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Fishing the backwaters of Rich County

Fall is a great time to catch trout in Rich County

RANDOLPH — Ken Smith, an avid angler from Dillon, Texas smiled broadly as he hauled in a hefty rainbow trout.

Ken Smith from Dillon, Texas shows a stringer of nice trout.

Ken Smith from Dillon, Texas shows a stringer of nice trout. Smith loves fishing the remote waters of Rich County.

Photo by Phil Douglass

"I don't think Utahns know what great fishing they have in this state," Smith said during a recent sunny afternoon in Rich County.

"Look at this," Smith said as he looked around. "I'm the only angler here to enjoy this!"

Certainly, remoteness and solitude — along with great fishing — are what make fishing in Rich County so charming.

Smith says the allure of catching rainbow, lake and tiger trout at Rich County waters grabbed him a few years ago. Since getting "hooked," he's been coming back to the county annually to fish for trout.

Phil Douglass, regional conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources, provides tips, techniques and travel directions to help you enjoy the fishing treasures the county offers:

Woodruff Reservoir

Cutthroat trout are found in Woodruff Reservoir. You can launch small boats at a small boat ramp at the reservoir, and trolling is a popular and effective way to catch the cutthroats. Flatfish, Rapalas and spinners — such as the Blue Fox Vibrex in gold and silver colors — can be effective lures.

The turnoff to the reservoir is 5.5 miles west of Woodruff on state Route 39. Once you reach the turnoff, turn south off the paved road onto a gravel road, and then travel about four miles to the reservoir.

The reservoir is surrounded by private property. Please respect the property — don't litter, and don't trespass.

Birch Creek Reservoir

DWR biologists found healthy populations of tiger and rainbow trout during recent population surveys at the reservoir.

"We found a good number of fish over 20 inches," says DWR biologist Chris Penne. "The chance you'll catch a big tiger trout here is pretty good."

The turnoff to Birch Creek is 7.7 miles west of Woodruff on state Route 39. When you come to the turnoff, turn north off the pavement onto a gravel road, and then travel northwest, bearing to the left for 1.25 miles. The road will take you to the base of the dam. From there, a short but steep hike up the dam will take you to the reservoir.

You can fish from the shore or haul a float tube or a small, lightweight boat over the dam. Streamers that imitate leeches or small fish are effective. Traditional baits for shore anglers, such as nightcrawlers, are also good producers.

A campsite, an open parking area and vault toilets, provided by the Bureau of Land Management, are available at the base of the dam.

Little Creek Reservoir

This small reservoir is very productive, and the rainbow trout that are stocked here grow well. The road to the reservoir takes you right to the water, so it's a great place to fish with a float tube.

To reach the reservoir, drive 2.25 miles west of Randolph on Canyon Street, which becomes Little Creek Road as it leaves the city. The reservoir is located where the road forks. A nice picnic pavilion and vault toilets make this a great place to fish for the day.

Laketown Reservoir

To access this small reservoir, take state Route 30 into Laketown, and turn south on 200 East. From the turnoff, travel south for two miles.

This small reservoir can be fished easily from shore using traditional baits and lures. The reservoir contains sterile rainbow and cutthroat trout. Please keep this pretty little reservoir clean by packing out all of your garbage.

Bear Lake

Any discussion about fall fishing in Rich County has to include Bear Lake.

In the fall, lake trout move close to the shore, which gives shore anglers a chance at the fish. The fish move close enough to shore that even anglers with fly rods can catch "lunker lakers" using streamers.

Another late fall fishing highlight happens when the lake's Bear Lake whitefish spawn. Fishing from shore and small boats is possible in late November and early December when the whitefish spawn. Whitefish up to three pounds can be caught using small jigs.

Garden City Community Fishing Pond

This pond in Garden City is about one mile south of Logan Canyon Road (U.S. Highway 89).

To reach the pond, turn south at the only stop sign in Garden City, and then turn west on Buttercup Lane. Drive one quarter of a mile, and then turn north on Buttercup Boulevard. This street will take you to the pond.

The Garden City Community Fishing Pond is one of Utah's newest community fisheries. It offers great access and excellent fishing for sterile rainbow trout.

Learn more

You can get updated fishing reports for Rich County at wildlife.utah.gov/hotspots.

More information is also available by calling the DWR's Northern Region office at 801-476-2740.

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