Dave Webb

Dave Webb

I love fishing - all kinds of fishing - plus hiking, camping and photography.

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Friday, 21 December 2012 04:17

Good ice fishing, close to home

Utah's DWR has published a series of good articles providing information about ice fishing. The final article came out today; you can see the full thing here. We give excerpts below.

Here is info about the previous articles: Read part one: Cold ice means hot fishing. Read part two: Basic equipment equals fun ice fishing. Read part three: Catch fish by finding the right depth.

Today's article: Dozens of waters in Utah provide good ice fishing action

"Utah provides a wider variety of quality fish to catch than any place I know of," he (Drew Cushing) says. "And many of these opportunities are probably close to your home."

Some of Utah's best

Cushing says the following waters are producing great fishing for the following fish:

Yellow perch

Larger perch:

  • Fish Lake
  • Hyrum Reservoir
  • Rockport Reservoir

Smaller, but more abundant perch:

  • Pineview Reservoir
  • Mantua Reservoir
  • Starvation Reservoir

"Catching perch at Pineview can be fairly easy," Cushing says. "Just locate the spot on the bottom where the perch are, and then put your bait in front of the fish."


Larger bluegill:

  • Pelican Lake
  • Steinaker Reservoir

Smaller, but more abundant bluegill:

  • Mantua Reservoir

Largemouth bass

  • Pelican Lake
  • Mantua Reservoir

Rainbow, cutthroat, brown or tiger trout

  • Deer Creek Reservoir
  • Steinaker Reservoir
  • Starvation Reservoir
  • East Canyon Reservoir
  • Strawberry Reservoir ("Strawberry provides fantastic fishing for big trout, and lots of them," Cushing says.)
  • Birch Creek Reservoir
  • Scofield Reservoir
  • "Both of these waters provide good fishing for big tiger trout," Cushing says.

Lake trout

  • Flaming Gorge Reservoir
  • Fish Lake

"You have a good chance to catch some big fish at these waters," he says.


  • Flaming Gorge Reservoir


  • Pineview Reservoir

Cushing says crappie can be tricky to catch. "They suspend at various depths," he says, "so they can be tough to find.

"But if you catch a crappie at a certain depth, keep fishing that depth," he says, "and you should do well. Pineview has a good population of crappie."

Kokanee salmon

  • Causey Reservoir, and Porcupine Reservoir

Cushing says the best ice fishing for kokanee salmon happens at the two waters at the start of the ice fishing season. "When ice first forms on these waters," he says, "salmon fishing can be fantastic for about two to three weeks."

White bass

  • Utah Lake
Thursday, 20 December 2012 03:31

Beautiful Steelhead Fishing Video

We stumbled across this video clip and though it well worth sharing. Makes me want to gather up the kids and hit the water.

First Fish from norcal on Vimeo.

Sunday, 23 December 2012 00:48

Utah Ice Fishing Report

Dec 26, from Utah DWR:

Ice update: There are reports that ice is forming at Pineview, but it is not stable. Use extreme caution.

Ice update: On December 21, Echo Reservoir was completely iced over. Use extreme caution out on the ice.

Dec 23:

Strawberry has ice! There is new ice over the entire visible reservoir. Bays are solid and should support fishing. There may be spots of week ice over the main lake and so use extreme caution as you venture out. Fishing should be very good.

Utah DWR 12-20:

Ice update: The ice at Birch Creek is reported to be 3 to 5 inches thick. Fishing is fair for rainbows during the morning hours.

Ice update: Mantua Reservoir is entirely covered with a thin layer of new ice. Use extreme caution when checking the ice.

Ice update: Cutler Reservoir is entirely covered with a thin layer of new ice. Use extreme caution when checking the ice.

Ice update: Newton Reservoir is entirely covered with a thin layer of new ice. Use extreme caution when checking the ice.

Ice update: Little Creek Reservoir is entirely covered with ice. Use extreme caution when checking the ice.


Utah DWR Reports 12-17:

Ice update: Scofield is frozen. Ice thickness in the dam area is 4-8 inches. Anglers report catching a lot of smaller fish.

Ice update: Anglers are fishing through the ice at Huntington (Mammoth) Reservoir. Try using small jigs tipped with mealworms.

Utah State Parks Trifishalon! will be December 29 at Scofield,January 19 at Rockport and February 9 at Starvation. Join the fun and show off your ice fishing skills. Prizes will be awarded. Details.

At last, some of Utah's better ice fishing waters are starting to get a hard deck.

Utah's DWR provided these updates on 12-11-12.

Scofield Reservoir contains soft, unsafe ice with patches of open water. We recommend waiting 1-2 weeks for safer ice.

The north corner of Electric Lake has 1.5-3 inches of snowy ice. The rest is open water. Use caution if fishing.

The majority of Huntington Reservoir is topped with 1-1.5 inches of unstable ice. There are patches of open water.


Reports from 12-10-12

Matt Warner had about an inch of ice on Friday. We expect the ice to be fishable soon, maybe by this weekend.

East Park Reservoir is completely covered in an estimated four inches of ice. Good fishing success is likely.

There are reports that the ice is 2-4 inches thick at Hoop Lake. Anglers are catching rainbows in 8-15 feet of water.

Some Uinta lakes have up to six inches of ice. The cold forecast for next week should bring ice to others.

Anglers report 2 inches of ice at Cleveland Reservoir. The catch rate has been about two fat rainbow trout per hour.

The ice is about 9 inches thick at Boulger Reservoir. Fishing is good for 8 to 12-inch rainbow trout.

Friday, 23 November 2012 03:34

Hunting Down Rock Art In Snow Canyon

Last weekend I enjoyed a great trip hiking and searching for rock art in Snow Canyon, near St. George. See my full report here.

(This is a news release provided by Utah's DWR)


Salt Lake City – Starting Jan. 1, you can have up to three hooks on your fishing line. And if you’d like to bow fish for common carp at night, you can.


Those changes are among several fishing changes members of the Utah Wildlife Board approved for 2013.


The recommendations Division of Wildlife Resources biologists presented to the board on Nov. 1 were influenced heavily by ideas biologists received from more than 1,300 anglers who took an online survey at the DWR’s website last spring.


All of the changes the board approved will be available in the 2013 Utah Fishing Guidebook. The guidebook should be available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks sometime in early December.


More hooks, bow fishing at night

The following are among the fishing changes in Utah that board members approved for 2013:

  • This year, Joes Valley Reservoir in east-central Utah is closed to fishing from now until 6 a.m. on Dec. 8. However, in 2013, the fall closure will be lifted, and you’ll be allowed to fish at the reservoir year-round.

  • Starting Jan. 1, you can have up to three hooks on your fishing line.

Currently, Lake Powell and Flaming Gorge are the only waters in Utah at which you can use up to three hooks.


Drew Cushing, warm water sport fisheries coordinator for the DWR, thinks walleye, bass and fly anglers are among those who will be excited about the change.


“Some of the more experienced fly anglers are using a rig that consists of a large fly with nymph ‘trailers’ attached to it,” Cushing says. “Allowing them to fish two trailers, instead of one, will give them a better chance to catch fish.”


Cushing says bass anglers are starting to use umbrella rigs. An umbrella rig consists of two or more lures that are attached together. As the rig is pulled through the water, it imitates a small school of fish swimming together.


“Just like fly anglers,” Cushing says, “allowing bass and walleye anglers to use three hooks will give them a better chance to catch fish.”

Umbrella rigs often include more than three lures. Please remember that only three of the lures in your rig can have hooks on them. “Even with hooks on only three of the lures,” Cushing says, “your rig will still be very effective.”


Umbrella rigs and worm harnesses are currently sold in Utah, but they’re not legal to use in the state if they have more than two hooks. “Starting Jan. 1,” Cushing says, “it will be legal to use umbrella rigs and worm harnesses that have up to three hooks.”

  • Starting Jan. 1, you can use a bow and arrow to fish for common carp in shallow water at night.

Currently, bow fishing for common carp in Utah is allowed only during the day.


Cushing says anything that can legally be done to remove carp is a good thing. “Carp populations grow quick,” he says, “and they’ll eat anything, so they compete for food with all of the other fish in the water.”


Also, carp grow fast—they don’t stay small long enough to provide adequate forage for other fish. “And that isn’t all,” Cushing says. “Carp stir up the mud on the bottom of the waters they’re in. They also feed on and damage aquatic plants. The mud they stir up prevents sunlight from reaching the plants. The damaged plants can’t repair themselves, and new plants can’t grow.”


Cushing says 1,367 anglers responded to a survey that was available on the DWR’s website from mid May to mid June.


Because of how the survey was conducted (for example, it was offered online to anyone who wanted to take it), Cushing says the survey isn’t statistically valid, and it doesn’t represent every angler in Utah. But he’s still excited about the number of anglers who responded to the survey and the ideas they shared.


“We’re excited to get this kind of response from anglers,” he says. “We’re happy that they have an effective way to share their ideas with us.”

(This article was provided by Utah's DWR.)


November is the perfect month to fish at Deer Creek


Heber City – If you’ve fished Deer Creek Reservoir in the summer—and in the fall—you probably had two completely different experiences.

In the summer, the reservoir was probably filled with recreational boaters and personal watercraft.

In the fall, you probably had the reservoir to yourself.


Colder water temperatures in the fall turn popular recreation spots such as Deer Creek into places of solitude, breathtaking beauty and excellent fishing.


And the Provo River that flows into and out of Deer Creek is also a great place to fish in the fall. The river is filled with hungry, aggressive brown trout.


Deer Creek Reservoir is about five miles southwest of Heber City.


Deer Creek Reservoir


Scott Root, regional conservation outreach manager for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says the DWR places 90,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout into Deer Creek every year.


The agency has placed tens of thousands of rainbows into Deer Creek for several years now, so plenty of rainbows are available to catch. (This year, 70,000 rainbows will be stocked in December.)

Root says both Utah State Park boat ramps at the reservoir are open, and you can have much of the lake to yourself.


In the fall, Root says you can catch rainbows from the shoreline using baits. Floating cheese baits, nightcrawlers or other baits that have a scent to them are some of the best baits to try.

If you fish from a boat, Root recommends trolling pop gear with a nightcrawler or trolling small lures that imitate perch.


"November is also a great time of year to target walleye," Root says. "Try trolling minnow-imitating lures slowly along the bottom of the reservoir."


In addition to rainbow trout and walleye, you might also catch perch, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and brown trout at Deer Creek in the fall.


Brown trout in the Provo River

In addition to fishing in the reservoir, you might want to try the Provo River. The river enters the reservoir on the reservoir’s north end and then exits on the south end, flowing down Provo Canyon on its way to Utah Lake.


Root says brown trout spawn in November. “During the spawn,” he says, “brown trout will take flies aggressively. They’ll also attack lures that get near their spawning beds.”


Root says those who fish the Provo River regularly know November is a special time to not only catch aggressive trout, but big trout too. He says small fly patterns, small lures and egg-imitating fly patterns can be very effective during and after the



When brown trout spawn, they clear out depressions in the gravel of the stream bed to deposit their eggs in. These depressions can often be seen from the shoreline. “Please don’t step on these depressions or disturb them in any way,” Root says.


Some stretches of the Provo River have special restrictions. ON some stretches, only artificial flies and lures may be used and the limit is two trout under 15 inches (larger trout must be released in some stretches of the river).


On other stretches, you can use bait and the trout limit is four fish, without any size restrictions.


Fishing regulations for the Provo River are found on pages 29 – 30 of the 2012 Utah Fishing Guidebook. The free guidebook is available at www.wildlife.utah.gov. You can also get a copy at DWR offices and from fishing and hunting license agents across Utah.


Stay updated

Updated fishing reports for Deer Creek are available at www.wildlife.utah.gov/hotspots. Utahwildife.net and bigfishtackle.com also provide good information.


More information about launching conditions at Deer Creek State Park, or information about the park itself, is available by calling (435) 654-0171 or visiting www.stateparks.utah.gov/parks/deer-creek.


More information about fishing at Deer Creek is available by calling the DWR at (801) 491-5678.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012 03:15

Exploring and Fishing Cathedral In The Desert

Cathedral In The Desert is an iconic landmark in Glen Canyon at Lake Powell. It is a beautiful canyon grotto with a waterfall (actually two waterfalls). A few years ago Lake Powell dropped to a very low level and the main waterfall was exposed. Many people make a trek to see the Cathedral, which was often been described as paradise lost beneath the waters of Lake Powell.

In recdent years the lake's level has risen and, at this writing, the top of the main waterfall is under 10 feet of water. (See photos and a video showing Cathedral In The Desert.)

On Oct. 20, 2012, DWR Biologist Wayne Gustaveson boated into the Cathedral and filed this report:

For example, on Saturday we took a side trip into Cathedral in the Desert at the back of Clear Creek Canyon on the Escalante. The lake level now is at the base of the second waterfall with the main cathedral well under water.  We viewed the falls and then retraced our steps.  While passing over the first falls (10 feet deep) marking the cathedral we noticed a school of fish sunning themselves near the surface of the 50 feet deep chamber. A Kastmaster spoon tossed to the basking fish proved them to be largemouth bass. A slab spoon simultaneously dropped to the bottom of the chamber resulted in a 5-pound striper. The next two drops to the 50-foot bottom produced two walleye. Then the fish quit.  That is a good summary of fishing this week. There are fish to catch in a wide variety of places but it takes a subtle key to understand when fish are vulnerable.

Monday, 22 October 2012 22:31

Fall For Big Fish And Vivid Colors

I love the hues of fall, in the tree leaves and also in the fish. Many species spawn in the fall and the fish put on their most dazzling colors to attract the attention of the opposite sex. The browns take on a rich golden color with vivid spots. The brook trout develop a splash of red/orange across their sides. The colors are never more beautiful.


Today I fished upper 6th Water, a tributary to Diamond Fork, and enjoyed catching beautiful browns. The weather was beautiful and fall colors were still bright. The quakies were naked, no leaves, but the willows along the stream were colorful. Fishing was good and we really enjoyed the trip.


Fall also provides some of the best opportunity to catch big fish. Brown trout become very aggressive in the fall and big fish are occasionally caught in the Green, Provo and Weber rivers, along with other smaller waters. The Weber is often under-ratted. Some of the biggest browns in Utah are pulled from its waters durin the fall.


Lake trout also spawn in the fall and they become more predictable as they congregate near spawning grounds. The giant lakers are always hard to catch but they become a little easier at this time of year. Smaller lake trout are frequently caught during late October.


On Bolder Mountain, brook trout grow surprisingly big and this is the prime time to catch them.


Walleye are also very active during the fall and several trophy fish will be caught during the next few weeks at Willard, Deer Creek and Starvation.


And at Strawberry, big cutthroat are cruising the shorelines where they can be caught from boat and shore. Minnow-imitating lures are good bets right now. In recent years the Lucky Craft Pointer Minnow has become the lure of choice at Strawberry. I like and use them, but also often use traditional Rapalas. A medium-sized Rapala in rainbow colors can be killer during fall.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012 03:04

Hot Fall Fishing At Lake Powell

Fall fishing is hot at Lake Powell and will remain very good for the next 2-3 weeks. After that it will trail off and most fish will be less active during the cold of winter.

Wayne Gustaveson provides an excellent weekly report on Lake Powell fishing conditions. See it here.

Below are a couple quotes from his latest report:

Magic 60-degree temperatures that caused bass and striper fishing to peak in the spring will be duplicated during the next 3 weeks.  Look for a fall flurry of fishing success similar to that found in spring. Use your favorite technique at your best springtime spot to have great fishing success. Crappie are being caught in trees now and will continue to provide good catches until mid November.

Striper fishing success has never slowed in the San Juan Arm where adult schools are guarding the mouths of Piute and Neskahi Canyons and deep water in between.   Fishing success at Good Hope Bay and Hite is less certain with few reports coming from there this week. That may be due to the steady striper fishing success in Bullfrog and Halls using the same spooning and trolling techniques described above.

(This is a news release from Utah's DWR.)


The best fishing of the year is about to begin. You can locate the action by visiting websites that provide updated fishing reports.


One of the best sites is www.wildlife.utah.gov/hotspots.


Paul Birdsey, cold water sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, says October is his favorite month to fish. “There’s no better time to fish,” Birdsey says, “and the beautiful fall scenery and the cooler temperatures aren’t the only reasons why.”


Birdsey says at the end of September or the start of October, lakes and reservoirs in Utah experience what he calls their “fall turnover.”


“Basically,” he says, “the water mixes. As the water on the surface cools, it sinks to the bottom of the reservoir. As the water sinks, it pushes the water on the bottom of the reservoir up to the top.”

This swirling motion brings material from the deeper layers of the lake or reservoir into the upper layers. All of the sudden, algae starts to bloom. As the algae blooms, zooplankton feed on the algae. Then, the zooplankton bloom too.


Suddenly, abundant food is available for bait fish and sport fish throughout the lake or reservoir. “During this period of time,” Birdsey says, “the fish go into a ‘feeding frenzy.’”


During the frenzy, Birdsey says you can catch fish from the shore using simple equipment. “A rod and a reel, a bobber and some worms are about all you need,” he says.


Because food is so abundant, fish will spread themselves across the entire body of water. They’ll be in shallow water near shore and in deeper water in the middle of the lake or reservoir. “You can catch fish from the shore or from a boat,” Birdsey says.


And lakes and reservoirs aren’t the only places where fishing improves in October. Fishing in “tailrace” waters (rivers and streams that are below dams) improves as nutrients and cooler water are released into them. Having cooler water temperatures and the sun at a lower angle also improves fishing in all of the rivers and streams in the state, including those that aren’t below dams.


Birdsey says the feeding frenzy usually lasts two to four weeks. “You can still catch fish in late fall,” he says, “but fishing usually isn’t as fast as it is in October.”


Birdsey says the week before Utah’s general rifle buck deer hunt starts is his favorite week of the year to fish. “You can usually have the water to yourself,” he says, “and the fishing is as good as it gets.”


During the week before the rifle deer hunt last fall, Birdsey says he and a friend caught and released 30 to 50 splake in a single day at Joes Valley Reservoir in southeastern Utah.


“We had a blast,” he says.


This year’s rifle buck deer hunt starts Oct. 20.


And even if you’re going out on the big game hunts, you can still get in on the action. “Take your fishing equipment with you,” Birdsey says. “When you’re not hunting in the middle of the day, you’ll have plenty of time to fish.”


Stay updated


You can stay updated on where the best fall fishing is happening in Utah by checking several websites. The following are among the best:

You can also call the nearest Division of Wildlife Resources office or the DWR’s Salt Lake City office at (801) 538-4700.



Contact: Mark Hadley, DWR Relations with the Public Specialist (801) 538-4737

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