Planning a Memorial Day weekend fishing trip? Utah DWR offers angler resources

Fishing in Utah | Photo courtesy of Utah DWR

UTAH – Anglers planning a fishing trip in the near future can benefit from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources’s tips, and have the chance to voice their opinions on fishing in Utah.

Fishing in Utah | Photo courtesy of Utah DWR
Fishing in Utah | Photo courtesy of Utah DWR

Recommended waters

For families across Utah, Memorial Day weekend provides an opportunity to go fishing, and many Utah waters are heating up just in time to get a great catch.

Drew Cushing, warm water sport fisheries coordinator for the Utah DWR, said that you’ll find waters that are easy to access with large numbers of healthy fish in every part of the state.

Here are Cushing’s recommendations for the best places to take your family over the holiday weekend:

Southern Utah

  • Paragonah Reservoir is an excellent wild rainbow trout fishery. This water’s large population of wild rainbows includes fish up to 14 inches long. Anglers have been reporting excellent fly-fishing from the shore and near the inlet. For a good trip, Cushing said to bring a jacket and a fly rod.
  • At Sand Hollow Reservoir, anglers can find largemouth bass up to four pounds. Big bluegill are also available to catch. Cushing said a fly and bubble, or jigs and crankbaits, should get you a bite in this water.

Southeastern Utah

  • Cushing said Scofield Reservoir is the must-fish water in southeastern Utah.  Tiger trout and Bear Lake and Bonneville cutthroat trout are found in good numbers and healthy sizes in Scofield. The cutthroat and tigers probably won’t hit on PowerBait, so try a dead bait or spinners and jigs instead.
  • Biologists have been stocking Huntington North Reservoir with wipers for four years.  Now, the biggest of these fish weigh up to five pounds.  Cushing said he suggests a white jig or a spinner for anglers hoping to catch a wiper from shore. The reservoir also has largemouth bass, bluegill and channel catfish.

Central Utah

  • Look for good white bass fishing at Utah Lake from Memorial Day weekend through mid-June.  Cushing said he also suggests fishing from shore for bullhead and channel catfish.  As the water warms, white bass and the two catfish species will move toward areas where rivers and streams enter the lake.  Anglers targeting the streams and inlets should try using white jigs and silver spinners.
  • Deer Creek Reservoir also looks promising for the holiday weekend. Biologists stocked the reservoir with trout last fall and this spring. To catch one of these rainbows, Cushing said he suggests fishing PowerBait near the water’s bottom. At Deer Creek, you can fish from shore, boat or a float tube.

Northeastern Utah

  • Cushing said Memorial Day weekend is the best time of the year to fish at Pelican Lake.  The lake has some of Utah’s largest bluegill, with fish up to 10 inches long.  A fly and bubble, or a chartreuse jig, should result in a bluegill or a largemouth bass on the end of your line.
  • Anglers at Starvation Reservoir have been catching rainbow trout up to 23 inches long this year. Cushing said the rainbows stocked last fall should be around 16 inches now.  The reservoir also has a healthy population of brown trout.  You can usually catch these browns with a Rapala that looks like a fingerling rainbow trout.

Northern Utah

  • This time of year is a great time to fish from shore for bluegill and largemouth bass at Mantua Reservoir.  Cushing said these fish are in shallow water right now and very aggressive, so they’ll keep biting for a couple of weeks after Memorial Day.  The reservoir, just east of Highway 89 in the town of Mantua, is ringed by a gravel dike.  This dike provides easy access to fishing spots around the reservoir.
  • For trout, Cushing said he suggests visiting East Canyon Reservoir.  Utah DWR biologists have stocked a large number of trout in the reservoir.  You can catch these fish from the shore or from a boat.  If you’re fishing from a boat, you might catch some smallmouth bass too.
Fishing in Utah | Photo courtesy of Utah DWR
Fishing in Utah | Photo courtesy of Utah DWR

For Utah anglers who don’t have a lot of experience, a bit of research can go a long way towards helping you catch fish.

“You’ll be successful if you know what you want to catch, and bring the right gear,” Cushing said.

Anglers can stop by a local sporting goods store and ask about locations. Then, doing a bit of research about the species in the waters you learn about can help make your trip to those waters a success. Different species require different gear, and the sporting goods store employees can help you decide what you’ll need to bring.

Websites also provide up-to-date fishing information for waters across the state. Some of the best sites include the Utah DWR’s fishing reports, and the Utah Wildlife Network.

Cushing said you should also look at the 2013 Utah Fishing Guidebook before getting to the water you want to fish.  Some waters have specific regulations, so it is important to check to see which regulations apply to the area you plan to visit.


If you like to fish in Utah, you have a golden opportunity right now to share your thoughts in an online survey.

To let fisheries biologists know your thoughts about fishing regulation changes Utah DWR biologists are considering for 2014, and to share complaints, concerns or general ideas about how to make fishing better in Utah, fill out the survey online. It consists of nine questions and should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. The deadline is June 7.

Fishing in Utah | Photo courtesy of Utah DWR
Fishing in Utah | Photo courtesy of Utah DWR

You can also share your own ideas about how to make fishing better in Utah by contacting Cushing personally at 801-538-4774, [email protected] or Drew Cushing, Division of Wildlife Resources, Box 146301, Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6301.

After evaluating your ideas, biologists will present their final recommendations at Regional Advisory Council meetings in September. The Utah Wildlife Board will make the final decision about Utah’s 2014 fishing rules at a meeting on Nov. 7.

Cushing said organized fishing groups are often the only anglers DWR biologists hear from.

“In addition to the fishing groups, we want to hear from individual anglers,” he said. “We hope those who don’t belong to a fishing group will share their ideas with us too.”

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Submitted by: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Fishing in Utah | Photo courtesy of Utah DWR
Fishing in Utah | Photo courtesy of Utah DWR

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