Fall is the time to get out to the fisheries here in Utah. Fish become more active after water temperatures drop and lakes turn over; they’re preparing to spawn or looking to fatten up for wintertime. As summer comes to an end and hunting season approaches, a few people stow their summer fishing gear. Not me.
Many of the larger rainbow trout were shaped like Spalding footballs, especially those in the 15- to 17-inch size class. Brown trout have also taken on a new look, and the night’s “big fish” was a 20-inch brown trout weighing in at 3.5 pounds.
Many hunters harvested their first deer and elk on WIA areas. Since the program began seven years ago, we’ve received many comments from proud fathers, avid anglers and enthusiastic hunters.
On page 13, the Utah Fishing Guidebook states, “Fishing for crayfish (also called crawdads) is a fun activity for the whole family.” But I’m here to tell you that crawdaddin’ is not just “fun,” it’s crazy-awesome and you have got to give it a try.
Seeing a striper boil in person was awesome—it’s louder and more frenzied than I imagined. The final fish count included three respectable stripers, one obscenely large bluegill, a couple largemouth bass and a few smallies.
Bear Lake cutthroat trout follow the same tributaries during their early-June spawning run. The tributaries to the reservoir are currently closed to fishing. Though the water is a little murky in June, you can still watch them in the river as they work their way upstream to spawn.
Fish activity and feeding really heats up along reservoir shorelines in the spring. The sun warms the shallow areas of water first, and fish naturally move into this water to bask and feed. The resulting activity attracts anglers and fishery biologists, both with the same goal: to catch a lot of fish.
Our total catch was 681 fish, including 443 rainbows, 236 browns and a couple whitefish. Our PIT tag recapture rate was around 19 percent, which is similar to what we normally see. The big fish of the night was a rainbow trout that stretched the measuring stick to nearly 22 inches, while the longest brown was just less than 19 inches.
All winter I’ve been looking forward to the ice coming off at two reservoirs where I’ll have a good chance of doing both—catching lots of big fish. This spring you’ll find me at Scofield and Joes Valley reservoirs.
Now that these ponds are being stocked weekly, it’s the perfect time to start getting out there with family and friends. Whether it’s for the family interaction, some quality time with a spouse or just to reacquaint with nature, community fisheries offer ideal outdoor settings.
Patchy snow dusted fifteen inches of solid, clear ice. By 1:00 p.m., the arm was dotted with ice fishing shelters, snow machines and both vacant and active fishing camps. Our friends new to ice fishing tentatively stood at ice edge and watched as some of us strode confidently onto the lake.
Fall is a transitional time for a biologist. It’s also one of my favorite times of year. The season begins amid a frenzy of fieldwork and ends with days behind the desk. The transition between these two modes of work is anything but gradual and naturally anything but boring.