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Fast fishing in southern Utah

Part 3

Editor's note: The story below is the third 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!


CEDAR CITY — There are many reasons to get excited about spring, especially if you're an angler in southern Utah.

An angler on a float tube with a rainbow trout at Minersville Reservoir.

Ice off is a great time to catch rainbows at Minersville Reservoir.

Photo by Michael Hadley

"Right now is a great time to dust off your fishing gear and head to your favorite lake or reservoir," says Lynn Chamberlain, Southern Region conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "Some great early-spring fishing is waiting for you."

Chamberlain says as the ice begins to melt and recede from shore, fish activity increases as the fish move toward shore to feed.

"Right now," says Richard Hepworth, DWR Southern Region aquatic manager, "our mid-elevation lakes are perfect for early-spring fishing. Reservoirs like Otter Creek, Minersville, Enterprise and Newcastle offer excellent fishing. The water conditions are still pretty good, and the fish are active and hungry."

To catch fish at these waters, Hepworth encourages you to keep your bait or lure close to shore.

"One common mistake anglers make this time of year is trying to cast way out to the deep water," he says. "In the early spring, fish stay close to the bank, sometimes congregating in schools where food is abundant."

One of the best techniques in early spring is to walk along the shore, casting into the water until you get a fish on your line. "Once you find one fish," Hepworth says, "you're likely to find more, so stay put and fish for a while."

Hepworth says just about anything will work for bait. Anglers are having success with PowerBait and worms as well as spinners and wet flies. "Just remember to fish within 10 to 20 feet of shore," he says. "And keep moving until you find a school of hungry trout."

Ice-off fishing conditions should last for a few more weeks. Then, the behavior of the fish will change, and they'll start moving away from shore.

Chamberlain says the ice at some of the upper lakes and reservoirs n southwestern Utah hasn't left yet. For example, Fish Lake and Panguitch Lake will probably remain covered with ice until sometime in May. "When the ice begins to melt," he says, "the same technique will work there too."

Stay current

Updated ice-off reports and weekly fishing reports for southwestern Utah are available online. You can also subscribe to receive the free reports via email.

If you have questions about fishing in southwestern Utah, call the DWR's Southern Region office at 435-865-6100.

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