Memorial Day weekend is always a great time to fish in Utah. But this year, it might be better than ever.
A cold, wet spring has delayed fishing action thatвЂ™s usually tapered off a bit by the time Memorial Day weekend arrives. This year, that action will be underway. And, in some cases, it will just be starting. You can stay updated by visiting www.wildlife.utah.gov/hotspots.
The best fishing youвЂ™ll find all year at Joes Valley and Scofield reservoirs typically happens on or near Memorial Day weekend.
Utah chubs usually start to spawn at the end of May or the beginning of June at Joes Valley. Large splake, a cross between a lake trout and a brook trout, move into the shallow water near shore to eat the chubs.
вЂњFishing with chub meat or a lure that imitates a minnow, such as a Rapala, is your best bet,вЂќ says Paul Birdsey, regional fisheries manager. вЂњI caught nine fish in nine casts at Joes Valley on Memorial Day weekend a couple of years ago using a chub-colored Rapala.вЂќ
Birdsey says some nice tiger muskies should also be cruising the shoreline this year. Please remember that any tiger musky under 40 inches long must be released immediately.
вЂњDespite their well deserved reputation for being awesome predators, tiger muskies do not fare well if theyвЂ™re handled incorrectly,вЂќ Birdsey says.
If you catch a tiger muskie, land the fish as quickly as possible to avoid a lethal build up of lactic acid in the fish.
вЂњAlso, try to avoid taking the muskie out of the water, even for a short period of time,вЂќ Birdsey says. вЂњIf possible, keep the fish in the water and release it. If you donвЂ™t, the fish might die.вЂќ
Good numbers of rainbow, cutthroat and tiger trout are available at Scofield Reservoir.В All of these species are readily available to shoreline anglers. For the best success, try fishing during the early morning or late evening hours.
If youвЂ™re after rainbow trout, nightcrawlers, PowerBait on cheese hooks and salmon eggs are good baits to try. For cutthroat and tiger trout, try spinners and lures. The Jake’s Spin-A-Lure, Kastmaster, Mepps, Roostertail and Panther Martin are among the best spinners to use at Scofield.
A minnow- or trout-imitating Rapala, in sizes 5 or 7, is also a good choice for both cutthroat and tiger trout.
In the spring, the best artificial fly pattern for Scofield is a brown or green sparkle leech in sizes 6 to 10.
Utah chubs and redside shiners are two excellent natural baits to try. You can catch chubs and shiners in a minnow trap, and then put them on your hook. Before you can place them on your hook, please remember that the minnows must be dead.
A sac of trout eggs is another trout-getting spring bait. You can harvest eggs from a female trout, and then bundle the eggs together inside a nylon mesh bag thatвЂ™s about the size of a marble. Hide a hook inside the sac to catch any fish that bite it. (Please remember that if you take eggs from a trout, the trout you took the eggs from must be counted as part of your trout limit. ItвЂ™s illegal to “squeeze” a fish for eggs and then release her. The trout will die if you do.)
Huntington North Reservoir can also produce some nice largemouth bass this time of the year. вЂњBut they can be tough to catch because theyвЂ™re typically spawning and are less likely to strike,вЂќ Birdsey says. вЂњIf youвЂ™re looking for a different experience, though, you might want to give Huntington North a try.вЂќ
The best time of day to fish Huntington North is right at daybreak.
You can keep six largemouth bass at Huntington North, but only one of the bass can be longer than 12 inches.