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The best Utah waters to fish in 2013

DWR fisheries coordinator shares tips on where to go

As the weather warms and the ice melts, the hearts of many anglers in Utah are beating a little harder. They know that months of fishing adventures — on open water across Utah — is almost here.

Utah Lake is one of the best places in Utah to catch channel catfish

Utah Lake is one of the best places in Utah to catch channel catfish.

Photo by Scott Root

To help you get the most from your fishing trips in 2013, Drew Cushing, warm water sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, provides suggestions for can't-miss waters in Utah. "Visit these waters this year," Cushing says, "and you should have a great experience."

Northern Utah

If you like to catch wipers and walleye, plan a visit to Willard Bay Reservoir. Plenty of 12- to 16-inch wipers will be available to catch this year. And plenty of nice-sized walleye will be available too. In the spring, you can catch wipers and walleye from the shore. In the summer, plan on using a boat.

Cushing says anglers can expect great trout fishing at East Canyon Reservoir. The reservoir has large populations of rainbow, tiger and splake trout. The area also provides lots of shore access, which makes it easy to fish; simply park your car and walk to the water.

Central Utah

Deer Creek Reservoir and Utah Lake should be two of the best fishing spots in north-central Utah in 2013.

Cushing says Deer Creek is a great place to fish for big walleye and yellow perch; the average size of walleye and perch in the reservoir is larger than any other water in Utah. DWR fish hatchery personnel also stock thousands of rainbow trout into Deer Creek every year. And in 2013, hatchery personnel will stock even more rainbows than normal into the reservoir.

If you like to catch channel catfish or white bass, Utah Lake is the place to go in 2013. Good numbers of channel catfish, some weighing between 10 and 12 pounds, are found in the lake. Large numbers of 10- to 12-inch white bass are also available. There's no limit on the number of white bass you can keep. "Take as many as you can eat," Cushing says.

Northeastern Utah

Cushing expects 'spectacular' fishing at Starvation Reservoir, one of Utah's Blue Ribbon fisheries. Fish hatchery personnel have stocked rainbow trout into the reservoir for the past four years, and anglers are seeing the results. The reservoir has an abundant population of trophy rainbow trout — some of these fish are up to 22 inches long.

Flaming Gorge Reservoir, another Blue Ribbon fishery, contains three species that anglers shouldn't pass up fishing for this year. The reservoir has a good population of smallmouth bass that anglers should try for from June through October. Kokanee salmon fishing should be fantastic this year, with fish between 16 to 18 inches available to catch. And rainbow trout stocked into the reservoir last year should be about 16 inches long this year.

Southeastern Utah

If you've never caught a tiger muskie, Cushing says Joes Valley Reservoir is the place to go. DWR biologists started stocking tiger muskie into the reservoir four years ago. Some of the muskies stocked four years ago are up to 40 inches long now. In addition to the muskies, a chance to catch trophy splake and good-sized tiger trout is waiting for you at Joes Valley.

If you like to catch Bear Lake cutthroats and tiger trout, plan a visit to Scofield Reservoir. Cushing says 2013 will be the first year the reservoir's Bear Lake cutthroats will be large enough to fall outside of the 15- to 22-inch slot limit. The current Utah tiger trout record was set at the reservoir in February, and tiger trout in the reservoir are still healthy and well-fed. "I'm sure there's another record tiger trout out there," Cushing says.

Southern Region

Cushing says warm water fishing at Lake Powell will be the best it's ever been. Lake Powell is another Blue Ribbon fishery, and each species there is healthy. Crappie, striped bass and walleye are doing especially well in Lake Powell this year.

Also in southern Utah, lakes on the Boulder Mountains provide anglers with a great opportunity to practice any type of trout fishing. This year, several of the lakes contain brook trout that weight two to three pounds each.

Stay updated

You can stay updated on where fishing is the best in Utah by reading the DWR's weekly fishing reports. The reports are available at wildlife.utah.gov/hotspots. You can also receive the free reports via email by subscribing to them online.

Other good sources for up-to-date fishing information include www.bigfishtackle.com and www.utahwildlife.net.

And don't forget stores that sell fishing tackle and stores at various marinas in Utah. Employees at these stores often have excellent, up-to-date information.

Guidebook

Before fishing, be sure to review the rules in the 2013 Utah Fishing Guidebook. The free guidebook is available online.

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