It's about a mile hike just to get to the gate for UM creek along a faint, overgrown ATV trail. (It's pronounced "You Em" creek). I fished the creek from up above where the forest service road crosses the stream. But up there the stream is tiny and fish are few.
Collectively we have put a lot of time scouting UM, with drive-bys, studying books, maps and scouring the internet. Mostly we got hearsay that fishing was "good" but not from anyone who had fished it recently.
Lance and Kelly even launched a failed mission to the creek but were chased off from a prime section of meadow by thunderstorms. They motored off in their all terrain vehicle with their tails between their legs, but it's better than being struck by lightning or freezing to death under a hail storm.
Luckily, Ben was able to reconnoiter the UM while camping near Fish Lake with his family (Lauren and Emmett).
If you've fished for any measurable amount of time then you will be all too familiar with the kind of hand drawn map that a fellow angler scrawls on the back of any scrap of paper at hand.
I'm always authentically grateful to receive these personalized recommendations, but after staring at a map like this too long I start to second guess whether I should have turned at the first big switch back or the fourth big switch back.
After driving in the wrong direction a few times, I always find myself at the stream holding the map, rotating it in front of me and concluding that the scribbles couldn't have been more precise now that I've figured out what I should have been looking for all along.
At the end of the trail and beyond the forest service gate, I found a much smaller stream than I was expecting. It was a tight squeeze in many places - too tight for anything but a bow and arrow cast, followed by areas of deeper pools and beaver ponds where some of the larger spookier fish like to hang out.
There are some real bruisers in this stream and they don't hysterically hit your fly like on some freestones. These cutties casually and confidently cruise a foot from cover and slurp the dry off the top. This big cutthroat half turned over her shoulder with a perplexed look as if to ask "So are you gonna follow me all the way back to the boulder I call home, because I'm not going your way?"
Ants worked very well. They really liked my favorite soft hackle ant kebari.