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Fishing should be stellar in 2014

Fish populations, water conditions and weather are in your favor

Salt Lake City–Great weather, good water conditions and healthy fish are waiting for you at waters across Utah.

Wipers up to 24 inches long can be caught at Willard Bay Reservoir this year.

Wipers up to 24 inches long can be caught at Willard Bay Reservoir this year.

Photo courtesy of Phil Tuttle

Biologists with the Division of Wildlife Resources expect 2014 to be an outstanding year for anglers. This year's conditions are better than they've been in several years. Just ask those who have already fished this spring; they're reaping the benefits.

"With the weather breaking, the next two months of fishing should be as good as anyone could hope for," says Paul Birdsey, DWR cold water sport fisheries coordinator. "If you've haven't fished for awhile, 2014 is the year to take it up again."

Usually, Utah anglers have good water and bad weather, or vice versa. This year, though, Birdsey expects a perfect blend of the two. Drew Cushing, warm water sport fisheries coordinator for the DWR, expects fishing to heat up a week or two earlier than in years past.

Best waters

So which waters should provide the best fishing in Utah in 2014? Here are Cushing and Birdsey's picks:

In the northern portion of Utah, Cushing and Birdsey agree that Starvation Reservoir will be this year's top water. Anglers can expect hot fishing for walleye, rainbow trout, brown trout and smallmouth bass.

Fishing at Starvation stays good through the summer, but the best time will be from mid-June to mid-July. At just over 100 miles from the Salt Lake Valley, this year's top water is a great get-away for those along the Wasatch Front.

In the southern portion of the state, Sand Hollow Reservoir should provide excellent fishing. Anglers are catching largemouth bass and bluegill. Cushing says that, although it's already good, fishing at Sand Hollow will heat up in May.

Cushing is already planning his trips to Willard Bay Reservoir this year. "It's just 45 minutes from Salt Lake City," he says, "and the fishing will be red hot." Many of the walleye at this northern Utah water will be 18–20 inches long this year. And wipers in the reservoir will be 12–24 inches.

Birdsey says he won't be surprised if Scofield Reservoir in east-central Utah produces another record-breaking trout this year. Tiger trout in Scofield can reach weights in the upper teens and low 20 pounds. Cutthroat trout in the reservoir have been known to reach nine pounds in weight.

Strawberry Reservoir in north-central Utah is also a contender for the state's best trophy-trout water. Cutthroat trout anglers will find a healthy year class above the slot limit — these fish are 22–25 inches long. Plenty of 14-inch rainbow trout are also waiting to be caught.

Stay updated

Even though it's time to start unwrapping your boat, some waters still have ice on them. To stay up to date on conditions at your favorite fishing spots, check out the DWR's fishing reports or contact your nearest DWR office.

Fishing forums, including www.bigfishtackle.com and www.utahwildlife.net, also provide up-to-date fishing information.

Quagga mussels

Cushing reminds you that thousands of quagga mussels were found at Lake Powell this winter. Before you leave the vicinity of the lake, you must clean any mud, debris or shells from your boat, and drain all of the lake water from your bilges, ballast tanks and engines.

You must complete the final step in the clean, drain and dry process — drying your boat the required amount of time — before placing it on any body of water in Utah. Or, you can get your boat professionally decontaminated for free. More information is available at wildlife.utah.gov/decontaminate.html.

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