Utah's general statewide turkey hunt starts April 26 for young hunters. Adults can join the youngsters starting April 29.
lynn chamberlain - dwr
If you want to hunt wild turkeys in Utah this spring, but you didn't draw a limited-entry permit, no problem.
Utah's general statewide turkey hunt is about to begin.
There's no limit on the number of permits available for the hunt, so you won't have a problem getting one.
You can buy a permit at www.wildlife.utah.gov. Permits are also available at DWR offices and from more than 300 hunting license agents across Utah.
Those who were 15 years of age or younger on Jan. 24 (the day results of the 2013 limited-entry turkey drawing were posted) can hunt starting April 26.
Adult hunters can join the youngsters starting April 29.
Turkeys doing well
Jason Robinson, upland game coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says turkeys are doing well, especially in southwestern and south-central Utah. "Southern Utah has a lot of turkey habitat, including lots of oak brush," he says. "Turkeys do really well in that type of habitat."
Robinson says the number of turkeys across Utah should be similar to-or a little higher-than it was in 2012. He credits the optimistic outlook to a warm, wet spring in 2012 and the ability turkeys have to escape inversions.
Robinson says biologists also moved turkeys from areas in Utah where the turkeys were overabundant to areas that have good habitat for the birds. That's increased the number of turkeys in those areas. "We also brought turkeys in from South Dakota and released them in eastern Utah this past winter," he says.
Robinson encourages you to buy a permit and take a youngster hunting with you. He says the spring turkey hunt is the perfect time to get your family and friends together and enjoy camping in Utah's outdoors.
"It's time to beat cabin fever and get outside," Robinson says. "Having a big tom turkey strut into the area where you're hiding is the icing on the cake."
Advice and reminders
To be successful, Robinson says you need to locate the birds before the hunt begins.
"Scout the areas you want to hunt before the hunt starts," he says. "Look for birds and sign that turkeys have been in the area. Listen for gobbles. Look for areas where turkeys have been roosting in trees."
Obtain written permission before hunting on private land. "River bottoms are great places to hunt turkeys," he says, "but many river bottoms are on private land. You must have written permission to hunt on private property."
Make sure of your target and what's beyond it. "Successful turkey hunters are very well camouflaged," he says. "Many of them use calls and decoys to attract turkeys to them."
If you're moving through the woods, and you spot something that looks like a turkey, it might actually be someone's decoy. "Make sure it's a turkey before you pull the trigger," he says.
Also, only turkeys with beards may be taken. All tom turkeys have beards. About 10 percent of hen turkeys have beards too. "You may only take a bearded turkey," Robinson says, "so, before you pull the trigger, make sure the turkey you're shooting at has a beard."
A more important reason, though, is your own safety. "If someone approaches from behind you and thinks your decoys are turkeys," he says, "having a tree behind you will give you some protection."
The following are some additional details about the statewide hunt:
Permits are available now. You can buy a permit anytime between now and when the season ends on May 31.
Please remember that if you buy a permit at www.wildlife.utah.gov, it will take about five to 10 days for your permit to arrive in the mail. You must receive your permit before you can hunt.
If you buy a general turkey permit, you can hunt anywhere in Utah that's open to turkey hunting.
Two general hunts will be held:
The first hunt is a special youth hunt. Hunters who were 15 years of age or younger on Jan. 24 can participate in the hunt. The youth hunt runs April 26 - 28.
To participate in the youth hunt, young hunters must buy a general statewide hunting permit. Young hunters who drew a limited-entry permit can't participate in the youth hunt.
Youngsters who buy a permit for the youth hunt can also use the permit to hunt during Utah's general statewide hunt. That hunt opens April 29.
The second hunt-the general statewide hunt-is open to anyone who buys a general turkey permit.
The general hunt runs April 29 - May 31.
You can buy a general turkey permit and still keep all of your limited-entry turkey bonus points. You won't lose any of your bonus points if you buy a general turkey permit.
If you obtained a limited-entry turkey permit, you can't obtain a general turkey permit. (You can have only one turkey permit each year.)
For more information, call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR's Salt Lake City office at 801-538-4700.
Best Waters to Fish in Central Utah this Spring
Anglers can now access open, ice-free waters
Provo - Early spring is a great time to fish in central Utah: You can take advantage of open water fishing before the bugs come out and melting mountain snowcaps send a flood of water into lakes and reservoirs.
Scott Root, regional conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says the ice at many waters in central Utah has melted, and spring fishing is underway. He says the following should be some of the best waters to fish in the region this spring:
Deer Creek Reservoir
"This year," Root says, "don't miss a chance to fish for rainbow trout at Deer Creek Reservoir."
The DWR stocks about 90,000 rainbow trout into the reservoir every year. But this year, even more trout might be stocked there.
Root says you don't have to wait for more fish to be stocked to enjoy great fishing at the reservoir, though. In late March, angler Austin Olsen reported catching and releasing 19 rainbows in just two hours.
In addition to the rainbows, you can also find smallmouth and largemouth bass, walleye, brown trout and perch in Deer Creek.
Root reminds you that if you aren't camping in the state park, you can't access the boat ramp at the reservoir after 10 p.m.
Anglers using traditional baits and lures have been catching trout in open water at Jordanelle Reservoir. If you have a float tube or a small boat, now is the time to fish at Jordanelle-very few recreational boaters are using the water right now.
In addition to trout, yellow perch, smallmouth bass and largemouth bass are possible catches at Jordanelle.
Root says Utah Lake is also free of ice.
In the spring, walleye spawn at Utah Lake, which makes them a good target for anglers. Casting and slowly retrieving twist-tail jigs near inlets or spawning areas can convince a territorial walleye to strike.
Channel catfish and white bass are also available at the lake. Channel catfish respond to a worm, shrimp or other stink bait. White bass will usually bite a small action lure tipped with bait. "At Utah Lake," Root says, "there isn't a possession limit on white bass, so one angler could literally 'feed a village' if they get into a large school of these tasty fish."
Before you head to the lake, check the DWR website for a new brochure that provides access points to the lake. The free information is available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/utah_lake_access.
Yuba Reservoir is ice-free, and DWR biologists think this year will be one of your best chances ever to catch a large northern pike at the reservoir. Biologists found lots of northern pike in the reservoir during recent sampling work.
In April, pike are preparing to spawn. They'll often attack a lure that imitates a fish.
In April, you can find pike in water that's about three to six feet deep. A lure that imitates a yellow perch is one of the best lures to use.
When fishing for pike, find a shallow area with some vegetation in it, and repeatedly cast and retrieve your lure. Using steel leader is a good idea. Their sharp teeth and enormous strength allow pike to snap lines easily.
At Yuba, you can keep up to six pike.
Little Dell Reservoir
Now that the ice is gone, Bonneville cutthroat and brook trout are waiting for you in open water at Little Dell Reservoir. Root suggests using woolly buggers or shiny lures to catch them.
Because Little Dell is a protected watershed, several special regulations are in place. You may use artificial flies and lures only. All cutthroat trout must be released immediately. Any fish you catch must be removed from the watershed canyon before you clean it. Fishing from a float tube is allowed with a dry suit or rubber waders, but not a wet suit. To wade, you must wear clean waders.
"Though regulations may be restrictive at Little Dell," Root says, "anglers often have the entire reservoir to themselves."
Much of Strawberry Reservoir is still covered with ice. Warmer temperatures are weakening the ice, however, so use caution if you go on the ice. "At this point," Root says, "it's very dangerous to take a snowmobile or an OHV onto the ice."
As ice melts over the next few weeks, the state's most popular fishery will likely see a sharp increase in anglers.
You can often land trout at Strawberry by casting minnow-imitating lures or tube jigs from the shore or toward the shore (if you're fishing from a boat), or fishing lures or tube jigs in submerged weed beds.
"Strawberry has special fishing regulations," Root says, "so check the guidebook before you go."
Utah's free 2013 Fishing Guidebook is available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks.
You can stay updated on where fishing is the best in central Utah by reading the DWR's weekly Central Region fishing report. The report is available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/hotspots. You can also receive the free report via email by subscribing to it at www.wildlife.utah.gov/e-lists/subscribe.php.
Other good sources for up-to-date fishing information include www.bigfishtackle.com and www.utahwildlife.net.
And don't forget stores that sell fishing tackle and stores at various marinas in Utah. Employees at these stores often have excellent, up-to-date information.
If you have questions about fishing waters in central Utah, call the DWR's Central Region office at 801-491-5678.
Contact: Scott Root, DWR Central Region Conservation Outreach Manager, 801-376-7076 and 801-491-5678
DWR Holds Fishing Open Houses
Visit with biologists, learn more about your favorite water
You can learn more about your favorite fishing water, and share ideas with the biologists who manage it, by attending a fishing open house.
Fisheries biologists with the Division of Wildlife Resources are holding the open houses to share information with you about waters in your area. They also want to hear your ideas about fishing regulation or management changes you'd like to see at the waters in 2014.
Drew Cushing, warm water sport fisheries coordinator for the DWR, says the open houses help DWR biologists better understand the wants and needs of anglers in Utah. "The DWR has many talented fisheries biologists," Cushing says, "but they need your help to better understand the social aspect of regulatory decisions that are made."
Cushing encourages you to attend the open houses. He says that in addition to helping the biologists, you'll be helping anglers across Utah. "After all," Cushing says, "these fishing waters are your fishing waters. Our role is to manage them for you."
Open house schedule
Most of the open houses will be held indoors, but in northeastern Utah, biologists will meet with anglers on-the-ground at some of the fishing waters in the region. The following is the open house schedule:
The DWR will have at least one person onsite at all of the following waters to visit with anglers and discuss their suggestions for possible regulation changes in 2014:
May 4 - Little Hole (along the Green River) from 1-5 p.m. Look for biologists at the boat ramps.
May 4 - Red Fleet Reservoir from 1-5 p.m. Biologists will be at the boat ramp.
May 4 - Big Sandwash Reservoir from 1-5 p.m. Biologists will be at the boat ramp.
May 4 - Currant Creek Reservoir from 1-5 p.m. Look for biologists between the parking area immediately below the dam and the old bridge that's about one-half mile from the dam.
May 14 - Price, DWR office (319 N. Carbonville Drive) starting at 6:30 p.m.
May 16 - Salina (location to be announced) from 6-8 p.m.
May 22 - Bicknell (location to be announced) from 6-8 p.m.
May 30 - Cedar City, DWR office (1470 N. Airport Road ) from 6-8 p.m.
May 25 - Logan, Al's Sporting Goods from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Al's Annual Outdoor Expo happens that day. DWR biologists will be available at a table at the expo.)
May 29 - Riverdale, Sportsman's Warehouse from 6-8 p.m.
May 30 - Riverton, Sandra N. Lloyd Community Center (12830 S. Redwood Road) from 7-8:30 p.m.Â
For more information, call Division of Wildlife Resources offices in Ogden, Springville, Vernal, Price or Cedar City. You can also call the DWR's Salt Lake City office at 801-538-4700.
Contact: Mark Hadley, DWR Relations with the Public Specialist, 801-538-4737