Shore and boat anglers catching lots of rainbows at Flaming Gorge
Dutch John -- If you'd like to catch some big rainbow trout, right now is the time to hit Flaming Gorge Reservoir in northeastern Utah.
In April, the rainbow trout fishing at Flaming Gorge can be amazing.
Getting In on the Action
During April and early May, mature rainbows in Flaming Gorge move to locations that both shore and boat anglers can easily access. These areas include points that jut into the reservoir and shorelines covered with small to medium-sized rocks. Although the rainbows can't spawn successfully without running water, they move to these areas anyway, thinking they'd make good spawning locations.
Some of the best spots to try at Flaming Gorge include Sheep Creek Bay, Hideout Canyon, Lucerne Marina, Linwood Bay, Kingfisher Island, Antelope Flat, Swim Beach, Mustang Ridge and Sunny Cove.
Most points, boat ramps and bays in the Wyoming end of the reservoir also produce chunky spring rainbows.
Fish up to 25 inches have already been caught at Flaming Gorge this month.
Tips for Success
If you're fishing from shore, try casting a 1/16 to 1/8 oz. dark-colored jig out to deeper water and then reel the jig to shore.
If the water isn't too deep, fishing a night crawler below a bobber also works well. Fishing on the bottom of the reservoir, with a single marshmallow near the eye of the hook and a night crawler below it, is also a good technique.
Spinners, spoons and small minnow lures also work well. If the fish are following your lure, but they won't hit it, try reeling your lure in a little slower, or try fishing with smaller lures.
Fly anglers can find success using dark-colored wooly buggers, streamers or leech patterns with sinking line. Trolling along rocky shorelines in a float tube, with a fly trailing behind you, is an effective technique. A slower presentation seems to be especially effective this time of the year.
The same techniques that work from shore will also work from a boat. You'll be fishing the deeper water on points and rocky shorelines, just like shore anglers do. The only difference is you'll be casting in the opposite direction: you'll cast your lure or bait into shallow water and then reel it into the deeper water where your boat is.
Make sure you let your jigs and lures sink deep enough to get down to where the fish are.
Some of the fish you catch may be mature females. They'll release eggs when you handle them. Since these fish don't spawn successfully in the reservoir, making them release eggs isn't a problem.
If you plan to release the fish you catch, try and keep them in the water, and use a pair of pliers to remove the hook. Also, try to keep the amount of time you spend touching the fish to a minimum. And don't be afraid to take some of the fish you catch home; Flaming Gorge rainbows are as tasty as they get!
Start Your Fishing Season Right
In recent years, this fantastic rainbow fishing at Flaming Gorge has lasted into the first two weeks in May. Beginning about mid-May, the mature rainbows return to deeper water in the reservoir and are harder to access.
If you're looking for fishing and great scenery, give Flaming Gorge a try over the next few weeks. You'll probably be glad you did!