I've made a mental commitment to go out into the winter wonderland of Utah's wild Weber river and wrangle up some whitefish. As soon as I get through the holidays, I'm going. I remember how to nymph fish. Let's see, it was a prince nymph, a split shot, and an indicator; lob this up into the head of a nice deep run, control the drag with a mend or two and when the indicator pauses, set the hook.
I promised a co-worker a few whitefish for dinner. He loves them. Back when I used to fish all winter long, I would take him a limit of whites. The arrangement is that I don't have to do anything but put a limit in a bucket and take them directly to him. He fillets them, coats them with fish Shake-N- Bake, throws them in an oven for a few minutes and then serves. It actually sounds good, although, I have only eaten whitefish smoked.
I know a few areas on the Weber to visit, but my favorite places are on private property and with the "new" law passed by the legislature last session it will keep me off that water. I had made a deal with the landowner about ten years ago and had verbal permission to enter his property from a public bridge. A couple of inconsiderate fly fishermen ruined my access by blocking his gate with their vehicle one day. He left them a note telling them that he needed to use the gate to haul feed down to his cattle and to please not block it in the future. He told me that he found the note hooked to his gate with a note on the back telling him where he could stick his feed and his cattle using some colorful language. He decided to post his property after that. Even with the ruling to allow access from public easements, I never went back on that property. His stretch of water has some nice whitefish, the biggest I have tangled with on the Weber. It also had nice browns and a few cutthroat.
I will venture out into the waters that are public. I'll be the one with the plastic bucket. Hopefully, I can place a few whities in it for my friend. He keeps hinting about going out with me and learning how to catch them. He's approaching 80 years old, and I don't really see it happening. The smile on his face when I bring him a bucket of whitefish makes me happy. Thinking about him fixing them and eating them makes me smile.
Maybe sometime in the near future the two smiles will be between the private landowners along the rivers and the fishermen who would love to fish the public waters flowing through those properties. First, we have to learn to be civil and charitable human beings, and that goes for both fisherman and landowners.