Newcastle Reservoir is located about 30 miles west of Cedar City. It takes about three hours to drive to Newcastle from Las Vegas, or four hours from Salt Lake City. The reservoir covers 224 acres at an elevation of 5,980 feet. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources owns a 500-acre-foot conservation pool that protects the fishery during dry years. Shoreline access is open to the public and a paved boat ramp is available.
The sport fishery at Newcastle Reservoir has changed dramatically over the past 20 years. Prior to 1986, the reservoir was managed exclusively with rainbow trout. Smallmouth bass were introduced in 1986 to better utilize the large population of crayfish. Golden shiners were illegally introduced in about 1994 and have proven to be a dominant competitor to the trout. Bear Lake cutthroat trout were stocked from 1999 to 2007 in the hopes that they would prey on the shiners. Although A few trout eat shiners and crayfish and grow to four or five pounds, the cutthroat didn't have the intended effect. Most of the trout struggled because of the excessive algae blooms and warm summer temperatures, and didn't survive long. Bear Lake cutthroat trout are no longer being stocked
Unlike the problems with the trout, smallmouth bass have been an outstanding success. Crayfish and shiners provide an excellent food supply for smallmouth bass. Many of the Newcastle bass grow to a trophy size of three to five pounds, but they are not easy to catch. Although it is possible to catch exceptionally large fish, anglers have to compete with the abundant food supply.
Try fishing plastic grubs and curly tails deep and slow, or shiner-imitating plugs on the surface near schools of shiners. During the spring, the bass bite more when the water warms to the mid-50s to 60° F range. Shiners are harder to catch when it's cold.
Beginning in 2005, the Division began a new management strategy and introduced wipers, a cross between white bass and striped bass, in the hope of reducing the shiner population. Wipers are aggressive open-water predators. 2007 and 2008 samples show that the wipers are surviving and growing well, and eating a lot of shiners.
To catch a wiper, try trolling shiner-imitating crankbaits at a little faster speed than you would for trout. A few anglers have caught wipers from shore with lures, spinners and streamers. Dawn and dusk are typically the best times to catch wipers. The 2008 sample found wipers near five pounds and, with the abundant food supply, they should continue growing.
Fish consumption advisories have been issued for rainbow trout and wipers in Newcastle Reservoir because of elevated mercury levels. For details, visit fishadvisories.utah.gov.
Latest fishing report
Fishing for trout has been picking up from boats trolling and casting lures. Anglers are also catching a few smallmouth and wipers. Fishing is slower from shore. We conducted a fish population survey recently and found great results for rainbow trout. Rainbows stocked last fall are abundant and are now about 10 to 12 inches long. We also found a fair number of larger rainbows, up to 20 inches long. These fish are in great condition and seem to be growing well, despite low water levels in recent years. (Last update 05-17-18)
- Location: Iron County, west of Cedar City
- Directions: West 30 miles on SR-56 from Cedar City to town of Newcastle. Turn east on south side of town.
- Type: Fishing
- Size: 224 acres
- Elevation: 5,980 feet
- Hours: No restrictions
- Likely catch: Rainbow Trout, Smallmouth Bass, Wiper
- Possible catch: Green Sunfish
- Regulations: To see what statewide or special regulations apply to this waterbody, please read the current Fishing Guidebook.
- Site amenities: Launch ramp. Portable toilets during summer months.
- Handicap access: None