If you like to fish, pay attention — something is happening in Utah right now that hasn’t happened for a long time.
Record rain and snow, coupled with cold temperatures that lasted well into June, have pushed some of the best fishing in the state back this year.
Walleye aren’t the only fish you can catch at Willard Bay Reservoir. The reservoir also provides excellent fishing for wipers.
Typically, some of the best fishing happens in the spring. Not this year, though. Instead, a month that’s typically one of the slowest to fish — August — should be one of the best.
Drew Cushing, sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says reservoirs and lakes across Utah have plenty of water. And the cool water temperatures are perfect for all species of fish.
“Years like this are rare,” he says. “They just don’t happen.
“All of the stars are lining up,” he says. “Anglers need to get out and take advantage of it. We’re going to have a great late summer and fall bite.”
When you visit your favorite water to fish, plenty of fish should be waiting for you. “The water that rushed into the reservoirs a few weeks ago made the water cloudy, covered many of the shoreline areas and delayed spawning for a lot of the fish,” he says. “Those conditions meant anglers couldn’t get to or attract many of the fish. But the waiting game is over.”
Five reservoirs to try
If you live along the Wasatch Front or in the Uintah Basin, Cushing says the following waters should be included among those you fish this year:
Willard Bay Reservoir
This northern Utah water is producing the best walleye fishing Cushing has ever seen there. The reservoir is filled with 18- to 20-inch walleye. He says even inexperienced walleye anglers are catching fish.
Deer Creek Reservoir
This reservoir is filled with rainbow trout. Many of the rainbows are close to 20 inches long. And fishing for them is good. Deer Creek is less than an hour’s drive from downtown Salt Lake City. The reservoir is even closer to Provo.
Located southeast of Heber City, fishing at Utah’s most popular fishery will remain hot through the rest of the year. Anglers are catching lots of big trout.
This water just west of Duchesne is providing excellent fishing for a variety of fish, including rainbow trout and walleye. Cushing says some anglers are catching and releasing 50 fish a day.
Flaming Gorge Reservoir
Anglers fishing at this gem in northeastern Utah are catching 20-inch rainbow trout all over the reservoir. And fishing is also good for kokanee salmon. Some of the kokanee are topping the scale at four pounds. And the size and number of smallmouth bass on the south end of the reservoir has never been better.
What about rivers and streams?
Water levels have been high on rivers and streams across Utah this year. But the water levels are starting to go down. And that means you now have access to lots of hungry fish.
Cushing says fall usually isn’t the best time to fish rivers and streams because the water level is so low. “Not this year,” he says. “The fish will be hungry, and the water levels will be good. Get out and take advantage of it.”
Fishing water of the week
To stay updated on which waters are producing the best fishing, read the DWR’s weekly fishing reports.
Over the next few weeks, the DWR will also post a news release at its website each week that focuses on one of the best waters to fish in the state.
You can also receive the DWR fishing reports and releases via email. To subscribe to the reports and the news stories, visit http://go.usa.gov/BRz to sign up.