Angler’s guide to Utah Valley fishing in 2019

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This section of the Provo River near Vivian Park offers a unique experience for anglers of any age and skill set. (Aaron Fitzner)

Utah is known for its angling, especially for those wishing to lure some trout.

Though it would be tempting to buy a rod, throw a hook in the water and hope for the best, there are many rules and regulations that keep anglers from illegally fetching our fish friends.

Here you’ll find all the “how-tos” for fishing around Utah Valley — everything from buying a license to purchasing gear to finding the right spot.

Buying a license

Almost any retail store that sells fishing gear will also sell licenses. You can also buy one online. Buying a license is easy, but there are a few things to consider. A yearly fishing license cost $34 for Utah residents but $75 for non-residents.

Many college students aren’t Utah residents, but you can still buy one for the discounted resident price of $34 if you have lived in Utah for at least three consecutive months. If you are neither a Utah resident nor a student, you can pay the resident price if you have lived in Utah for at least six consecutive months.

Purchasing rods, lures and other fishing tools

Rods and lines are the priciest of the gear that you need to buy, but many fishing outfitters are promoting sales on rod and line combinations. If you’re an experienced fisherman or are looking to use your fishing gear frequently, then spending upwards of $100 on this combination may be your style. But for those that are lower level anglers or are looking to save some money, $20-40 combinations will do the job just fine.

The main difference between expensive rods and the more cost-effective variety is sensitivity. Expensive rods tend to be more sensitive, which means it’s easier to feel a fish nibbling or biting your hook. More high-end rods are also lighter, tend to have a more accurate touch and are more durable than cheaper rods.

Fishing in Utah allows anglers to choose what fish they desire to catch — available fishing spots certainly aren’t scarce and afford many fishing options. If you are fishing a river near Provo, chances are you will hook a trout. Rainbow trout and brown trout are abundant in our local geography, so choose a lure that will catch the eye of these fish.

Trout are plentiful, but catfish, walleye, perch, northern pike, arctic grayling, black crappie, bass, kokanee salmon and carp are also common, and other fish may also be hooked. Lures appropriate for these fish are typically available for anywhere from $2-11. If you are a less experienced angler, then it might be smart erring towards the lower end of the pricing spectrum, because you are likely to lose some lures along the way. 

Other necessary equipment may include weights for your line, pliers to retrieve hooks from fish mouths, leaders to protect your line from fish teeth or any other sharp edges, swivels and a tackle box for all of your equipment.

Knowing where to fish is just as important as the gear you use. Below are five spots around Utah Valley that have been tried, tested and proven during the 2019 fishing season.

Vivian Park and Lower Provo River

Vivian Park is located up Provo Canyon just two miles passed Bridal Veil Falls.

Daily Universe reporter Aaron Fitzner holds a 15-inch brown trout he caught in the Provo River. (Caleb Turner)

Experience and terrain: There are two fishing spots at Vivian Park — the Vivian Park pond and the lower Provo River. The pond is perhaps the easiest place to fish in Utah Valley (see “important information” section below), while the river is for anglers that are a little more experienced. The pond is easily accessible with plenty of room to cast and teach young ones how to fish, and the river has a few small access points along the running and bike trail. You may have to battle with some bushes to get to your desired spot on the river, and the speed of the river’s current can add another element of difficulty to your fishing expedition.

Likely on your lure: Rainbow and brown trout can be caught in both the river and pond. Smaller trout (around 10 inches) are common in the pond, with larger trout (upwards of 15 inches) being more common in the river.

Baits and Barbs: Spinners and floating minnow lures should do the trick here.

How far of a cast from campus: 6.2 miles; 17-minute drive

Important information: The pond at Vivian Park is only for kids 12 years and younger and the handicapped. Using live bait and PowerBait in this section of the river is prohibited.

Tibble Fork Reservoir

Tibble Fork Reservoir is located halfway between the headwaters of American Fork Canyon and Utah Valley.

Tibble Reservoir is a beautiful fishing spot up American Fork Canyon. Rainbow trout are abundant in this lake. (Caleb Turner)

Experience and terrain: Tibble Reservoir is great for beginners, families and people looking to spend a nice afternoon fishing in the mountains. There is plenty of shoreline, so space is generally not an issue, and the clear water makes it easy to see if you have a fish on the end of your line. Tibble Reservoir has been stocked twice this year, most recently on May 2, so catching fish is likely. Rocks and steep terrain leading to the water may pose a problem, especially if you are looking to sit on any sort of chair.

Likely on your lure: Rainbow trout are the only fish that have been stocked in this lake, but brook trout and brown trout have also been caught here.

Baits and barbs: Spinners, nightcrawlers and floating minnow lures are recommended here.

How far of a cast from campus: 14 miles; 27-minute drive

Important information: Since Tibble Reservoir was recently stocked, you are likely to be catching fish around 10-inches long, though there is a possibility for larger fish.

Lindon Marina on Utah Lake

Lindon Marina is located just south of Orem on Utah Lake.

A white bass caught at the Lindon Marina on Utah Lake. (Ashley Saunders)

Experience and terrain: This area of Utah Lake is great for all anglers. The water in Utah Lake is generally choppy due to its shallow depth and the presence of watercraft. Fishing on the lake itself may be for more experienced fishers, but there is a dock inside the Marina that offers a more attainable experience. Since the lake is so shallow — having an average depth of just nine feet — you are likely to be fighting with rocks and other sediment.

Likely on your lure: Walleye, channel catfish, largemouth bass, white bass, black bullhead, black crappie, bluegill, yellow perch, northern pike (see ‘important information’ section about northern pike) and common carp can all be found in Utah Lake.

Baits and barbs: Rubber and feathered jigs, nightcrawlers, minnows or smaller spinners (blue fox spinner) should help you reel in some fish here.

How far of a cast from campus: 12 miles; 26-minute drive

Important information: If you catch a northern pike (jackfish) in Utah Lake, it must be killed and reported to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Releasing this fish is prohibited because it is an invasive species to Utah Lake.

Provo River between Geneva Road and Utah Lake

This section of the river is located between North Boat Harbor Drive and Center Street in Vineyard

Fishing on the Provo River close to Utah Lake can be rewarding but comes with its challenges. You will likely have to battle with overhang and rocks on the shoreline. (Aaron Fitzner)

Experience and terrain: This section of the Provo River is mostly covered by trees that hang over the river and surround the river banks. The river is never stocked because of the abundance of fish that are naturally found here. You will have to battle with trees and weeds along the riverbank while you cast, but there is less likelihood of snagging reeds.

Likely on your lure: Rainbow and brown trout are the most common. Cutthroat trout, common carp, mountain whitefish, walleye and bass are also found in this section of the Provo River.

Baits and barbs: Spin lures, imitations fish lures and small spoons should do the trick here.

How far of a cast from campus: 5 miles; 17-minute drive

Important information: Live bait and PowerBait are prohibited in many sections of the Provo River. Check where you’re fishing before using bait or artificial flies and lures to be safe.

Sandy Pond

Sandy Pond is located in South Jordan off of Jordan River Parkway.

Aaron Fitzner
Sandy Pond is frequently filled with animals both below and above water. Pelicans, ducks and various other birds are often seen here. (Aaron Fitzner)

Experience and terrain: Sandy Pond, especially after being stocked on April 30, is a great fishing spot for inexperienced anglers, families and people looking for an easier catch. You’ll likely snag some reeds while fishing and have to battle some other greeneries that line the water’s edge.

Likely on your lure: Bluegill, largemouth bass, channel catfish and rainbow trout are all common here.

Baits and barbs: Spinners, worms, jigs and floating minnow lures ought to help you net some fish here.

How far of a cast from campus: 32 miles; 42-minute drive

Important information: You will be sharing this area with many birds. Pelicans, ducks and various other birds call this pond home.

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