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Open Water and Good Fishing

Plenty of ice-free waters in north-central Utah

Springville -- Large bodies of water in north-central Utah—including Utah Lake, and Deer Creek and Yuba reservoirs—are now ice free.

At Deer Creek, fishing has been really good. One angler caught and released more than 40 trout recently trolling lures from a boat. Shoreline anglers are reporting fair to good success using traditional baits.

Now that the ice is off, several other waters in north-central Utah either are—or will soon be—providing some of the best fishing of the year. Scott Root, regional conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says the following waters are good waters to fish this spring:

Utah Lake

Anglers at Utah Lake are starting to report success for channel catfish, bluegill, white bass and other species.

If you like to fish for walleye, March and April are great times to cast rubber or plastic lures. To get the spawning walleye to bite, retrieve the lures slowly.

"Expect walleye success at Utah Lake to pick up any day now," Root says.

Yuba Reservoir

Yuba Reservoir has become one of the best northern pike fisheries in the West.

At most pike waters, you have to cast as many as 1,000 times to catch one northern pike. The catch rate at Yuba is much faster. Many of the reservoir's anglers catch several pike each trip.

To catch pike at Yuba, cast a fly or a lure that imitates a minnow into water that's five to 15 feet deep. Then, retrieve the lure or fly back with a medium-speed retrieve.

"Some of the pike that anglers are catching are more than 30 or 40 inches long," Root says. "These fish weigh more than 20 pounds."

Jordanelle Reservoir

If you're patient while fishing, some very large brown trout are waiting for you at Jordanelle Reservoir.

The reservoir is mostly ice free. There’s a large amount of open water between the Hailstone area and the dam. "You can launch a small boat from the personal watercraft ramp," Root says.

Success is fair for trout. Bass fishing will pick up as soon as the weather warms.

Anglers are strongly advised to stay off any ice they see at the reservoir.

Strawberry Reservoir

Strawberry Reservoir is the exception to the rule when it comes to open water.

"The ice is about 20 inches thick at most locations," Root says. "Ice fishing should be available for a couple of weeks or so."

Fishing through the ice has been very good lately using jigs tipped with bait. Using an underwater camera, Root recently captured video of fish under the ice at Strawberry. You can see the video at http://youtu.be/k2VwsCXYP3U.

Warm weather may create slushy conditions on the surface of the ice, especially in the afternoons.

"The slushy conditions can make it a little difficult to travel on an all-terrain vehicle or a snowmobile," Root says. "If you ice fish at the reservoir, make sure to wear waterproof boots."

Provo River

If you enjoy fishing rivers, the Provo River is providing good success for anglers using midge imitations and other flies, such as a pale morning dun (a mayfly imitation).

On some stretches of the river, you can use bait. Special regulations for the Provo River are available on page 34 of the 2014 Utah Fishing Guidebook. You can get the free guidebook at www.wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks.

To protect spawning walleye, the Provo River—from Interstate 15 to Utah Lake State Park—is closed to fishing until 6 a.m. on May 3.

Stay updated

Weekly fishing reports for north-central Utah are available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/hotspots. You can also receive the free reports via email by subscribing to them at www.wildlife.utah.gov/e-lists/subscribe.php.

Two additional websites—bigfishtackle.com and utahwildlife.net—also provide current fishing information.

If you have questions about fishing in north-central Utah, call the DWR’s Central Region office at 801-491-5678.