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Central Utah's best fishing in July

Great fishing just off the Skyline Drive at Duck Fork and Ferron reservoirs

PRICE — Where is the heart of an outdoors enthusiast in July? High in the mountains, where the air is cooler, the grass greener and the flowers in bloom. A place where the only night lights are the stars and moon.

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Such a place is sandwiched between the Sanpete Valley on the west and Emery County on the east. It's the Wasatch Plateau in central Utah, which levels out at more than 3,000 feet above the valley floor. Sheltered within a mountain valley at an elevation of more than 9,000 feet are two neighboring reservoirs: Ferron and Duck Fork.

They are there for the taking, offering respite from the stifling heat and the daily hustle and bustle.

The Division of Wildlife Resources stocks both reservoirs with tiger trout — a sterile hybrid of a male brook trout and a female brown trout. These hybrids are prized for their aggressiveness, beauty and table quality. Since none of their energy is invested in reproduction, sterile trout grow larger faster.

Both mountaintop water bodies also feature Colorado River cutthroat trout, a strain of cutthroat native to the Colorado River drainage.

In addition to the tiger and cutthroat, Ferron Reservoir adds two more trout species to the mix. Brook trout are stocked in the reservoir to add diversity. Sterile brookies are used to prevent "stunting," which occurs when brook trout reproduce out of control and fill a water body with countless small fish. The other species in Ferron Reservoir is rainbow trout. Sterile rainbows have been selected to prevent hybridization with the Colorado River strain of cutthroats.

These neighboring waters can be reached from either Mayfield on the west or Ferron on the east. From either direction, the drive is a little more than an hour, and the roads are passable by passenger car.

The U.S. Forest Service runs a developed campground at Ferron Reservoir. The campground features 30 sites with pit toilets, fire rings and potable water. Campers who opt for primitive or dispersed camping should respect the integrity of the forest by parking as close to established roads as possible. Where a camping area is already established, vehicles are allowed to drive a maximum of 150 feet off either side of the road.

Special regulations are in place at Duck Fork Reservoir, which has been set aside as a brood source for Colorado River cutthroat trout eggs. Only artificial flies or lures may be used. The limit is two trout. All cutthroat trout must be released unharmed. Duck Fork tributaries are under the same regulations, except that fishing is closed from Jan. 1 until the second Saturday in July.

At Ferron Reservoir, statewide regulations apply, which includes a limit of four trout. Any trout species in Ferron Reservoir is fair game.

The most popular baits at Ferron Reservoir are night crawlers and PowerBait. (No baits may be used at Duck Fork.)

At either reservoir, the Jakes Spin-a-Lure and Kastmaster have been the most effective lures. Other lures, such as Panther Martin, Vibrax, Mepps or Roostertail will also bring the fish in.

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