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Fishing heats up at Pelican Lake

The lake is one of the earliest to offer bass and bluegill fishing in Utah

ROOSEVELT — Pelican Lake is usually the first water, or "bass lake," to warm up in northeastern Utah each year.

Pelican Lake is a great place to catch largemouth bass.

Pelican Lake is a great place to catch largemouth bass.

Photo by Ron Stewart

Even though the lake doesn't offer great fishing at ice-off, anglers don't have to wait long to catch bass and bluegill.

"Patience is the key to fishing Pelican in the spring," says Ron Stewart, regional conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "Anglers regularly rush to Pelican at ice-off and then find out warm water fish don't respond like cold water trout do."

The best time to fish Pelican is after three or four straight days of warm weather. After the weather has been warm for three or four days, fishing holes in the reeds — shallow areas that are protected from the wind and the waves — get warm enough to draw fish into them.

How to catch them

In the spring, Stewart usually starts by throwing small presentations that work for both bluegill and bass. Some of his favorites include curly tail and tube jigs, plastic lures that resemble worms or crayfish, lures that imitate frogs, and various crankbaits, small spoons and drop baits.

Stewart says many anglers want only the bigger bass to respond, so they toss a larger presentation.

"When fishing the reeds, remember that you're fishing shallow water. You need to use a presentation that doesn't weigh much," Stewart says. "You want the presentation to flutter down, not slam into the bottom."

Because the water is shallow, you'll often see the fish you're pursuing. "That can be a really useful advantage," he says, "but remember; they can also see you."

Being considerate

Stewart reminds you to be considerate of other anglers. Pelican is a small water that gets a lot of attention.

"There's limited shore access," he says, "so most anglers fish from boats. If you're fishing from a boat, please be aware of shore anglers. Don't crowd into the few holes shore anglers can reach."

Stewart says boaters on Pelican have a pattern.

"I was fishing a hole in the reeds recently," he says, "and boats came by about every five minutes. Many of the anglers were friendly, and we exchanged fishing tips."

Stewart saw 25 to 30 boats on the water that day. He noticed that all of the boats were heading in a clockwise rotation along the outer edge of the reeds.

"I also realized that they were fairly evenly spaced," he says. "A few started to push through the reeds to come into my hole, but they saw me and moved back out. I appreciated their courtesy. I'm sure the other anglers in the rotation did too."

Stay updated

Weekly fishing reports for Pelican Lake are available at wildlife.utah.gov/hotspots. You can also stay updated at www.bigfishtackle.com and www.utahwildlife.net.

If you have questions about fishing at Pelican Lake, call the DWR's Northeastern Region office at 435-781-9453.

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