THE GREAT OUTDOORS — Spring provides incredible fly fishing for Utah's anglers — even when rivers across the state are high and muddy from runoff. It's around this time of year that ice starts coming off high-mountain lakes and trout move into shallow water to feed after a long winter.
Places like Strawberry Reservoir and Fish Lake receive a ton of attention in the spring, but there are other areas that are also worth your time. Here are four lakes which aren't as crowded and provide comparably stellar fishing.
Currant Creek Reservoir
Located just past Strawberry Reservoir, this high-mountain lake lies in a gorgeous valley surrounded by vast swaths of pines and rolling grass-covered hills. The ice is just starting to recede from the banks and huge trout are waiting to be caught.
Currant Creek is home to big tiger and cutthroat trout, in addition to rainbow trout and the mountain whitefish. The tiger and cutthroat trout from Currant Creek routinely reach sizes of 5 or more pounds, and the lake offers tons of shoreline that allows anglers to stalk their quarry.
This reservoir, just north of Vernal on Highway 191, has some incredible brown trout. Additionally, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has removed the daily bag limit, allowing anglers to keep all the fish they catch. Steinaker will soon be drained down to nearly empty in order for repairs to be made to the dam.
The DWR completed netting surveys recently that turned up multiple brown trout over 20 inches.
While Steinaker does produce large brown and rainbow trout, it's also a great bass and bluegill fishery. Bass, in particular, can provide serious excitement on a fly rod.
Scofield certainly isn't lesser-known, but in recent years its popularity has declined due to the overwhelming presence of chub in the lake. However, with higher water levels and ice-off conditions just right, this is an incredible time of year to experience the trophy trout fishery that Scofield has to offer.
The DWR is working on plans to treat the chub problem in Scofield, which may affect the tiger trout living in the lake. The state record tiger trout — a 19-pound-2-ounce beast — was harvested in Scofield in 2013. The world record, according to the International Game and Fish Association, weighed in at 20 pounds, 13 ounces when it was caught in Lake Michigan in 1978.
A ton of fly fishers are into catching carp on the fly. If you're looking for a less-crowded lake where your chances of catching a good carp are high, Pelican Lake is your home. The carp will be in the shallows soon — if they're not already — waiting to be caught by a savvy angler.
In addition to the carp fishery, you'll get into bluegill and largemouth bass. Green sunfish live in Pelican Lake as well, as do catfish; those, however, are much more difficult to get on a fly rod.
Utah offers no shortage of great lakes for spring fly fishing and the opportunity to catch a fish worth mounting on the wall.
Do you have a favorite springtime fishery? Let us know in the comments.