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Southeastern Utah fishing report tells tales of trash



By Sun Advocate

DWR conservation officers have received calls from concerned sportsmen about ice anglers who dump trash and cans into ice holes at the end of the day. We encourage ice fishermen to haul out whatever is hauled in. Officers will be closely monitoring littering.
Please review the new 2002 proclamation for statewide changes as well as provisions for specific waters. The statewide trout limit has gone from eight to four fish for licensed anglers and from four fish to two for unlicensed anglers under the age of 14.
Tributaries to many waters have been closed to fishing until July 13. Check the proclamation for Provisions for Specific Waters.
•Abajo Mountains. DWR Conservation Officer Randall Scheetz reports only a few fishermen at Recapture Reservoir and slow fishing conditions. A third of Recapture Reservoir is still open water, so Scheetz does not recommend ice fishing. Fishing pressure has been virtually non-existent at other Blanding reservoirs. There is a new daily bag limit at Blanding #4 Reservoir. The daily bag and possession limits of trout have been raised to 16 fish, because Blanding City plans to drain the reservoir. This change will remain in effect until March 15. Access to Monticello and Foy reservoirs is by snow machine only. No report on fishing success.
•Electric Lake. No recent report on fishing success. Bait is not allowed at this lake, where the trout limit is two.
•Huntington Creek. DWR Southeastern Region Aquatics Manager Louis Berg reports that some of the larger holes are opening up below the Forks of the Huntington. These holes are full of fish just waiting to bite almost any nymph pattern. Angler Tom Ogden recently caught 60 fish in five and a half hours using a #12 Montana nymph. Most of the fish were brown trout, averaging 11-12 inches. Harvest of brown trout on the left fork is encouraged, where the limit is four fish. These must be taken with artificial flies or lures. On the Right Fork, from Flood and Engineer’s Canyon upstream to Electric Lake dam, only two trout may be taken and artificial flies must be used. No bait or lures are allowed in this section.
•Huntington North Reservoir (near the city of Huntington). Fishing is starting to pick up at the reservoir. Officer Christopherson recommends a silver or gold Kastmaster tipped with green PowerBait.
•Huntington Reservoir (near the top of Huntington Canyon). No recent report on fishing success. Release of tiger trout is encouraged so that fish can grow larger. Any brown trout caught should be harvested. The reservoir is closed to the possession of cutthroat trout and trout with cutthroat markings.
•Joes Valley Reservoir. Conservation Officer Torrey Christopherson reports that ice conditions are improving at the reservoir. However, there is still open water in some areas. Christopherson recommends fishing for cutthroat trout near the parking lot southwest of the Trail Mountain Resort. He suggests that anglers use jigs tipped with dead minnows in relatively shallow water. For splake, Officer Christopherson recommends fishing near the marina and on the west side in general. Jigs and meal worms have been working well. The splake limit is two fish. All splake between 15-20 inches must be immediately released. Release of all splake is encouraged to help with chub control.
•Lasal Mountains. Mountain lakes, with the possible exception of Hidden and Dons, are inaccessible, according to Conservation Officer Edward Meyers. Ken’s Lake is almost completely frozen with only a small patch of open water near the southern end. Anglers are urged to check ice conditions before venturing out. The water level is a bit low. The deepest water (35 feet) is near the dam. Meyers reports that fishing has been fair to good for 8-14 inch rainbows, especially near the inlet on the northeast corner in 15-20 feet of water. Fish have been taking eggs, worms and PowerBait. Most trout are near the bottom, but a few can be seen cruising at mid-level with a fish finder.
•Lower Fish Creek. Access to the middle portion of the stream on DWR property has been closed until late spring. Only artificial flies or lures can be used below the railroad bridge, which is about one mile below the dam.
•Millsite Reservoir. Conservation Officer Torrey Christopherson suggests fishing by the state park boat dock and toward the dam. Best baits are live night crawlers and PowerBait. The ice is about 10 inches thick.
•Scofield Reservoir. The DWR has received a larger-than-normal number of reports from fishermen. Cheryl Rushton reported catching “lots of fish” with white jigs or ice flies tipped with a meal worm. She described the majority as 8-11 inchers with a few in the 17-23 inch range. She reported her largest fish to be 23 inches and approximately five pounds. Another angler claimed good success using a Rat Finky and wax worm. He wrote that early mornings were the best time to fish. Success tapered off later in the day. Angler Ryan Mayo, using a yellow jig tipped with a meal worm, caught a 17-inch rainbow and a number of trout in the 11-14 inch range.Sergeant Carl Gramlich recommends any type of grub or ice fly tipped with a worm or meal worm. Release of trout is encouraged.
•Straight Canyon/Cottonwood Creek. The creek is ice-free on the upper end below the dam.
•Lake Powell. The lake elevation is 3,654 M.S.L. and the water temperature is about 50 F.
The surprising mid winter striper bite continues. Conditions are identical to previous reports. There is a school of stripers residing in Gunsight Canyon that has remained in the same location for more than two months. Fish are found within a 300 yard radius on any given day.Schools of stripers are holding very tight and previous success should be duplicated even in the cold days of winter. The reason for prolonged winter striper activity is lack of fat reserves that cause fish to search for food when they would normally be dormant and living off fat reserves.
The Gunsight school is found in 50 – 60 feet of water directly out from the dry channel that once allowed boaters to pass from Gunsight into Padre Canyon. Graph the channel in a zig-zag pattern from the dry cut back out toward deeper water. Mark concentrations of fish with three or four different floating markers and then chose the thickest concentration, gently drop anchor, chum and wait. It will take 10-20 minutes for lethargic stripers to respond. After the first fish or two school activity will pick up dramatically and action will last for up to two hours. Then the bite will quit and it will be necessary to move to find a new school. Expect to catch between 15 and 40 fish depending on the day.
The initial striper bite is almost undetectable. The slow moving fish will gently mouth the bait and very slowly swim off. There is no jerk or discernable pull. Hold the rod and gently move the bait.When the “feel” of the bait changes, set the hook. Hooking the first fish excites the others and they hit with a bit more enthusiasm. Set the hook even when you are not sure. More often than not a fish will be on the other end. Set the hook when you think a fish is close for best success.
The Gunsight pattern described can be transposed to broader locations lakewide. Previous success from mid or upper lake can be duplicated due to the striper response to low forage. Pick a calm good weather day and try some “ice fishing” Lake Powell style.

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