Adventures in Fly-Fishing

Flyfishing-cSince I have a Type-A personality, I didn’t know what to expect when I embarked with All Seasons Adventures, a local outfitter, for a fly-fishing excursion on the nearby Provo River. For those who don’t quite know what fly-fishing is all about, and I was one of them, it’s a form of angling in which an artificial lure, or “fly,” is used to catch a fish. All Seasons Adventures typically takes its guests to some great local streams that are referred to as “blue-ribbon.” The Provo River, where I went, happens to be one of them.

Flyfishing-aJustin, a guide for this local outfitter, picked us up at our door and drove us along the Jordanelle Reservoir, all the way down to the road to Midway, where we eventually stopped at a secluded parking lot, tucked away along the Provo River. There, we were outfitted with all the necessary gear starting with waterproof waders and wading shoes. In terms of personal difficulty, getting in and out of the intimidating waders was the highest challenge of the day. Once strapped into these protective garments we were given rods and disappeared into the woods coming out on the river bank.

The sun was shining; the temperature absolutely perfect and the ambient air was just cooled enough by the cold mountain water. Justin began by telling us about fish eating habits and the conversation quickly turned into an entomology lesson about all of the creatures, big and small, that are part of a Utah trout diet.  Justin literally left no stone unturned as he picked up a variety of rocks from the river bed and showed us that they represented a well-stocked pantry for all fish swimming in the Provo River.

flyfishing-bSoon, it was time to get acquainted with the rods, the lines and the different types of lures. At that point, we were told to get into the element and our guide warned us to walk very carefully, one step at a time, making especially sure to only take the next step when the other foot felt fully anchored on the river bed. Now, with our group in the midst of the cool river, with water well above our knees, Justin explained to us what “catch and release” was all about and how it was an essential practice in recreational fishing for conserving the fish population.

Flyfishing-dFinally, we went over casting. By that time I had received so much information that I felt overwhelmed and ready to mix it all up. That’s when Justin re-assured us that being a bit confused wasn’t as bad as we thought, and that all these bits of data would fall into place as soon as we began practicing. Began we did; quite tentatively at first and then gaining confidence until we almost felt we had done it for a lifetime.

Justin had also warned us that patience was the key to success and that catching a fish was a statistical number’s game. As the morning unfolded, time flew so fast that I couldn’t believe I had been in the water for more than one hour, until our guide summoned us to move to another spot. There were only three in our group and were able to spend quality, one-on-one time with Justin who emphasized that – as a matter of policy – All Seasons Adventures had never more than three guests per guide.

flyfishing-eSoon someone in the group felt the tension on the rod and realized he had a bite. This was fish number one and a large one to boot! The fish was aptly netted by Justin and the lucky fisher had the chance to release it into its natural habitat. As the morning came to a close, eight fish had been caught by the group, but I could unfortunately lay claim to only one of them! Soon, time sped on and suddenly it was early afternoon when we packed up, took of the waders (which again was the hardest part of the job) and left the beautiful Provo River.

I surprised myself by having remained so calm, so quiet, so patient, and for once let time go by just like the flow of the river, without realizing that I had spent about four solid hours just concentrating on some elusive trout… I sure didn’t expect to be “hooked” on this fly-fishing proposition, but had been smitten and never did I feel the urge of checking my phone the whole time I was in the water. This, in and of itself, should be considered a remarkable achievement!

So whether you’ve already tried fly-fishing or are a complete novice, this is the kind of experience you’ll want to repeat again and again. With such a pristine river only minutes away, all you need is to sign-up for a half-day or full-day trip and your fly fishing experience will become a memory that you will be eager to share with everyone you know.

flyfishing-hIf you are not quite sure yet about the idea, All Seasons Adventures, offers Casting Clinics late afternoon and early evening, not far from your Deer Valley summer home, just by the Deer Valley Plaza, where Central Reservation check-in and Deer Valley Grocery~Café are located. These Casting Clinics will teach you how to cast a dry fly, tie a knot, you’ll learn about entomology and the rest of it. Just call All Seasons Adventures at 435-649-9619 or visit them on the web at www.allseasonsadventures.com

Check out the video below for more fly-fishing with All Seasons Adventures!

Snowshoeing to Fireside Dining

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As this winter season ended, we wanted to try one more great snow activity: a snowshoe tour at dusk just before a delightful dinner at Fireside Dining at Empire Canyon Lodge! Marrying these two activities is almost like taking a trip through nature that miraculously leads directly to some old-world mountain setting.

Because of the changing snow density, spring season snowshoeing always entails more workout than during mid-winter and after a strenuous trek all the way to the bottom of the Daly Chutes, we returned to the Empire Lodge where a true “mountain feast” was awaiting us at Fireside. I have a soft spot for Raclette and took full advantage of this high-energy, Swiss delicacy while reminiscing the good old days when I still was living in the Alps.

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After one generous serving of Raclette and its delectable accompaniments, the beef medallions was definitely my favorite main entree, along with a nice serving of “haricots verts” (these fine French green beans, sauteed the Gallic way…) This wonderful dinner was crowned by some tantalizing desserts inundated with melted caramel, white and black chocolate. These wonderful dishes made us forget the effort we had just produced while strapped to our snowshoes and almost succeeded in restoring us to full strength, ready for another round of snowshoeing under a moonlit sky!

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That first – and only – snowshoe tour of the day was led by Justin, who works for All Seasons Adventure, Dear Valley’s on-site, independent activity provider. Before dinner, I spent a few moments chatting with Justin and here’s what he had to share about snowshoeing at Deer Valley Resort.

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How long have been guiding snowshoeing tours?

I’ve been guiding for 4 1/2 years, snow-shoeing the whole time and guiding in a number of other activities.

What kind of special skills – if any – are required to snowshoe?

Nothing in particular; just go out and do it. We cater to any fitness and skill levels. From beginners to the most advanced and ambitious snowshoers.

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What’s a good time to go snowshoeing?

You can do it during the day, morning, afternoon, dusk or evening, by star-light. We can organize a dinner snowshoe like tonight at Fireside, or hike over to Silver Lake Lodge and go to the Mariposa, Royal Street Cafe, Glittertind or Goldener Hirsch.

Do you provide lights for these evening outings?

We do. A lot of time we don’t need them, as the moonlight or even starlight is usually sufficient, but we have lights in case there’s some cloud cover.

What happens if your guests are into stargazing or astronomy?

We actually have a device that you can point at the stars and that uses a laser and GPS locator which can tell you what star you are looking at.

How long does a typical snowshoe tour last?

Usually one hour and forty-five minutes to two hours, but we can do them as brief as 45 minutes or as long as four hours.

Can guests cancel the outing when snow is falling hard and there’s too much snow?

If it’s snowing, it’s generally a wonderful time to be out snowshoeing. If the snow fall is significant, we make sure our guide stays ahead of the participants to pack down the snow. If the weather is simply too harsh, the outing maybe canceled and there’s no-cancellation fee to the guest.

Where are you taking your guests?

It depends a lot on what they like. Often times the trails are through the trees but we can go off-trail, through powder or just stay on the packed trails. A lot of our trails offer a wonderful diversity, so we’ll just pick an itinerary based upon our guests’ needs and desires. Our main concern is to keep everyone safe within the constraints of avalanche conditions…

Is snowshoeing a family activity?

Absolutely! Younger kids may have a harder time with it, but it works perfectly for anyone from about six or seven years old up until … indefinitely. We have had octogenarians take a tour with us!

Do you have gear to fit everyone?

Yes, we offer a full range of sizes in snowshoes and poles.

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How should people dress?

We normally recommend that people wear snow-pants, dress in layers on top, have sunglasses, gloves, a hat and wear sunscreen on sunny days. We can provide over-boots which are like a Cordura gaiter that cover the whole foot in the case guests don’t have good shoes and can cover their tennis shoes to keep their feet dry.

How long in advance do we have to book a tour?

During the busy season, like Christmas, Sundance Film Festival, Presidents’ Day week-end, 48-hours in advance is recommended. Other times, we can get people out with just two or three hours notice!

Can special event be combined with your snowshoe tours?

Definitely. We can cater to our guest’s needs to create a custom tour however they’d like it. We’ve done anything from a 50 year old birthday party to even marriage proposals; you name it!

How can we reach you and where are you located at Deer Valley Resort?

We have a desk at the Snow Park Lodge that is staffed from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. everyday during the ski season. If you need to contact us on the web our address is allseasonsadventures.com or you can reach us by phone at 435-649-9619.
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**Snowshoe tours and Fireside Dining will start again in December 2013. Please call to make reservations after Labor Day.