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Trout are biting in the Uinta Basin

DWR provides tips to catch rainbow trout this spring

Vernal — Fishing has been good to excellent in the Uinta Basin this spring.

Scofield Reservoir
Ed Johnson hooks into a nice albino rainbow trout at Steinaker Reservoir this spring.

Photo courtesy of Ron Stewart

In the past few weeks, the ice has melted off all of the lower elevation waters in the basin, including Starvation, Steinaker, Big Sandwash, Brough, Red Fleet and Pelican Lake.

Even waters as high in elevation as lakes on Diamond Mountain and Flaming Gorge Reservoir are free of ice.

Most of these waters have trout in them. And the trout have responded to the warmer weather. Anglers are enjoying excellent fishing.

Tip for catching them

Trout are a cold-water fish. They're most accessible to anglers during the spring and fall. (That's when the water temperature is cold or cool across the entire lake or stream the fish are in. When the water temperature on the surface warms, the trout go deeper to find colder water. But until then, they'll feed aggressively closer to the surface.)

Areas close to shore are good places to target in the early spring. Later, as the water warms a bit, try fishing near inlets that flow into the lake or reservoir you're fishing. Trout swim to these areas to feed. Some of them also spawn in these areas.

Try casting along the leading edge of the cloudy water where the inlet water meets the clearer water in the lake. Spring floods sweep insects, small fish and other food downstream. The fish congregate in the cleaner water, watching for food that floods in from the dirtier water. Since visibility is poor, the fish have to move fast to catch a meal.

A small, bright, flashy lure usually does the trick in the spring. A quick, bright flash often triggers the trout to strike.

Baits also work well because the fish can smell the bait. They'll often follow the scent of the bait right to your hook.

While lure anglers want something bright and flashy, fly anglers might want to stay conservative. While "matching the hatch" is always the tried and true method when fly fishing, sometimes the fly you pick won't be visible to the fish. So go dark—black ants and dark-colored grubs are common items swept into lakes and reservoirs by the spring runoff.

Updated fishing reports for northeastern Utah are available at wildlife.utah.gov/fishing/reports.php.

If you have questions about fishing in northeastern Utah, call the Division of Wildlife Resource's Northeastern Region office at 435-781-9453.

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