Fishing tips for amateur anglers

Ashley Urquhart holds a rainbow trout she caught at Strawberry Reservoir in May. (Photo by Tom Urquhart.)
Ashley Urquhart holds a rainbow trout she caught at Strawberry Reservoir in May. (Photo by Tom Urquhart.)

Cast a line, feel a tug, reel it in. The sound of the reel whirring with every rotation fills the air as a beautiful rainbow trout emerges from the water.

Fishing is a sport that requires patience and skill. But with a few pointers and a lot of practice, any amateur angler can reel in the fish.

Here are some fishing tips to help any beginner start off their fishing career on the right foot:


Finding the right fishing location is one of the most important tips for any angler, according to avid fisherman and former Cabela’s employee John Whimer.

“Some of the best fishing spots for beginners are Payson Lakes, Deer Creek Reservoir and Echo Reservoir,” Whimer said. “Many of these reservoirs have been recently planted with catchable trout.”

All three locations are doable weekend trips for BYU students, and many other lakes and rivers provide Utahns an opportunity to fish. Students can fish just minutes away at various locations on the Provo River, including Vivian Park in Provo Canyon.

When shorefishing, anglers should look for places along the shoreline next to deep water, with small amounts of foliage that could cause snags.


A rod and reel are obviously the most important gear for any fisherman. Whimer said a closed reel is best for beginners because the fishing line is less likely to become tangled and closed reels are generally easier to manage.

Other gear beginners might overlook includes hooks, sinkers and bobbers. The bobbers are especially important because watching when a bobber dips under water will alert the fisherman when there is a fish biting on the line.

Sinkers are used to weigh the line down and pull it deep under water, where the fish are swimming. Without the sinkers the fishing line will float on top of the water, and fishermen would rarely get a bite.


The type of fish a fisherman is trying to catch will determine what kind of bait will be needed. Typically, Utah anglers fish for trout, as most of the rivers and lakes in Utah are inhabited by rainbow, cutthroat and brown trout.

According to Whimer, the best bait for trout are worms, Power Bait, gulp baits and, oddly enough, cheese.

Bait can be purchased at outdoor stores and even at most grocery stores. When using live worms, anglers should purchase the worms just prior to fishing so as to keep the worms alive until they are to be used as bait.

When to go?

According to Whimer, the season for fishing is spring.

“During spring the ice melts off the water and the fish are still close to the surface of the water,” Whimer said. “But as the water gets warmer in the summer the fish disperse deeper in the water, and they become harder to catch.”

As for the time of day, Whimer said the first hour after sunrise and the last hour of daylight are the best times for fishing.

Fishing in Utah requires a license, and licenses can be obtained at

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