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It’s time to stock the tackle box

Discover some of the best baits and lures for fishing in Utah this year.

Ryan is a fisheries biologist whose work focuses on both the Green River and Flaming Gorge Reservoir. He loves to hike, hunt, fish and play in the surrounding hills when he's not at work.

“WHAT DO I NEED?” is a question I frequently hear when I take someone fishing. Today’s tackle choices are almost limitless, especially when you consider all the different lures and their variations in size, weight and color. I think most anglers are overwhelmed by all the choices, and I understand completely — I’m getting to be the same way.

By no means am I a professional angler, but I have had the luxury of fishing a diversity of waters across Utah for a variety of species. My fishing trips have taken me from small alpine lakes in the Uinta Mountains to 140-mile long reservoirs like Lake Powell, and from large rivers like the Green River to small streams you can straddle.

If you are just getting into fishing — or you want to stock your tackle box with some productive fishing gear — you should at least consider the following choices for this upcoming fishing season:

Manufacturer Lure Type Size* Color* Target Species
1 Berkley Gulp minnow 4 inch Shad Lake trout, bass, walleye
2 Berkley Powerbait grub 2 inch Chartreuse, Christmas Crappie, perch, trout
3 Gitzit Micro Tough Guys ¾ inch Chartreuse Bluegill, perch, crappie
4 Luhr Jensen Needlefish 1,2 Pearl/red, pearl bikini Kokanee, trout, lake trout
5 Panther Martin Spinner ¼ oz Gold Trout
6 Rapala Xrap 3¼ inch Silver, rainbow Bass, trout
7 Rapala Shad rap 2¾ inch Silver Walleye, striper, wiper, trout
8 Rat-L-Trap Crankbait ½ oz Chrome Bass, striper, wiper
9 Rebel Pop R topwater ¼ oz Silver, foxy shad Bass
10 Rocky Mnt Tackle Serpent spoon 2 inch Tequila sunrise Kokanee, trout, lake trout
11 Wally Diver Crankbait ¼ oz Chrome Walleye, striper, wiper
12 Yamamoto Grub 4 inch Watermelon Bass, trout, walleye
13 Yamamoto Senko 5 inch Watermelon Bass

*Size and color should match the target species’ forage, but those listed are my most frequently used.

Depending on where you go fishing, these lures are usually a good bet. Check the table above for more information about which species to target with these lures.

A lot of these lures will work for other species not identified and also on a variety of waters. For example, I’ve caught catfish while trolling Shad Raps at both Lake Powell and Willard Bay. I’ve also caught lake trout on Xraps at Flaming Gorge while casting towards shore in the spring.

As a biologist and angler, I work with fish several days out of the year, and they never cease to surprise me. Just remember, an angler always seems to fish best with what they have the most confidence in.

What other tackle should you have to make sure you’re ready to rig? To cover most situations, you should also consider including:

  • Bait — worms (all species) and Berkley Powerbait (trout)
  • Bobbers — foam clip on and casting bubble
  • Duolock snaps — not necessary, but good for quickly changing crankbaits
  • Fishing guidebook — for current fishing regulations
  • Fillet knife
  • Fishing line — for all-around use try 6–8 lb test monofilament (clear)
  • Hook assortment — size 8-10 for smaller fish, size 1-2 for larger fish like catfish
  • Jig heads — you’ll need some 1/8-1/2 oz heads to rig grubs on (earth tones, pink, black)
  • Line clippers
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Sinker assortment — split shots to add weight and get your bait down
  • Stringer for your catch
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Swivels — for attaching spinners and spoons

Well, that’s my “essentials” list — it’s tackle I don’t leave home without and all of which have spots in my tackle bag. To comfortably haul all of this stuff, whether it’s down the launch ramp or along the bank, you should also consider a sizeable gear bag with a shoulder strap.

Don’t forget to make sure you have a valid Utah fishing license and a second-pole permit, if you want to use two fishing poles. You can purchase both of those online at (where you can also find current fishing reports) or from a local license agent near you.

Most of all, don’t forget to have fun! Fishing is all about enjoying the outdoors with friends and family — catching a bunch of fish is only a bonus. Good luck, and I hope to see you on the water!

1 Response to It’s time to stock the tackle box

  1. Richard D peterson

    Can tell your not a pro Fisher with some of that tackle listed. Stringer? What, you was born in the middle ages? Krills keep fish ALIVE until your ready to flay em. Important if you want top quality tasting fish. Shorter time between them being dead to being fried is key. But still.not to bad a list. Starting point anyways. What I’d like to see is Utah figuring out a way to get these fish to grow to decent size. Seen some of the channel cats pulled and they are puny. It’s rediculous. Channel cats generally get to 30 pounds easy. So why so many 8 pounders? Almost a waste of bait. Less big and small mouth Bass and more fish we can actually enjoy eating too. Trout is good but y’all are so stupid about em I don’t want nothing to do with em. These catch and release policies cause over population and crouding and this causes fish to not fully reach potential sizes. So less fish that have ten million restrictions would be nice. Look at how they manage most lakes down south. And we don’t have any problems. There are allways fish and are allways good size. And we still bring home what we catch. Fishing is a means to eat healthy. It’s not some sport for rich people. They want that they can golf.

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