I have many fond memories of Fish Lake, Utah. My family has been going there to fish since 1945–Long before I arrived on the scene. My dad remembers getting up at midnight and driving with his dad and brothers down to Fish Lake and arriving about 5:00 AM, just in time to start fishing. This tradition continued on into his adulthood, until the 1970’s when my dad’s siblings and their children began making it a yearly occurrence. This is where I came in. I remember as a child the long drive (probably just a couple of hours) to the lake. My cousins and I would watch the horizon so that we could be the first to yell “I” when the lake came in to view.
I was a very curious child, and my favorite thing about Fish Lake was fishing. I would anticipate arriving and taking my pole down to the bridge that spanned the small harbor and fishing with my salmon eggs and hooks for the “chubs” we could catch there. My favorite fishing, though, was done from the boat, early in the morning with my dad. We trolled for trout, and I don’t remember a time when we didn’t catch plenty for our dinner for the next several weeks. I loved to look over the side of the boat at the seaweed that grew along the banks and see if I could see fish, or some other treasure that had fallen overboard. Once I even went swimming in the lake, though it is only around 60 degrees F. Family legend has it that the lake is “bottomless.” However, the depth gauge on our boat puts the lake at around 110 feet deep all the way across.
This year’s trip was the first time I had gone to the lake in several years. In that time, I have learned to scuba dive. My new anticipation for this year’s reunion was to scuba dive in Fish Lake and take pictures of what I saw to show to all my relatives who are surely as curious as I am as to what lies beneath the surface of our beloved lake.
On the first dive, I took my twenty-one-year-old son. I am a scuba instructor, and I am certifying my son for his Advanced Open Water certification. He was required to go to a depth of 60 feet.
On our descent my first reaction was that the visibility was terrible. I couldn’t see more than 10 feet. The surface of the lake was 64 degrees F, but when we hit a depth of 35 feet, it dropped dramatically, to 54 degrees. Brrrr. The murky bottom finally came in to view and there was nothing to see except mud. I hurriedly did the skills with my son that he required, and we made a bee-line for the warmer waters above 35 feet. At this point, we decided to explore the seaweed, which began growing at about 25 feet deep.
This was one of the more intriguing things about the dive. The seaweed was full of fish and the visibility was slightly better. I started to find the treasures left behind by other fishermen; Fishing rods and reels, stringers, pop gear, lures and some other treasures such as a large metal bowl and lots of antique soda bottles and cans. These were the treasures that I wondered about as a child and was able to verify on my dive.
At the end of my second dive, I decided to take some images of the lake and the mountain behind it. Although I enjoyed my dives immensely, I probably won’t need to dive in Fish Lake again. It was fun to see the underside of the lake and solve the mystery of what it looks like down there, but now my curiosity is satisfied.