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Late August fishing report for southeastern Utah



By Sun Advocate

The lazy days of summer are enjoyed while fishing. Anglers are encouraged to take advantage of the current fishing regulations in place at area fishing attractions. The Division of Wildlife Resources reminds anglers however, to refer to the current fishing report for newly placed regulations. If no updates have been made to an area, simply follow the regulations stated in the current fishing proclamation. Fishing success has been noted at various locations in the region.

The drought conditions which southeastern Utah is currently experiencing is taking its toll on the streams in the region. “Due to drought conditions, many of the streams currenlty have extremely low flows,” reports Louis Berg, DWR regional aquatics manager. “Pondtown Creek (tributary to Scofield Reservoir), Upper Gooseberry Creek (tributary to Gooseberry Reservoir), and Upper Huntington/Boulger (tributaries to Electric Lake) are all examples. Many of the fish in these waters have been or probably will be lost.”
On Aug. 14, the daily trout limit at Electric Lake was increased to eight fish. The restriction, which required anglers to use artifial flies and lures only, was removed. The new limit and removal of tackle restrictions will remain in effect through Dec. 31. On Jan. 1, 2003 the regulations set by the Utah Wildlife Board will become effective.
“A fish kill is in progress at Wrigley Springs Reservoir,” stated Berg. “live fish are lethargic and probably not very willing to bite. The same situation occurred last year, over an extended period, and resulted in an almost complete kill of fish in the lake. Anglers who catch fish here should keep them (within limits), rather than releasing them to be wasted.”
Where have fish limits been relaxed?
•Fishing regulations have recently changed at Duck Fork Reservoir. Anglers may now keep up to 16 trout, and they may use any legal bait. These regulations are in effect until the end of September.
•Anglers are allowed to keep six largemouth bass, 50 bluegill, and eight trout at the Gigliotti Pond. This change will remain in effect until Sept. 1.
•The daily bag and possession limits have been doubled at Cleveland and Miller Flat reservoirs, Ken’s Lake, Lloyd’s Lake, Monticello Lake, and Recapture Reservoir. These regulations are in effect until Nov. 1.
•The new limit at Electric Lake is eight fish. Tackle restrictions, requiring anglers to use artificial flies or lures only, have been suspended. This change will remain in effect until the end of the year.
•Abajo Mountains. Foy Reservoir continues to provide good fishing with bait and lures. Best fishing occurs in the early morning and evening. Morning and evening fishing has been good at Monticello Reservoir, where the limit has been raised to eight fish, until Nov. 1. Baits and spinners are recommended. Fishing has slowed down at Blanding number three. Trolling deep with pop gear and spinners is recommended for rainbow trout at Recapture Reservoir, where the daily bag and possession limit has been doubled for all game fish until Nov. 1. The daily bag and possession limits for all game fish have also been doubled at Lloyds Lake until Nov. 1, due to low water conditions and expected loss of fish. Fishing has been fair.
•Benches Pond. Fishing has been slow from mid-morning until late afternoon. We recommend that anglers use dry flies in the early morning and evening. Baits have not been very effective.
•Blue Lake (by Grassy Lake). Access is walk-in or by ATV. The lake was not stocked this year.
•Boulger Pond. Fishing has been slow with baits. Try dry flies in the early morning or evening.
•Cleveland Reservoir. The daily bag and possession limits have been raised to eight fish until Nov. 1. Anglers are encouraged to harvest the fish before the reservoir drains. At this point, the water level remains good. Fishing has been fair for anglers using PowerBait or worms.
•Colorado River. The river continues to provide good fishing for catfish up to three pounds. Preferred baits include shrimp, worms and liver.
•Cottonwood Creek. Fishing has been fair to good with small spinners, such as Mepp’s, Panther Martins or Jake’s Spin-a-Lures.
•Duck Fork Reservoir. The angling pressure continues to be heavy with the temporarily relaxed regulations, which include a 16 fish daily bag and possession limit and allow anglers to use any legal bait, lure or fly pattern. Fly fishermen should try a Sheep Creek Special or damsel fly pattern. Bait fishermen have also done well. Lots of fish remain to be caught before the rotenone treatment project in mid September. The shoreline is somewhat muddy but still accessible. Beginning Oct. 1, harvest of cutthroat trout will be prohibited to protect newly stocked Colorado River cutthroat trout. Tackle restrictions requiring the use of artificial flies or lures will also take effect at that time.
•Electric Lake. “An emergency change in fishing regulations has been made at Electric Lake,” remarks Berg. “This lake is expected to become empty in February. Anglers may now take a limit of eight fish and may use any legal bait. Formerly the limit was two fish and anglers were required to use artificial flies or lures. The changes are intended to help prevent the wasting of fish, and will remain in effect until Jan. 1.”
•Ferron Reservoir. Little pressure and generally slow fishing conditions. Anglers are encouraged to harvest the illegally introduced brook trout, which may eventually overpopulate the lake, resulting in small fish in poor condition.
•Gigliotti Pond. The DWR hopes to have the repairs completed and the pond refilled before the end of the year. The trout limit is eight, the largemouth bass limit is six, and the bluegill limit is 50. On Sept. 1, limits and restrictions identified in the 2002 fishing proclamation will resume.
•Gooseberry Reservoir. An angler recently contracted swimmers itch at Gooseberry Reservoir. Swimmers itch is an itching dermatitis due to penetration into the skin of larval forms of schistosomes (trematode worms and flukes). Although extremely annoying, swimmers itch is neither communicable nor fatal. Antihistamines can be used to help alleviate the itching and topical steroid creams may reduce the swelling. The itching and swelling generally persist for several days. If someone is suspected to have contacted swimmers itch, consult a doctor and notify a public health official.
•Grassy Lake. Fishermen using salmon eggs have had good success.
•Huntington Creek. Fishing success has been spotty with baits and lures. Fly fishing has been much better with a size 12 Prince nymph, Renegade or Ugly. The limit is two trout in the fly only zone, which is on a portion of the Right Fork. Anglers on the Left Fork of the Huntington must use artificial flies or lures. Harvest of brown trout on the left fork is encouraged, where the limit is four fish.
•Huntington Game Farm Pond. The limit is four trout, 10 bluegill, and four bass, but only one bass larger than 15 inches. Limits are the same for all licensed anglers and unlicensed anglers under 14 years of age.
•Huntington North Reservoir (near the city of Huntington). Slow fishing conditions. The limit is two bass. All bass over 12 inches must be immediately released.
•Huntington Reservoir (near the top of Huntington Canyon). Fish are deep this time of year. Anglers fishing during the day need to get their fly, lure or bait down to a depth of about 20 feet. Tiger trout range up to about 15 inches. 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. Virtually no fishing pressure. Boats cannot be launched, because the water level is low. Anglers are encouraged to release all larger splake for control of the abundant Utah chub population. The splake limit is two fish. All splake between 15 to 20 inches must be immediately released.
•LaSal Mountains. The daily bag and possession limit for Ken’s Lake has been doubled for all game fish until Nov. 1 due to low water conditions and expected loss of fish. Dark Canyon offers fair fishing for nine to 12 inch trout with traditional baits and lures. Blue Lake is fair to good with spinners and lures.
•Lower Fish Creek. Flows are moderate. Aquatic vegetation is thick along the shoreline. Fishing has been good for fly anglers walking the middle of the channel and casting toward the shore. The prince nymph has been an effective fly pattern. Most trout are less than 14 inches. From the railroad bridge approximately one mile below the Scofield Reservoir dam downstream to the confluence with the White River, only artificial flies and lures may be used.
•Miller Flat Reservoir. Fishing has been fair to good with Roostertails or a fly and bubble. The daily bag and possession limits have been raised to eight trout to help anglers harvest the trout before the reservoir drains.
•Petes Hole. Fishing has been excellent with an olive wooly bugger in the evening. Bait fishermen have had only fair success. The Jake’s Spin-a-Lure has been the most effective spinner. The daily bag and possession limit is four trout.
•Potter’s Ponds. Fishing success remains fair to good. A bear has been frequenting the campground. Please keep a clean campsite and don’t leave fish or entrails behind.
•Scofield Reservoir. Fishing for rainbow trout is fair form boats and poor to fair from shore with Powerbait. Fishing is better for boaters because fish are in deep water trying to avoid uncomforably warm surface water. Most of the fish being caught are 16 to 19 inches in length.
•Willow Reservoir. Fishing success has been slow. Early morning fishing provides the best results.
•Wrigley Springs Reservoir. A fish kill is in progress. This occurred last year, resulting in an almost total die-off.
•Lake Powell. The lake elevation is 3,631 M.S.L. and the water temperature is 79 to 85 degrees Farenheit. Striper boil craziness is calming down. At one point last weekend 17 boats surrounded one striper boil in the main channel near Hite while other boats watched the action with amazement. Heavy fishing pressure has kept the stripers from hitting the surface as often and perhaps spread them out. Boils are not as big, don’t last as long and are more widespread than last week, but they will continue as long as shad are plentiful. Scattered boils stretch from Hite to Good Hope and from Bullfrog to Lake Canyon. The upper San Juan is good from Piute Canyon to Zahn Bay. There are even some boils seen in the lower lake but these are small and scattered. Striper boils have been seen but no fish caught from them in the lower lake.
At Bullfrog groups of surface feeding stripers are feeding calmly over the same wide area. It is not really a boil but it reminds me of trout jumping in a mountain lake. Casting surface lures or shallow running crankbaits in a random pattern around the boat works well for scattered fish. Look for boils at the Bullfrog tire breakwater at mornings first light. Then head up Bullfrog Bay to Crappie Cove which is the first cove on the right past the houseboat buoy field. This is perhaps the most consistent spot for boils. There are also boils uplake as far as Bouy 99 and downlake to the mouth of Lake Canyon. Most of these boils are quick and it may be difficult to get close enough to cast before the fish go down.
Anglers will be happy to know that the stripers have been relocated in the lower lake. They can be caught on anchovies fished at 35 feet in the back of Navajo where main channel depth is 60 feet. Look for the water to change color from clear to green. Stripers and some shad are holding in the quarter mile long green water section but not further back in the brown water which is too warm and shallow. I had equal success on weighted and unweighted anchovy baits. It helped to slowly reel the bait back to the boat after letting it hit bottom. Stripers were caught as shallow as 15 feet close to the canyon wall in the shade near a 40 foot ledge
The upper San Juan has good fishing for all species. Boils have been seen from Piute Canyon upstream to Zahn Bay early morning and late evening. Water shallower than 35 feet is not as good as places where main channel depth is 60 feet. Spencers camp is a good starting point. Smallmouth fishing was better this week than it was last. A good smallmouth point was in Navajo which produced three bass in four casts. A five inch watermelon colored senko hooked right in the middle (wacky rigged) worked wonderfully. The 11 inch bass ate the whole thing and were hooked fairly deep. If trying this rig for the first time remember not to jerk when the fish is felt. Just start reeling and gradually apply more pressure as the fish gets closer to the boat.
Catfishing is great both night and day. These bottom sweepers are prowling most sandy beaches and can be readily caught in big numbers with chicken liver, live worms or anchovies.

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