Wildlife officials urge anglers to enjoy Utah waterways now
As the worries of yet another drought season fill the minds of many Carbon County residents, the Division of Wildlife Resources had dedicated themselves to providing adequate information regarding fishing opportunities and advantages across the state.
The DWR warns local anglers to not wait until July to fish Utah's rivers and streams. The best fishing of the year is happening now.
"There's some fantastic stream and river fishing in Utah now and it should continue through spring and early summer," stated Tom Pettengill, sport fisheries coordinator for the DWR.
The reason for early fishing success is drought.
In a year with normal snowfall, high runoff from the mountains raises water in rivers and streams to levels that are almost unfishable by early May. Those high levels often remain until mid-July. That won't be the case this year however.
"Runoff will be much lower and that means rivers and streams should be fishable through the spring and summer," Pettengill explained.
The only exception are stretches below dams, where releases for irrigation can raise water levels temporarily.
"When this happens, head higher in elevation until reaching river and stream stretches that are above the reservoirs. With the warm weather the area has had recently, insect hatches are already happening and fish are actively feeding," Pettengill stated.
"Some of the best flows of the year are happening now and the fish are comfortable and active," the fisheries coordinator continued.
Pettengill says that many streams and rivers are accessible and others will be by late April or early May.
The DWR coordinator provides the following advice to anglers fishing Utah's rivers and streams during spring and early summer.
Fish during the middle of the day.
According to Pettengill, the evenings and mornings are still fairly cold, but the weather warms up by mid-day and that's when the bugs start to hatch.
Check fishing reports, visit local tackle shops and talk with other anglers to learn which areas are fishable and where fish are being caught.
The wildlife agencies weekly fishing report can help. It's updated every week and is printed regularly in the Sun Advocate and is available on the Internet at www.wildlife.utah.gov.
Fish at the heads of pools. This is where many of the active fish are waiting for their next meal.
Consider using small spinners and spoons, which allow anglers to cover more water than bait does.
If and angler has not caught anything within 20 minutes , hop in a vehicle and visit a different reach of stream.
"Bugs might be hatching on a different stretch, or the water might be clearer somewhere else," Pettengill said. "Move until fish are found."
According to the fishing coordinator, among Utah's more well-known rivers, the Provo, Weber and Green should provide excellent fishing this spring.
When mid-summer arrives, Pettengill encourages river and stream anglers to switch their tactics. Water levels could be low in some areas, but good fishing should still be available.
"Lower water levels will concentrate fish more, which is good for anglers, but it also makes fish more wary," he explained.
To catch fish later in the summer, Pettengill advises anglers to approach streams and rivers quietly and to cast their lures or baits to the heads of pools, where fish are usually waiting.
"Try and cast the lure or bait so it lands quietly on the surface, or cast into turbulent waters upstream from the pool and then let the lure or bait drift through it," Pettengill concluded.