Utah Travel Headlines Blog

Thursday, June 26, 2008

4th of July Celebrations in Utah

Communities across Utah will host Fourth of July events next week, and visitors are always welcome to join the festivities. Wherever you are, you won't be far away from a celebration. Below we list some of the events.

Cedar City Concert and Fireworks Display - July 4th
Red, White & Blue Concert and Fireworks Display Held at Brian Head Town Park. Event is free. For more information contact 888-677-2810.

Circlevilles 4th of July Celebration- July 4th
Enjoy Food & Drink, Kids Games, Bingo, Horseshoes, a parade and more. Located on Main Street in Circleville.

Delta’s July 4th Celebration- July 4th
Celebrations include an early morning breakfast, parade, demolition derby, fireworks, and other activities. Event located at Delta City Park and Main Street. For more information contact Karen Johnson at 435-864-2759.

Filmore’s 4th of July Celebration - July 4th
Fourth of July festivities begin in Fillmore with an early morning breakfast, followed by a Main Street parade. After the parade, the day is filled with activities for everyone ending with fireworks. For more information contact Jack or Linda Davies at 435-743-5169.

Gunnison Hometown Patriots Day- July 3rd through July 4th
Celebrations include dinner at the City Park, auction, fireworks, youth dance, breakfast, a flag raising ceremony, games, and more. Admission is free. For more information contact Kelly Frandsen at 435-528-7315 or visit sanpete.com/events.

Huntington Heritage Days- July 4th and 5th
Thursday consists of a pet contest, idol contest, ice cream social, dessert contest and MECCA bike ride. Come Friday and enjoy a fun run, entertainment, inflatable games, booths, kid’s parade at 9:30, and the regular parade at 10 am. Fireworks will be at dusk at Huntington Arena. For more information call 435-687-9737.

Magna 4th of July Celebration- July 4th- 6th
Events include the Lions Club Breakfast $3 for kids under 12, $5 for Adults, The Bill Collings 5k fun run/walk, a carnival, and parade. For more details contact Lisa Henrie at 801-301-3318.

Manti July 4th Celebebration- July 4th
All day activities take place at Manti City Park. Admission is free. For more information contact Kaye Crane at www.sanpete.com/events.

Mayfield Pioneer Day Celebration- July 4th
Celebrations begin at 10 am at the City Park. Activities include games, food, entertainment, a duck race, a parade and more. Admission is free. For more information contact Lee Sorenson at 435-528-5700.

Moab’s Independence Day Celebration
The Moab Area Chamber of commerce’s annual 4th of July Celebration begins at 4pm and includes a parade, games, prizes, food, music and more. The night will end with spectacular fireworks. Event takes place at Swanny City Park. Call 435-259-7814 for more information.

Moroni July 4th Celebration- June 28 through July 4
The week includes a Softball tournament, Moroni’s Famous BBQ Turkey Dinner and more. Takes place at Moroni City Recreational Park. Contact Greg Morley at 435-436-8455 for more information.

Mt. Pleasant Hub City Days and 9th Annual Blackhawk Rendezvous and Rodeo- July 3- 5
Freedom Rally in the High School auditorium and Mt. Pleasant rodeo arena. Other activities include children’s parade, mammoth parade, Blackhawk Mountain Man Rendezvous, fireworks and more. For more information contact Monte Bona at 435-462-2502.

Neola 4th of July Celebration- July 4th and 5th
Celebrations include Parade, Barbeque, Kids Rodeo, and 4th of July Rodeo. Event location: Neola Community Park, Duchesne. For more information call 435-353-4366.

Oakley's 4th of July Celebration and Rodeo- June 2nd through 5th
Festivities include PRCA Rodeo, horse show, barbecue, fireworks and more. For more information call 435 -783- 5734 or visit oakleycity.com.

Ogden’s Hot Rock'n 4th- July 4th
Includes a variety of activities and professional entertainment. The Stirrin’ Dirt Demolition Derby starts at 6 pm and the night ends with a firework show starting at 10 pm. For more information contact the American Dream Foundation at 801-399-2111. Visit hotrockn4th.com/HOTROCK.html for more information.

Panguitch 4th of July Celebration/FFA Jr. Rodeo- July 4th and 5th
Celebrate the 4th of July in Panguitch Utah. Don't forget to stick around for the FFA Jr. Rodeo. For more information contact 435-676-8949 or visit triplecarena.com.

Park City's Traditional Independence Day Celebration- July 4th
All-day activities: pancake breakfast at City Park; 5K walk/run; mid-morning parade down Main Street followed by a picnic, free live entertainment and games for children at City Park; annual doubles volleyball tournament; fireworks display at dusk. For more information call 435-649-6100.

Utah Symphony Presents A Patriotic Celebration in Park City.
David Cho and the Utah Symphony salute all things American during their annual “Patriotic Celebration.” For more information contact Philina Saltas at 801-869-9007.

Parowan 4th of July Parade- July 4th
Parowan Main St beginning at 10am. A Great parade and fire department games at the park. Located on Main Street in Cedar City. For more information call 435-559-4504.

Pleasant Valley Days- July 4th and 5th
Events include pet show, American Idol contest, old fashioned ice cream social and parade Saturday morning 10 am. Rock wall and other games. Visit pleasantvalleydays.com for more information.

Provo America's Freedom Festival
America's Freedom Festival features some of largest patriotic events in the United States.

Colonial Days - (July 2-5) Three days of live entertainment, interacting with Founding Fathers and other colonial friends.

Grand Parade - (July 4)The largest parade of its kind in Utah featuring freedom through bands, floats, and local and national performers.

Stadium of Fire - (July 4)One of the largest firework productions with headline entertainers, novelty acts, and large-scale field production numbers.
For more information Call 801-818-1776 or visit utahvalley.org.

Salt Lake Liberty Days- July 4th and 5th
Celebrate our Independence with a mini-rodeo, relay races, old-time baseball game, patriotic program in the Bowery and more. Admission is $8 for Adults $6 for children and seniors. For more information contact 801-582-1847 or visit thisistheplace.org.

Sandy’s Fourth of July Celebration- July 4th
7:00 AM with a 5k fun run and the sanctioned 10k "Sandy Classic." The day will be filled with music, food and craft vendors. In the evening there will be a parade, concert, and fireworks. For more information call 801-567-6097.

South Salt Lake Freedom Festival- June 28 thru July 4th
Rotary Club breakfast at Fitts Park starting at 9 am on the 28th, Freedom Fest Parade on June 28th starting at 9 am, and freedom Fest Fireworks on July 3rd starting at 6 pm. Visit the website at ssl.state.ut.us for more information.

St. George Fourth of July Celebration- July 4th
Celebrate the 4th in St. George.

Tooele County
Chamber of Commerce July 4th Breakfast at Veterans Memorial Park, Independence Day Parade on Main Street, and the Tooele Bit N’ Spur Rodeo at the Deseret Peak Complex. For more information contact Tooele County Chamber at 435-882-0690.

West Point City Independence Day Celebration- July 3rd and 4th
This two-day celebration includes a community dinner, entertainment, fireworks, grand parade, contests, games, food, you name it! Celebrations located at Loy Blake Memorial Park. For more information contact Joann Stoddard at 801-776-0970.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Monet to Picasso - Major Art Exhibit Opens in Utah

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts has opened a remarkable exhibition, Monet to Picasso, from the Cleveland Museum of Art. Masterworks by such renowned artists as Renoir, Degas, Monet, van Gogh, Dalí, Picasso and Matisse will grace the walls of the Utah museum’s first floor galleries from June 23 through September 21, 2008.

Monet to Picasso will allow you the rare opportunity to see an extraordinary gathering of work up close by some of the most important European modern masters of the last two centuries.
- Daily 10:30 am – 5:30 pm
- Wednesday 10:30 am – 8 pm
- Closed Holidays

Location: Marcia & John Price Museum Building, U of UAddress: 410 Campus Center Drive, Salt Lake City

801-581-7332
Website

Monday, June 23, 2008

World's Best Places to See the Stars

National Bridges National Monument is in the news, recognized as one of the best places on earth where you can enjoy a truly "dark sky" with a pristine view of the stars.

Writer Rebecca Ruiz explains in this news article. Here are excerpts.

"The night sky is disappearing before our eyes. The thousands of stars once visible to the naked eye are now obscured by the glare of industrial light and the haze of pollution. This is particularly true in the U.S. and Europe, where light researchers estimate that a child born today in either region has a one in 10 chance of witnessing a truly dark sky.

"The first park to receive the designation of "International Dark Sky Park" was Utah's Natural Bridges National Monument."

The National Park Service website for Natural Bridges adds these tidbits:

"The beauty of the night sky, the lack of light pollution, and the National Park Service commitment to night skies as a natural resource, led the International Dark-Sky Association... to designate Natural Bridges National Monument as the world’s first International Dark Sky Park.

"This is one of the darkest national parks in the country," Jones says, referring to a comprehensive study of night sky quality conducted by the National Park Service.

Just how dark is it? "It's the only Bortle Class 2 sky they've documented," said Chris Luginbuhl of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz, and a board member of the International Dark-Sky Association. "In plain English that means it’s the darkest or starriest sky they’ve seen while doing these reviews. The Bortle system is a 10-level scale with one and two being the darkest skies and 10 having the most light pollution."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

2007-08 Ski Season Was Record For Utah

The official numbers are in and they show more skiers than ever enjoyed Utah's slopes. Below are excerpts from news reports about the record season.

Deseret Morning News
For the fifth consecutive year, skiers and snowboarders have come to Utah in record numbers. Final count for the 2007-08 ski season is 4,258,900 skier days.

And although the increase wasn't huge, said Nathan Rafferty, president of Ski Utah, "Utah is seeing increases each year ... we've hit records, now, for five consecutive years.

"What makes it even more meaningful is we can't say the increase was because other resorts around the country had bad snow. We had great snow. Alta recorded 702 total inches for the season. But other areas around the country also had great snow years. It's hard to compare numbers when we have great snow and others don't, but this year everyone had great snow."

Salt Lake Tribune
Another record-breaking year in attracting visitors to the slopes has made Utah's ski industry a billion-dollar-a-year business for the first time.

One aspect of this season's figure particularly pleased Ski Utah President Nathan Rafferty. The 4.3 percent boost in skier visits surpassed the cumulative 2.8 percent increase by other Western ski states - Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, New Mexico and Montana - all of which also had good snow years.

"There was absolutely no doubt it was a beyond-spectacular winter in terms of powder days and quality of skiing," he said, praising the ability of resorts to cope with big dumps and provide "a quality experience."

Utah BusinessWith another record-breaking year behind them, Ski Utah is planning for a sixth phenomenal winter season in 2008-09. “The industry’s five year history indicates continuous growth,” Kunzer said. “The ski industry and tourism in general are one of Utah’s greatest resources. With five national park and 13 world-class ski resorts, we have a plethora of recreation opportunities to share with visitors.”

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

New Dino Dig Yields Trove of Fossils

A major new dinosaur fossil site has been discovered in Utah, this one on BLM ground near Hanksville.

BLM scientists and local rock hounders have long known fossils could be found in the area, but the potential magnitude of the site was not discovered until a group from the Burpee Museum of Natural History dug into it. They found "a logjam" of bones.

BLM announced the find yesterday, generating headlines around the world. BLM is closing the area to public access to protect its scientific value. Below are excerpts from some news reports.

Chicago Sun Times
A newly discovered batch of well-preserved dinosaur bones, petrified trees and even freshwater clams in southeastern Utah may provide fresh clues about life in the region some 150 million years ago.

The Bureau of Land Management announced the find Monday, calling the quarry near Hanksville ''a major dinosaur fossil discovery.''

It could be a decade or so before the full importance of the Hanksville quarry is known, Foss said.

''It does have the potential to match the other major quarries in Utah,'' Foss said. ''Or it may not.''

Deseret Morning News
In three weeks of excavating the preserved river channel near Hanksville, a team from the Burpee Museum of Natural History in Rockford, Ill., found four long-necked sauropods, two carnivorous dinosaurs and a possible herbivorous Stegosaurus.

"We have not had a discovery of this magnitude in many, many years," BLM Utah Paleontologist Dr. Scott Foss said. "They're just scratching the surface. The potential is great."

Salt Lake Tribune
Scientists are confident the find could rival Utah's famous Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry and Dinosaur National Monument in terms of expanding our biological understanding of the late Jurassic period.

The Morrison formation is the most fertile ground for dinosaur prospecting in North America, yielding some of the best specimens of brand-name dinosaurs, including Utah's signature fossil, allosaurus. Accordingly, the Burpee group is discovering specimens already familiar to science and school children: allosaurus, stegosaurus, apatosaurus, camarasaurus, brachiosaurus, and diplodocus. The last four are sauropods, massive planteaters that grew to 60 to 90 feet in length and are easily recognized by their long necks and tiny heads. The only complete brachiosaurus specimens have been recovered in Africa, so the Hanksville specimen could present a rare opportunity to compare how the same dinosaur evolved on different continents, Bonnan said.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hightail it to Catch The Wave


The Wave

The Wave is a unique geologic formation on the Utah/Arizona border. It is highly photogenic and attracts hikers and photographers from around the world.

Hugo Martin has written this descriptive newspaper article about his experience at "Utah's Wave." Below are excerpts:

"Imagine walking into a vat of cinnamon taffy. That's what went through my mind as we entered the Wave, a weird, dreamlike world of swirling colors and psychedelic patterns in the rock. Maybe it was the desert heat, but it all looked like gooey taffy, stretched over huge mounds and 50-foot canyon walls. The surrounding buttes were heaps of melting rocky road ice cream.

"The Wave's undulating walls are lined with burnt sienna, pink, gray, turquoise and pale green. The bands mostly run horizontally, but at spots they zigzag and shimmy before falling back into their previous pattern.

"...When she first walked into the Wave, (Susie) Shults said she imagined herself flying, swooping down along the rocky surface, soaking up the colored bands and banking off the undulating canyon walls. I understood what she was feeling. This place is a hallucination set in stone..."


For the sake of accuracy, we should acknowledge that The Wave is actually in Arizona. The BLM office that oversees the area is in Utah, and the hike starts in Utah, but you cross the state line as you hike.

Martin suggests lodging in Page, overlooking Lake Powell, which is a great place to make a base camp if you want to explore the region. However, the closest lodging is in Kanab, Utah, and that makes an even better base if you want to see major nearby attractions like the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park.

Utah.com offers this information page about The Wave, and this video clip showing the hike.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Utah Shakespearean Festival Begins June 19

The Tony Award winning Utah Shakespearean Festival will soon kick off its 47th year, with a summer season running June 19 to August 30. A fall season quickly follows, running from September 19 to October 25.

The Festival's website provides the information below.

The Festival’s three stages will feature four plays by William Shakespeare, a farce by Molière, an epic romance by Edmond Rostand, an exciting and heart-warming musical that can be enjoyed by the entire family, a suspense-filled mystery, and a hilarious modern comedy.

During the summer season, theatre lovers can find their passion in a variety of stories and characters as the
Festival presents Shakespeare under the stars in one of the closest replicas of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in the country.

Summer audiences in the Adams Shakespearean Theatre will witness the destructive power of jealousy in Shakespeare’s Othello and the power of romance, seduction and deception in Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona, as well as the sweeping passion of romance, poetry and devotion found in Edmond Rostand’s beloved Cyrano de Bergerac, featuring Festival-favorite Brian Vaughn in the title role,
and directed by David Ivers, a popular Festival actor.

The summer season will be rounded out in the beautiful indoor Randall L. Jones Theatre by three classics. Theatre lovers will laugh and maybe even cheer at our updated version of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew; they will more fully understand the power of family love and loyalty in the face of change in the world-famous musical Fiddler on the Roof; and they will giggle, titter, snicker, and outright howl with laughter at the antics of the hilarious characters in Molière’s classic farce, The School for Wives.

These six plays rotate continuously, giving theatre-lovers the unique opportunity to see all six plays in three days. Completing the Festival experience is a number of activities to enhance everyone’s enjoyment of the plays, and most of them are free. For instance, The Greenshow features song, dance and rollicking humor each evening before the plays. It’s a chance to sit on the grass, soak in the evening sunshine, and enjoy a freshly baked English tart or other snack while interacting with the players.

In addition, Festival days are filled with literary, production, and actor seminars, as well as play orientations, backstage tours, and the New American Playwrights Project, featuring new works by
emerging American playwrights.

See the website for details.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

See Bald Eagles and Baby Eaglets

(Note: this is a news release from Utah's Division of Wildlife Resources, June 12, 2008)

See Bald Eagles on June 26 and 28

Family includes two baby eaglets

Salt Lake City -- You can see two adult bald eagles—and their two baby eaglets—during free field trips in June.

The Division of Wildlife Resources will host the field trips on Thursday, June 26 and Saturday, June 28.

The trips will leave at 6 p.m. each evening from the Department of Natural Resources, 1594 W. North Temple in Salt Lake City.

There’s no cost to attend the field trips, but reservations are required. To reserve a spot call Bob Walters, Watchable Wildlife coordinator for the DWR, at (801) 538-4771.

Participants will follow Walters in their vehicles, traveling on mostly paved roads to the viewing site near the southeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake.

Walters will have some spotting scopes and binoculars, but if you have your own binoculars or a spotting scope, please bring it. “Also, dress for warm weather, and bring some mosquito spray and sunscreen,” he says.

You can leave the viewing site anytime during the evening.

Eaglets just starting to fly

If you attend one of the field trips, there’s a good chance you’ll see the eaglets make some of their first flights from their nest and back. Walters says the eaglets should be learning to fly by the time the trips are held.

By the end of June, the eaglets should be about 11 to 12 weeks old. Walters says the eaglets and their parents will probably remain at the nest site until early July. Then they’ll leave the nest site and fly to other areas, probably outside the state.

Walters says bald eagles often nest at the same site every year. The adult eagles you see on June 26 or June 28 could be the same pair that has nested at the site since 1996.

Before this pair of eagles, 1928 was the last time biologists documented bald eagles nesting in the northern part of the state.

Bald eagles first nested at this northern Utah site in 1996. Two eaglets have been raised each year during seven of the past 12 years. During the remaining six years, three eaglets were raised successfully each year. “That’s a total of 32 eaglets over a 13-year period,” Walters says. “This Great Salt Lake eagle pair is extremely productive.”

Walters says the success the eagles have found illustrates the quality and the importance of the streamside and lake habitat in the greater Great Salt Lake area. “Habitat within the greater Great Salt Lake area is important to these eagles and many other species of wildlife,” he says. “Everything possible should be done to protect and preserve it.”

In addition to the northern Utah site, biologists know of 11 or 12 other active bald eagle nest sites in Utah. “And there could easily be more nest sites we haven’t found yet,” Walters says.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Castle Rock Cutoff is Open at Powell

Lake Powell's water level has risen to the point that the Castle Rock Cut can now be navigated, even in large boats.

The cut is a shortcut between Wahweap Bay and Warm Creek Bay, cutting across the north side of Antelope Island.

People launching at Wahweap Marina and heading up the main channel can save almost 10 miles each way by using the cut. By boat, 10 miles is significant and translates in considerable savings of time and fuel.

The cut can be navigated when the lake level is above 3,620 feet. The lake officially passed that mark yesterday. Small boats with little draw were using the cut for a few days before it was officially declared open.

KSL TV has this report on the shortcut's opening.

Inflows will continue to be high for a couple more weeks. Right now, the lake is rising almost a foot a day. That's an incredible amount of water filling a lake that is about 150 miles long.

After spring runoff ends, the lake level will fall slowly through the summer. But it will probably not fall enough to close the cut during this boating season, which extends through October.

The lake is now high enough to allow boat launching at Hite, at the top of the lake, using an old roadbed. The marina at Hite was removed several years ago and so there are no on-water services. There is a gas station/convenience store and primitive camping area.

The upper lake has muddy water and considerable floating debris from runoff. As that clears the upper lake will become attractive because some of the lake's best bass and striped bass fishing is in that area.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Off Road in the San Rafael Swell

4Wheel Drive & Sport Utility Magazine has this new article on off road adventure in the San Rafael Swell. Below are excerpts:

A wide-open, tire-sucking sand wash; a narrow, crooked canyon to nowhere; a warm campfire; an ice-cold beverage at the end of a hard, hot, dusty trail; an ancient, intriguing rock painting; or a beautiful red, blue, and white sunrise. Well, I'm here to tell you that the San Rafael Swell area is swell! And it can give you all that I've listed above in abundance, time after time.

Those of us who travel to Moab from the West have long been intrigued by these curious crevasses. On each of my trips to Moab from California - which began in 1968 - I stopped at the scenic overlooks along I-70 to stretch and to wonder at the magical and mysterious mountainsides that fell away from the highway to the north and the south. Riotous ribbons of roads, trails, and tire tracks can be seen from the overlooks. It would seem that every canyon had some type of track in it that just begged me to explore it to its end.

Read the entire article.

Monday, June 09, 2008

National ATV Jamboree

The National ATV Jamboree will be held June 23-28, in the mountains above Fillmore in central Utah.

Participants will gather at the POD in Fillmore City to begin the Jamboree. Guides offer approximately 30 different rides each day in the Pahvant Mountains, with experienced local guides making stops along the way to describe history, geology, flora and fauna.

Participants will enjoy seeing wild turkeys, elk and mule deer as you travel the Paiute ATV Trail and experience some of the most spectacular scenery you can imagine. Pizza parties, pot luck dinners and a progressive dinner in Chalk Creek Canyon are just some of the activities planned during the week-long event.

ATV riding is allowed on designated Fillmore City streets.

More information

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Days of the Old West Rodeo

This professional rodeo will be held June 12-14 at the Millard County Fairgrounds, 187 South Manzanita, Delta, Utah. The information below was provided by Millard County Tourism.

Rodeo fans can enjoy a colorful PRCA event and cheer their favorite cowboys at the Days of the Old West Rodeo. Top contestants compete in steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, PWBR Barrel Racing, tie-down roping, and everyone’s favorite—bull riding.

This is a Dodge Series Rodeo event, with stock contractor Bar T Rodeo Inc. Our announcer is Chad Nicholson. The specialty act for 2008 is The Wild Child, one of the most spectacular acts in professional rodeo, combining his abilities as a bull fighter and professional motocross racer into an amazing act of comedy and wild stunts.

Rodeo performances take place for 2008 are June 12, 13 & 14. at 8 p.m. each evening

Ticket Prices are: $10.00 for Adults and $6.00 for Children. Children under 3 are free. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Sahara Motors, 597 North Highway 6 in Delta or nightly at the gate.

Admission: $12 Adults, $6.00 children

For more information contact Sherri Callister, 435-406-1054.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

NYT: 31 Places To Go This Summer

Several Utah locations are included in The New York Times list of "31 Places to Go This Summer." Below are excerpts.

5. A WESTERN ROAD TRIP

You could join the thousands of visitors vying for a glance of the fabled Grand Canyon before retiring to cafeteria lines and dorm-size rooms (surrounded by those same throngs). Or you could opt instead to navigate a series of mind-bendingly beautiful mesas and wild canyons in the Capitol Reef National Park, in almost near solitude. En route from Las Vegas, is Bryce Canyon — shades of the Grand Canyon with a fraction of the tourists. A bit farther, in Torrey, Utah (population about 200), the Cafe Diablo on Main Street (435-425-3070; www.cafediablo.net), serves rattlesnake cakes with ancho-rosemary aioli, glazed salmon, and margaritas at outdoor tables with views of the surrounding mountains. The nearby Hell’s Backbone Grill in Boulder, Utah (population 1850), on the edge of Escalante’s enormous slick-rock chasm, also serves food that’s strikingly good (Utah North Highway 12; 435-335-7464). Along the way, the stretch of road on Highways 89 and 12 is one of the country’s most stunning. (Information on Capitol Reef National Park, including camping permits: www.nps.gov; 435-425-3791.)

12. MONUMENT VALLEY
You’ve seen it in countless spaghetti westerns and Marlboro ads. But the iconic red buttes and mesas of Monument Valley, in the heart of Navajo country, offers more than just postcard-ready views of the quintessential American West. The wind-scraped valley, which spreads along the Utah and Arizona border like a rock sculpture garden, also draws horseback riders, mountain bikers, river rafters and other outdoor enthusiasts. Sacred Monument Tours (www.monumentvalley.net) has horseback rides starting at about $57. Tours are also available at Goulding’s Lodge (www.gouldings.com), currently the only lodging in the valley, at least until the View Hotel (www.monumentvalleyview.com) opens sometime in the fall. Other services can be found through the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department (www.navajonationparks.org).

22. LAKE POWELL With nearly 200 miles of clear blue water and stark red rock, Lake Powell is a boating paradise. The lake, which straddles the Utah-Arizona border in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, is the second-largest artificial reservoir in the United States, after Lake Mead. And since you’ll also need a place to stay, why not do so on a houseboat? Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas (888-896-3829; www.lakepowell.com) has a large fleet that includes the 46-foot-long Voyager XL, with an outdoor grill, stargazing cushions and enough beds to sleep eight, for $2,415 for three days.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Catching Fat, Sassy Scofield Trout

I went fishing at Scofield Reservoir over the weekend and had a great time. The weather was perfect - warm but not hot. The scenery is beautiful up there. The snow is almost gone now - just a little bit in shaded areas.

The fishing, well, it was a little slow for us. We worked hard through the late afternoon and only caught three fish - two rainbows and a tiger trout. They were fat, healthy fish. Maybe too fat. Definitely well fed, apparently dining on Mayflies. Perhaps the fishing would have been better had the fish been a little more hungry...

Others we talked to reported about the same. Lots of fish in the reservoir - we could see them on the finder. But lazy fish not willing to exert much effort to bit my hook.

Except we saw one guy who was really catching them. He was fishing dead minnows on a long leader under a bobber. Scofield supports a large population of minnows (I think they are red shiners). This guy starts his day by using a minnow trap to catch a bunch, which he keeps on ice and uses as bait throughout the day. (In Utah you can fish with dead minnows, but it is illegal to use them if they are live. Also, the minnows can't be small game fish and cannot be from an endangered/protected species.)

Scofield has a lot of cutthroat and tiger trout that love to eat minnows. Since this guy was using their favorite food, a minnow the fish recognize and love, he was catching big fish all over the place.

Now, I report this with some degree of hesitancy. When I fish I normally practice catch and release, and I fish with flies or lures. When I hook a fish using a fly the hook usually penetrates its lip and is easy to remove. Fish often swallow bait and so the hook goes deep. It is very difficult to release fish unharmed if they have swallowed a baited hook.

I don't have any problem with people keeping a few fish, within the legal limit, if they really will eat them. Scofield has a good trout population and it won't hurt anything if a few fish are harvested. Indeed, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has increased the trout limit at Scofield to 8 fish, to encourage anglers to fish there. (Statewide, the normal limit is 4 trout).

That said, use minnows or other bait if you want a great fishing experience, and you will really eat the fish you harvest.

Me, I'll stick with my flies and lures. It is still early in the season. As the water warms a bit the fish will become more aggressive I'll do better there.

Here's more fishing information about Scofield, including a map and more photos.

Scofield is a beautiful reservoir with a very nice campground. It's worth a visit.

- Dave
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