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Memorial Day fishing should be great

Something special is waiting for Utah anglers on Memorial Day weekend this year.

Scofield Reservoir has lots of big cutthroat trout in it. It should be a great place to fish over Memorial Day weekend.

Scofield Reservoir has lots of big cutthroat trout in it. It should be a great place to fish over Memorial Day weekend.

Photo by Calvin Black

"Statewide, this year should provide some of the best fishing we've ever seen in Utah," says Drew Cushing, warm water sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources. "Fishing at some of the state's waters will be as good as it's ever been."

While dozens of waters will provide great fishing over the holiday weekend, Cushing picks the following as the very best:

Trout

Starvation Reservoir should be the state's top trophy rainbow trout fishing water this year.

Cushing says rainbows in the north-central Utah reservoir are between 22 and 24 inches long. The trout should stay close to shore through May. To catch them, try using PowerBait or a worm under a bobber.

If you're looking for big Bear Lake cutthroat and tiger trout, plan on spending your holiday at Panguitch Lake in southwestern Utah.

"Panguitch fishes really well in the spring," Cushing says. "The cutthroat and tiger trout in the lake can be up to 24 inches long. We stock rainbows in the lake too."

Strawberry, Scofield and East Canyon reservoirs are three additional waters that should provide great trout fishing over the Memorial Day weekend.

Trout aren't the only fish to pursue in Utah over the holiday, though. Fishing for warm water fish will be excellent too.

Warm water fish

If you want to catch walleye, Lake Powell is the can't-miss spot. "Walleye fishing at Lake Powell is red hot right now," Cushing says.

To catch walleye at the southern Utah reservoir, Cushing suggests using a silver-bladed worm harness, with a two hook setup with a nightcrawler. Once you find the depth at which the walleye are biting, keep fishing at that depth.

"You might notice additional walleye above or below the depth at which you're catching fish," he says. "Those walleye are less likely to be active. Keep fishing at the depth where the fish are biting."

Cushing says striper and black bass fishing should also be good at Lake Powell over the holiday weekend.

A large population of walleye in the 15- to 17-inch range are found in Starvation Reservoir. A 1/8-ounce red or gold jig head, with a nightcrawler placed on the hook, usually gets the walleye in the reservoir to bite.

If you want to catch crappie, wipers or walleye, Willard Bay Reservoir in northern Utah is a great choice.

You'll find crappie in both the north and south marinas. These scrappy panfish tend to stay near underwater structure. Try slowly retrieving a chartreuse jig or a white jig under a bobber.

For wipers, fish in shallow water using a setup that looks like a minnow. A white jig or a silver spinner are good choices.

To give yourself the best chance at catching a walleye, you need to fish from a boat. Cushing recommends fast trolling with a number seven shad-rap in a blue color.

Utah Lake in north-central Utah has healthy populations of white bass and catfish. By the holiday weekend, white bass will be staging near the Provo River and Spanish Fork River inlets. You can catch them from shore or from a boat. "White bass are quick to bite," Cushing says. "They're a great fish for kids to catch."

By Memorial Day weekend, the water in Sand Hollow Reservoir in southwestern Utah will be warm enough to get the bluegill and bass really active.

For largemouth bass, try a pumpkin-colored, curly tail grub.

Bluegill are a great species for kids to catch. And they should be close to shore during the holiday weekend.

To catch bluegill, try slowly retrieving a chartreuse curly tail grub under a bobber. Or, fill a clear plastic bubble with water, place it on your line, and using the extra weight the bubble provides, cast a fly to the fish and slowly retrieve the fly.

Fishing spots close to home

In addition to the spots listed above, you'll find good fishing at various waters throughout the state. To locate the rivers, ponds and lakes closest to where you live, visit www.fishutah.org. From there, you'll also be able to purchase your Utah fishing license and see the latest fishing regulations in the 2014 guidebook.

Clean, drain and dry your boat

To protect Utah's waters — and your boat — from invasive quagga mussels, make sure to clean, drain and dry your boat after every use. Decontamination instructions are available online.

Free fishing reports

For more information about fishing in Utah, sign up for the DWR's weekly fishing reports. You can subscribe to the free reports or read them online.

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