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Fun, inexpensive fishing in central Utah

State Route 31 offers close-to-home fishing for central Utah anglers

Fairview — If you're looking for a fun place to fish in central Utah, visit the waters along state Route 31.

Biologist Justin Hart holds a cutthroat trout from Electric Lake

Biologist Justin Hart holds a cutthroat trout from Electric Lake.

Photo by Brent Stettler

Route 31 runs through the Manti-La Sal National Forest. If you live in central Utah, the route provides multiple camping and fishing destinations you can reach without having to spend a lot of time or money on travel.

Route 31 connects the towns of Fairview and Huntington. Cleveland Reservoir, Electric Lake and Huntington Reservoir (also known as Mammoth Reservoir) are within several miles of each other. And just below Electric Lake is Huntington Creek, one of Utah's Blue Ribbon fisheries.

All three reservoirs and Huntington Creek are easily fished from the bank.

Brent Stettler, regional conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources, provides the following information for all four waters:

Regulations

Of the three reservoirs mentioned, only one has special regulations: At Huntington Reservoir, all cutthroat trout must be returned to the water.

Huntington Creek is managed by special regulations that offer anglers several specialized fishing experiences. These include an area where only flies are allowed, an area where only artificial flies or artificial lures may be used, and an area where bait is allowed.

Special regulations for Huntington Creek are found on page 25 of the 2012 Utah Fishing Guidebook.

Fishing tips

A variety of trout species are found in the fisheries along Route 31. Huntington Reservoir is home to tiger trout and cutthroat trout. Cleveland Reservoir holds tiger, cutthroat and rainbow trout. Resident trout in Huntington Creek are predominantly browns with a few cutthroats in the mix.

Fishing conditions change regularly at these and all other bodies of water. To read the latest DWR fishing reports, visit wildlife.utah.gov/hotspots.

The reports will provide you with a starting point. Please remember that fishing conditions change all the time. Fishing success fluctuates according to the time of day, weather conditions, the phase of the moon, insect hatches, the water temperature, the skill of the angler and just plain luck.

Although fishing results are unpredictable, some generalities do exist:

  • The best baits for rainbow trout along Route 31 are night crawlers and PowerBait.

    If you use PowerBait, the most effective colors are rainbow and chartreuse with glitter.
  • Tiger trout and cutthroats are most easily caught using nightcrawlers, dead minnows or spinners.

    For years, the best spinner has been the Jakes Spin-a-Lure. Nightcrawlers continue to be the best bait. The best artificial fly patterns are leeches, wooly buggers, soft hackle flies and prince nymphs.

At the three reservoirs, the trout limit is four. Along the fly-only zone in Huntington Creek, the limit is two trout.

For the most part, trout range from nine to 12 inches long, although much larger trout can also be caught at any of these waters.

The best fishing usually happens early in the morning or later in the evening.

Camping spots

The U.S. Forest Service provides a number of campsites and developed campgrounds along Route 31. You can learn more about the variety of campsites and campgrounds by visiting the Manti-La Sal National Forest on the Web at www.fs.usda.gov/mantilasal or by calling the Manti-La Sal National Forest office in Price at 435-637-2817.

"Whether your preference is catch-and-release fishing or a fish fry, the fisheries along Route 31 offer enjoyable recreation without having to spend a lot of money," Stettler says. "If you couple camping with fishing, you are in for a fun-filled weekend—or even a week—with very little travel or expense."

For more information, call the Division of Wildlife Resources at 435-613-3700.

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