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Ice-off is the Best Time to Fish for Trout at Scofield Reservoir

Ice off is the best time of the year to catch trout from the shore at Scofield.
Ice off is the best time of the year to catch trout from the shore at Scofield.
Photo courtesy Randall Stilson, Utah DWR

Reservoir could produce another record tiger trout

Scofield Some of the best trout fishing you'll find all year is about to begin at Scofield Reservoir.

"As the ice recedes, fishing heats up," says Brent Stettler, Division of Wildlife Resources regional outreach manager. "This is one of the best chances you'll have all year to catch big trout from the shore."

And those big trout could include a record tiger trout. The state tiger trout record has been broken at Scofield two times in the past three years.

Scofield also has a good population of cutthroat trout. A few rainbows are found in the reservoir too.

On April 14, DWR Regional Aquatic Biologist Calvin Black said the reservoir had a ring of open water around the shoreline. He also saw large areas of open water on the northern and southern ends of the reservoir.

"The entire shoreline should be open for bank fishing by Easter weekend," Black says.

The reservoir is near the town of Scofield, in east-central Utah.

How to catch them

When the ice sheet is within casting distance, anglers do well casting bait onto the ice and letting it drop into the water. Trout will usually take the bait as it falls. If the ice is beyond casting distance, cast and retrieve jigs or tube jigs tipped with bait.

Drew Cushing, warm water sports fishery coordinator for the DWR, says tigers and cutthroats prey on Utah chubs in Scofield. "That makes chub meat one of the best baits to use during ice off," he says.

To catch a chub for bait, put a bobber on your line about two or three feet above your hook, crimp a split shot about one foot above your hook, then place a small piece of nightcrawler on the hook. Cast it out, and wait for a chub to bite.

After you catch a chub, cut its meat into small pieces. Then, to catch a trout, cast the chub meat and let it dangle beneath your bobber. If you're targeting a trophy tiger, throw out a whole chub, and let it drift or settle.

Other baits can also produce success in the spring. For rainbow trout, start with chartreuse or rainbow PowerBait with glitter. You can also try worms, dead minnows or chunks of sucker meat.

If you like to throw spinners, bring along a few gold and silver Jake's Spin-a-Lures and Kastmasters. Crankbaits can also be good lures to try. Watermelon and chartreuse are good colors for both crankbaits and jigs.

Stay updated

Frequent fishing updates are available on many online fishing forums and the DWR's free fishing reports. You can subscribe to the reports at wildlife.utah.gov/e-lists.

If you have questions about fishing at Scofield, call Scofield State Park at 435-448-9449 or the DWR's Southeastern Region office at 435-613-3700.