KSL Outdoors: East Fork of Bear River

Welcome to KSL Outdoors, I’m Adam Eakle and welcome to the high Uintahs. We are here along the East Fork of the Bear River. Today we are going to show you some projects that are happening on this stretch of the river by T.U. and by the DWR. And, we are going to go out fishing with the guy that wrote the book on fishing Utah. Our good buddy, Brett Prettyman from Trout Unlimited.

(Brett Prettyman) This is one of the first places that I remember fishing with my dad.

In May, After nearly 25 years of working for the Salt Lake Tribune, writing about fish, Brett Prettyman put down his pen and picked up his fly rod and joined the ranks of Trout Unlimited to pursue his passion of protecting fish and the waters they thrive in.

Brett Prettyman, Trout Unlimited, Intermountain Communications Director ) The favorite thing I covered was fishing and issues surrounding fish and headwaters and that’s exactly what Trout Unlimited is all about and it was an organization that I covered for years and admired and thought there’s a lot of opportunity for me doing what I love and protecting what I love and making sure there is opportunities like this in the future for my kids and grandkids.

OH Nice better fish too. I’m coming your way. That’s the best fish of the day, big old cutty. Nice gawl they are so pretty.

(Adam) That’s a pretty big fish for this little river. Yeah it is.

No way look at that guy. For a little tiny river like this. Pretty.

That’s a great fish anywhere. Yeah and just the colors. I always say these little fish what they lack in size, they make up for in beauty and he had both. And attitude. And attitude. There you go.

When anglers think of chasing trout in Utah, most tend to go to the Green, the Provo, the Logan and maybe the Weber rivers, but not many know of the importance of the Bear River and what it means to one of our native species, the Bonneville Cutthroat trout.


Got a cutty.

Come here little guy.

Native of the Bonneville Basin of Utah, Southeastern Idaho, Southwestern Wyoming and Eastern Nevada, Bonneville Cutthroat Trout today only occupy about 30 percent of their historical range and over 50 percent of that range is here in the Bear River Basin.

You know they have such a short growing season up here, they don’t get a chance sometimes to get real big. But, biologists are finding our that some of these fish are actually traveling a long ways to get to these areas to spawn.

Yeah we think about salmon or steelhead and their migration and we don’t think that happens much in Utah outside of the kokanee. But, about five years ago I was on the Wyoming range. a grad student had put telemetry in the main stem Bear and was surprised to see some of the fish had swam 40-50 miles up the tributary.

They were surprised, pleased to see them go that far. I was up there fishing for them.

We were catching 20 inch plus fish forty miles in this tributary that in some places you could jump across.

As a Utah guy, i thought if this is happening with the main stem of Bear River Cutthroat trout in Wyoming, it’s probably happening in Utah too.

and in fact they were. Bonneville Cutthroat trout that were caught near Evanston Wyoming, were tagged and found to have traveled to the headwaters of the Bear River.

(Brett) Yeah those fish are in Evanston, they are playing in the water park they’ve created there for the kayakers and then they come up here. There’s a chance to make that a bigger thing for more of those fish to come up and do what they are supposed to do.

(cast) oh nice. (hit) oh there he is! woo! what a slurp I loved it.

Trout Unlimited is working on projects to make sure that Bonneville Cutts have a better chance to return here to spawn. We’ll show you some their efforts a little later in the show.

Is that a brookie?

Yup, look at the white fins. Yup.

Gawl they are so pretty, there you go, there you go.

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