Fishing Heats Up Early This Year

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Photo by Mark Hadley

DWR Press Release 

Great spring fishing will happen earlier than usual in Utah this year. In fact, it’s already started.

Drew Cushing, warm water sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, said a warm winter has caused warm water and cool water fish — including bass, walleye, panfish, catfish and pike — to get active sooner this year.

“Essentially, we skipped a season,” Cushing said. “Usually, the ice is just starting to melt on waters across much of the state. Not this year, though. Most of these waters have been ice free for weeks. That’s allowed the water temperature to climb faster than normal. The fish are starting to get active.”

So, what does this mean for anglers?

“Active fish mean fast fishing,” he explained. “You won’t have to wait as long to get outside, enjoy the spring weather and catch fish this spring. It’s time to spool some new line on your fishing reel. If you have a boat, pull it out of winter storage and get it on the water. Great spring fishing is happening now.”

Finding the best places to fish

To find the best waters to fish, Cushing encourages you to pay close attention to online fishing reports. “They’ll help you know where fishing is best and which waters to try,” he said.

The DWR’s hotspots fishing page is one of the best places to check. DWR personnel update reports on the page every one to two weeks. You can read the reports at wildlife.utah.gov/hotspots.

Two additional websites, www.bigfishtackle.com and www.utahwildlife.net, are also great places to check. Anglers report their latest fishing adventures daily on the sites.

If you’re wondering which fishing waters are closest to you, visit fishutah.org. Once you arrive at the site, type in your street address and zip code, click on the type of water you want to fish — pond, river or lake — and click ‘submit.’ A list of waters, along with maps and directions to each water, will appear on your screen.

The site also includes several videos that will teach you how to fish.

Watch for these waters

As you scan through the reports, Cushing said you might want to pay special attention to the following waters. He stated that good spring fishing has already started at many of them:

Statewide

Community fishing waters

Found in communities across Utah, community fishing waters are great places to visit this spring. The DWR has already stocked rainbow trout—a cold water fish—into community waters across the state. And warm water fish that live year-round in these waters, including bluegill and largemouth bass, are starting to get active. You can learn more about the community waters online.

“Community waters are great places to take your kids fishing,” Cushing said.

Northern Utah

Mantua, Pineview and Willard Bay reservoirs

Cushing says wiper and walleye fishing is starting to pick up at Willard Bay, and anglers are catching some nice fish. At Mantua, good largemouth bass and bluegill fishing is just around the corner. And at Pineview and Willard Bay, crappie fishing—which usually doesn’t pick up until late April or early May—could begin as soon as early April this year.

North-central Utah

Utah Lake, and Deer Creek and Yuba reservoirs

Anglers at Deer Creek are already catching myriad warm water fish, including walleye and smallmouth bass. At Utah Lake, walleye are just starting to spawn, so fishing for walleye should pick up any day now. At Yuba, anglers have already caught northern pike. Some of the pike measured 36 to 40 inches long. Cushing said the pike spawned about two to three weeks ago.

“After they spawn, they rest for about a week,” he explained. “After that rest period, they’re hungry. Pike fishing is picking up.”

Northeastern Utah

Pelican Lake, and Starvation and Steinaker reservoirs

Anglers are enjoying excellent walleye fishing at Starvation. Pelican Lake and Steinaker Reservoir are two additional waters to keep your eye on. They’re great places to fish for bluegill and largemouth bass. Fishing at both waters should pick up soon.

East-central Utah

Huntington North and Joes Valley reservoirs

Both reservoirs have tiger muskie in them. Joes Valley is also home to big splake and Huntington North has some of the biggest wipers in Utah. Cushing stated that by mid-April, good fishing should start at both waters.

South-central and Southwestern Utah

Lake Powell, Quail Creek and Sand Hollow reservoirs

Lake Powell is offering great fishing for a variety of warm water species, including large schools of big striped bass. Two reservoirs near St. George, Quail Creek and Sand Hollow, are offering good largemouth bass fishing. Additionally bluegill, a fun fish for kids and adults to catch, are starting to move into shallow water at both waters, making them easy to catch from the bank.

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