(Note: this information is dated. Red Fleet now has yellow perch and no bluegill. Check the current Fishing Rules for regulations.)

If you are looking for an exciting new water to try this winter, you ought to consider Red Fleet Reservoir. Red Fleet is located just off of State Highway 199, north of Vernal.

The reservoir is usually safe for ice fishing by Christmas and action is usually hot! Red fleet is crawling with big bluegill and there is also a good supply of rainbow trout.

There are no special regulations on Red Fleet so you can catch 50 bluegill and 8 trout. The bluegill need to be harvested so don't be afraid to take a bucket-full home with you.

There are also some nice smallmouth bass in Red Fleet and although the bass aren't very active when the water is so cold, it is possible to bring a bass or two up through the ice while you are fishing for bluegill.

The best way to check and make sure the ice is safe is to call the DWR office in Vernal (789-3103). They keep close tabs on their waters and should be able to tell you when it is safe to venture out on the ice.

To find the bluegill look for coves or bays that contain cover the bluegill can hide in or around. Look for submerged brush or trees, rock piles or deep spots.

Fish with meal or wax worms or a small piece of night crawler. Tipping an ice fly with one of these baits is deadly.

Bluegill like to take their bait while it is moving so don't be afraid to bounce the bait up and down a little bit. Experiment until you see how much jigging is necessary to attract their attention.

Bluegill have an excellent flavor and the meat is light and firm. Fillet a bucket full, dip the fillets in your favorite sauce or batter and invite the neighborhood over for a fantastic meal. Makes me hungry just thinking about it!