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W-54 W-57 W-53 W-52 W-51 W-48 W-49 W...

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W-54 W-57 W-53 W-52 W-51 W-48 W-49 W-56 W-47
TongueOK I know this is lame but I was to lazy to put the pictures in twice. For the full visual effect see Enjoy!

I have always enjoyed the quiet Dry Fork, above Holiday Park, of the Weber River. It’s fairly close, yet tucked away, with the public access point relatively hidden in a sea of private property.

The trail and scenery are not as exquisite as the bulk of the Uinta Wilderness and adjoining National Forest, but sports a rather curious topography.

It’s biggest draw are day power hikers, with collapsible fly rods, checking the ever present Arctic Grayling off their life list from the three prevalent lakes, Round, Sand and Fish Lakes.
Every time I have been there I have caught fish until bored so this time I thought I’d fish less and explore more. I noticed in the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources stocking reports that there were several other unnamed lakes in the area they had dumped fish into in the past so I thought I’d take a look.

I explored the upper basin counter-clockwise going from base camp at W-47 through W-54, W-57, W-53, W-52, W-51, W-48, W-49, W-56 and back to W-47.

Little ledge pool north of W-54.

W-54 has lots of shallow open water, marsh and Lilly pads

Pictures of fragile little W-57 and the very lively Brook Trout that live there.

This tiny pond south east of W-57, against the scree slope, has a fresh spring running into it. The pond was absolutely alive with… SALAMANDERS!

The long narrow marsh just west of W-57.

W-53 – Pretty little lake but no signs of fish.

Dropping steep off the ridge, W-52 looked larger than the map portrayed and promising for good fishing. Unfortunately the water was tarnished brown and the only rings on the surface were made by dragonflies dipping along the water.

W-51, Carol Lake was an easy side hill hike from W-52 but was again tarnished brown with no signs of fish life.

Round Lake is actually the first lake you come to on the Dry Fork Trail. I usually catch a few Cutthroat Trout here but this trip it was all about the Arctic Grayling.

The grayling’s beautiful iridescent dorsal fin.

There were a lot of dragon and damsel flies out, so just for fun, I put a little tan parachute damsel fly pattern on.

Sand Lake, the second lake just off the trail, is stuffed full of little Grayling.

W-47 Fish Lake is an odd shaped lake at the end of the Dry Fork Trail. I usually catch Cutthroat, Brook and Grayling here, but again this trip, nothing but the Arctic Grayling. I packed in a little inflatable boat this trip, just to find out the fishing is just as fast, for the same quality of fish, from the middle of the lake, as anywhere along the shore.

For day two I hiked the ridge above Fish Lake.

Here you can make out a hint of the shore line of Round Lake - far left of the tree, Sand Lake mid-left, W-56 another Salamander pond, and Fish Lake – bottom right as seen from the south ridge.

W-57 and surrounding glacial imprint ponds.

View off the other side, looking to the south, of Notch Mountain, W-27 Meadow Lake, W-24 Ibantic Lake and the Main Fork of the Weber River drainage.

Looking south south-east towards Reid’s Peak, Bald Mountain and Mirror Lake.

I always thought the cliffs above Fish Lake looked like prime Mountain Goat territory.

There was a rag-horn bull elk that would wander down to Fish Lake after dark each night and tromp around and bugle a little.

There were a fair number of nice Mule Deer bucks hanging around the ridge tops also. This one was perched on the very edge of the cliffs looking down on Cuberant Lake.

Other wildlife observed included hawks, eagles, ravens, ruffed and blue grouse, pica, rabbits, moose and a busy beaver.

All great trips end with a beautiful sunset.

Side notes:

Total miles hiked, climbed, rowed, stumbled - 26.5

Total elevation gained – 4,879’

Total fish caught – Divide total number of casts by 2. (The fishing was a little slower than usual plus empty casts beating some dead lakes.)

Observations – If there was fresh spring water entering a lake or pond that had a little depth to it, there were fish in it. If the lake lacked spring water and had taken on a tainted, tarnished brown color, no fish were to be found.

Directions - From Oakley, Utah, turn east at the quaint Road Island Diner, head east on the West Weber Canyon Road which turns into the East Weber Canyon Road, continue straight at the Smith-Moorehouse turn off and continue for 19 miles total from Oakley.

You will encounter many, many signs like this along the road, don’t be intimidated, but continue along staying on the road to the public access points. There is some parking and a trail register at each public access point.

I would encourage anyone to enjoy the Dry Fork of the Weber River, visiting with a respect for the surrounding private lands, understanding the low tolerance for impact in the off trail areas and committing to sustain the delicate nature of this wild area.
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Re: [neveronsunday] W-54 W-57 W-53 W-52 W-51 W-48 W-49 W-56 W-47 In reply to
Took me a minute to figure out what you were doing. Great report. Lots of lakes up there too.

Fishing and trains...what else is there? BASEBALL.......
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Re: [neveronsunday] W-54 W-57 W-53 W-52 W-51 W-48 W-49 W-56 W-47 In reply to
Great post. Have been many places in the Uintas but not there. Looks as if I will need to try a new spot. Thanks for posting.
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Re: [albinotrout] W-54 W-57 W-53 W-52 W-51 W-48 W-49 W-56 W-47 In reply to
This is one of my favorite places in all of the Uinta's. My folks live in Oakley, so it's not hard to find a reason to go up there. I will say this though:

The hike is not for the meek; it's a bitch. If you're only going for the day, then it's not too bad. Hard, but not bad. If you're carrying a pack and are going to stay a few nights, be prepared to be tired. Most of the trail is straight up with at least one river crossing (depending on when you go, there can be several more) that will get your feet wet. I believe it's only about a three mile hike, but they are the hardest three miles I've ever done.

Also, don't forget the bug juice, or you'll likely die of blood loss.

"I also feel that guides are somewhat of a hoax as far as fishing goes." -- Fin_Addict, a.k.a. Mr. Utah
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Re: [TroutBumDave] W-54 W-57 W-53 W-52 W-51 W-48 W-49 W-56 W-47 In reply to
I've hiked to round lake and it is a hike and a half. Straight up the mountain. Nice area for sure.

Fishing and trains...what else is there? BASEBALL.......