As the weather gets warmer, hungry fish in northern Utah, trapped under a layer of ice all winter long, are getting more active. And so are anglers. They’re getting their fishing gear ready to fish open water during that magical, early-spring period called ice off.

Best waters to try

Few people know the fishing waters in northern Utah better than Chris Penne. An aquatic biologist with the Division of Wildlife Resources, Penne manages fish populations in reservoirs across the northern part of the state.

If you like to fish for trout, Penne says you should visit the following waters as soon as the ice starts to leave this spring:

  • Lost Creek Reservoir
  • East Canyon Reservoir
  • Echo Reservoir
  • Mantua Reservoir
  • Birch Creek Reservoir
  • Rockport Reservoir

While trout fishing can be red hot as the ice starts to leave, great walleye, catfish and wiper fishing is also available.

“I would definitely add Willard Bay and Cutler Reservoir to the list of waters to fish this spring,” Penne says. “Early-spring fishing at Willard can be hot for walleye. Data we collected last year suggests this year could be a particularly good one for walleye in Willard. The walleye population in the reservoir has increased in number.”

Fishing for wipers (a cross between a striped bass and a white bass) should also be good at Willard Bay this spring. When the ice melts, fish that died during the winter are blown along the shoreline. Fish in the reservoir, including wipers, often go into a “feeding frenzy” as they feed on the dead fish.

Penne says Cutler Reservoir is another water in northern Utah that could provide good walleye fishing this spring. “Fishing could be hot for them this spring too,” he says. “I’ve also seen lots of reports of anglers doing well for catfish at Cutler in the early spring.”

Image courtesy Utah Division of Wildlife

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