Fish in southern Utah — including splake up to five pounds — are hungry and hitting hard after spending all winter under the ice.
If you want to catch trout in Utah’s Dixie, Navajo Lake and lakes on Boulder Mountain are good places to try in early June. Both offer great fishing and easy access.
Richard Hepworth, regional aquatic manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources, provides advice to help you catch fish during your next trip to these waters.
Access to Navajo Lake is good, and the water is rising.
Right now, the lake is offering fast fishing for splake. The excellent splake fishing should continue through mid-June. And rainbow trout fishing is just starting to pick up.
Hepworth and fellow DWR biologist Stan Beckstrom caught splake in the 16- to 20-inch range while fishing at the lake during the weekend of May 18.
Some of the splake weighed more than five pounds.
Hepworth says catching splake at Navajo is relatively simple. All you need is a rod and reel, some hooks and a few night crawlers.
“First, use the night crawlers to catch a couple of Utah chubs,” he says. “Look for chubs in deep water that transitions to warm, shallow areas. Then, cut the chubs up, and place a cut piece on a large hook, size 4 or bigger.”
Once you’ve placed a piece of chub meat on your hook, throw your bait out, and wait. If a splake doesn’t take your bait, moving it occasionally might convince a splake to strike.
You should be able to cast the chub meat without having to add additional weight to your line. If you want to cast farther, however, add a sliding weight to the line so a fish doesn’t feel resistance when it picks up the bait. This technique can work well to catch any predatory trout: splake, tiger, brown or Bear Lake cutthroat.
Navajo Lake is in the Dixie National Forest, about 26 miles east of Cedar City.
Lakes on Boulder Mountain
Lakes on Boulder Mountain provide great fishing and spectacular scenery.
Currently, you can access the mountain’s mid-elevation waters. You can get to some of the lakes, such as Posey or the Barkers, by vehicle. Others require a short hike or a longer trek.
By the first of July, you should be able to access lakes on top of the mountain.
The lakes on Boulder Mountain offer a variety of fish, including brook trout, cutthroat, splake, tiger trout, rainbows and even grayling. Hepworth says almost any traditional bait will work to catch them. “Night crawlers, cut baits, jigs, flies and even a fly and bubble will all produce good results,” he says.
You may find dead fish (ones that didn’t survive the winter) around some lakes’ edges. Hepworth says these lakes may have fewer fish in them. However, lakes where fish died during the winter can also hold some of the biggest fish.
Boulder Mountain is in the Dixie National Forest north of Boulder.
2013 Utah Fishing Guidebook
Fishing regulations vary between water bodies, so make sure you check the 2013 Utah Fishing Guidebook before your trip. You can get the free guidebook at wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks.
For more information about where fishing is best in southern Utah, and across the state, check out the fishing reports at wildlife.utah.gov/hotspots.
If you have questions about fishing Navajo Lake or lakes on Boulder Mountain, call the DWR’s Southern Region office at 435-865-6100.
Image courtesy Utah Division of Wildlife Resources