Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Season-by-season fishing tips for Scofield Reservoir
By Craig Walker
DWR aquatics biologist
Fish species present: rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, redside shiner, mountain sucker
Common invertebrate species present: damselfly, may fly, crayfish
Access and amenities: Camping can be found at two State Park areas equipped with fish cleaning stations and concrete boat ramps. Restrooms can also be found at these sites. Angler access is available to shore anglers at several points along the eastern and western shoreline and near the dam.
Ice fishing at Scofield Reservoir
WINTER: Smaller jigs or ice flies tipped with cut shiner, meal worms, or small pieces of night crawler are the methods of choice during the early ice-fishing season. Fish approximately one foot off the bottom. Constant jigging/shaking of jigs appears to enhance the bite. When fishing on black ice most colors work well. However, when fishing on snow ice, the lack of light penetration makes the use of "hot" colors and gold jigs a better bet. Bites are light, pay attention. Also, remember to change your bait often to maintain a good scent attractor. Earlier in the ice-fishing season trout seem to congregate more on the southeastern side of the reservoir. Later in the ice-fishing season, as fish begin to stage for early spring spawning, use of jigs tipped with trout eggs taken from harvested fish (or commercial salmon eggs) is a very successful method. Deeper, rockier, shorelines may provide better success during the late season. Fishing in or around weed beds also seems to be a key to improving your catch rate throughout the ice-fishing season.
SPRING: As the ice begins to come off of Scofield, anglers fishing from shore along the ice edge can have a great deal of success using bait (shiners, worms, trout or salmon eggs, and commercial "stink" baits like Powerbait). Fish bait along the bottom or try using a bubble. Although fishing the tributaries to Scofield Reservoir (Mud, Upper Fish, and Lost Creeks) is illegal from January 1 through the second Saturday of July because of the risk to spawning fish, fishing near the mouths of these creeks is extremely productive for those anglers looking to catch large cutthroat trout. When fishing near the mouths, lure and fly anglers seem to have the best luck. Artificial lures that work well include Kastmasters, spinners, and crank baits that have coloration patterns similar to those of natural prey items (e.g., the redside shiner). Fly anglers will have good luck fishing from shore (wading) or using float tubes. When fly-fishing from a tube, patterns that work well include #10–8 leeches (black, green, and brown) stripped in water depths of 4 6 feet. Streamers fished near creek mouths may also provide fly anglers with some action. Once the ice comes off completely, fly and lure anglers should continue to have good success and bait anglers should remain moderately successful. Bait anglers may want to try fishing with some of the abundant crayfish found in the reservoir's shallows to improve success. Lure anglers may want to try trolling from a boat, focusing on the edges of weed beds.
SUMMER: Although anglers will have some success using the same methods employed during the spring, catch rates will likely decline. Bait fishing may be extremely slow during this period. Fly anglers seem to have the greatest amount of success during summer. Higher water temperatures will likely result in the fish being more sluggish. Shore, float tube, and boat anglers should, therefore, fish lures and flies more slowly and in deeper (10-plus feet) water. Fly patterns that work well during this time include #10-8 leeches (green, brown, and red). Fish will be more active during the early morning and early evening hours and anglers should focus their effort on these time periods.
FALL: As water begins to cool and mix in the reservoir, fish activity will likely increase and algal blooms will begin to die-off. Anglers should be ready for success to increase sharply. Use the same methods employed during the spring, focusing efforts on structures that may have been recently inundated (e.g., the area around the island near the southwestern end of the lake) as a result of rising water levels. Use baits and artificials that resemble natural prey items (e.g., redside shiners, crayfish, or mayflies) for best results. The eastern shore of the reservoir may be more productive for anglers in the fall.
The information above is provided to you by DWR personnel who fish Scofield regularly, anglers who participated in our most recent creel survey, and other local anglers. We want to give a special thanks to Tom Ogden for providing the majority of the fly-fishing information.