ST. GEORGE — Low water levels have the potential to warm water faster than usual in Utah this spring, which would mean great fishing over Memorial Day weekend. If the water does warm up faster than usual, fishing for cool- and warm-water fish would be abundant.
“As the water warms, cool- and warm-water fish get active and hungry,” Drew Cushing, fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, said. “They’re much more willing to bite. Make plans now to fish during the Memorial Day weekend. If the weather during the weekend is warm and dry, I think fishing will be fantastic across the state.”
Cushing said the low water levels are the result of two straight years of low snowpack in Utah.
“The lower water levels are a mixed blessing,” Cushing said. “At some waters, it might be difficult to launch your boat as summer progresses. And low oxygen levels, caused by rising water temperatures, will likely kill fish at some waters. Get out and enjoy fishing while fishing is good.”
While many waters will provide great fishing over the Memorial Day weekend, Cushing put the following waters at the top of the list:
South-central and southwestern Utah
Lake Powell, Minersville, Otter Creek, Piute, Quail Creek and Sand Hollow reservoirs
Anglers are catching lots of big walleye, and the lake is producing the biggest striped bass seen at Lake Powell in years, Cushing said.
After the holiday weekend, it’s only a matter of time before the northern end of Lake Powell — 6 miles to 8 miles of the reservoir — will be inaccessible to boats. At some point this summer, low water will likely force the main boat marina at Bullfrog to close, leaving only a smaller ramp from which to launch your boat.
If you enjoy catching trout, Minersville, Piute and Otter Creek should be great waters to fish over the weekend. Largemouth bass and bluegill fishing should be excellent at Quail Creek and Sand Hollow, Cushing said.
East-central and southeastern Utah
Huntington North and Joe’s Valley reservoirs
Wipers and largemouth bass are biting at Huntington North. The bite should continue through the holiday weekend. At Joe’s Valley, splake and tiger muskies are also biting. The splake and tiger muskie bite should continue through the holiday weekend before tapering off in mid-June, Cushing said.
At Joe’s Valley, low water has closed all but one boat ramp to launching.
Deer Creek and Yuba reservoirs
Fishing for fat rainbow trout, many in the 14- to 16-inch range, is great at Deer Creek right now, Cushing said. The reservoir has plenty of water, too. As the water level drops in June, however, higher water temperatures will likely slow fishing for this cold-water fish.
“Pike are biting right now,” Cushing said, “and they should keep biting through the holiday weekend. By mid-June, the water will warm and the bite will probably end.”
Pelican Lake and Starvation Reservoir
Rainbow trout and walleye fishing has been excellent at Starvation Reservoir this spring. If you enjoy catching largemouth bass and bluegill, Pelican Lake is traditionally a great place to fish over Memorial Day weekend.
“This year will be no exception,” Cushing said. “Fishing should be fantastic for both species.”
Mantua, Pineview and Willard Bay reservoirs
By the time the holiday weekend arrives, largemouth bass and bluegill fishing should be excellent at Mantua. And wiper fishing should be red hot at Willard Bay. Crappie and smallmouth bass fishing should also be good at Pineview.
“Crappie and smallmouth bass fishing is picking up at Pineview right now,” Cushing said. “It’ll only get better as Memorial Day weekend approaches.”
- Fishing reports
- DWR takes school of 9th-graders out to learn about Virgin River fish, archery
- Biologists, volunteers move fish from Gunlock Reservoir