If you’ve fished Deer Creek Reservoir in the summer—and in the fall—you probably had two completely different experiences.
In the summer, the reservoir was probably filled with recreational boaters and personal watercraft.
In the fall, you probably had the reservoir to yourself.
Colder water temperatures in the fall turn popular recreation spots such as Deer Creek into places of solitude, breathtaking beauty and excellent fishing.
And the Provo River that flows into and out of Deer Creek is also a great place to fish in the fall. The river is filled with hungry, aggressive brown trout.
Deer Creek Reservoir is about five miles southwest of Heber City.
Deer Creek Reservoir
Scott Root, regional conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says the DWR places 90,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout into Deer Creek every year.
The agency has placed tens of thousands of rainbows into Deer Creek for several years now, so plenty of rainbows are available to catch. (This year, 70,000 rainbows will be stocked in December.)
Root says both Utah State Park boat ramps at the reservoir are open, and you can have much of the lake to yourself.
In the fall, Root says you can catch rainbows from the shoreline using baits. Floating cheese baits, nightcrawlers or other baits that have a scent to them are some of the best baits to try.
If you fish from a boat, Root recommends trolling pop gear with a nightcrawler or trolling small lures that imitate perch.
“November is also a great time of year to target walleye,” Root says. “Try trolling minnow-imitating lures slowly along the bottom of the reservoir.”
In addition to rainbow trout and walleye, you might also catch perch, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and brown trout at Deer Creek in the fall.
Brown trout in the Provo River
In addition to fishing in the reservoir, you might want to try the Provo River. The river enters the reservoir on the reservoir’s north end and then exits on the south end, flowing down Provo Canyon on its way to Utah Lake.
Root says brown trout spawn in November. “During the spawn,” he says, “brown trout will take flies aggressively. They’ll also attack lures that get near their spawning beds.”
Root says those who fish the Provo River regularly know November is a special time to not only catch aggressive trout, but big trout too. He says small fly patterns, small lures and egg-imitating fly patterns can be very effective during and after the spawn.
When brown trout spawn, they clear out depressions in the gravel of the stream bed to deposit their eggs in. These depressions can often be seen from the shoreline. “Please don’t step on these depressions or disturb them in any way,” Root says.
Some stretches of the Provo River have special restrictions. ON some stretches, only artificial flies and lures may be used and the limit is two trout under 15 inches (larger trout must be released in some stretches of the river).
On other stretches, you can use bait and the trout limit is four fish, without any size restrictions.
Fishing regulations for the Provo River are found on pages 29 – 30 of the 2012 Utah Fishing Guidebook. The free guidebook is available at www.wildlife.utah.gov. You can also get a copy at DWR offices and from fishing and hunting license agents across Utah.
Image courtesy Utah DWR