Hot spots for ice fishing in Utah

Jan 6, 2022, 1:09 PM | Updated: 2:26 pm
(Courtesy: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)...
(Courtesy: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)
(Courtesy: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

SALT LAKE CITY — There’s more to Utah winters than the greatest snow on earth. The ice is nice as well, especially when it comes to fishing.

The Division of Wildlife Resources notes there are a lot of options in the state, ranging from getting some really large fish to catching a lot.

“Winter is a good time to go fishing because ice gives everyone the opportunity to walk to the best areas — the places where the fish are hanging out,” said Randy Oplinger, Sportfish Coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. “Fish are also hungry and active in the winter, and that can make them easier to catch.”

To assist in the effort, the DWR has provided various insights and tips for anglers.

PLACES TO CATCH A LOT OF FISH: Waterbodies with bluegill or yellow perch provide ample opportunities. The fish are easy to catch. The DWR suggests using an ice fly or ice jig tipped with mealworm or waxworm. Bluegill and perch generally reside near the bottom of waterbodies during the winter. As such, it is recommended to set the fly or jig 3-12 inches from the bottom.

  • Echo Reservoir (Summit County)
  • Fish Lake (Sevier County)
  • Mantua Reservoir (Box Elder County)
  • Pineview Reservoir (Weber County)
  • Rockport Reservoir (Summit County)

PLACES TO CATCH LARGER FISH: Trout is the target in this regard. Such ice fishing is enhanced by using ice jigs or ice spoons tipped with mealworms or waxworms. A fish finder is beneficial because trout occupy the whole water column. They can be found at a variety of depths. Without a fish finder, it is recommended that anglers move their bait up every 5-10 minutes until the ideal depth is determined.

  • Echo Reservoir
  • Fish Lake (for lake trout and splake)
  • Flaming Gorge (for lake trout)
  • Lost Creek Reservoir (for cutthroat trout, tiger trout and splake)
  • Mantua Reservoir
  • Rockport Reservoir
  • Strawberry Reservoir (for rainbow trout and cutthroat trout)

ADDITIONAL TIPS: Any time of day is good for ice fishing and a spring bobber will help detect subtle bites from many fish species.

“The best way to prepare for ice fishing is to make sure you are dressed warmly for the colder weather and to make sure all your equipment is ready,” Oplinger said. “If you are new to the sport, you can get additional tips and recommendations from fellow anglers, employees at tackle stores or online. It’s always a good idea to check the ‘Fish Utah’ map on the DWR website as well.”

“As an extra precaution, you can also purchase ice safety picks, which can help you get out of a lake if you fall through the ice,” Oplinger added. “I’d also recommend taking a rope and a friend or family member with you, if possible. It’s always a good idea to have someone else with you when ice fishing.”

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