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3 places to fish this winter — that don't include ice fishing

By Spencer Durrant, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - Dec 6th, 2018 @ 12:20pm



THE GREAT OUTDOORS — With snow on the ground and many ski resorts open, winter has officially arrived in the Beehive State. For most anglers, it's time to hang up the poles and wait for warmer weather to go fishing again.

But if you're willing to brave chilly temperatures and a bit of snow, you can get into some of the best fishing Utah has to offer. Winter is a great time to be on the water since the crowds are thinner, and the fish tend to congregate in certain areas, making them easier to catch.

With that in mind, these three places will give you some of the best chances of catching fish this winter.

Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Daggett County

Best technique: Spinning/baitcasting. A boat is helpful.

Species: Rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, lake trout

The Gorge is arguably the best fishery in the state. While most of the winter fishing focus is on the annual Burbot Bash — an event aimed at decreasing the population of the invasive fish in the lake — this reservoir can be an amazing winter fishery.

A boat is helpful since it allows you to access some of the less-fished coves, but even from shore, you'll have a great shot at catching your limit.

Fishing from the Antelope Flats or Lucerne Valley boat ramps is a good place to start. Rainbow trout will make up the bulk of your catch, but cutthroat or small lake trout may show up as well.

Beaver River, Beaver County

Best Technique: Fly fishing

Species: Brown trout, rainbow trout, brook trout

If you love to ski as well as fish, the Beaver River may turn into your best friend. At the top of Beaver Canyon is the quaint ski resort of Eagle Point, and from the town of Beaver to the resort is miles of public-access river. Fish in the canyon tend to be on the small side, but bigger trout can be found in the river west of town.

Private land borders the river between Beaver and Minersville, but there are well-marked public access areas. You won't have a hard time finding a place to wet a line.

Quail Creek Reservoir, Washington County

Best Technique: Spinning/baitcasting

Species: Rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill

Southern Utah is turning into somewhat of a bass fishing mecca, thanks to Sand Hollow Reservoir. But just north of Sand Hollow, near the town of Hurricane, is Quail Creek. This fishery is much more out-of-the-way than Sand Hollow and tends to have fewer recreational watercraft.

Largemouth fishing is good year-round here, though it will slow down during the winter. This is a good time of year to practice your Texas and Carolina rigs for big bass.

Rainbow trout fishing picks up in the cooler months, though, so if the bass aren't cooperating, you shouldn't have a hard time putting something in the net.

Winter fishing doesn't always have to be in tents, huddled around a hole in the ice. It can be just as active and fun as spring fishing if you know where to go.

Have you fished any of these areas during the winter? Let us know how you did in the comments.


Spencer Durrant

About the Author: Spencer Durrant

Spencer Durrant is a fly fishing writer, outdoors columnist, and novelist from Utah. His work has appeared in Field & Stream, TROUT Magazine, Hatch Magazine, and other national publications. He's also the Managing Editor of The Modern Trout Bum. Connect with him on Twitter/Instagram, @Spencer_Durrant.

Spencer Durrant

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