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Hook Pike and Bass at Recapture Reservoir

Recapture Reservoir provides great fishing for pike, laregmouth bass, black bullhead and sunfish.
Recapture Reservoir provides great fishing for pike, laregmouth bass, black bullhead and sunfish.
photo by Brent Stettler, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

This small warmwater fishery is a quiet spot with big potential.

Blanding -- If you're looking for a quiet fishing hole off the beaten path—that provides an excellent chance to catch warmwater fish—Recapture Reservoir is the perfect spot.

The reservoir is near Blanding in southeastern Utah, about 90 minutes south of Moab. It's nestled in some of the most beautiful country Utah has to offer.

At 6,100 feet in elevation, Recapture Reservoir lies in the shadow of the Abajo Mountains. The water is home to northern pike, largemouth bass, black bullhead and green sunfish.

Calvin Black, regional sportfish biologist for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says biologists saw plenty of big fish at the reservoir during their annual gill net surveys this spring.

"Most of the pike measured 18 to 24 inches," he says, "but some of the pike were 24 to 28 inches long and weighed four to five pounds."

Black says most of the largemouth bass were between 11 and 14 inches long. Black bullheads ranged from 14 to 16 inches and averaged two pounds in weight. Sunfish as long as 10 inches turned up in the biologists' nets.

To catch bass and pike, try using crankbaits, jigs, tube jigs, spinners or dead minnows. For black bullheads, try nightcrawlers, chicken liver or store-bought stink baits. Sunfish often bite on 1/8-ounce curly-tail grubs.

Justin Hart, DWR regional aquatic manager, has three favorite rigs he uses when fishing for pike and bass at Recapture.

For bass, his favorite is a six-inch, pumpkin-colored plastic worm, rigged ‘weedless' on a bass worm hook about 15 inches below a single split shot. Work the rig slowly along the bottom.

Two rigs that Hart says work well for pike or bass are a medium-diving Berkley "Frenzy" in a crawdad-imitation color, and a double-jointed silver Canadian wiggler.

Good places to fish for pike and bass include rocky points, structure, underwater or shoreline vegetation, the cove on the north side of the reservoir, and along the shoreline. Bullheads are caught in shallow water while fishing your rig near the bottom. Sunfish are found in and around structure and aquatic vegetation.

Motorboats are allowed on the reservoir. Boaters can enter from either the north or south side via the old US Highway 191, which was re-routed after the reservoir was filled.

A mercury consumption advisory is in place for largemouth bass and black bullhead at Recapture. For current recommendations, visit www.fishadvisories.utah.gov.

To stay up-to-date on fishing hotspots in your area, check out the DWR's fishing reports at www.utahfishinginfo.com/dwr/fishingreports.php.