A ferocious barking woke me up from a dead sleep, momentarily confused, I got my wits about me and realized it was Yukon. Now, anyone who has dogs knows they have different barks for different reasons. Well, this was Yukon’s serious “I mean business!” bark, Mira joined in, though I’m pretty sure she was just barking to bark (she loves barking). I had talked to a couple people that mentioned seeing bears around the campground so while I couldn’t see anything outside the Jeep, I’m assuming a wandering bear made its way through the campground. There was no sleeping after that rude awakening, I tossed and turned until dawn when I decided to head down to see if fishing had improved.
Unfortunately, the slow fishing streak continued on into the morning. Fish were still rising after some invisible bugs and I did manage a few small rainbows (one of which would become dinner) on the fly rod. As I was cleaning the sole fish I kept, a couple drove up and started unloading some fishing gear. They introduced themselves as Keith and Tina from Arizona. After chatting a bit, I showed them the places I usually caught fish off the dock, and then left them to their fishing.
I’ve always driven past the turnoff for Blue Spruce Campground, a rustic campground northeast of Posey Lake a short drive off of Hell’s Backbone Road, this time I made it a point to turn in and check it out. It’s a small but pretty campground, only a handful of campsites and butted up against Pine Creek. I let the dogs out to play in the water and considered grabbing a fly rod. Pine Creek supposedly has small wild trout in it, and what better scenery to catch them in. After realizing my Jetboil stove, that’s traveled with me since my first long motorcycle trip in 2010, was missing, I got the dogs back in the car and headed back to Posey Lake. Unfortunately, my stove was nowhere to be found so I headed into town stopped at Utah Canyon Outdoors and picked up a Jetboil Flash so I could eat warm food for the rest of the trip!
Mira enjoying Pine Creek
The weather was still quite cold and I was ready to wear shorts, so after a stop at Nemo’s for a burger and fries, I decided I’d head to Stanton Creek Campground on Lake Powell for the night. Last year we had a pretty miserable, windy, stormy experience there and ended up spending the night holding our tent up with out feet against 6o mph gusts and multiple thunderstorms. Hopefully my 2016 experience would be more pleasant.
Burger and fries at Nemo’s – Michigan, you need to get on this Fry Sauce, it’s tasty!
The lovely red rock formations of Capitol Reef National Park, made way for the barren bentonite hills on the park’s eastern end and soon Hanksville. Southbound on UT-95 toward the lake, the scenery changed and the temperature rose. I soon reached the Glen Canyon NRA entrance gate and Stanton Creek campground shortly thereafter. I drove around the lake for a bit, looking for a shallow spot to let the dogs swim (Yukon was whining since the second he set eyes on the water). They were in heaven, chasing a tennis ball out into the crystal clear water endlessly. Attempting to herd them back to the car was like trying to drag a 4-year old away from Chuck E. Cheese – grumbling and whining (with a couple dashes back to the water) I finally got them loaded up so we could find the perfect spot to camp.
Happy dogs at Lake Powell
Typical photo of my two – Mira being photogenic, Yukon barking “THROW THE BALL!!”
I eventually found a site right on the water with some decent looking structure for fishing. If you plan on camping down near the lake, it’s mandatory to have a WAG bag or some sort of toilet system, I just keep a box of WAG bags in my Jeep. There are out houses further up in the campground. I staked the dogs out, got them fed, donned shorts and sandals and started working the shoreline with fly and gear.
I caught a small sunfish that looked like something had recently chomped on it. It was fairly slow going after that, with some sort of large fish following my fly or spinner in on each cast, but never committing (I’d later find out they were Striped Bass). Finally, something bit and while it didn’t fight too well, I was excited, it was my very first walleye (very amusing considering I grew up on Lake Huron-currently a walleye hotspot). Lake Powell has no limits on either Walleye or Striped Bass due to their predatory effect on bait fish and their rapid proliferation, so I bonked this one on the head and proceeded to less-than-expertly fillet it. Trout and walleye for dinner! With the sun going down, I enjoyed a small fire, watching the stars blanketing the darkening sky and the lights in the million dollar houseboats at Bullfrog twinkling in the distance. Lake Powell had redeemed itself.
Stanton Creek Campsite
Evening’s fishing fun
My first walleye – named “Dinner”
Fresh fish on the shores of Lake Powell
Filthy Mira – who wants to sleep with this swamp thing?