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Mid October fishing report for southeastern Utah

By Sun Advocate

The best fishing of the season is currently underway. DWR southeastern region aquatics manager Louis Berg says that “just about everywhere, the best fishing of the year is in progress as hungry fish feed in preparation for winter. Hunters should bring a fishing rod along to fish the lake or stream nearest their hunting spot. This is a good way to kill time during the middle of the day, and will help ensure they bring some meat home.”
Regulation change at Joes Valley Reservoir. Beginning at 6 a.m. on Nov. 1, Joes Valley Reservoir will be closed to fishing until Dec. 14. Once the reservoir reopens to fishing, the trout limit will be two, of which only one fish can be over 22 inches. All trout 15 to 22 inches must be immediately released. This amendment to the 2002 fishing proclamation was made to protect the large adult splake, which come into shallow water during the new closed period. We need protection for those large splake as well as those between 15 to 22 inches to help control the Utah chub population. The growth and survivability of trout at Joes Valley Reservoir has decreased as chub numbers have increased.
Where has bag limits been liberalized?
•The fish limit at Electric Lake is currently eight.. Tackle restrictions, requiring anglers to use artificial flies or lures only, have been suspended. These changes will remain in effect until the end of the year.
•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.
•Abajo Mountains. Foy Reservoir continues to provide good fishing with baits and lures. Lures in the morning and evening are recommended. There is very little fishing opportunity at Monticello Reservoir now that the dam, outlet and spillway are under construction. Repair work will be completed this month. The lake will not be restocked until 2003. Fishing is improving at Blanding number three. There has been very little angler pressure at Recapture Reservoir, where the daily bag and possession limits have 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.
•Benches Pond. Good fishing is expected.
•Cleveland Reservoir. The daily bag limit is eight fish until Nov. 1. Fly fishermen have had good luck from float tubes using size eight black beadhead leech patterns. The water level continues to drop.
•Duck Fork Reservoir. The rotenone treatment project took place one week ago. All fish have been removed.
•Electric Lake. Due to drought, anglers may now take a limit of eight fish using any legal bait. Fishing remains excellent with bait.
•Ferron Reservoir. Anglers are encouraged to harvest brook trout, which were illegally planted. The brookies have multiplied rapidly, stunting their own growth and depriving the other trout species of forage and space.
•Gigliotti Pond. Restocking should take place soon. It is expected that 500 rainbow trout will be stocked as well as some bluegill and bass.
•Huntington Reservoir (near the top of Huntington Canyon). The water level continues to drop. Fly-fishing has been good for tiger trout up to 18 inches, using a size eight black beadhead leech pattern. 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. Beginning Nov. 1, fishing regulations will change at Joes Valley Reservoir. The reservoir will be closed to fishing from 6 a.m. on Nov. 1 until Dec. 14. When the reservoir reopens to fishing, the trout limit will be two. No more than one trout may be over 22 inches. All trout 15 to 22 inches must be immediately released. This regulation change will protect the large spawning splake, which are very vulnerable in November and early December. In addition, splake from 15 to 22 inches are needed to help reduce the chubs, which were illegally used as live bait.
•LaSal Mountains. Ken’s Lake is very low. The daily bag limit has been doubled for all game fish until Nov. 1. Fishing is expected to be good at most LaSal mountain lakes.
•Lower Fish Creek. Flows are low. 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.
•Millsite Reservoir. Some splake stocked approximately two years ago survived and are now presenting anglers with an opportunity to catch them. Most of the splake appear to be 13 to 16 inches in length.
•Petes Hole. Fishing has been good with baits, olive wooly buggers and Jake’s Spin-a-Lures. The daily bag and possession limit is four trout.
•Potter’s Ponds. Good fishing is expected for both ponds.
•Price River. Flows are low. Recommended fly patterns include the Hare’s Ear or Double Ugly.
•Scofield Reservoir. Fishing success has apparently picked up, evidenced by the number of anglers out there on the weekend.
•Lake Powell. DWR Lake Powell project leader Wayne Gustaveson provides the following information.
The lake elevation is 3,627 M.S.L. and the water temperature is 72 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fall has officially arrived kicking off the second season of fishing at Lake Powell. Spring fishing is great but Fall fishing is just as good and the weather is better. The unusually warm, dry summer caused the lake’s surface to stay warmer longer than normal. Water temperatures are just now declining into the really good fishing range. The pesky full moon, just past, has delayed the fall feeding frenzy especially in the lower lake. The prediction for the next three weeks is that fishing will get better each day and peak on the dark moon during the second week of October. It will stay good until full moon during the fourth week. The only thing that will alter the schedule is big, strong cold fronts with lots of wind.
Try to avoid fishing those days. The lake is so deep that it takes lots of cold air and wind to cool the lake in the fall. Fishing will regain the glory about two to three days after the cold front passes. Plan your fall trip accordingly.
The easiest target is smallmouth bass. They are numerous lake wide and will fall for the same pattern no matter what part of the lake is fished. Search for jagged, broken rock that falls away at a sharp angle. Straight cliffs are not as good as a broken rock slope.
Long, rocky points jutting into the main channel are the easiest places to find the right habitat. Once there, use a soft plastic grub, tube or jigging spoon. Fish from the shallows down to 40 feet. Small fish will be shallow and the bigger ones down deep. Bass are on the rocks because crayfish, their primary food, frequent rocks that they can hide in and around. The rule is broken when shad enter the picture. Bass will chase shad in the fall if they can find them.
Coves with shad are the very best place to fish. Find shad by looking for small fish flipping and squirting on the surface. When feeding shad dart to the surface and zip back down often causing a little water spurt in the process. Some shad schools contain hundreds of fish and all those spurts are hard to miss in a calm cove. Fish below the shad to catch every fish species in the lake.
When stripers happen on a school of shad the pace accelerates. Shad are extremely fast but opt to cluster in a school instead of fleeing. Stripers herd the school to an ambush point and then rush through. Shad then scatter in all directions which excites every fish in the cove.
Stripers are most obvious with the giant swirls and big slurping gulps. But bass and walleye are right there with them. Look for shad to find the best fall fishing. Shad are most common in the upper San Juan from Cha Canyon to Zahn Bay. Hite and Bullfrog tie for the next best spot. The lower lake is not even in the game yet. A good fishing plan is to search out shad.
Fish for smallmouth bass along the shoreline while seeking shad. When shad are located fish under them for mixed variety of predator species. Then when the boil starts make quick work of the stripers by throwing surface lures while they are chasing on top. As soon as the boiling subsides drop spoons to the bottom to get stripers as they make there way out of the cove. Then throw a few more random casts with surface lures to the shoreline for big smallmouth and a bonus largemouth or two. These next few weeks will be a lot of fun!

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