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Fish Lake Elk

 
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widowmaker
(1 posts)
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Oct-11-16, 
06:59 PM (MST)
"Fish Lake Elk"

I have read all the posts on Fish Lake, and so when I drew my tag, I was ready to prove everyone wrong about the herd on Fish Lake. I started scouting in Mid July and went down 9 times to find the big bull I wanted to shoot. I saw one bull that was 340 - 2 days before the rifle hunt but I never saw him again! I'm sure that bull made to over to the private. I saw over 100 bulls but not one of the 6pts were over 310 and the majority of them were 5pts. This unit is not worth anyone blowing 10 or 12 years of your life to shoot a rag horn. I would not recommend this unit to anyone unless they're good to shoot a rag horn bull. I can go to Colorado and have the same experience and not waste 5 years of points, let alone 14 years of points.

I'm sure the division has this unit all handled and that if I give them feedback they will assure me that my experience was unique and that they know what they're doing. It's so frustrating as one who loves Utah hunting and who once believed the Division cared about the hunters and the game instead of the money. I'd love to see what other elk hunters experienced because every single other hunter I spoke to was very unhappy with the unit. I even hired a local guide to help me out for the last few days, and while he was awesome and put me on more than a dozen elk, all of them were more of the same small class of bulls. I ended up shooting a small 5pt on the last day since that was all the unit had to offer.

I had a great time with friends and family hunting the area and getting to know that area, but after helping my buddy with his archery tag chase 350 to 405 class bulls on the Boulder, I expected Fish Lake to be much better than it was since they are close to each other. Even still I hold out hope that Utah can be a great elk state if the the division would just get their act together and manage the herd like they should. Right now there is a big bull hunt going on during the spike hunt. Fish Lake is not even close to what it once was! Has anyone in other units found the same problem I did?

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  Table of Contents  

 Subject   Author   Message Date   ID 
 RE: Fish Lake ...  elkassassin      Oct-11-16   1 
 RE: Fish Lake ...  Elkslayer11...      Oct-11-16   2 
  RE: Fish Lake ...  desertpoint...      Oct-11-16   3 
 RE: Fish Lake ...  GLEDEASY      Oct-11-16   4 
  RE: Fish Lake ...  littlebigho...      Oct-11-16   5 
 RE: Fish Lake ...  stuckduck      Oct-11-16   6 
 RE: Fish Lake ...  HNTNFSH      Oct-12-16   7 
  RE: Fish Lake ...  notags2      Oct-12-16   8 
  RE: Fish Lake ...  BIGJOHNT      Oct-12-16   9 
   RE: Fish Lake ...  fullthrottle      Oct-12-16   10 
    RE: Fish Lake ...  Coyote_chas...      Oct-12-16   11 
   RE: Fish Lake ...  Shadow      Oct-12-16   12 
    RE: Fish Lake ...  BradN      Oct-12-16   13 
    RE: Fish Lake ...  bowhunt      Oct-12-16   14 
     RE: Fish Lake ...  rraney      Oct-14-16   15 
      RE: Fish Lake ...  Deerlove      Oct-14-16   16 

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  Messages in this topic  

elkassassin
(15896 posts)
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Oct-11-16, 
07:05 PM (MST)
1. "RE: Fish Lake Elk"

Kinda Like all the Spikes(Our Future Big Bulls!) Just getting the Sshiitt Shot out of them Right Now in LE Units!

Makes alot of GAWD-DAMNED Sense now don't it?

JFP!!!

She put a Big F.U. in My Future,Ya She's got a
way with Words

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Elkslayer1125
(64 posts)
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Oct-11-16, 
07:43 PM (MST)
2. "RE: Fish Lake Elk"

I hunted the unit last year, and had pretty much the same results. Ended up killing a 6 point but it was a very tough hunt.

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desertpointbrian
(1075 posts)
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Oct-11-16, 
08:18 PM (MST)
3. "RE: Fish Lake Elk"

I helped a guy last year on the archery hunt. And it was sad to see how bad the unit had dropped. The last time I was down there chasing elk 7 years prior it was an absolute blast chasing those elk around. Unfortunately the WASATCH is the next unit that will go through this.

Utah's dwr is a joke all about the $$$$$$$$$$$$

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GLEDEASY
(775 posts)
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Oct-11-16, 
08:27 PM (MST)
4. "RE: Fish Lake Elk"

I don't think your experience is unique for the unit. It's a tough unit to hunt with all the private and added competition from the number of other hunters found on the mountain.

Quality seems to have declined each year since 2012. There will always be good bulls found on the unit though due to being able to hide on private.

I would dare say just from others hunting experience from other units that fish lake does not provide the same type of rutting action. I remember how disappointed I was the first time I hunted big bulls here in 2010 with my dad. I just about switched units as a result, but stuck with it.

I was lucky enough to come home with a great bull when I finally got the tag. Would I burn 15 years again to hunt it? Probably not, but considering point creep, just maybe. I would love to hunt the unit again with my own tag, but I am weighing my options during the waiting period.

No unit is necessarily a gimme, but I would recommend anybody wanting a good shot at a 320+ bull to look else where than fish lake. That will make you happy and me happy

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littlebighorn
(3146 posts)
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Oct-11-16, 
09:45 PM (MST)
5. "RE: Fish Lake Elk"

LAST EDITED ON Oct-11-16 AT 09:46 PM (MST)

I hate to see anyone, who has waited a long time for a tag have a bad experience, but it happens to the best of us. I don't think the "division" ever held a gun to anyone's head to apply for any unit. It's up to us to do the research and Utah's tag return policy is extremely forgiving, allowing hunters to scout and bail out if they don't like what they see.
All units have ups and downs but to expect 350" class bulls on even some of the best units is why lots of guys come home with frowns on their faces. I've hunted for 4 decades and I don't have a 300" bull to my credit.

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stuckduck
(2 posts)
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Oct-11-16, 
10:53 PM (MST)
6. "RE: Fish Lake Elk"

I drew a LE Archery tag this year. Hunted for 10 days. My good friend who also drew the same tag was with me. He has hunted this unit a lot and is very familiar with the unit from years past as it has progressed throughout the last 10 years. While out hunting we had many conversations about how few spikes we have been seeing and how many dry cows and very few calves. It was shocking to see. There are a few guides that are hauling a fair amount of hunters in the unit to shoot spikes.. Every spike that is shot is one less 6 point. The DNR brags about how much "opportunity" it has for the hunters.... but we are now seeing the result of what spike hunts due to some prime units.... according to my Friend this unit has suffered the same as fish lake has... we still chased bulls but it was a tough one!

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HNTNFSH
(304 posts)
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Oct-12-16, 
00:05 AM (MST)
7. "RE: Fish Lake Elk"

I hear ya just returned from the pahvant what an absolute joke people everywhere and very few elk this is another unit that has gone downhill. Depressing and the DWR has given 250 cow tags down there. Why can colorado have 300,000 elk and the DWR is having a fit about 80,000 I use to think it wasn't about money but I think differently know

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notags2
(664 posts)
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Oct-12-16, 
10:32 AM (MST)
8. "RE: Fish Lake Elk"

Well I agree with the bobcat. Killing spikes and having the late rifle hunt in the limited units has taken a heavy toll on what once was some of the best trophy elk hunting in the world.

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BIGJOHNT
(3343 posts)
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Oct-12-16, 
10:35 AM (MST)
9. "RE: Fish Lake Elk"

My son drew the archery expo tag. We live on the unit. So we had a few good bulls picked out but nothing great.After the first weekend of the hunt. With the new road and spike/cow hunters they blew all of the elk out of the area fast.Much quicker then the past years. We went back to find our good/ok bulls and they where gone. The weekend before the hunt started. We saw the most of the good bulls moving toward the cwmu's. We saw a lot of five points and a few five x six bulls. My son only wanted to shoot a bull he wanted to mount. He regretted passing on a 300 " six point on the opening weekend. The bull ran past us heading to the Boobe hole cwmu. The last week of the hunt he did let a arrow fly on one of those 5 x 6 bulls. Not wanting to shoot. He watch the bull in front for five minutes. Before deciding to shoot. Leaning around a tree he hit the bull in the neck. We tracked the bull for a mile and a half. Just a quarter and dime size drops of blood.Hoping to get on him again. Before we lost the blood. Since he didn't hit the jugular or a spine shot. We knew the bull was going to be ok. We had a great time. I mean out in some beautiful country. Although it was a little dry and warm. Getting 15 yards from bulls ,even five points is fun. but the unit is going down hill fast. The DWR is managing it for a dumping spot for those that are impatient and want to dump there points. They are giving out way to many tags. I think last year there where over 170 big bull tags. I have not seen the numbers this year. But with the new hunt . I am sure it is much more. My family,my kids and myself have been lucky enough to draw 4 big bull tags in the last 5 years on the Fish lake unit. We have taken some good bulls. I Drew my Fish lake tag in 1993. This is the worst year I have seen on the mountain. In years past on the spike you would at least hear some shooting. This year it is just quite. You could sit on a high ridge in the past and see hunters, hear shooting see the elk running threw meadows. This year you just see hunters in orange no elk running. Sit on a high vantage spot above any of the CWMU's and you see elk . Just no orange and no hunters.

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fullthrottle
(481 posts)
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Oct-12-16, 
12:20 PM (MST)
10. "RE: Fish Lake Elk"

Same old, same old. The division is a joke. Wrecked fish lake, wrecked the pahvant, destroyed the Wasatch. If it wasn't for 4 or 5 years of ideal winter conditions the deer herd would have been toast in many units. Very poor management practices and false recommendation's. They are only kidding themselves.

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Coyote_chaser
(765 posts)
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Oct-12-16, 
03:07 PM (MST)
11. "RE: Fish Lake Elk"

No one thinks that rifle hunts in the peak of the rut consistently killing the top end has anything to do with it? Thousands of trail cameras, 1000+ yard rifles and 300+ yard muzzleloaders. What you guys want is the EXACT reason quality is down. You cannot continue to have rut rifle hunts and expect quality. Unless you issue 50 tags a year, which is a joke. Get the rifle out of the rut and you will see quality come back.

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Shadow
(430 posts)
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Oct-12-16, 
03:48 PM (MST)
12. "RE: Fish Lake Elk"

Big john, I know you have a pretty good handle on the FL elk herd, so how much do you think the patterns of the elk changed after the 2009-2010-2011 November triangle massacres? I have to think the old herd cows still have some of that burned into their brains? Seems to me the migration paths have changed alot in the last 5 years and the elk are aimed more toward the CWMU properties when they move off the tops.

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BradN
(163 posts)
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Oct-12-16, 
04:40 PM (MST)
13. "RE: Fish Lake Elk"

My brother in law, nephew and I had the FL early tag this year. My nephew tagged a 318 bull. The other two of us ate tag soup. Weather did not help at all this year on the early hunt. We had summer, spring, fall and winter in one week. Only had any real bugling for about 36 hours. We did not see many bulls. It's a bit of a circus on the FL. We did most of our hunting in the UM Creek area. I ran into more spotters and guys on wheelers than I care to remember. I've got to think that those numbers help push the elk onto the private land. Coming years should be even worse given the middle LE hunt going on during the spike hunt. It's a lot of pressure and a lot of tags for a unit to handle.

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bowhunt
(3286 posts)
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Oct-12-16, 
04:40 PM (MST)
14. "RE: Fish Lake Elk"

Interesting post. I really like the response by Littlebighorn.
You knew what the unit was before you applied I am assuming.
That being said, I think the cow killing could slow down a little bit.
We have a diverse State, cattlemen, farmers, sheep herders, and hunters...all have a say.
The management of game has to accommodate all.

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rraney
(266 posts)
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Oct-14-16, 
03:40 PM (MST)
15. "RE: Fish Lake Elk"

I don't know why they don't just move the spike and cow hunts on the limited areas until after the muzzy season. That would make more sence

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Deerlove
(4129 posts)
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Oct-14-16, 
04:49 PM (MST)
16. "RE: Fish Lake Elk"

Bottom line is a dead elk is dead elk, no matter season.

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