Lessons From Boulder Mountain
Last Saturday I returned from a four-day trip with eight 14-year-old scouts to the Boulder Mountains. When I opened the mail received while I was gone I found the July issue of your magazine had some articles on the Boulder Mountains and decided your readers might enjoy some of the lessons I learned about fishing there from my recent trip.
Lesson One: Come prepared for some rough traveling. I had previously been to Donkey Lake and knew the roads were rough, but had not totally prepared for some of the extremely difficult rough roads we would travel. We had blow outs on tires on a Ford Explorer, a Chevy 4X4 pickup and a trailer. Trailers can be difficult if not impossible to pull on many roads and a high clearance four-wheel drive vehicle is a must!
Lesson two: Make sure you have the very best maps. I had a copy of your "Boulder Mountain Fishing Map," a Dixie National Forest map and a BLM topographical map. None of these maps showed all of the roads in the area and so we got lost at times and had great difficulty finding certain places when we weren't lost. I recommend purchasing a Forest Service map available at the Torrey ranger station, since it is the only one I've seen that seems to have a majority of the roads on it. Also keep in mind that many of the signs and road markers in the area have been vandalized and torn down so you won't necessarily know where you are at. I was told some people do this every year in order to discourage people from visiting the area. If so they are idiots because all it accomplishes is to make the trip a little more difficult.
Lesson Three: Make sure you check out the area and obtain reliable information before you go. When we arrived at the lake we planned to fish at we found all the fish had winter killed. Of the nine lakes we visited on the Boulder Top, seven had no fish. These are all lakes listed on the maps as having fish. We found we had to stick to lakes that were either extremely deep or had water running in or out of them. Otherwise all of the fish were killed last winter. According to a publication I saw after the trip this is not uncommon for these lakes. The DWR plants these lakes with fingerling trout that can grow up to a pound if they make it through the winter. However, if they don't you will be fishing for newly planted fingerlings. We also found mostly cutthroats at the two lakes that had fish, and they were primarily cutthroat trout which were still spawning and therefore not very hungry. Needless to say, fishing was great but catching couldn't have been worse. Of the eight boys on the trip only two caught fish! I had talked to a Forest Service ranger at the Teasdale ranger station two days before we left and he said fishing was great at the lakes which were dead. Obviously he hadn't been there this year. I would talk to the DWR officer or someone who has been to the area in the year you plan to go.
I love the magazine and can say the "Boulder Mountain Fishing" map is a must for anyone who plans to go there. It is the only publication I am aware of which gives water depth, acreage for the lake, and has the most complete identification of the lakes.
I also love your magazine and think it's the finest reading around for a fishing nut like me. Thanks again for your help and I hope this inforrnation will help readers who plan trips to the Boulders.
Sincerely, Rav Ellison, American Fork
Editor's Response: Thanks for a great letter. All of your points are important. When we tell people to be prepared for rough roads, many don't really appreciate what we are saying. Some of the roads on Boulder Mountain are as rough as any I would care to drive on.
Would you please let us know which lakes you visited. We'd like to evaluate and find out what is going on there. It's true that some lakes winter kill but seven out of nine is highly unusual. You visited the mountain early in the season, not long after the roads opened. It takes a little time for agencies to collect data and determine conditions. Even now, we've heard reports on many lakes and have not heard of a massive winter kill like what you have described.
Boulder Mountain fishing can be finicky, especially early in the season. Fishing can be extremely fast at times, and dead slow other times.
We appreciate your letter and look forward to hearing back from you.