows. Due to the size of the stream and the overhanging brush, one person would fish while I helped keep an eye on the strike indicator and tried to spot fish.
I caught one brown which was spawning. I believe this particular stream contains only a small number of browns, and quite a few nice sized rainbows. The fish are wild, so it is imperative to take care not to spook them.
The sun came out for a brief moment and the fishing stabilized for most of the afternoon. Around 3 P.M. a big snow filled cloud moved over us and it started to snow. Soon thereafter we had to abandon the fishing as it was too dark.
A few inches of snow fell that night, but I still chose to go back the next day and fish some more. I tied an olive version of the Q.T. nymph, adding an olive glass bead head to imitate the ephemera. I used the hares ear with the Q.T. nymph as a dropper. I once again caught many fish. It's hard to say which of the two flies was more productive, as I hooked and lost a lot of fish due to the brush. It did seem to me that the larger fish seemed to prefer the hares ear on this trip.
I expect this stream will provide many a fun fishing day throughout the year. It is certainly enjoyable during the winter. If you are prepared to bundle up, be patient with your casts, and catch and release fish, I trust it will be a fun spot for years to come.