Scofield Reservoir Approaches Ice Off


Scofield Reservoir is on the verge of losing its ice cap. And that means some fantastic trout fishing is about to begin. If the warmer weather continues, wildlife officers expect a ring of open water to appear near the shoreline by May 7.

Scofield Reservoir is just north of the town of Scofield in central Utah. The reservoir is only an hour’s drive from Provo. From Salt Lake City, you can reach the reservoir in about 90 minutes.

Stand on the shore; catch lots of fish

Fishing at Scofield is usually best just after the ice leaves the reservoir. That’s when hungry trout, trapped under an ice sheet all winter long, finally gain access to food that’s on or near the water’s surface.

A fish’s metabolism surges in the spring. And that stimulates a feeding frenzy of sorts. Insects aren’t active until later in the spring, so trout are more easily enticed by the nightcrawlers, and salmon eggs and other commercial baits that anglers offer them.

From ice off until June, the water temperature near the bank remains comfortable enough for trout to school close to shore. The spring is a great time to fish from the shore.

In early spring, trout can be caught easily using just about any kind of tackle. A “Barbie” rod and reel with a worm on a hook is as sophisticated as an angler needs to get!

Baits, lures and flies

If you’re after rainbow trout, nightcrawlers, PowerBait on cheese hooks and salmon eggs are good baits to try.

In addition to the rainbow trout, Scofield also contains tiger trout and cutthroat trout. Because tiger trout and cutthroat trout are more predatory than rainbows, they’re often looking for something more than cheese bait or worms.

Spinners and lures will often stimulate a predatory response from tiger and cutthroat trout. 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.

Natural baits

Utah chubs and redside shiners are two excellent natural baits for spring anglers at Scofield. Both are found in abundance at the reservoir.

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 that’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. It’s illegal to “squeeze” a fish for eggs and then release her. The trout will die if you do.

Best time to fish

As a general rule, you’ll find more success if you fish during the early morning or late evening hours. The trout rest when the sun climbs. Like many wild animals, trout feed most actively at dawn and dusk.


Regulations that took effect in 2009 are still in place:

  • The limit at Scofield is four trout. But not more than two of those trout can be cutthroat or tiger trout under 15 inches long. And not more one of the four trout can be a cutthroat or tiger trout over 22 inches. All cutthroat and tiger trout from 15 to 22 inches must be released immediately.
  • You may keep rainbow trout of any size.
  • Trout may not be filleted. And the heads or tails of the fish may not be removed in the field or in transit from the field to other locations.
  • The tributaries that flow into Scofield Reservoir are closed until the second Saturday in July to protect cutthroat trout while the cutthroats are spawning.

Take your kids fishing

“When was the last time you took your family on a fishing trip?” asks Brent Stettler, regional conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources.

“For most of us, it’s been too long,” he says. “A family trip to Scofield Reservoir is a great way to strengthen family ties and ease tension.”

Stettler says we live in a hustle-and-bustle society.  Sometimes, we get so busy that we put off having fun. “So many obligations seem to take a higher priority,” he says, “but time slips away. Kids grow up and leave home.

“Give your kids some of childhood’s sweetest memories,” he says. “Take them fishing. And remember, Scofield is a great place to fish in the spring.”

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