Curtain call for warm water fish

Don't miss it: some of the year's best warm water fishing is happening now.

As the year progresses, open water fishing for warm water fish closes down. But just like in a good play, the cast (in this case, the warm water fish) always comes out for a final curtain call or two.

And when that curtain call happens, the fishing can be fast and furious.

Warm water fishing is excellent at Jordanelle Reservoir
Fall Warm Water Fishing at Jordanelle Reservoir
Photo courtesy of Scott Root

In northern Utah, the curtain calls are usually in October while in southern Utah, they might stretch into November.

Look near the surface and in the shallows

As the weather cools the surface of the water in the fall, bass, walleye, bluegill and other warm water predators move back into the shallows to feed on minnows, the last of the summer insects, crayfish and other prey.

This gives anglers one last opportunity for some fast fishing for warm water fish.

"By the end of the summer, the surface waters on many of our lakes and reservoirs are a bit too warm," says Ron Stewart, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) regional conservation outreach manager. "Fish usually respond by going deeper to reach cooler waters. And that makes it more difficult for anglers to find them.

"In the fall, the surface waters cool again," Stewart says. "That allows these fish to come back up to the surface and makes them more accessible to anglers.

"These fish are generally quite aggressive as they search for food. You can often find them in the shallow water, searching for their prey.

"The combination of an aggressive predator, in close to shore, is an opportunity for anglers of all ages."

Tips:

"Make sure you get out and take advantage of this great fall fishing," Stewart says. "It's often a play worthy of a standing ovation."

Best waters

Utah has many good warm water fisheries. And right now, several of them are providing great fishing.

"The warm weather this fall has produced some great warm water fishing at several waters. As long as the weather doesn't get outrageous [as far as getting cold and stormy], it should stay good," says Drew Cushing, warm water fisheries coordinator for the DWR.

"October is a great month to fish for warm water fish. They're feeding aggressively right now as they try to put on an extra layer of fat before the winter."

Cushing says the following waters are providing some of the best warm water fishing in Utah right now. To stay updated on fishing throughout the fall, visit the DWR's fishing reports page at wildlife.utah.gov/fishing/reports.php:

Northern Utah
WaterFishing is best for:
Mantua ReservoirLargemouth bass, bluegill
Pineview ReservoirBlack crappie, smallmouth bass
Willard BayWiper
RockportYellow perch

Central Utah
WaterFishing is best for:
Utah LakeWhite bass
Jordanelle ReservoirSmallmouth bass, yellow perch
Yuba ReservoirWalleye

Northeastern Utah
WaterFishing is best for:
Pelican LakeLargemouth bass, bluegill
Starvation ReservoirWalleye, yellow perch
Red Fleet ReservoirBluegill, largemouth bass
Steinaker ReservoirBluegill, largemouth bass

Southeastern Utah
WaterFishing is best for:
Lake PowellStriped bass
Recapture ReservoirLargemouth bass, Northern pike
Huntington ReservoirLargemouth bass

Southwestern Utah
WaterFishing is best for:
Newcastle ReservoirWiper, smallmouth bass
Sand Hollow ReservoirLargemouth bass, bluegill
Gunlock ReservoirLargemouth bass
Quail Creek ReservoirBlack crappie