the mirror lake experience

Today I am finally back to work after our Mirror Lake vacation. The time off started on July 17th, so I was off work for 11 days counting weekends and holidays. The actual trip was July 18th through the 23rd, five nights.

My wife has two posts about our trip, but I did want to write some stuff of my own. Some of what I’ve got here is a little disjointed if you don’t read her posts, so consider doing that before you continue here. It may even be a little disjointed if you do read them.

First thing to say – to say I love my boat (River Tam) would be a grand understatement. It’s great fun to putter around the lake. The batteries for the trolling motor lasted far longer than I could have ever expected. We put several hours of runtime on the motor, and the batteries never showed below 75% capacity. I did charge the batteries partway through the trip, but I believe I could have skipped that and had no issues at all. I have been remiss in the realm of pictures – I’ll get the boat set up with all its accessories and snap some.

Fishing is a whole different experience from a boat. When we got back from the campout, my oldest child informed her mother and stepfather that shore fishing is no longer good enough, a sentiment that I must echo. On my first fishing foray, I used the batteries as a seat and my daughter used one of the wooden plank seats. Over the course of an hour or so, we brought back five good-sized rainbow trout, and had thrown back at least that many for being too small. I had tangled rope problems with the anchor on that trip.

We went back out again the next day and caught five more. That time, I still had tangled rope problems, but the depth was shallower and I was able to get anchored. On our last full day there, I had finally found a way to keep the rope tangle free – I fed it into a bag from a camp chair, loose end first.

For the last fishing trip, I went out with our friend Joe and one of his kids. Between the three of us, we pulled in more than 20 trout, of which we kept 9, releasing the rest. Joe’s daughter caught most of the fish, so she is now a complete convert to the church of ichthyology. Since many of the fish were hooked deeply, most of them were released with the hooks still inside. The latest information from the DWR says that deeply hooked fish have about an 80% chance of survival when released quickly by cutting the line, versus about 30 percent if the hook is removed before release. The hook will dissolve in many cases, and in others the fish will manage to work it loose and spit it out.

Also on that last trip, we used camp chairs as seats, supported by the marine plywood floorboards. This worked pretty well, except that we couldn’t twist around to change positions. I was in the back of the boat facing starboard, Joe was ahead of me facing port, and his daughter was in the bow on flotation seats. I have some ideas on how to fix the seating, and a little over a week before the next campout to get them figured out.

The kids had a blast in Flubber, the smaller boat. Because there were so many very small kids, they were allowed to putter around a little bay at the southeast end, not the deeper water of the main lake. There was some disappointment at this, but they still had a ton of fun.

The rain we had during the trip was not fun. It all worked out in the end, and we didn’t get personally drenched, but thunderstorms during a campout tend to put a damper on spirits. There was also the extreme problem of mosquitoes. We dealt with that problem, at the cost of feeling grimy all the time from the double-whammy of bug spray and sunblock.

I would strongly recommend to anyone visiting the Uintas that they take a free tour of the Kamas fish hatchery. Lots of information that I found very interesting, not boring at all. I’d definitely go camping up there again, but I would probably do it at one of the other lakes for some variety.

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