It is hard to resist an ATV adventure on the Arapeen ATV Trail System. I had bragged about fishing on the quiet little ponds and beautiful lakes on Manti Mountain to my friend Taylor Durrant from Arizona. Being an avid fisherman, Taylor wanted to see for himself, so we set a date for an ATV fishing trip on the mountain with his son, Josh.
Having made arrangements to stay at the Temple View Motel in Manti, we met there on a Wednesday evening in September. Deciding that there was enough daylight, we headed up Manti Canyon to see if we could catch some fish.
I am pretty well equipped for fishing. My brother-in-law, Bob, saw to that. A few years ago, Bob had heard me talk about the fishing spots on the Manti Mountain and he promised to show me how to fish if I would provide the ATVs to get to the fishing holes.
We ran a full cart through the register at the sporting goods store. “Are you sure I need all this fishing stuff,” I said. “Trust me,” was his only response. I don’t know why I would trust a fisherman, but being family, I did. I didn’t know what I was going to say to my wife to justify that charge on my card. The only thing I could think of was, “Bob made do it!”
We went, we spent a couple of days riding to the fishing holes, and I did catch fish. Actually I was pretty good at it — the technique he taught me was a fly on a bubble, using an open face reel on a Shakespeare rod.
This brings me back to Wednesday, riding up Manti Canyon on a beautifully warm September evening. Manti is an ATV-friendly town, which made it possible to ride right from our motel across town to access the canyon road.
Yearns Reservoir sits about 5 miles up the canyon. Because it is so close to town, it is a popular place to get away. It is nestled up against the rising pine-covered slope of the mountain. The peace and quiet you will find here will make you forget that we are in the middle of a pandemic.
The Division of Wildlife Resources keeps this pond well stocked, and while you won’t catch any lunkers, there are plenty of pan-sized trout to make a meal. Just above the lake is a community campground, making it possible to extend your stay.
We had the lake to ourselves so we broke out our gear and began to catch fish. We weren’t prepared to keep the fish so we were throwing back what we caught.
It took me a while to learn that I was dealing with real fishermen here. While I was dancing around yelling, “Fish on,” reeling them in and calling out what the number that fish was, they were just fishing.
We fished until it got too dark to see and then we packed up and headed back to town for something to eat. Kevin Christiansen of the Sanpete Travel Council had put me in touch with Brad Bradley, a retired DWR officer who had spent his career stocking the Manti Mountain fishing holes. He offered to take us to some places that my Arizona friends would enjoy fishing, but that was for the next day. We had made a good start to a great adventure.
Kevin had also clued me into another idea to enhance this trip. There is an app called Avenza Maps that is a valuable resource in the backcountry. The app is actually a GPS for your cellphone. It features maps that you can access for areas you want to explore — most of them are free, but some come with a fee. The Arapeen Trail map is free, so I downloaded it to my phone. A blue dot shows your location on the map. We were able to see exactly where we were on the map at all times.
Kevin told me that the Arapeen Trail Map is offered free to download in the app. It is a GPS app that allows you to record a track, navigate to a destination and open the view in Google Maps. Whether you are hiking, biking or riding ATVs, this is a great app to take on your adventures.
When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down and know where you are when you catch a fish.