Thursday January 18th, 2018
In the morning, having packed up the 4Runner the night before, there was little loading up to do and I was on my way to a new destination, called Fish Lake (FL).
I had seen videos of lake trout being caught at this location during ice fishing season. Apparently there are some deep (100 ft. or so) locations on this lake. I wish I had not seen them.
Not everything went as planned with some surprises too. Read on.
Since there is no direct road from Strawberry Reservoir to Fish Lake, I had to go north back to Heber City in order to go south on I-15 toward the Fish Lake off ramp.
I had to pay $150.00 more to stay at FL for one less night’s stay. It was due to the fact that 1) They can ask for that price, 2) All the cabins have kitchenette. You see; closest eating place to the cabin is 40 minutes away. If they are open!
On top of paying higher room rates, I had to buy grocery and prepare meals. Luckily I knew where a Walmart was on the way in Heber City.
1-Great customer service at Walmart.
After getting some items, I was on my way.
2-A typical farm town on the way out of Heber City.
3-More lovely scenery.
Here is where the trip gets out of whack if you will.
After getting off the I-15 going south for a few hours, I decided to check the Garmin GPS to see where the end flag is located.
I noticed that instead of a lake, it shows a town. The lodge had a not so clear address.
After not seeing any lake at the flag, I started thinking. Am I going the wrong way? Are there two locations for the same address? It is time to call the lodge. Yes a good idea, if there is cell signal. You guessed right, no bars.
Well I had to keep going until the next town or signal. Before I got to a town called Aurora, I had cell bars. Once I got through to the staff at the lodge, the lady told me that I was on the right track. She gave me further directions and I hung up.
Once in Aurora, I saw the speed limit sign reading 35 MPH. I had slowed by now, so no problem.
Then I saw a local police car parked on the side of the HWY. Who would be better than a policeman to ask for direction?
Therefore, I pulled in front of him and backed close to his unit. I got out of the 4Runner, thinking it would impolite to summon him to my vehicle.
He was out his unit and when he saw me; with a firm voice he said----“sir, get back into your vehicle”. Oh, oh.
I told him about my concern about the address and GPS guidance. He was cordial and gave me basically the same directions.
I thanked him, and put on my safety belt.
As I pulled into the HWY, I accelerated and before I knew it, I saw a roadside electronic sign flashing 42 MPH and stating the speed limit of 35.
I thought oh @#$%, and sure enough I noticed the flashing light on top the officer’s unit. I again pulled over and stopped the engine. With my hands on the steering wheel and the window down I waited for the officer.
He informed me that I was doing (43) in the (35) zone. He also asked me for my driver’s license and other documents.
As I provided them, I explained that I was nervous and worried about my location. I mentioned that as soon as I saw the electronic sign I slowed down. He had to have noticed that.
As I sat pissed off about the mistake of going to this new lake, he took nearly ½ hour sitting in his unit.
I was making plans to come back and fight the ticket. Who in his right mind would go over speed limit in front of an officer?
Back at home, I had a court day on January 31 for a camera ticket.
Eventually he came back with a yellow paper. It was only warning. No ticket. I thanked him and once more pulled in the HWY ever so carefully.
After that episode and throughout the rest of the trip, I used the cruise control function of the 4Runner and drove a few MPH below the posted speeds. It was actually relaxing.
4-Almost there and so far it has not been much fun, except the scenery.
Upon arrival, I noticed that the lake is NOT completely frozen. That meant no 100 ft. depth fishing perhaps. Not good.
5-Fish Lake scenery.
6-A log cabin was awaiting me.
7-My view from the front window.
8-The view from the rear window.
9-Very inviting wood burning heater that was utilized a lot.
Friday January 19th, 2018
I was told by the fishing guide at the Strawberry Lodge, that there is a lake north of the Fish Lake that is called Johnson Reservoir. There could be possibility of catching pike there. That sounded interesting.
10-I found several 38 cal. shells on the ground before heading to Johnson Reservoir.
A sign read that no discharging of fire arms was allowed, yet here they were
Since the FL was not %100 solid, I decided to investigate the Johnson Reservoir. As I approached the section of the road that was to lead to the reservoir, I noticed a gate with the “road closed” sign on it.
As they say in Germany—“dos is neeht good” (spel?) meaning this is no good.
However, after consulting some locals regarding getting into trouble, I decide to proceed.
11-The road started clear…..
12-……..then it got interesting with lots of unplowed snow.
When the snow got high enough to make me concern, I put on the snow chains just in case. With no cell signal and a very remote road void of any other vehicles, it was becoming an adventure. I should have taken pictures, but I had to get going and warmup in the 4Runner.
I was relying on AAA if I get into trouble, since we are in the state. Particularly not really having room for more items in the SUV, I did not take my sand self-rescue gear. Such as the heavy duty wheel plates, or the high lift jack. I did have a shovel with me in case I needed it for ice fishing.
13-The Johnson Reservoir.
14-Fishing the Johnson Reservoir with absolutely no one around.
15-At elevation nearly 9000 ft., breathing was labored by “flatlanders” like yours truly.
Especially during usage of hand Auger to make holes in the thick ice.
16-My first perch of the trip. Notice how small is the lure. It was tipped with a meal worm.
17-In the ice fishing world these perch are considered not too small. I released a bunch, but kept these to eat.
18-Not sure if this is a fish called a Utah Chub.
I decided that I should be on my way well before dark, and stopped fishing even though the bite was good.
19-Back at the cabin the snow is piling up……..
20-…….and overnight turned to this scene.
I had to plow myself about two ft. of snow with a provided snow shovel.
21-Poor 4runner must have been shivering all night in this weather!
22-The compound had its own plow truck to keep the internal roads clear.
23-Not all of the lake was frozen yet.
Sunday January 21th, 2018
24-It takes a certain people to go out to fish in this weather. Not me.
25-However, there were some who did.
Since I was not about to go fishing in that kind of weather, I decided to find a sports bar to watch the two football games. I had TV in the cabin, but no Fox station, or a guide/schedual of what is going to be on.
I was directed to three towns that may have restaurants with TV. As I drove from town to town, I did not see one person in the street. Most places were either closed for Sunday, or the season.
26-It looks like a ski run way in the distance.
27-Wide open spaces. This is big country folks.
28-The erosion of mountain by wind.
29-Having been stung by “man” earlier, I made sure as I approached every new town to slow below the speed limit.
Later I found out from a local that there is a “dummy” mannequin sitting in the car. It sure worked on me.
30-On the way back from the valley, I had to go very slowly through this blizzard.
Fortunately it was not for long.
When I got to the cabin the football game was on. I was glad though to get out and be able to do some sightseeing.
After all the expense and other issues, I did not get to even fish the lake. Isn’t that a kick in the pants?
To be continued