- Rating: Fair
- Conditions: Heavy fishing pressure has slowed fishing down in the shallow areas. As winter extends into February, it becomes ever more important to change up your tactics to either find active fish or entice sluggish fish to bite. The best way to increase your catch rate is to move out to deep water — as deep as 30 feet. Fish can be found throughout the lower half of the water column in deep water. You're most likely to catch cutthroat in the middle of the lake, however. If you're after rainbows to take home, using a fish finder and moving around frequently in the shallows will help you find fish willing to bite. You may want to leave the ice shelter at home so you can be more mobile. You can also try changing up your tackle (size, color, etc), bait (try small pieces of frozen minnows), or depth in the water column (try fishing halfway down, instead of right on the bottom).
- Location: Garfield County, southwest of Panguitch City
- Directions: East from Parowan Utah on SR-143 or south from Panguitch on SR-143
- Type: Blue Ribbon
- Size: 1,234 acres
- Elevation: 8,212 feet
- Hours: No restrictions
- Likely catch: Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout
- Possible catch: Tiger Trout
- Regulations: To see what statewide or special regulations apply to this waterbody, please read the current Fishing Guidebook.
- Site amenities: Various concessions including lodging, meals and boat rental and USFS campground, two boat ramps
- Handicap access:
- Site description: Panguitch Lake is situated at an elevation of 8,212 feet approximately 18 miles southwest of Panguitch, Utah. It covers 1,234 surface acres, holds 40,100 acre-feet of water, and has a maximum depth of 66 feet. The lake is the source of Panguitch Creek and is fed by three small inlet streams: Blue Springs Creek, Clear Creek, and Ipson Creek. Panguitch Lake is one of southern Utah's most popular and productive fisheries.
Panguitch Lake has historically been one of the most important sport fisheries in southern Utah. It has long maintained a reputation as one of the best trout producers in the state. The fishery has not been without problems, however. Competition between Utah chubs and stocked trout has been a chronic problem at the lake, with the trout fishery suffering when chub numbers are high. To address the chub problem, a new management plan was developed during 2005. The intent of the new plan was to maintain the family-type fishery that Pangutich Lake was famous for, yet implement actions that would address the problem of chubs in the future.
Goals of the new management plan included:
- Maintaining an average catch rate of 50 trout per net-night in annual trend nets.
- Maintaining at least 10 percent of the rainbow trout captured in annual trend nets as 2-year old or older fish (at least 15 inches in length).
- Increasing predator trout (Bear Lake Bonneville cutthroat trout and tiger trout) to 25 percent of total annual trend netting catch.
- Producing mean angler catch rates of at least 0.5 trout per hour.
The first step of the plan was to remove the chubs (trout were removed as well) by a chemical treatment in the spring of 2006. Following the spring treatment, over 60,000 10-inch rainbow trout were stocked, as well as an additional 150,000 smaller rainbow trout. Cutthroat trout and tiger trout rounded out the 2006 stocking.
Although biologists were hopeful that chubs were completely removed by the treatment, history has shown that they will eventually return to the lake. Consequently, additional measures were included in the new management plan to mitigate any impacts that chubs will have when they return. Species stocked will be different than in the past. The trout stocked in the lake include fish (Bear Lake cutthroat trout and tiger trout) that are better predators than rainbow trout and will feed on chubs and help keep their numbers in check. In order for this part of the plan to work, new regulations to maintain a population of the larger-sized predator trout will be necessary.
The new management plan implemented special regulations intended to protect predator fish population. The goal is to have a enough predator fish to control the chub population, when chubs return. The original 2007 regulations introduced a slot that required trout between 15 and 22 inches to be released.
The newly restored population of trout grew fast, which unfortunately meant that the majority of fish caught by anglers in 2008 were in the slot and could not be harvested. Since one of the management goals at Panguitch Lake is to provide anglers with fish that they can take home, the Utah Wildlife Board decided in fall 2008 to remove rainbow trout from the slot, while still protecting cutthroat and tiger trout.
Effective beginning in 2009, the new regulations allow Panguitch anglers to keep four trout, only two can be cutthroat or tiger trout under 15 inches and only one can be a cutthroat or tiger trout over 22 inches. All cutthroat and tiger trout between 15 and 22 inches must be released. There is no restriction on the size of rainbow trout that may be kept. Because rainbow and cutthroat trout can appear similar, it is important for anglers to learn how to tell them apart to avoid keeping fish that need protection. For help learning how to identify the trout in Panguitch Lake, refer to page 40 in the Utah Fishing Guide or download an identification guide.
TIPS FOR RELEASING FISH IN THE SLOT (15 to 22 inches): If a fish swallows the hook, please cut the line to avoid mortality. A fish can pass a swallowed hook and survive, while digging the hook out will almost certainly kill the fish. Also try fishing with single hooks instead of treble hooks.