Good Ice Fishing Close to Home


Photo courtesy of DWR.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Press Release

So what’s standing between residents and a great ice fishing experience in Utah this winter? Knowing which waters to fish.

Fortunately, many waters in Utah provide good ice fishing year after year.

Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Warm Water Sport Fisheries Coordinator Drew Cushing has fished through the ice across the country and prefers Utah waters. “In my opinion, Utah has some of the best ice fishing in the country,” he stated. “Utah provides a wider variety of quality fish to catch than any place I know of. Many of these opportunities are probably close to home.”

Cushing used Utah County as an example. There, anglers can fish for white bass at Utah Lake in the morning, then head to Strawberry Reservoir to catch trophy-sized cutthroat trout in the afternoon.

Visiting the DWR website and looking at fishing reports is one way to learn which type of fish are in each water and where fishing is the best.

DWR biologists, officers and outreach personnel update the report every one to two weeks. The reports can be read at

Other Internet sources such as and are also good sites to visit.

Local tackle shops and sporting good stores are also good places to find out where the good fishing is. Workers at these stores are often the first ones to know about the hot fishing holes.

Cushing says the following waters should produce great fishing for the following species this winter:

Yellow perch: Larger perch can be found at Pineview, Starvation and Rockport Reservoirs. Smaller, but more abundant perch are located at Fish Lake, Mantua and Echo Reservoirs.

“Catching perch at Pineview can be fairly easy,” Cushing stated. “Just locate the spot on the bottom where the perch are, and then put bait in front of the fish.”

 Bluegill: Good fishing for larger bluegill can be found at Pelican Lake and Steinaker Reservoir. Smaller, more abundant bluegill are in Mantua Reservoir.

Largemouth bass: Pelican Lake and Mantua Reservoir each provide excellent ice fishing for largemouth bass.

Rainbow, cutthroat or brown trout: Try fishing at Deer Creek, Steinaker, Starvation, East Canyon, Scofield or Strawberry Reservoirs for any of these fish. Cushing explained that Strawberry provides fantastic fishing for big trout and lots of them.

Tiger trout: According to the DWR fisheries coordinator, both Birch Creek and Scofield Reservoirs provide good fishing for big tiger trout.

Lake trout: Flaming Gorge Reservoir and Fish Lake are the perfect locations to snag lake trout this time of year.

Burbot: Flaming Gorge Reservoir is the premier location in Utah to find burbot.

Crappie: Pineview Reservoir is an excellent waterway for crappie. “They suspend at various depths and can be tough to find,” Cushing said. “But if a crappie is caught at a certain depth, keep fishing that depth and anglers should do well.”

Kokanee salmon: Causey and Porcupine Reservoirs are the best spots to catch kokanee. “When ice first forms on these waters, salmon fishing can be fantastic for about two to three weeks,” Cushing explained. “The best ice fishing for kokanee salmon happens at the beginning of the ice fishing season.”

White bass: Utah Lake is known for white bass fishing early on in the ice fishing season. “Fishing for white bass is usually best from the time the ice forms until about mid-January,” Cushing commented. “The harbors at the lake are the best places to catch them through the ice.”

Cushing says just because winter is here, that does not mean fishing is over until spring. “Winter can be the most fun, most productive and the least expensive time of the year to fish,” he advised. “New lakes, new opportunities and new species of fish are waiting for anglers. Get out and enjoy it.”

More ice fishing basics are available in six videos produced by DWR. Watch these videos at

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