Posted Thursday, 22 April 2010 11:18
OGDEN — The temperature isn't the only thing that's heating up right now—fishing on the Weber River is heating up too.
Photo courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
"Fishing is better than it's been in years," says Paul Thompson.
Thompson should know. In addition to serving as the Northern Region aquatics manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources, he fishes the Weber River regularly.
"I've caught several brown trout in the 18- to 20-inch range this spring. And the mountain whitefish numbers have rebounded in reaches that were hit hard by the drought a couple of years ago," Thompson says.
In addition to catching browns and whitefish, if you fish in the Henefer, Peterson or Mountain Green areas, you might catch a nice Bonneville cutthroat trout.
"We saw numerous Bonneville cutthroat trout during electrofishing surveys we did last summer," Thompson says. "Some of the fish were up to 18 inches long. We even found a few that were over 20 inches."
Thompson has landed three Bonneville cutthroats so far this spring. The fish he caught were between 15 and 16 inches long.
You can watch a video of one of his Weber River fishing adventures at www.youtube.com/UDWR.
Time to catch some fish!
If you want to get in on the action, Thompson provides the following tackle tips. He also provides information about river conditions:
Flies and lures
Nymphs – Thompson prefers to use two nymphs in tandem. Hares ears and pheasant tails (including flashback and copper johns) are his favorite nymphs this time of year. He places the nymphs about 18 inches apart. A bead head is the type of nymph he usually places on the top of his line. Depending on how deep the water is and how fast it's flowing, you may want to add some split shot about 8 inches above the bead head fly.
Streamers – Brown trout are extremely aggressive in the Weber this time of year. Darker colors (black, olive or brown) are good colors to try.
Lures – Jigs, spinners, and crank baits also work well, especially in the spring. These lures will often entice strikes from some of the larger brown trout.
Even though the Weber has been generally low and clear this spring, conditions can change on a daily basis. As the snow melts, the water level rises. The rising water level can cloud the water. And that can make it difficult for the fish to see your fly, lure or bait.
The irrigation season, which begins in mid-April, can change the water level too.
Fortunately, the Weber is a long river. If the water is off color in the first area you visit, you can often find clear water by moving upstream. A good place to find consistently clear water is the stretch between Echo and Rockport reservoirs.
And even if the water is cloudy, you can still catch fish. You just need to change your tactics. For example, if you're fly fishing, switch to streamers or larger nymphs that are in the same patterns as the streamers.
These bigger flies are easier for the fish to see.
Lots of places to fish
In addition to using the right techniques, you also need to find a place to fish. Fortunately, the Weber River provides lots of choices!
Much of the Weber River flows over land that's privately owned. For years, DWR biologists have worked with private landowners, municipalities and non-governmental organizations to get anglers access to the river. And they've found a lot of success.
DWR Blue Ribbon Fisheries Biologist Paul Burnett lists access points to the river, starting at the bottom of the river and moving upstream:
For more information, call the DWR's Northern Region office at 801-476-2740.
Updated fishing reports for the Weber River are available at wildlife.utah.gov/fishing/reports.php.
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