Memorial Day weekend a great time to fish in Utah

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Tom Ogden
A rainbow trout sits at the bottom of a net. Fishing should be good throughout the state over the upcoming holiday weekend. (Tom Ogden)

Best places to fish in Utah this spring

Memorial Day weekend should be great for fishing in Utah.

Paul Birdsey, cold water sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, said late May is the perfect time to fish.

“No matter which type of fish you like to catch… you’ll find good fishing for it at multiple waters,” Birdsey said. “The water temperature in late May, coupled with spawning activities that happen at the same time, make it a great time to fish.”

Birdsey recommended waters in various places throughout the state:

Northern Utah

  • Willard Bay Reservoir: wipers, walleye and crappie
  • Bear Lake: cutthroat trout
  • Rockport Reservoir: yellow perch and smallmouth bass

North-central Utah

  • Deer Creek Reservoir: rainbow trout, smallmouth bass and yellow perch
  • Strawberry Reservoir: cutthroat trout, rainbow trout and kokanee salmon
  • Utah Lake: white bass

Northeastern Utah

  • Pelican Lake: largemouth bass and bluegill
  • Red Fleet Reservoir: cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, yellow perch and crappie
  • Starvation Reservoir: rainbow trout, walleye, yellow perch and smallmouth bass
  • Steinaker Reservoir: rainbow trout and largemouth bass

East-central, southeastern Utah

  • Huntington North Reservoir: largemouth bass, wipers and rainbow trout
  • Joes Valley Reservoir: tiger muskie, tiger trout, cutthroat trout and splake

South-central, southwestern Utah

  • Newcastle Reservoir: wiper and smallmouth bass
  • Lake Powell: striped bass, walleye, crappie and smallmouth bass
  • Otter Creek Reservoir: rainbow trout, smallmouth bass and wipers

DWR hatchery personnel will stock trout in several other community fishing waters across Utah, many of which are along the Wasatch Front. To learn more about community ponds visit Utah’s Wildlife resources site.

Bear safety tips

The DWR has made recommendations to help decrease the chances of running into a bear while camping.

Leslie McFarlane, mammals coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, said most of Utah’s camping areas have a population of black bears nearby.

“If you’re camping in a forested area in Utah, there’s a good chance a bear is close enough to smell the items in your campsite or cabin area,” McFarlane said.

According to McFarlane, bears have an incredible sense of smell and will eat the same food people eat.

The following tips will reduce the chances of a bear sighting:

  • Tip #1: Store food and other scented items (such as hygiene materials) in places where bears cannot get them. This will decrease the chances of bears smelling them, and bears who do will likely move on if they cannot access food.
  • Tip #2: Clean your cooking grill, utensils and other items used to eat or prepare food after finishing a meal. Never dump oil or grease on the ground. Rather, put it in a container and take it home with you.
  • Tip #3: Keep your campsite clean from litter, trash and food scraps.
  • Tip #4: Never feed a bear.

For more safety tips visit Utah’s Wildlife resources site.

Free cutthroat trout viewing event at Strawberry Reservoir

Biologists from the DWR will host a free cutthroat viewing event at Strawberry Reservoir on May 28 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Biologists will net cutthroat trout as they migrate to the Strawberry River to spawn. They will hold up fish for touching and viewing, answer questions and explain the importance the fish play in managing these fishing waters.

Scott Root, regional conservation outreach manager for the DWR, said people are welcome to fish for trout at the reservoir.

“Even though the Strawberry River and other tributaries to the reservoir are currently closed to fishing, you can still try your luck catching one of these big cutthroats in the reservoir itself,” Root said.

Those who catch trout between 15 and 22 inches long must release them back into the reservoir immediately.

More information about fishing regulations for Strawberry Reservoir can be found on pages 38 and 39 of the 2016 Utah Fishing Guidebook.

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