Cooler weather creates hot fishing
The best fishing of the year has begun.
Paul Birdsey, cold water sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says October is his favorite month to fish.
Birdsey says at the end of September or the start of October, lakes and reservoirs in Utah experience what he calls their "fall turnover."
"Basically," he says, "the water mixes. As the water on the surface cools, it sinks to the bottom of the reservoir. As the water sinks, it pushes the water on the bottom of the reservoir up to the top."
This swirling motion brings material from the deeper layers of the lake or reservoir into the upper layers. All of the sudden, algae starts to bloom. As the algae blooms, zooplankton feed on the algae. Then, the zooplankton bloom too.
Suddenly, abundant food is available for bait fish and sport fish throughout the lake or reservoir. "During this period of time," Birdsey says, "the fish go into a 'feeding frenzy.'"
During the frenzy, Birdsey says you can catch fish from the shore using simple equipment. "A rod and a reel, a bobber and some worms are
about all you need," he says.
Because food is so abundant, fish will spread themselves across the entire body of water. They'll be in shallow water near shore and in
deeper water in the middle of the lake or reservoir. "You can catch fish from the shore or from a boat," Birdsey says.
And lakes and reservoirs aren't the only places where fishing improves in October. Fishing in "tailrace" waters (rivers and streams that are below dams) improves as nutrients and cooler water are
released into them. Having cooler water temperatures and the sun at a lower angle also improves fishing in all of the rivers and streams in the state, including those that aren't below dams.
Birdsey says the feeding frenzy usually lasts two to four weeks. "You can still catch fish in late fall," he says, "but fishing usually isn't as fast as it is in October."
Birdsey says the week before Utah's general rifle buck deer hunt starts is his favorite week of the year to fish. "You can usually have the water to yourself," he says, "and the fishing is as good as it gets."
During the week before the rifle deer hunt last fall, Birdsey says he and a friend caught and released 30 to 50 splake in a single day at Joes
"We had a blast," he says.
You can stay updated on the best fall fishing by checking several websites. The following are among the best:
You can also call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.