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Spring fishing is almost here

Northern Utah anglers excited about ice-off

Part 1

Editor's note: The story below is the first in a series of news releases about some of the best waters to fish in Utah during ice off this spring. Ice off is one of the best times of the year to catch fish from the shore!


OGDEN — As the weather gets warmer, hungry fish in northern Utah, trapped under a layer of ice all winter long, are getting more active. And so are anglers. They're getting their fishing gear ready to fish open water during that magical, early-spring period called ice off.

A photo of a wiper at Willard Bay during ice off.

Ice off is a great time to catch wipers at Willard Bay.

Photo by Phil Douglass, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Best waters to try

Few people know the fishing waters in northern Utah better than Chris Penne. An aquatic biologist with the Division of Wildlife Resources, Penne manages fish populations in reservoirs across the northern part of the state.

If you like to fish for trout, Penne says you should visit the following waters as soon as the ice starts to leave this spring:

  • Lost Creek Reservoir
  • East Canyon Reservoir
  • Echo Reservoir
  • Mantua Reservoir
  • Birch Creek Reservoir
  • Rockport Reservoir

While trout fishing can be red hot as the ice starts to leave, great walleye, catfish and wiper fishing is also available.

"I would definitely add Willard Bay and Cutler Reservoir to the list of waters to fish this spring," Penne says. "Early-spring fishing at Willard can be hot for walleye. Data we collected last year suggests this year could be a particularly good one for walleye in Willard. The walleye population in the reservoir has increased in number."

Fishing for wipers (a cross between a striped bass and a white bass) should also be good at Willard Bay this spring. When the ice melts, fish that died during the winter are blown along the shoreline. Fish in the reservoir, including wipers, often go into a "feeding frenzy" as they feed on the dead fish.

Penne says Cutler Reservoir is another water in northern Utah that could provide good walleye fishing this spring. "Fishing could be hot for them this spring too," he says. "I've also seen lots of reports of anglers doing well for catfish at Cutler in the early spring."

Stay updated

Subscribing to the DWR's Northern Region fishing report is a great way to stay updated on which reservoirs have open water and where fishing is the best. You can subscribe to the free report online.

"The DWR's YouTube Channel also has great videos that highlight fishing opportunities in Utah," says Phil Douglass, regional conservation outreach manager for the DWR.

You can access the YouTube channel at youtube.com/UDWR.

For more information, call the DWR's Northern Region office at 801-476-2740.

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