Anglers will see higher water levels and more active fish this fall according to the Division of Wildlife Resources.
Despite an overall dry year, fall will bring great fishing to Utah as the weather cools down and water levels rise. Drew Cushing, warm water sport fisheries coordinator for the DWR has consistently seen fall produce some of the biggest catches and fastest fishing of the year.
While it is true that some water bodies have low water levels, many still have good levels that will rise even more this fall. As summer ends, water designated for irrigation is rerouted to Utah’s reservoirs. Cooling weather also helps water levels by slowing down evaporation and loss of water.
Fall also produces lower water temperatures which helps anglers in two ways. Cushing explained that first, oxygen levels rise as the water cools down, making fish more active. “Fish are more comfortable, feed aggressively and have more energy when the water has more oxygen in it,” the DWR officer stated. Cushing also explained that cooler water triggers fish to put on weight for the winter, which is another reason they feed aggressively in the fall.
The DWR fisheries coordinator says the best fishing will happen between now and Oct. 5, the date of the next new moon. In mid-October, fishing will be best just before and after the full moon. Fish respond to moon phases, especially at the close of summer. Cushing recommends that anglers plan their trips accordingly and they will do well.
The following Utah waterways are explected to produce exceptional fishing opportunities for anglers:
Starvation Reservoir is always affected by a change in seasons. Each year, some of Starvation’s biggest trout and walleye are caught on fall nights using crankbaits and rattletraps.
Fishing at Flaming Gorge Reservoir should stay good through the end of November. At this waterway, try fishing for big trout, since they will be active this fall.
Willard Bay Reservoir and Bear Lake are two promising waters in northern Utah. Cushing says wiper boils will continue at Willard Bay through the beginning of October and walleye fishing should stay good throughout the fall.
At Bear Lake, cutthroat trout and trophy whitefish come unusually far into the shallows, making them more accessible to anglers.
In central Utah, fishing is good at Strawberry Reservoir for big rainbow and cutthroat trout. Fishing should remain good at Strawberry until ice starts to form.
Scofield Reservoir is the best fall fishing water in southeastern Utah. This reservoir has no shortage of big fish. Cushing says the water is home to cutthroat trout in the 21 to 26 inch range. The state’s tiger trout record has been broken three times in the last two years by anglers fishing at Scofield. Fishing should remain good at Scofield until the reservoir starts to freeze.
Sand Hollow Reservoir and Panguitch Lake are the season’s can’t-miss waters in southwestern Utah. Anglers should try fishing for largemouth bass and bluegill in Sand Hollow, and trout in Panguitch.
To keep an eye on fishing trends this fall, go to the DWR website at www.wildlife.utah.gov/hotspots often.
Another good resource is www.bigfishtackle.com.